I’m loving this monthly tradition of setting goals and reevaluating. It has been a bit of a reminder of how fast the year has gone, but it has also allowed me to feel some control over my personal progress.
This month, I am focusing on letting go, family, and saying no.
Running two businesses, there are some struggles that while they seem unique to business situations, are actually great life lessons, or challenges that also help me overcome road blocks in my personal life. I think in business the choices and struggles become more obvious, because there is hard evidence if a business is doing well or not.
Right now, I am faced with the very real predicament of not having enough time to do everything that is necessarily to make both businesses flourish. My choices are:
- Attempt to do everything, but have many of those things be the bare minimum, giving myself less time for the aspects I truly love (and often just not completing tasks because I run out of time)
- Outsource tasks, which means I can’t always guarantee quality or my own preferences, and will likely cost more than I will think is reasonable
I think for now, I need to let go of control. I need to pick and choose what is important to me and what is reasonable for me to complete, while having enough breathing room to take on special projects that appeal to me, to deal with any unforeseen issues that come up, and have some space for creative thinking.
However, outsourcing is not without its challenges, because it is really hard to find someone who is going to do it exactly as you would, so there is a good chance that no matter how trustworthy, skilled, and capable the person I end up hiring will be, there will be times where I don’t love what they’ve done on my behalf, or I find that setting them up to do tasks (and relaying any pertinent info) takes only slightly less time than doing it myself.
But, I really need to accept that growing my second business means that I need to let go of some of the control, and accept that there will be things that I don’t love, but the alternative is worse – being stressed and not having enough time for family, and not really producing anything that I love because I am strapped for time!
Part of letting go is refocusing all of our priorities to go back to serving and building up my family.
For example, with the business, one of the intentions is for it to help my family live a live we love and to not work a job that takes me away from my family – physically or emotionally. However, it’s a fine line between making some compromises for the business (hiring a babysitter to get work done, giving up family time) versus compromising my family (spending that “babysitter time” working on projects that won’t actually contribute to my family or business goals).
Even my relationship with money needs to change in order to serve my family. Before I quit my job and started my own business, we had less than $400 to support three people after our monthly housing expenses. Frugality was a necessity that allowed my family to thrive. Everything from hanging laundry to dry, to couponing and price matching, to making do with poor quality household items, those were good choices given our place in life at that time.
Now, I am feeling like loosening the reigns with our spending a bit allows our family to feel happier and like the hard work of running two businesses is worth it. Investing in quality and experiences are now good choices. Even just buying the groceries that we like and not worrying about the extra dollar because sweet peppers are not on sale, or allowing ourselves to get something indulgent and yummy even if we could make it for half the cost at home – this makes us feel a bit treated and we leave the grocery store satisfied and without feeling deprived. Little mind and mood boosters like this can really go a long way to appreciating and developing a positive relationship with money – and the hard work that earns it.
If I am going to be paying someone to help me handle all of my business tasks, I can not justify taking on too many free projects, or doing projects that don’t really help further my business goals. I need to look at my own time as having a dollar amount, too.
Because I was so committed to keeping my business completely in my control and doing everything myself, I allowed myself to get behind with some tasks (some fell off my radar completely). Most of these were personal tasks that only affected me, but there were a few projects for and with other people that got behind. I have had to reevaluate those projects and revise my commitments – adjusting time frames or setting new expectations for the future. This was really hard – to face other people’s expectations and tell them no. I know that some people were disappointed, but I would rather give them realistic expectations now, and protect my sanity and family time, than continue to feel behind and constantly scrambling.
I am setting strict work hours and being realistic about what can be completed during that amount of time. I recognize that over-committing myself and not being realistic about how much time things can take can lead to time being taken away from my family, and that’s not okay with me.