As the engine of your enterprise, you need to thrive and flourish in order to serve others.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics puts the number of solo and micro businesses operating locally at around 1.6 million, making up over 70% of the total small business sector. Micro business (usually defined as having between one and four employees) is big business!
The sector contributes significantly not only to Australia’s economy, but also to its social fabric. Every solopreneur, consultant, independent professional and artisan sits within a network of other small businesses. We support, collaborate and rely on each other for inputs, inspiration, referrals, distribution, mentoring, kindness and care.
In Ballarat the role of microbusiness in our community is recognised by StartUp Ballarat, which provides meetups, masterclasses and coworking days to introduce entrepreneurs to like-minded people, make business connections and assist with skill and knowledge development - vital support to help us to thrive and grow.
It’s not just about the business though. Your enterprise cannot flourish unless you, as its engine, are also happy, healthy, inspired, creative and well.
The good news is that there are simple things that you can do to ensure that you are functioning at your peak in order to drive your business and play your role in our thriving local community.
1. Stay connected. Many of our microbusinesses start from home where isolation can be a challenge. Social connection is vital for human health and happiness. Even the most introverted of us require contact with others in order to thrive. Beyond networking and business support, contact with others through coworking spaces and regular meetups gives us a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. It helps us maintain perspective when we face challenge and obstacles, to remind us that we are not alone, to access others in order to solve problems and to sometimes chat about topics that are unrelated to our work!
2. Move to thrive. Your business may keep you on your toes but many of us sit for a living. The technology that has triggered new ways of trading, from ecommerce to the sharing economy, has left many of us solo, seated and screen-bound. This sedentary lifestyle affects not just our physical wellbeing. Regular movement is key to our emotional health and your business success. A recent study from Stanford University has found that walking triggers creativity, problem solving new ideas. A daily walk is a great strategy but even moving about from your desk to another room to make a phone call or to a comfortable lounge area for some ‘thinking’ work helps your brain to transition from task to task, boosts your productivity and enhances your happiness. Views of the outdoors, natural light and exposure to plants and greenery (known as biophilia) also helps. Consider this: Is your work environment helping you to thrive?
3. Separating Work and Life. Passion fuels the self-employed and being fully engaged and immersed in your work and your tasks is great for your wellbeing. It provides focus, energy, a sense of purpose and extraordinary satisfaction. But passion can also lead to preoccupation. While long hours and a brain that is constantly ‘on’ may fuel short term success, longer term it’s a recipe for burnout. To thrive and flourish as an individual and sustain your business over the longer term, it’s important to find ways to separate your work-life from its other important facets - family and relationships, relaxation and hobbies, exercise, entertainment and the outdoors. Strategies for finding balance include setting and sticking to clear boundaries around working days and hours, keeping work physically separate from the rest of your life (a designated home office, workplace or use of a coworking space) and carving out time for the full range of activities that keep us happy and well.