I recently launched my first entrepreneurial venture, Backpacking the Caribbean. The site is an online cultural travel hub that connects the traveler to an authentic Caribbean experience through travel guides, planning tools, cultural conversations, and locals.
Witnessing your vision come to life can be one of the most rewarding accomplishments you can experience, but as proud as I am of the fruits of my labor, these beginning stages were full of challenging moments and lessons (and I know there will be many more). You’re probably like DUH, it’s hard to start your own business—and it is, but from my experience, it’s even harder to take care of yourself—mind, body, and spirit in the process.
Entrepreneurs are known to work 10 to 15 or more hours a day, about 60 to 70 hours a week and sometimes even more. This makes sense. In the beginning, you probably don’t have the capital (unless you do) to hire other people to handle various parts of your business, such as social media and marketing. You have to do everything yourself.
Prior to the launch of my website, I worked 10-12 hours a day for two months, writing all the content, getting photos, branding, social media, registering the business, and everything else! I like being in charge and making decisions, so I was enjoying it for a few weeks—until I realized that I was becoming excessively tired and unhappy. This wasn’t because of all the work I was doing, per se, but rather because I stopped taking care of myself during the process.
Here are 5 tips to maintain your happy:
Cook and eat healthily: When you use a lot of mental or physical stamina, your body and mind need to be nourished properly. If you’re eating junky, fried foods and drinking soda, you will subsequently feel unmotivated and worn out. But if you’re drinking carrot juice every morning, lemon water, fresh vegetables and fruits throughout the day, you will feel energized, and probably be more creative.
One essential tip: While it’s easy to buy healthy cooked and prepared foods outside, when you cook for yourself your mind will process these actions as self-love, and your spirit will naturally uplift.
Exercise and meditate: If you’re working in front of a computer all day, building something or whatever else you may be doing to start off your business, exercising can release tension. It would be ideal to take off 1 or 2 hours each day to relax your bodily and brain muscles by running outside, practicing yoga, or engaging in another form of exercise. If you have the luxury to work from home, I would suggest buying a stand-up computer desk to avoid sitting all day.
Meditating is a great way to process everything you are going through with your business. While meditation is misconceived as a method to clear and calm the mind, it is actually the opposite—the practice will help you tackle and confront the very things you are struggling with. In the middle of building my website, I took 10 days off and went to a meditation retreat I wrote about here. The Calm App and Deepak Chopra online courses are two other options.
Make a schedule: Every night, I wrote out in my planner what I was going to do the next day, and I put the tasks in order. The next day I knew exactly what I needed to do without having to over think what I was working on the night before.
Organize your files: Whether you are starting an online business or a brick and mortar, it is very important to keep all files organized so you know exactly where you can find them when you need them. Trust me, this eliminates a lot of stress.
Stay tuned for three lessons I learned when dealing with people and business!