Destressing Techniques for the Full-Time Netrepreneur
© 2000, by Harmony Major
One of the top three reasons for running an online business is
usually to have more free time. However, it seldom works out
that way. Running any business full-time can be stressful and
time-consuming. So, here are a few destressing tips to help keep
your business from consuming YOU:
1. TAKE THE WEEKENDS OFF.
Running a business full-time doesn't mean that you have to (or
NEED to) work 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Take off weekends,
holidays, AND random vacation time to avoid home business
burn-out. Rest your brain.
Keep a tight focus when you work, and automate your business as
much as possible. As a matter of fact, work ONLY as much as you
have to. That's why you quit your day job, (or plan to), right?
Being able to work when you want and play when you want is one
of the greatest advantages of running your own business -- and
it's also one of the most quickly forgotten.
2. HIRE AN ASSISTANT WHEN YOUR BUSINESS PICKS UP.
You can't do everything yourself, and you shouldn't try. When
business picks up, the "hired help" can relieve a lot of your
stress. But how do you know when you need to hire a helping hand?
a) When you can't comfortably handle answering your daily email
in less than 48 hours.
Taking a week or more to answer emails, (or not answering it
at all), can put you out of business FAST. On the Internet,
negative word of mouth can spread like wildfire. Why risk it?
b) When you can't take a day off without losing a lot of the
progress you've made in your business thus far.
Admittedly, there ARE a few things that can't be put off until
later. In these cases, your assistant can either help with the
task itself, or run the basics of the business while you focus
all your energy on meeting that killer deadline.
c) When you have more than five on-going projects to maintain at
any one time.
By "on-going" projects, I mean things that you need to work on
constantly, like publishing an ezine, maintaining a website,
updating a membership site, or creating a new product. If you
publish three ezines, have two websites, and are writing two
new books, here is where your assistant can help out with the
3. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU JUST CAN'T AFFORD A FULL-TIME ASSISTANT.
An assistant doesn't necessarily have to be a full-time employee.
And, instead of paying your hired help by the hour, you can pay
them on a "per assignment" basis. This can save money that would
otherwise go to an employee benefits package, and can eliminate
the need for extra tax time paperwork that the full-time employee
To go a step farther, you can have several part-time assistants,
with each one specializing in a different area of your field.
This will be much better than having one "Jack of all trades"
that doesn't know a heck of a lot about anything specific to your
For example, if you're a Web design consultant, you can have an
assistant to do each of the following specialized tasks
a) Handle return email and phone calls
b) Create logos for your client websites
c) Find resources and articles for your website and/or ezine
d) Install and create CGI scripts for you and/or your clients'
e) Edit and spell check both you and your clients' websites
f) Schedule new client website evaluations, and follow up on
past clients' results
4. FIND AT LEAST ONE PERSON WHO CAN HANDLE YOUR BUSINESS IN CASE
OF ILLNESS, EMERGENCIES, OR VACATIONS.
You'll need to train someone you trust to make intelligent
business decisions in the event of your absence or illness. This
step will take longer than the others, simply because you can't
just pick anyone off the street for this job. You need to be
confident that this person can and WILL run your business as
smoothly and efficiently as if you'd never left the scene.
Not only will this person be able to act as a temporary "owner,"
they'll also be able to:
a) Recruit, train, and "interview" part-time assistants.
They'll know all the ins and outs of your business, right?
Then they should be just as capable when it comes time to find
more "hired help." Even though the final hiring decision will
be yours to make, this person can act as a "preliminary
interviewer," screen applicants, or scout new help that will
be reliable, skillful, and competent.
b) Help YOU with important business decisions.
This depends on the depth of knowledge that you allow them (or
require them) to have.
c) Help keep your costs low.
Although this assistant will have an in-depth knowledge of the
workings of your business, you won't have to pay them as a
full-time employee unless you specifically hire them as such.
This way, you'll still have all the benefits of "temporary
ownership" in case of emergency, and also be able to save
money by not paying them an hourly wage.
5. WHEN YOU TAKE BREAKS, *REALLY* TAKE BREAKS!
When you fix lunch, don't come back to the computer. Fix it, and
turn on the T.V. to watch your favorite sitcom. Or, grab a book
and curl up by the fireplace (or the air conditioner in the
Summer!), to read a few chapters of that great novel you got from
Whatever you do, just get away from your work! If you don't feel
"productive" during work hours unless you're exercising your
brain, go to the supermarket for one of those great variety
puzzle books and go for the gold. In short, make sure breaks are
REALLY for resting -- not just for getting out of the physical
vicinity of your work area.
6. ELIMINATE CONSTANT TELEPHONE DISTRACTIONS.
I know how annoying it is to be in the middle of an important
project, stop to take a phone call -- then totally forget what
you were doing when you stopped to take the call. And, not only
is it frustrating, it can also be time-consuming.
Eliminate distractions, (and the embarrassment of jumping out of
your skin in fright when the phone rings), by using an automated
messaging service or live operator. Instead of listing your home
office phone number on your website, list the number of the 24
hour service to answer all your calls.
7. LEARN WHEN IT'S BEST TO SAY "NO."
You can't be all things to all people, and it's foolhardy to try.
Enjoying helping people is one thing, but stressing yourself out
by taking on too many responsibilities is another. Any reasonable
person will understand that running a business is stressful, and
will also understand that you just can't do it all.
If the person gets upset or bad-mouths you to other marketers
because you declined their offer, that's the kind of person you
wouldn't have wanted to have any dealings with anyway. And in
both cases, you still come out on top, and life goes on.
8. TAKE AT LEAST ONE VACATION PER YEAR.
If you were working any other full-time job, you'd be entitled to
vacation time after working "x" amount of hours. So, when you own
your own business, this should be even more applicable as it's
generally harder work.
Whether you're alone or with friends or family, make sure that
your vacation STAYS a vacation by not taking ANY work with you
on the trip. Don't take any work-related "reading material,"
don't take your lap-top with you to "work on that new website,"
don't do newsletter issues, and don't make any business calls!
Even if your vacation is nothing but a relocation to another area
of the house for a week, it's one of the only times you're able
to take time out that's exclusively for YOU. Don't ruin that or
interfere with it by working through your break.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harmony Major is the author of Yahoo! Secrets, where she reveals
how YOU can drive HUNDREDS more visitors to your site each day,
by getting a #1 listing on Yahoo. Don't just settle for "getting
listed." Use her instantly-effective tactics to boost your site
traffic with a TOP Yahoo listing! Visit: http://YahooSecrets.com