Managing Your Business When Dealing with a Personal Crisis
When starting a business, you are super excited and all fired up to show up for work every day. You engage with clients and customers and you have finally created the life you’ve always wanted. Sure you have some days where you don’t feel on top of the world but you know this is all part of the entrepreneurial game.
But, what you are not expecting is the personal crisis that just showed up on your doorstep. A crisis is defined as anything that causes you difficulty to function. Perhaps you are even being asked to make the most important personal life decision, which can also have a profound impact on your business. Maybe your partner is asking for divorce or you or a loved are dealing with a medical situation. Perhaps there has been a death in your life or maybe you are dealing with depression.
Any of those situations can leave you not functioning at full capacity (or even any capacity). All of the sudden, you barely make it out of bed, business tasks that are important are ignored because your personal life event hinders you from keeping your thoughts together and maintaining the mental capacity to do them.
Years ago, my son had some major complications from his second liver transplant. At the time, I was in college earning my master’s degree. No one would have faulted me for dropping out of college, but instead I decided that pushing through with a positive attitude would have the outcome I wanted. This is where I learned that having a plan in place before crisis happens is crucial not only for our personal life, but also our business success. It is always better to be prepared than to have everything you worked so hard for fall apart.
So how do you survive? Surround yourself with positive people who love you and even your business. Prepare yourself to ask for help. Receiving support from family, friends, and fellow business owners will remind you why you wanted your business in the first place, and leaning on them during moments where it just seems too much will help uplift and ground you.
One of the biggest things I struggled with was self-care and its so crucial. Know that in each moment you are doing the best you can and its okay to not be okay. So get out of the house for a walk in the woods, take a bath or go to the spa for a massage. Honoring yourself this way is important for your mindset and your overall well-being. Also, take your business out of the house, if you can. Maybe take the computer to the local coffee shop. Sometimes a simple change of scenery can be so helpful in getting things done but also allows for opportunity to have conversations with some new people.
Something that has always gotten me through any crisis has been my positive attitude. Sometimes its easier said than done but your attitude and believing in the best outcome possible will absolutely get you through your crisis. We never know how strong we are until those life changing moments but this is why your attitude is everything and it will see you through.
There are also business specific actions you can prepare for as you deal with your crisis. Having systems in place will help keep your business running even though you may be spending the day in bed. When your business can pretty much run on auto-pilot, it will take a load off your shoulders. Making use of scheduling software (like Edgar for social media) and prioritizing tasks that absolutely must get done will give you some breathing room.
In addition to systemization in your business, having a business manager or a virtual assistant can help you keep up with the demands of owning a business. This is an opportunity to delegate and outsource tasks so you can focus on your personal life without having your business go under.
One of the challenging areas that may be more difficult to maneuver is how to handle your clients and customers. Here is what I know, your clients want you to know that you are human and, while it is important to manage those important relationships, it is also okay to share with them that you are facing a family issue or personal emergency. You don’t have to go into details, but honesty is still always the best policy. In most cases, clients will understand. You know your clients and customers better than any one else and you can prioritize your work accordingly when it comes to managing those relationships.
So before the personal crisis hits, outline a plan that you can put in place for the just in case moment. It’s better to be prepared than have your world fall apart.