5 Habits To Avoid To Keep Your Sanity As An Entrepreneur
Mindset is everything when it comes to running a successful freelance or small business. You have to wear many different hats to keep everything moving forward: you dabble in content marketing, social media, copywriting, a bit of design, and a whole host of other tasks.
It won’t take being in business too long to realize that if you don’t keep your head clear and stay grounded, it’s easy to get bogged down on the little things - bad habits that are a waste of your time, and that will try to fill you with self-doubt. I’ll be the first to admit that I was a serious perpetrator of the habits we’re about to get into in this article. And to keep my journey as transparent as possible, I still slip up from time to time.
However, I know for a fact that if I didn’t make a conscious effort to STOP falling for these bad habits, I wouldn’t have been able to make nearly the amount of progress that I’ve made so far.
Being an entrepreneur also means paying close attention to your mental health. Check out these 5 habits to avoid to keep your sanity
Pay too much attention to what others are doing
We all know what FOMO is right? If you don’t, it's called the fear of missing out; and at the early stages of my business, this fear was intense. I was envious of all of the progress that other people were making. I wanted to have all of the clients, go to all of the events, and make a ton of money. I wanted the high follower counts, the acclaim, all of that.
I was paying way too much attention to what other people were doing. That was not only stunting my own growth, but it forced me to try to fit into someone else's box. You can really do yourself a disservice if you try to judge your growth against someone else’s. As my own business started to grow, I got to know the other designers and entrepreneurs that I idolized. I started to learn more about their journeys and how they got to where they are. And I realized how rude it was to automatically assume that they were overnight successes. What I was doing was minimizing all the hard work and tears that went into building their business.
You can’t have the exact same success as someone else. You have to learn what success means to you and how to get it on your own. By getting those successes on your own, you learn to appreciate them more. You appreciate the moments that you wanted to give up, but you didn’t. We all go through periods of struggle. I keep my sanity by keeping my head down and using the success of my favorite designers to motivate and inspire myself even more.
Skip My Self Care Routine
I don’t skip my self-care routine for anyone. It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I didn’t take care of myself, there was no way that I was going to give my best to my family, friends, and my clients. If the captain of the ship isn’t ready to lead, the ship will sink. Taking care of and investing back into your mental health will always keep you grounded and will help keep overwhelm at bay. Be selfish when it comes to taking care of yourself.
I can’t begin to tell you the benefits that come with a self-care routine. The best thing about it is that how you create these routines and how you carry them out are all up to you. Whether you sprinkle little acts of self-care throughout your day, do most of them in the morning or right before bed, or if you’re like me, you take the full day on Sunday to take care of yourself. What your self-care routine looks like depends on what you prefer, but for me, it’s always centered around unplugging.
I unplug from the internet and social media, I put my phone in another room along with my computer. I grab some wine, put on a movie, and I relax. I take this time to clear my mind and make sure I’m clear on what the next steps are that I need to do. I re-center myself and try my best to regain focus.
I’ve gone through times where I skipped my self-care routine, and I’ve found that not only are my days spent focusing on the wrong things but my emotions and thoughts are so scattered that I can’t get anything done.
Taking care of and investing back into your mental health will always keep you grounded and will help keep overwhelm at bay. Be selfish when it comes to taking care of yourself.
Counting other people’s pockets & basing my prices off of others
Sometimes it seems like everyone is launching a new product, course, offering, etc. and it can be hard to not constantly think about money (especially if you're in a slow stage of your business). One thing that I refuse to do is to count other people’s pockets. If you’re not familiar with what that means, counting other people’s pockets means paying attention to how much money you “think” other people are making.
I first started this nasty habit by reading other entrepreneurs’ income reports. I was struggling with my own money blocks, so reading about how much money others were making in their business was not what I should have been spending my time and energy on. I wasn’t understanding the real point of those income reports: to show the earning potential that comes with running your own business and how much all of this really costs. Counting other people’s pockets/income circles back to the first point in this article: paying too much attention to what other people are doing.
