Level: All creative business owners
Estimated time to read: 30 minutes
Free resource: Free business plan printable
What you gain: An understanding of how stress destroys your creative business + free emergency business plan template
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If your problems are severe or you are uncertain if it is related to stress, you have to see your physician. Do not read this blog post for a medical consultation. I know you know this, but just to be clear before we go on.
Stay focused and reduce stress with my free business plan printable
This post highlights what you need to know about stress and how it impacts your creative business. The goal is to make you aware of the hazards of stress and how to prevent it in your work. Stress is an underlying cause for creative businesses to halt. No stellar SEO, no spot-on sales funnels (and all that jazz) can fix a broken engine. Yes, of course, you need a well-oiled biz too, but you are your key asset.
You need to manage stress in order to have a creative business that will thrive and stand tall in the long run. If you are not convinced, I have gathered common stress-related symptoms that are holding your success back. Not only that, I have created a free business plan printable for you to download in the VIP Lounge.
Use the Emergency Business Plan to throw stress out the window and get back to a healthy workflow when you feel shattered and overwhelmed. If you feel stressed-out the free business plan printable will regain your feeling of control in no-time.
Concentration and focus
When you strain your mind and soul too hard, you soon lose your ability to concentrate and focus. You need to find your balance asap. You really don’t need to do it all at once, take it step by step. Remember the fairytale about the tortoise and the hare? Let it be a lesson.
I made this error when I started out my first online business – my Etsy shop. I just wanted to stuff my shop with lots of products – fast. People were screaming I needed more stuff. More and more stuff, fill those shop pages!!! Create, create, create!!! I did not have a plan, no compass, no clue what I was doing. My Etsy shop took a hard hit. This is not the way to go. No-no! I learned my lesson, now I want to share this experience with you. Slow down, breathe, plan and put a thoughtful plan into action. Step by step build your empire. My shop is recovering, but I needed to rework a lot of things. It was very time-consuming and not good time-management on my part. Lucky me I did not put all eggs in one basket! We have to get back to this in a later blog post as differentiation is super-important for a creative entrepreneur.
Be aware of the way you work
To be able to concentrate and keep your focus you need to be aware of how you work. Are you letting yourself relax and take breaks during the day? Do you allow yourself to take a coffee break and just stare out the window for awhile? Maybe turn on the TV or listen to music? If you’re not letting your brain relax you will start losing your perspective. Staying productive is letting yourself be unproductive. Don’t ever let yourself be the evil boss. Treat yourself as you treat others – with respect and love.
Take short breaks, stretch and do short yoga exercises that help you focus. I do this 5-minute exercise three times a day. It’s good you’re at home! You have the best work-place ever – your home! I know I talked about it in the last post, but here I go again! I often use my white noise machine during these short breaks. You find the white noise machine here! It makes wonders for your focus and mind.
How to fix it:
- Take short breaks during the day – every hour at least
- Do stretches or yoga to get your blood flowing
- Drink a glass of water, coffee or tea outside to get fresh air
- Never be your own evil boss. Never
- Use a white noise machine to relax and focus.
(Video: 6:18 min)
If you are stressed you soon lose your self-esteem. Keeping a good relationship with yourself is key to success. Momtrepreneurs, like you and I, often work alone and under hard time-pressure. If you lose your self-esteem you soon lose your motivation. Your motivation is key to keep going. You will only notice your weaknesses and the things you need to improve your business. Not the magic you have created and how your business and creativity is changing the world around you in a positive way.
I think episodes of low self-esteem is very common to experience and something that you need to pay daily attention to. Reflect on how you feel about your business, situation, and products. Are you feeling low and not motivated? Take a break and find the root of your negative feelings. Is it really you and your capability that is not enough? Maybe it is something else that is causing you to feel this way? Take immediate action to eliminate the root of the problem.
How to fix it:
- Reflect on how you feel about yourself, business and products.
- Take time to recharge and change your mindset. Even if your thoughts race and you feel stressed-out.
- Make a mark in your planner of your daily mood. I use smilies. Follow up on mood-trends.
- Find the root and cause of your feelings. Take action right away!
- Be your own best friend!
I find this video on self-affirmations for entrepreneurs very helpful – the best I found online. I have used it during times of self-doubt. When I was younger I was an ice-skater and used affirmation exercises before competitions. It really workes. Take the time to try it out. You will be amazed how your mindset can shift with training.
(Video: 32:49 min)
Racing thoughts and overwhelming feelings
When you are stressed-out your thoughts soon starts to race and you feel overwhelmed. You get stuck – you reached the dreaded creative block. This is devastating for your creative business. You start taking business decisions that are not according to your business plan. This is a huge no-no for creative businesses as they are relying on a solid branding. Your customers need to know exactly what they are going to get from you, or they are running for the door! Grab my free printable business plan printable and get your focused in less than 5 minutes!
When I first opened my Etsy I was aiming at everybody – and attracted no-one. It took time to repolish and rebranding my entire shop (a time I could have spent on better things…). If you feel overwhelmed – immediately step away from the computer. A turning point for me was when I was working on a project away from home. When I returned I immediately knew what I needed to do to turn my Etsy around.
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How to fix it:
- If you feel your thoughts are racing – step away from the computer and grab my free business plan printable
- Take a break. Let yourself have some time off.
- Remeber to allow yourself to take baby steps. No need to run.
- Talk to a friend and get perspective and honest feedback
Bad decision making
When you’re under pressure you start making bad business decisions. You’re not capable of seeing the big picture, only details. This is devastating for a creative business. It’s easy to destroy a brand when you’re not cohesive. You need to protect your brand as your customer chose you because of it. They want your aesthetics, your values, and your style. Check your business plan to get back on track.
How to fix it:
- Take a beak and evaluate how your brand is evolving – are you in control?
- Look at your costs, what are you spending money on? Are you invest time and money in things that strengthen your brand?
- Remove products or services that are not suited for your target audience (even if it hurts, I know)
Hard time learning new things
It’s very hard learning new skills under pressure. You need to stay adaptive to your market. You should really spend time learning new things, try things out, evaluate new tools and apps. Make time for learning – even if you feel like it is not “productive”. Self-development is crucial for your business. You need to stay on your toes to be ready to change your product line if the market demands it. A good guarantee of success is to stay educated and curious. Make following trends and new products in your niche a must.
How to fix it:
- Do relaxation exercises like yoga or meditation if you feel you can’t afford wasting time on learning
- Mix learning with your production
- Let yourself fail – you learn by doing
- Step away from production and do some market research in company with a cup of coffee
When you are stressed out the mom-guilt strikes. You feel like you are out of control and your kids are taking a toll because of your business activities. You need to scale down, take a breath, and focus on the essential core of your business. Voilá you suddenly have more time for family activities.
Again, read your business plan and let everything that is not included in your core activities rest for a while. It is amazing how easily you get distracted sitting by yourself in front of the computer. You lose perspective and start working on too many tasks at the same time. If you don’t have a business plan, grab my free business plan printable. When you sit down and write everything down on paper things will get clear, I promise!
How to fix it:
- Grab my free business plan printable and start writing
- Cut distractions and stay true to your core business idea
- Make room for family activities by scaling down
- Get yourself a business planner and get things organized
I hope my tips help you get focused and pay more attention to the core of your business. It is easy to get distracted which causes unnecessary stress. My Emergency Business Plan template is all you need to get yourself back on track when your thoughts are racing and you feel out of control. I love to hear all about your strategies and workflow! What do you do when you feel out of control?
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