Employers have a duty to look after their employees. If you are a sole trader or small business owner, it is your responsibility to look after yourself. This means paying yourself properly, making sure that you have a reasonable amount of time off, and gaining respect from clients who may take advantage of your goodwill.
It is so easy to get stuck into a day’s work without realising that there may be ways in which you are exploiting yourself. It’s vital to set some boundaries.
Give yourself a break
Taking calls on Sunday mornings? Working through lunch? Putting in a fourteen-hour day? Occasionally, during busy times, and when you are starting a business, going over and above is unavoidable. Making a habit of it can be bad for your health, your family, and ultimately your business.
Many micro-businesses are more of a way of life than a job, but you still need a proper day off. Sometimes you can be so absorbed in your work that the hours go by unnoticed, set an alarm to remind you to stop. Making time for a healthy lunch and snacks will make it easier to keep going until the end of the day.
Pay yourself on time
Invoicing and chasing up payments are tasks that can be overlooked when you are busy. Putting a cash flow system in place to deal with payments is the easiest way to free up time, and ensure that you get paid. Additionally, it helps to use the same system for paying any freelancers you are hiring. Using an app like Penny removes invoice hassles from your to-do list, and you are free from the anxiety associated with asking for money.
Dealing with high maintenance clients
Some demanding clients take up a disproportionate amount of your time and energy. However, this type of client could be the one who consistently recommends your services. Creating clear terms and conditions will ensure that boundaries are in place. It can also be helpful to draw up a list of rules for yourself: maximum time for consultation, set number of revisions to completed work, regular price increases.
Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for your small business.