Roller coaster ride
The ups and downs are unreal.
One minute you think you have cracked it and are imagining your first designer handbag purchase, the next minute you are sat at your desk crying because you are worried you won’t be able to pay the mortgage.
My husband and I both come from families that initiated and ran their own businesses, so in theory we knew the hardships that we were about to face.
However- all those many years ago, when our parents had their own companies, there was no such thing as the internet and social media meant reading the newspaper with friends. They would work hard, think about work often and then get on with their lives.
Social media nightmare
In 2017, we are guilty of being constantly attached to our phones, checking our website, answering emails that make our phone ping just as we sit down to watch a film. Making sure our twitter, Facebook, Instagram feeds are updated and relevant. Tools such as Hootsuite are great at forward planning, but we must be reactive to anything that may be happening NOW, not tomorrow, but today.
I fully accept the blame for some of these bad habits. My adult life has developed with Facebook which became popular just as I started University and it is my method of contacting groups, keeping in touch with chums etc. Restrictions on mobile devices are almost in place in our house, but Jonathan and I both sneakily check on our phones, although this is now more for work than for pleasure.
Why? Why do we do this to ourselves?
But there is no escaping the social media buzz that is continual. Our children have grown up with an entirely different vocabulary from us. Terms like ‘wi-fi’, ‘online shopping’ ‘I-pad’ are common terms within their lexicon, these words had no meaning whatsoever when we were growing up.
So, if we can’t escape it, how do we live with it? This work life balance that people talk about- is it real? At the moment it seems just as real as something out of a J K Rowling novel.
Is this why we have found the business so difficult? This constant pressure to be available 24 hours a day for our customers? To be present on social media at all times? To fight constantly with Google to ensure we remain at position number 1?
We knew the risks, we learnt a lot from our parents and yet we still struggle. Not that we expected this to be easy, but we were unaware of how the business would encroach into our personal lives.
Rectifying this balance is something that I know others in similar situations to us battle with too. My answer for now is relatively simple. Work is work and personal time is just that. I apologise to customers if I cannot reply to your email or social media request straight away. This delay in response does not mean that I don’t care about you, it just means it is 3pm on a Sunday and I am with my kids (probably at the zoo). It means that at 8pm on a Saturday night I am snuggled on the couch, eating a take away (usually a curry)watching a film. It means at 11pm on a Tuesday night I am in bed.
It means that I am trying not to think about the business; to have some free time. Time that I need in order to be the best wife, mother and business owner I can be.
I can deal with the ups and the downs that owning a business brings, providing that somewhere in the week there is a time where the ups and the downs are forgotten about. When they just blur into the background. Call it meditation, relaxation, recreation, call it what you want, just allow me to have it. I will answer all your questions during working hours.
We would love to know, if you are a small business owner, how you cope with all the stress of owning a small business!
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This post was written by The Repairs By Post Team H