Tech equipment, business trips, and okay yeah, a client lunch here and there are all pretty clear cut expenses when it comes to establishing your biz. But when you’re self-employed, there are investments that are just as necessary (in all honesty, more necessary) than those glorious write-off worthy items. Investing in your personal life (money, time, or energy) is tricky without the normal grind. You hustle in your professional life, but six months later you realize your personal life has taken a major dive. Sound familiar? Because we don’t want to slow, it might be helpful to look at these from a business perspective. When you don’t have much of a work/life balance, you sometimes have to force the life part. All you workaholics, know this: these personal investments aren’t just distant dreams, they’re commitments vital to running a good biz too.
Health & Fitness
If you don’t make sure exercise is a part of your regular routine as a business owner, you’re missing out. Besides the super obvious—exercise is healthy blah blah—it’s just as important for a business owner as those traditionally employed to invest in health. Modern corporate employers often provide access to gyms or classes or membership discounts as perks. They’re also legally required to give you a little thing called a lunch break, which at the very least peels you away from the desk. How easy is it to skip all this now that you’re in control? Way. But investing in exercise and regular, healthy meals (what kind of operation are you running, anyway?) helps release tension, reduce stress, amp up your energy, and can even contribute to your creativity. Don’t skimp!
Anyone who’s been overworked knows that relationships suffer just as much as physical health. It’s difficult when you have to think of money or clients first and foremost—I mean, you can’t do much without that paycheck. But both Crista and I know that we cannot compromise on things like personal relationships. When our relationships suffer, the work we produce tends to suck. Forcing yourself to unplug and emotionally invest in your friends, partner, family (and just any personal interaction… Working from home so often gets quiet!) is guaranteed to make you happier than working away with no connection to the outside world (oh, it’s 12am already? I guess I should probably go to bed…). When you’re not worried about your suffering personal relationships, you’re much more productive and effective at dealing with work and people you work with. Plus, being around people is another thing that can boost creativity and lead to more and more ideas.
Every. Single. Business. will benefit from the cultivation of creativity, no matter what industry. (Yes, that statement required bold.) So don’t click out just because you’re not selling artwork or acting or writing. Do I need to recite the creative ways in which creativity benefits us in the workplace? Problem solving. Generation of ideas. Sharp thinking. Focus. The creative process just lends itself to better work. It’s also another thing that leads to more happiness and fulfillment—kind of necessary. People think it’s easy to do what you love—you’ll be automatically satisfied, right? It’s not that simple and anyone who’s gone out on their own knows it. By keeping up with creative passions and pursuits, you’ll find that you enjoy work a lot more. Take a creative class (I’m working my way through Skillshare) in something loosely, or even not, related to work. Sign up for a craft workshop. Head to a creative conference. Some creative endeavors have clear connections to our work, others are more indirect. But when you own your own business, these paths are bound to cross. Instead of trying to pick a side, straddle the line for a bit and see how it improves both your personal and professional life.
Now, about that gym sesh…