Welcome to The Business Bites Podcast, the podcast for busy entrepreneurs. Whether you’re an online entrepreneur or seeking after brick and mortar success, this podcast brings you quick bites of content so you can learn and grow anywhere you are. Now, here’s your host, Rachel Brenke.
Hey, guys. Today’s topic’s a little bit different than what I normally talk about on business stuff, but it is intertwined because it includes you. I hear so many small business owners tell me that they feel lost, that they started out business for themselves, that they were passionate, excited, they were motivated, but along the way they kind of feel like they’ve lost themselves in it. I don’t mean they’ve lost on who they wanted to reach out to, who their client avatar was. They haven’t lost business because of acts of A, B, and C that they’ve done. I’m talking about they intrinsically feel like they are lost in this sea of entrepreneurship, of trying to manage a family and a business, of trying to be this public persona and a private persona at the same time.
As someone who has multiple businesses, with one of them I have a very prominent persona in an industry, and I completely can understand how it feels to feel like you are this Coke bottle in the sea that’s being thrown around, and feel completely alone, and I wanted to throw out some encouragement today and give you guys some tips of how I kind of recenter myself when I am feeling lonely or thrown around, or completely overwhelmed with business, because I think the most important thing that we forget, and not to exclude you guys that are listening, but for women who are moms particularly, or if you’re career women, you may have kids or may not, and you’re trying to balance family or a partner, you just feel like there’s so much pressure on you to do so much. It’s societal pressures, it’s internal pressures, and I think we forget oftentimes that we can’t pour out into others if we have an empty cup. You guys have heard that saying. I didn’t coin it. I didn’t come up with it. It’s something that’s so general, all the time said. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and it’s true.
That phrase is what I have to tell myself all the time. I have to remind myself, “I can’t pour from an empty cup.” On the flip side, I also don’t want to be too selfish, right? I want to give you guys permission to be selfish sometimes, so just enough to make sure that that cup gets full, so you are able to pour out into others. Because with my business, my goal is not just to cater to my clients or my customers. It’s not just to put food on the table. It’s to make an impact on many levels. It’s to make an impact on my children, especially my daughters, so they can see that they can be independent and succeed on their own. It’s to make an impact on my clients so that they are touched, and encouraged, and motivated to go out and fulfill their own entrepreneurship, but I can’t fill anybody else if I’m completely empty.
There is four major things that I really want you guys to focus on in order for you to be able to pour from a filled cup, okay? The first one is to make personal goals, and to actually fulfill them. This is where I kind of have to personally tell you that I have had a goal for a couple of years to learn how to play the violin. I actually grew up playing the piano. That has just long fallen to the wayside, and I was like, “Well, I want to try violin.” I’ve been saying this for three years, and I haven’t fulfilled it. It doesn’t mean my cup’s empty. I just have put other things in place of it.
For instance, I competed this past year with Team USA, and I intend to do so in the future for multi-sport and triathlon, and that’s something that I made a personal goal for myself. It also provides me a health goal as well, make myself healthier, active, set an example for my kids, but it’s a personal goal that I’m fulfilling to fulfill myself. I get a sense of accomplishment for something of only myself. Business started out that way for me, but it quickly became that business was also for others, because my family becomes dependent on the money, my clients then become dependent on me, and I need something that nobody else was dependent on me for, just myself. I made a personal goal and I fulfilled it.
In order to do that, I need to go to point number two, which I encourage you guys to do, outsource what you can. Please do not pause. Please do not blank out. Everyone talks about outsourcing, but I really want you to sit back and think about things that you absolutely hate doing. For me, I hate cleaning and taxes, so for me, when I want to make sure that I can pour from a full cup, when I want to make sure that I want to have time for my personal goals, have time for my business, make myself have less stress, these are the two things that you have to rip from my cold dead hands before I would ever give up. Having to have someone to help me clean, and also someone to do my taxes, okay?
