Written by Jason Robinson, Director at RBK Advisory.

Taking the leap from a secure full time job into starting my own business was one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever made – and one of the best. But working twelve+ hour days from the get go quickly took its toll.

When I started out, I was exhausted, started to put on weight, and found myself feeling physically and mentally unwell within just the first few months. Something needed to change. My wellbeing and my business BOTH needed to be in a great place and I knew what was required was to actively put the achievement of balance before my business – ironically, if I wanted my business to survive in the long run.

Fast track some 6 months later, and I now know 100% that there is no point in having career success if you can’t even enjoy it. Below are some of the areas I forced myself to concentrate on in my quest to achieve that glorious thing called “balance”.

1) Physical wellbeing

If you aren’t taking care of your body, you can’t expect it to take care of you. Becoming rundown only results in getting sick… and you’ve just lost two days of productivity. Get into the gym, join a running club, start boxing. Meal planning sounds cliché but it really makes a huge difference. Taking the time on a Sunday to sort your food out for the rest of the week saves you from coming home and trying to think about dinner at the end of a very long day. Let’s be honest, nine times out of ten the answer is takeaway. Instead, open the fringe and pull out the Tupperware container.

Xero did a survey that found four in five business owners at small companies believe their bottom line is directly impacted by their own health. It’s a no brainer.

2) Mental wellbeing

Nobody can operate a business efficiently and effectively whilst dealing with large amounts of stress and anxiety. Your mental wellbeing is every bit as important as your physical. Don’t brush this one under the rug. Mental health issues within the small business owner community are rife. Take time out for yourself each day, even if it’s ten minutes before you go to sleep using the Headspace app. Go for a walk and don’t take your phone. Make sure you share what you’re going through with a loved one. Consider going to a psychologist to talk through issues that come up. The key is to take your mental wellbeing as seriously as you take the other areas of your life.

3) Positivity and kindness

These two things will get you a long way in business and in life. Change the way you think: don’t look for or focus on the negatives, but instead search for positives.

If you’ve just dealt with an awful client, what did you learn from it? Maybe you’ve just made a big mistake that cost you dollars you couldn’t afford to lose. What can you do to make sure that never happens again?

Kindness hardly needs an explanation… but what comes around does go around in the business sphere. You never know when you’ll come across someone again in the future. Word of mouth and referrals is by far the best way to get new work and grow your business. Kindness can get you nearly anywhere. It also makes you feel great!

4) R&R

Rest and relaxation. This is probably the area I struggle with most. I’ve gotten used to living on six hours sleep if I’m lucky and firing on all cylinders the entire time I’m awake. And in your twenties and thirties maybe you can get away with it. But should you?

Go away for a weekend; don’t look at your emails for a whole day. Refreshing your body and your mind will have you coming back to work raring to go.

5) Enjoyment

At the end of the day we all start our own businesses for similar reasons: freedom, satisfaction… and the money doesn’t hurt either. All of it should equal enjoyment and being able to make the most of your life. It’s easy to forget this when you’re knee deep in voicemails and employee training. Take the time to go on a picnic with your loved ones, the footy with your friends or a beautiful dinner just because you want to. Keep giving yourself a reality check. Whilst business can be incredibly hard and challenging, all that truly matters is the people around you, their happiness and yours.

Don’t ever lose sight of that!

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Written by Jason Robinson, Director at RBK Advisory.