Today I have a heavy question for you. A question for those who have decided to strike out on their own and start their own business; AKA, embarking on the journey of a lifetime. After months or years of hustling, are you still enjoying the journey?
Starting your online career generally comes with an initial feeling of euphoria. Pop some bubbly and tell everyone! Thank you for my receipt ma’am, I will file it away for tax purposes because I’m an eNtRePrEnEuR.
Finally, this is the time you take control of your life. From now on, you decide what your days will look like, what to work on and where you’ll do it from. One way ticket, please.
After some time though, reality sets in…
Intro To Enjoying The Journey
You realize that meeting your business goals takes time and that making your millions may very well take a very, very long time. Having these euphoric dreams is important: they gave you your start! You needed them.
But you need more fuel in your tank than just raw enthusiasm because that too shall pass.
Building a business is probably more exhaustive than you expected. After a few months of hustling, the discovery that you’re actually working harder than ever before can be a tough one to swallow.
As a solution, it can be tempting to focus on your long-term goals. You’ll tell yourself to just hang in there because at the end of the journey awaits whatever payoffs you’re working towards.
Focusing solely on long-term goals as an entrepreneur is a mistake, and a costly one at that. Enjoying the journey is an essential to-do of making your business succeed.
Running your business should not become something that you have to endure.
Today, let’s talk about why enjoying the journey is actually much more important than you might think, plus cover 4 actionable tips to help you appreciate where you are now.
Why Enjoying The Journey Matters
In general, the decision to chase the dream of an online business probably has less to do with money than people on the outside might think. Rather, it is about some combination of what is known as the triangle of freedom: creative freedom, location freedom and financial freedom.
How strange is it then that people are rarely content with, or relish in, their newfound freedoms? Too often, they tend to ignore them and exclusively focus on some long-term goal of making more money.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with the dream of earning more money. After all, bills need to be paid, you were built to prosper and not merely survive, etc. Making enough money is an important part of the dream of running your online business. After all, the triangle of freedoms does include financial freedom, doesn’t it?
But the important word here is enough: making enough money.
There are many examples of people who have found amazing success online. It is certainly possible to find true abundance through your online biz. However, it does not mean that your life is unsuccessful until you find it.
Focussing on money too much may very well lead you to become discouraged. I mean, your business probably needs time to grow and serious money might come slowly. Despite bringing you the initial freedom you wanted, your business might not seem successful enough in your eyes because of this.
Furthermore, paying too much attention to the financial side of things can make you blind to the small successes that you have along the way.
I guess what it comes down to is this: finding abundance through your online business is a marathon and being blinded by financial frustrations will make staying motivated very difficult.
Here’s what you should do instead.
4 Tips For Enjoying The Journey Of Building Your Business
1. Actively Look For Ways To Make Use Of Newfound Freedoms
Why did you decide to start your business? Try to think back to what made you choose this path. This is important.
Was it because your career failed to provide fulfillment? Did you want to get out of all those pointless meetings that never seemed to go anywhere? Were you tired of working long hours just to make someone else more money while your paycheck was always the same?
For me, the decision to start an online business was a simple one: it was just a matter of location freedom. My family is back home in the US, but I currently live in the Netherlands and I prefer to travel full-time. A typical 9-5 couldn’t stack up to the demands I have from my one and only life.
Of course the idea of financial independence was mouth-watering, but ultimately I’m in it for the location independence. Yet, I fell into a rut of never leaving my apartment to work and focusing exclusively on the big financial rewards (or really, the lack thereof).
I had achieved my #1 goal, but I discarded it like a cup of day-old coffee and became the same unsatisfied employee that I was at my old job.
Prioritize the rewards of this lifestyle and dec
Don’t fall into the trap of gaining a freedom and then letting it fall into immediate degeneration. Grow wings and then use them.
One simple but helpful thing to do is to take a moment and just reflect on what has changed in your life. Are you now in control of your work hours? Have you become the one who decides what to work on?
As a follow-up, try to find a way to use whatever combination of the triangle of freedoms you have found. Do you now set your own working hours? Try to work a little extra today so you can enjoy the first day of spring. Are you working towards location independence? Work from a different location, even if it’s just for a day or two. You’ll be amazed by how it will help you appreciate where you’re at.