For me, I also did the numbers. Obviously, because I’m a business consultant, I run the numbers, I look at the plan, and it made more sense for me to pay someone a couple hundred dollars a day that spends 10 hours cleaning, and the laundry and all that good stuff, as opposed to what I could make in my business, right? I can make in a couple hours, or within an hour what I’m paying someone else to clean or do these services for me. It’s a cost-benefit analysis. I may be outlaying cash, but what is it bringing back to me? It’s giving me back time. It’s giving me back water in my cup, and it’s also giving me a tax deduction, as some of the cleaning is my office, and the taxes are with a CPA for the business, so I don’t have to worry about it, and I get a deduction out of it.
The third thing is sticking to your business plan. Stick to your business plan. As entrepreneurs, it’s really easy for us to be impulsive and excited, and I’m not saying you can’t deviate sometimes, but oftentimes if you start deviating all the time from your business plan, you start infringing upon other things. You start taking money away from the task that you want to outsource, you start taking time away from you being able to invest in your personal goals, and it also can trickle down into your family. Stick to the business plan that you’ve created. Also, if you guys listen to other episodes, I’ve talked about having specific administrative days. I work in batches. That is all part of my plan. If I don’t stick to that, everything becomes haywire. I definitely lose myself. I’m being tossed around like I’m a ship on the sea, and that’s just absolutely no fun, so stick to the business plan.
If you don’t have a business plan, I highly recommend that you guys get one. This would be the roadmap that is taking you from point A to point Z, and then all the other detours that you may take along the way. It also helps for me to stay within my budgetary constraints, my time constraints, so that way I’m able to focus specifically on what I want to do for the business to leave time for everything else in my business and life.
The last tip for this, which just, if you guys … I’m gonna have to send you to another episode, because it’s way too much to throw into one of our quick bite episodes, but if you go to episode one, RachelBrenke.com/EPI1, it’s called Filling the Rocks First, and the entire premise of it is I have a vase. Beautiful, whatever color you want, clear. It can be big, it can be small. Whatever your vase is, that is your calendar. That is the time, your life. That’s the time that you have. I want you to take these rocks, those are the personal goals we just talked about. Maybe it’s things that you want to do with your family, for yourself, for your business. Maybe you have hobbies. Put all of these big rocks into the vase first, and then all the other tasks, everything that you need to do for your business and life is the sand that you’re gonna pour in. Put the rocks in first, because if you try to pour the sand in first and then put in the rocks, it’s hard to fit the rocks in. The rocks end up coming last, and some rocks become very unhappy, okay?
I get a lot more eloquent in episode number one, so head over there to make sure you listen to that, but I really encourage you guys, I’m giving you permission, please find something for yourself, please get rid of the things that you don’t like. Incrementally, within your business plan and your budget plan, you may not be able to just off hire someone right now, but make a plan to do so. For example, in order for me to fill the rocks and have personal goals, in order to get to that outsourcing, I, especially when I first started my business, I didn’t have a lot of money in order to invest, but I knew it was really important, so I started adding that amount of money for a cleaning person into the costs of doing business, or I included it into my income line. Whatever the task is. If it’s taxes, it’s gonna fall under the business budget. If it’s personal stuff, it’s gonna fall into the income that you need to come in, right? Whatever that is, start adding that in as a hard set number, and don’t negotiate on that.
See if there’s things in your life that you could also get rid of, in the inverse. If you’re not able to increase your prices for your product or your service, maybe there’s other ways that you can decrease costs. Contact your insurance company to see if they can do a reevaluation on your policy. Maybe they can give you a better rate now. Go out and get rid of the subscriptions that you’re not using. Many of you guys are sitting on subscriptions that just come out monthly, and you probably haven’t logged in in how many months, right? If you add that up, that’s probably enough to be able to get someone to help you out with your taxes or that laundry.
Just a little tidbit. You can not pour from an empty cup. Make your personal goals, outsource what you can that you don’t like.
Please stick to your business plan, and ensure that you’re always filling the rocks first, so that way you guys can keep you, keep you grounded, focus on you, because at the end of the day, none of this is for anything if you just end up being happy … Unhappy, I’m sorry. Completely unhappy, completely stressed out. You’ll end up taking it out on your business. You’ll end up taking it out on your family, and all of this is absolutely for nothing.
Thanks for joining Rachel on this episode of The Business Bites. For show notes, a list of recommended tools, or referenced episodes, you can find them at BusinessBitesPodcast.com. Until next time-
Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.