Hi Tara, I have a question for you: I’ve been in business for myself for a couple years now, selling art and recently making some digital products, and I have a really hard time with it. I didn’t anticipate all the little emergencies that keep coming up. They take away from my family and my personal life, which I don’t like, but they also have to be dealt with…Any advice on how I can handle these things without compromising my priorities all the time? – Organic Tribe sister
Deep breath, sista…take this in, with all the love it’s coming to you with.
There are no such things as “business emergencies” that should ever take away from your family. Only our beliefs tell us to jump every time Life hiccups.
You’re an artist, not a heart surgeon. Your business is not life or death.
I’m speaking from hard-earned experience here: I use to run around, freak out, get overwhelmed, and drop everything for an email, or when my website crashed right before dinner, or when (back in my old business) an on-call therapist failed to be on-call and I couldn’t fathom turning down a customer. I’d scramble to fix everything at the sacrifice of my family.
And it was total bullshit.
It stressed me out, had me working 16 hours days, and nearly destroyed our relationships. (For goodness sake, it was a massage therapy business! There was no life or death situations there. But I treated it like I’d be lynched for not being on the ball, all the time. Even now, I’m a life coach. I’d be arrogant to assume much more.)
Your business is not your life. It’s a means to your life. Meaning your life is priority #1, and your business the mere support of that. Don’t favor the tool over the purpose of the tool (in this case, the tool is your business and the purpose of the tool is to allow you to live a joyful life).
Sure there are things to do, and there things to look at to avoid or minimize hiccups from constantly happening, like whether you’re creating these emergencies with poor planning or poor systems, and there is also the question of whether you’re trying to do it all yourself or bringing in the right support. (Case in point: my website crashed awhile back but I didn’t need to freak because it automatically backs itself up on a daily basis and drops the files in my DropBox – I just had to call in some support and it was right as rain in an hour.)
But most of all, look at the fear there. What’s putting you into a tailspin when your site crashes (when – because you’re not Ebay – it really can wait until the morning)? Why do you think you need to work over the weekend just because an order comes in Friday night (instead of setting your hours and letting your customers know those hours – since very few people will expect Amazon to ship that fast)? DIG IN and find the belief that has you thinking you need to jump every time your email bings at you (seriously, turn those notifications off!).
It’s okay if shit happens. It’s okay if you have to say “No, I can’t make that happen” to a customer. It’s okay to say “I won’t be available on my daughter’s birthday.”
For the love of all that is holy, it’s okay to be your own boss! 😉
It’s the unapologetically imperfect thing again: if you’re at peace with what you do, your peeps will be too (because are they really expecting you to answer their email at 11pm anyway).
Don’t take yourself or your work so seriously. You got into it for the passion of it. Have fun, take more deep breaths, stop apologizing for having boundaries, DIG IN to your barriers that keep you from trust and ease and what you’re afraid it will mean if you stop scrambling, and allow yourself to fall back in love with what you do.