2. Enjoying The Journey Means Sharing The Journey
Working on your business is intense and doing it alone further intensifies the experience, but in all the wrong ways.
In fact, without people to work with, staying on top of your workload might be a lot harder than it needs to be.
You may have to run your online business by yourself but luckily, that does mean that you have to work alone. In this day and age, there are many ways of connecting with fellow budding entrepreneurs online. You might not be able to work with actual people in the same room but the Internet offers ample opportunities for virtual coworking. Many online communities, for example, Location Indie, offer virtual community and co-working sessions. Likewise, it is possible to join many Facebook groups in order to connect with fellow entrepreneurs.
It is *virtually* (sorry, it was right there) impossible to overestimate the benefits of coworking. For me personally, one of the biggest benefits is finding someone to hold you accountable for the way you spend your time.
Working with other people will help you increase your productivity, learn from each other and find community. This builds your entrepreneurial mindset and makes you more resilient.
The journey to a successful business is tough but most definitely worth it. Keep in mind, enjoying the journey becomes easier when you can share some of the burdens with fellow entrepreneurs.
3. Actively Work On Work-Life Balance
I know, I know: work-life balance is almost like nails on a chalkboard in reference to building a new business.
We all know that there’s a hustle period and a steep buy-in for all the gains, but you might not survive to see the gains if you don’t maintain balance.
Sadly, if you’re not careful you might let the experience overwhelm you and completely dominate your life. Don’t overwork your dreams until they have no energy left and succumb to their injuries of depletion.
For me personally, this was extremely difficult in the beginning (by which I mean the first 2 years). I had to combine my side hustle (this blog) with nannying part-time to pay the bills, and I was always trying to stuff every nook and cranny of the day with business tasks. It was hardly ever productive, and contaminated time when I could’ve recharged.
Work-life balance as an entrepreneur is achievable. Don’t believe the hustle culture you see online that’s trying to convince you otherwise.
It ultimately made me far less productive, destroyed any chance of enjoying the journey and it took me years to learn.
Your productivity, emotional well-being, health and overall resilience depend on you being able to find balance.
Putting work away in the evening can be difficult. First of all, you have to accept the fact that you give up hours of work. No more responding to messages, typing up that quick email, etc.
Moreover, you have to arrive at a point where you feel comfortable with putting it away. This is where the next point comes in.
4. Enjoy the journey by setting smart goals
Let’s set something straight here: growing a business from nothing is a lot of hard work. Pretending that you can just change everything with a flick of the wrist would be silly. Even with these tips, succeeding in business while enjoying the journey will still take work on your part.
Running your business comes with an endless list of things that all need your attention. Sadly, with you at the helm, it falls to you and you alone to deal with them. With all the tasks that need doing, the course that you have plotted can feel overwhelming at times.
Luckily, there are easy ways to tackle this feeling. Perhaps the easiest is setting daily goals, making it all a bit more manageable.
Start by formulating your long-term goals and breaking them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and ultimately daily goals. This will take some time, so you might want to tackle this over a coffee or a beer, depending on what time of day it is.
Ideally, you should end up with a list of daily chunks of work.
Doing this before you actually start working allows you to get a bird’s-eye view of all the stuff that needs done. This way you know why you’re working on a particular part of your business and exactly how it contributes to the big picture.
The most important thing to do is to decide how much work you need to do on any given day.
There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, but ambition without execution is *meaningless.* Make an actually achievable plan and follow through.
That may feel hard to swallow, but we’re friends here, so I’m giving you a little tough love.
Make sure that you really define what work will look like when it’s done. As long as you have the big picture, you know that as longs as you reach your daily goals, you will also reach your long-term goals.
I know it sounds like stating the obvious but trust me, the results will be huge. By doing this you actually create a moment at the end of the day when work will just be done. Just imagine being able to go to bed and look back on a day well spent!
Enjoying The Journey Of Entrepreneurship Final thoughts
Are you still enjoying your journey? You certainly won’t enjoy every moment, but if you’re not enjoying any of it, you need to have an honest check-in with yourself.
I hope you can learn from some of my painful mistakes and use these tips to make the most of your days while building your online business.
Do you have anything you’d add to this list from your own experience? I’d love to hear in the comments!