By paying attention to what other people are launching and doing to make money in their business, may also cause you to want copy what they’re doing. I keep my sanity as an entrepreneur by keeping my relationship with money as healthy as possible. Freeing yourself from the blocks that you put on yourself about money will not only help you to grow but will also open you up to other types of opportunities.
So don’t second guess yourself with your pricing and don’t worry about how other people in your industry are pricing their services. What you need to survive and the value you know in your heart that your services/products/whatever brings to your clients/customers are the only figures that matter.
Freeing yourself from the blocks that you put on yourself about money will not only help you to grow but will also open you up to other types of opportunities.
Wallow too long in my mistakes or “failures”
Entrepreneurship has allowed me to rethink my relationship with words and how I let them label or define me.
First up, the word failure.
I don’t use the word failure anymore. If you can believe it, I used to call myself a failure (terrible I know). The word failure always seemed so final. I felt like coming back from something I deemed a “complete failure” wasn’t an option. Calling something a failure would stop me from trying again or moving forward with something else. The word lingered over my head and put a cloud over anything I did afterward. It took a lot of unlearning and self-care to realize that I can always come back from a mistake and that mistakes are only final if you wallow in them for too long.
This unlearning was hard, and it’s something that I purposely work on every day to keep myself away from.
For the second word that I’ve changed my relationship with: Mistakes.
I used to get so wrapped up in my mistakes that I would let them stop me from making any sort of move. And I would let it shut me down completely. If you're a recovering perfectionist like me, wallowing in your mistakes can happen pretty frequently. You can’t understand why you would make THAT mistake or how you couldn’t catch it before it got to that point. You can’t prepare for everything. Mistakes are going to happen, and they make you unique. Ask yourself, who would honestly want to learn from someone that did the right thing all of the time?
You're going to make mistakes. There are people that have been in your industry years longer than you have, and continue to make mistakes every day. Take mistakes as a new opportunity to learn. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. See where you made the mistake and what lead up to it. See if there was a hole in your system(s), onboarding, communication or whatever.
Hey, it could honestly just be a good ole human mistake that has no real reason behind it. Let mistakes roll off your back and keep going. Wallow too long in what you did wrong and you won’t have time to enjoy the things you do right.
Once I realized that the sun wasn’t going to fall out of the sky and that the consequences of that mistake weren’t going to be catastrophic, I was able to brush them off easier.
Let fear stop me from hitting publish or send
Fear has stopped me from doing so many things, that I’m a little embarrassed to even name some of them. I let the fear of not being good enough, smart enough, motivated enough, or even in shape enough stop me from doing things that I really wanted to do or stop me from starting projects earlier than I should have.
Fear does this thing where it finds a way to feed into your thoughts. It will bring up your past mistakes or shortcomings and use that against you to stop you from moving forward. I like to think that giving into your fear is like stepping into quicksand. Once you get in, you have to find a way to pull yourself out, or you’ll sink and sink and sink.
Fears is there to stop you from taking risks. Entrepreneurship is all about calculated risks and the needle will not move without them. I keep my fears in check by breaking them down as logically as I can. Because that’s the thing; most fears are illogical. I start by asking myself: what am I really afraid of here?
For example, say you have a fear of raising your prices. Then ask yourself: Why am I afraid? Is it because I’m worried people won’t inquire? Or that I’m priced too high? If so, take it a step further: can you add something to your products to increase the value? Have you raised your prices before and everything worked out fine?
Take your time and pick through your fears and get to the real root of why you’re feeling this way. Once you get to the bottom of what's causing those fears and debunk those feelings, make sure to remind yourself whenever that fear rears its ugly head that it has no place in your space. You don’t have any time for fear that don’t make sense.
Keep your sanity and keep your fears in check. When it comes to running your own business or freelancing, you have to pay attention to your mental state and take care of yourself. If you neglect taking care of yourself or focus too much on what others in your industry are doing, you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice.
Keep your fear in check, never skip your self-care routines, create and produce with blinders on, and remember mistakes make you unique.
written by ashleigh keith
Ashleigh is a Houston, TX based web designer who helps entrepreneurs, small business owners and online sellers create websites that connects them with their communities in the best way possible. Visit her website.