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You want learn how to have a better life, right? As freelancers we aim to have a better life while doing meaningful work. For many of us that means being our own bosses!
The thing is though, that we also want to be attentive friends and parents, and provide for our families. And trying to do all of these things at once can seem impossible.
According to a Pew Center Research analysis, over 40% of American households with children under the age of 18, include a mother who’s the primary earner.
This stat is true for me as I’m the breadwinner for my small family while my husband grows his career as a personal chef. This makes it tough to find time for myself and still support my significant other in his career pursuits.
How to have a better life
So, how can you have a better life as a business owner without getting overwhelmed? Here are nine ways to gain true work-life balance while juggling being your own boss.
1. Make self-care number one
How are you supposed to care for your family, your clients, or your spouse if you don’t take care of yourself? This is a question I have to remind myself of often.
Self-care needs to be at the top your list — always! In order to perform at your best and produce your best work, your health and happiness need to be number one.
- Force yourself to go to a local meet up with friends
- Take an Epsom Salt bath a couple nights a week
- Read a good book or watch your favorite show before bed
- Sign up for a yoga class or watch a free video online
All of the day’s obligations never really go away, so take a few minutes every day to indulge in something just for you. Doing so means that you’ll be less likely to burn out, have more fun, and be able to serve everyone around you a lot more.
This is especially important when you’re the breadwinner because your clients and family depend upon you. The best way to give them 100% is to set boundaries and know when to put you first.
Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. It helps you serve others better!
2. Stop trying to do it all
One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome when starting a business online was to ask for help. I got to the point where I so burned out and sick that I physically couldn’t do everything by myself.
Before you reach this point, it’s time to stop trying to do everything on your own. Admit that you need help and then start delegating work to someone else.
Be mindful that delegating work doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money to hire help. Sometimes it just means paying a few dollars a month for the right business tool, or working with a budding virtual assistant.
The idea of doing it all is a farce so you might as well come to grips with that right now. (I know, this is tough love!) Admit that you need help and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
3. Outsource household chores (at least the ones you hate)
Speaking of asking for help, if you’re not quite ready to hire an assistant at least consider outsourcing a few household chores. There are countless resources available to showcase the benefits of outsourcing your life.
And I’m not the only one who’s discovered that delegating can lead to less worrying and more living. Below are the main household chores I outsource to save time and reduce stress.
- Boxed – Boxed is a budget-friendly alternative to big box stores like Sam’s Club or Costco. You get the savings of bulk prices without paying a yearly membership fee and you can get $15 off your first order.
- Instacart – This is another great alternative to going grocery shopping every week. It’s especially great for when you forget an ingredient that you need for tonight’s dinner. Click here to get free delivery on your first order.
- Cleaning service – I work best in a clean and organized environment but I don’t always have time to make that happen. Hiring a regular cleaning service to come to my apartment every few weeks has been a HUGE time-saver that’s well worth the investment.
4. Value heart and hustle over a degree
I was a Certified Bookkeeper for over 10 years and I also worked as a Tax Specialist for 4 years. During this time I was able to pay off all my debt, quit my job and start a business online.
I’ve been featured in Redbook Magazine, INC Magazine and in The Huffington Post and now I help other business owners quit their jobs and overcome financial obstacles.
But did you know that I don’t even have a high school diploma? It’s true.
When my mom died from breast cancer I was just 15 years old. So I had to take on a more responsible role in caring for my brothers and sisters.
Yep, that means that I graduated high school early and got my GED (General Education Diploma). But I never let my lack of a high school diploma stop me from starting a business — and neither should you!
Because we have one thing that other people with fancy papers don’t have; heart and hustle. I was always smart in school and have been very disciplined to get to where I am today.
I view my 12th grade education as a fun challenge, not an obstacle.
As the breadwinner you have the opportunity to blow people away with your work ethic and hustle. Don’t let your lack of a fancy degree get in the way of your career or personal pursuits.
View these as obstacles that are worth overcoming and use that as the springboard for being your own boss.
5. Never stop learning and growing
Even though I technically never graduated from high school, I still highly value being educated and learning new skills.
When you take on the role of the breadwinner in the home you’re responsible to not only earn a living but to fully understand the best ways to manage the money you’re making.
This is a never-ending process so you’re constantly learning and improving.
Here are some of the best classes and financial courses to help you continually educate yourself and maintain control over your money.
- Money Essentials 101 – CNN Money (free). This casual course is offered by CNN Money as a free resource for understanding the basics of all things money.
- H&R Block Income Tax Course – H&R Block (cost varies on location). This class is taught in-person at your local H&R Block office two nights a week.
- Ally Wallet Wise Courses – Ally Bank (free). With four courses to choose from, you’ll learn the basics of credit, budgeting, banking & investing, and auto finance.
- Conquer Cash Flow – A course created by me ($59) aimed at helping you manage your small business finances better. You’ll learn how to pinpoint cash flow issues and how to maximize your accounting software to stay organized.
6. Make time for play
There are numerous drawbacks to being the breadwinner, from higher divorce rates, to more infidelity, to increased stress levels and housework. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make time for having some fun!
Even adults need a little play time to de-stress and take a break.
What activities help your brain shift gears? Maybe it’s working out, traveling for the weekend, cooking food, or attending a painting class. Find fun activities that you can allocate in your budget each month.
As a budding painter I love anything that involves paint and a canvas. So once-a-month I book a $30 adult painting class and spend the evening making a beautiful mess. Sometimes I also schedule a girl’s night with adult coloring books, markers and colored pencils.
My husband, on the other hand, enjoys being a chef and coming up with new menu ideas. He experiments with these ideas at the monthly dinner parties he hosts for our friends and family.
These are fun activities that we allocate in the budget each month, so it’s still affordable and gives us the chance to indulge in our own creative outlets.
7. Avoid getting into a rut
Doing the same thing over and over every day can get boring and tiresome. This will quickly lead to being burned out and feelings of wanting to quit. Don’t let this happen!
Let go of work that isn’t challenging anymore, and stop working for clients who don’t value your opinions. Look back at all the things you’ve accomplished this month, or the past year.
Give yourself credit for all you do! Then do something different. Go on a weekend getaway, or have a fun staycation with your family.
As the boss it’s your responsibility to try something new every day, and make sure your family stays creative. Be open to experimenting and finding new ways to solve old problems.
8. Regularly evaluate your main priority
What do you value most in life? Why do you work, play and live? These are the things you should invest your time and energy into so make them your main priority.
The word priority has been used in its singular form since the 1400s and was only pluralized to priorities in the 20th century when our busy schedules started taking over our lives.
The true definition of the word priority is singular and only refers to one thing that takes precedence over another.
It’s time to simplify your to-do lists and re-evaluate what your true priority is. This may change from time to time, which is why you must regularly evaluate your work and life to make space for what’s important.
The work-life balance pendulum constantly swings back-and-forth and you have to learn to go with it. Be patient with yourself and let your priority change, but never lose sight of what truly matters.
9. Find a supportive network
As your own boss it’s vital that you communicate all of your feelings with your partner, your family and your clients. You want to make sure you’re on the same page, while connecting with like-minded business owners who can offer support when you need it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to express your frustrations and needs. You don’t have to balance work and life, alone.
When you take up the role of the breadwinner in the home it’s important to not only earn a living to pay the bills but to fully understand the best ways to manage the money you’re making.
This is a never-ending process where you want to be constantly learning and improving.
What’s one thing you can to this week to find out how to have a better life while being the boss?