Building an online business from the ground up can be all consuming.
It’s the sort of thankless task that takes you back to the 90s when you spent 9 straight hours trying to complete a level on Hero’s Quest. You had to insert a new floppy disk every 10 minutes and while you waited for the next screen to load you could make some toast and finish your homework. Then your brother wanted a turn.
But times have changed. Back then no one cared what you were doing so long as it wasn’t drugs or rock music.
But now you’re in an adult relationship. Maybe many different good relationships. And you want them to be healthy relationships. Maybe you have children or dachshunds: your time is in demand. Not only does your new business still require those same long hours at the computer, but your loved ones need you too. So how do you keep good relationships functioning while you’re trying to build an online business?
The reality is that online businesses don’t make money the day after you come up with the product. It takes time. A lot of time. Sometimes years and sometimes never. And while you may be filled with excitement and optimism, not everyone around you will have that sort of faith. It doesn’t matter how good your relationships are, it’s not easy for others to see your vision.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. You just need a system. If you’re in any sort of healthy relationship and about to embark upon the new journey of building an online business, then these tips will help.
So how do you maintain healthy relationships and an online business simultaneously? Firstly, have a plan. And the plan needs to be agreed to by everyone it will affect. That means if your partner wants you to continue eating dinner at the table each night, then try to make it happen. If you watch the Gilmore Girls with your housemate, then you need to stay connected. Healthy relationships must be nurtured.
There are 24 hours in a day. 6-8 hours are usually required for sleeping. If you don’t need that much sleep then that’s time you can fill with productivity. But don’t burn out. Get your sleep. You’ll need it.
If you are working full time then another 8-10 hours a day will be lost to working and commuting. If you have a family, another 3 or 4 hours will be dedicated to those relationships, depending on your individual circumstances. If you work part time you will have many more hours to draw upon.
Most people who have 9 to 5 jobs will find that they can scramble together a couple hours every day to work on their online business. This isn’t necessarily in one convenient clump, but if you map out your day in advance, including the time you dedicate to keeping your relationships healthy, you will find some time.
So take a look at how you’re spending your day. An hour on YouTube watching cats play piano? Unless your online business is selling cat shaped pianos, then that is potentially a waste of your time. Are you a Facebook ranter? Do you spend 30 minutes crafting the perfect argument for why babies shouldn’t be allowed to carry guns? Did Stacy from Nowheresville call you a left-handed freedom hater? Are you never getting that half an hour back? (This tip is more for myself than anything else).
How long do you take to get dressed in the morning? Plan your clothes in advance. That’s time you could add to your sleep in or eating breakfast with your family, and time you could add to building your online business in the evening. Good relationships are about give and take so any time you take away from your loved ones you need to find a way to give back.
Meal plan. Don’t lose 2 hours over a stove trying to blanch the potatoes and sauté the mushrooms when your toddler is going to throw it at the wall. Get some basic healthy meals planned in advance and adopt an, ‘eat it or starve’ attitude. For yourself and everyone else. Your baby’s idea of a working healthy relationship is cuddles and endless edible mush so go easy on yourself if you have young kids.
Don’t get sucked into 4 hours of X-Box with your friends if 1 hour is all you have. If you already have good relationships with your friends, then they will understand you need to reduce your time commitment, provided you don’t completely bail on them.
It’s important to make time for fun and relaxing. But if today’s a day for growing your online business, it’s time to streamline.
Be present. When you’re working, you’re working. When you’re not working, you’re with your family and friends.
If you’re in any sort of good relationship with someone, they will be able to tell if you’re thinking about something else. Staring off into space mentally redesigning your website when you’re playing Pictionary at a dinner party is wasted time. It means you aren’t giving 100% to either. Focus on the game, enjoy yourself and have a laugh.
If an idea comes to you or something is brought to your attention grab a pen and get it down. Don’t ignore good advice or great opportunities just because it’s shown up during recreational time. But make sure you just take that moment to record the new information and get back to what you were doing.
The ability to be present in the moment is what will ensure your relationships to your family and friends stay strong and healthy. Good relationships need to be maintained with obvious effort. It will also make your loved ones more accepting and supportive of the time you need to spend working.
Then when it’s time, get to work. Sometimes you’re going to be at it all night long and sometimes you’re going to fall off the time management wagon. But finding your way back to the routine is the key. Good relationships that have stood the test of time will be flexible enough to survive busy periods.
SHARE THE PROGRESS
Keep your loved ones in the loop. Spend a bit of time debriefing and bouncing ideas off them. Not only will it get you out of your own head, it might be a great opportunity to see if they have something to offer. Sometimes just sound boarding can give you clarity. Sharing your continual progress keeps everyone else feeling connected and involved. It also helps to get them excited about your online business.
Be sure to stay vocal about the failures and successes throughout your journey. Don’t try to carry the load alone. The emotional strain of trying to build something from the ground up can sometimes weigh you down. Ignore the inclination to keep it all to yourself. It’s healthier for you and your relationships to stay tuned in.
It might seem that admitting to setbacks is the gateway to giving up, but it absolutely is not. The solutions aren’t always going to be in your own head. Friends and family want to have faith that you are genuinely heading somewhere. To shut them out for fear of losing their support is a dangerous game: especially if this online business venture is costing you a lot of money.
Not all online businesses succeed, and that’s okay. But when you walk out of that back room you want the people waiting for you to know and understand the process you’ve been through, regardless of the outcome.
I think that most people would rather be given bad news than no news.
Remember that no man is an island. You’re building a business and you’re building good healthy relationships.