The Solopreneur’s Work “Day” – 8 to 5 Doesn’t Work for Everyone…and That’s OK

I belong to a business roundtable group that is a wonderful source of inspiration, knowledge and usually good advice. The members are all small business owners who share many of the same challenges:

  • Growing – and managing growth
  • Finding customers
  • Keeping customers happy
  • Finding time to do EVERYTHING

About a year ago, at one of the first meetings that I attended, the group discussion was focused on that last bullet point: Finding time. I recall nearly everyone in the room sharing that the best way to manage your time spent in a small business is to have set hours – from X o’clock to X o’clock – for when you’ll work in or on your business.

Sounds great, right? You set boundaries – You wake up…go to work…maybe take a lunch break…work some more. And then stop. The work day is over and leisure begins.

I initially thought, “Yeah, that makes sense!” So, I tried it. And I failed miserably at the attempt.

See, part of the reason I became a solopreneur rather than seek another corporate job is that I wanted flexibility; the ability to work when I want to so I could do things that an 8 to 5 position wouldn’t allow me to do. Things like:

  • see my daughter  to the bus stop and pick her up at the end of the school day
  • have a non-rushed lunch with a friend now and then
  • sit in on professional development seminars and webinars at my discretion and availability
  • be a more active volunteer
  • take a nap (though that’s quite a rare indulgence!)
  • not stress over taking vacation to cover school in-service days, snow days, dentist & doctor appointments and stuff like that

So, while the “clock in, clock out” school of thought is great for some entrepreneurs, in practice it doesn’t always work so well for the solopreneur. And it can cause undue stress if you’re the square peg trying to fit in the round hole.

As a solopreneur, you might find yourself  getting up extra early or working until midnight or on weekends to meet your deliverables, but that’s OK. As long as your non-traditional work schedule is giving you opportunities to be engaged in – rather than disconnected from – family, friends and other pursuits beyond your “day” job.

In short, embrace the non-conformity that comes with the solopreneur territory; and don’t let anyone – other than  your own choices and obligations – tell you how you should manage your work day.

Solopreneurs, please comment and share what’s been working for you in your efforts to balance work and play.

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