Once you get your contracting business off the ground, it’s tempting to let it take over your life. And yet, this is one of the worst mistakes people can make. While you need to respond to potential clients promptly and do as much work as you reasonably can, you also need break times to relax and refresh. If you don’t, you might find yourself without the ability to focus and get the job done. Here are five ways you can make sure that your business doesn’t run your life.
Set Normal Business Hours
One of the biggest benefits of running your own business is that you get to set your normal business hours. Although you may need to tailor it somewhat to work with clients and the nature of the job site, you probably have more flexibility than you think. What you need to do is choose your business hours and then do your best to stick to them. This means that if you would rather work four days a week for a longer period and then take three days off, it may be well within the scope of possibility for your workload. Having a defined period of time where you’re working makes it easier to define the line where you’re not.
Create Boundaries Between Business and Personal
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they start a business is to think that they have to be on all the time. While many prospective and current clients expect a prompt reply to their queries, that doesn’t mean you’re on the hook to get right back to them every single time. You need to create boundaries between your work life and your personal life. This is particularly true if you do a lot of your administrative tasks at home. Keep business communications within business hours outside of absolute emergencies. And do your best not to bring your work home with you.
Prioritize Business Administration Tasks
Running a small business involves meeting the needs of several positions, sometimes all of them every day. While it’s tempting to push off:
Returning phone calls
until the end of the day, this can often make your day stretch into eternity. These factors are the things that keep your business running week to week and month to month. Get them done at the beginning of the day, so that they don’t create hours of work for you when you need to rest.
Delegate When Possible
The fact is that running a business, particularly a contracting business, is more work than one person can reasonably do. You may not be able to hire employees who can help you at the start. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t delegate. Figure out which tasks can be easily managed by someone else, or even automated by an app or service. You can apply this to your personal life, as well. For example, if you’re so busy at work that you don’t have time to clean at home, hiring a periodic service can give you more time to relax.
Ensure Time for Breaks
Just like you must have set working hours that your clients and colleagues can follow, you need to build in guaranteed times for breaks. At first, the best you may be able to achieve is a few hours of downtime and enough sleep each night. As you get a little more experience, it may be worth planning out short vacations or holiday time where you don’t schedule work. Even taking a few days off once or twice a year can refresh your mindset and make it easier to handle a heavier workload.
Finding the right work-life balance is the way that many contractors manage to build a successful business over decades. The first step is to get ready for the exam. To learn more about our opportunities for contractor exam preparation, visit CSLS today!