Despite the pandemic, the UK has seen a huge rise in new businesses. In fact, the UK outpaced the global average by 8% for new business start-ups in 2020 and 2021.
Data from HMRC also shows that in March 2021, more businesses were created than in any other month since records began in 1989.
For many, the need to diversify skills, a forced change in employment, or the pandemic presenting an opportunity for a fresh start, would have determined a change in career path. But, for these record number of new businesses, business owners and freelancers have only known pandemic conditions, which are far from ‘normal’.
If you are one of these new business owners, how are you finding the adjustment now that covid restrictions have lifted? Has work and life become busier?
Whenever we speak with business owners, one of the biggest challenges they face is time management. Whilst running your own business offers huge flexibility in how you manage your time, it can be incredibly hard to “switch off”, and as lockdown conditions have presented very few opportunities to take time out, many may have fallen into the habit of not taking time for themselves. But, as a business owner, it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do.
Working all hours of the day may be good for profits, but it won’t be good for you, your health, your relationships, but also, in the long term, your business.
Without taking time to recover, rest and enjoy time off, you aren’t giving yourself a chance to consider new opportunities, widen ideas, and refresh your energy levels.
Taking time away from the business can allow you to return with new ideas, revitalised energy, and a more enthusiastic approach to business.
As a business owner, this may seem like an impossible feat, how can you possibly get a break? Well, first things first, the world won’t fall apart. If you give your clients and customers plenty of notice of your absence you can manage your time, and their expectations accordingly.
You will need to manage your finances to ensure your income is split across months, rather than relying solely on each month’s income, but this is good practice regardless of whether you are planning any time off, or to help if seasonality creates quieter periods.
If your business needs someone responsive, why not consider a virtual PA for your absence, it could also open the door for future growth if you can free up some of your valuable time to focus on your business going forward.
Running your own business is incredibly rewarding, but taking a holiday is often seen as a rarity. 75% of business owners work every day whilst they are on holiday, and only 40% regularly take breaks. The view that “if you’re not working, you’re not earning” is an outdated one, and if your business model needs adjusting, it’s worth considering the options to ensure that you can earn and look after your health and future of your business simultaneously.
We are a nation of workaholics, particularly thanks to smart phones and emails, even if you “take work with you” on the phone, make sure you set aside daily time to step away from the pressure and the screen.
If you are worried about how to approach a holiday as a business owner, consider the following:
- Plan around quieter periods: If your clients and customers are more seasonal, take this into consideration.
- Set holiday boundaries: If you manage to take the time, make sure you enjoy it. Why bother working hard to get away if you continue to work on holiday? Keep the emails to a minimum.
- Delegate: If you don’t have a team around you, consider reaching out to other freelancers or PAs to either delegate specific projects, or as an ongoing support for admin tasks.
- Manage expectations: Give your customers notice, let them know what to do in an emergency, and consider what they might need in your absence. They’re people too, and if they value your support, they’ll respect your need for some downtime.
To run a healthy business, you yourself must be healthy. If you’re worn out, your business will suffer. Take time for yourself, as your business, family, and health will thank you.