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Keeping your sanity when you are working solo

by bevbarnes on February 2, 2012

Starting a small solo-online business to follow my passions, is one of the most intense things I’ve ever done. I’m beginning to think that it’s not for the faint of heart. I’m five years into this journey and want to share with you the things that no one ever told me. Maybe it’ll help to make following your passions a little bit easier. This is what usually happens:

You discover your passion and start an online solo business so you can offer your service to the people who need you.

This is not at all rare anymore. Entering the online business world is like going through the hidden wall to get on the Hogwarts train. There is a huge on-line community that you don’t realize is there until you go through the wall – so to speak. It is thrilling and new and exciting and gives you the opportunity to make money doing what you love and providing that to a global market. You are no longer restricted by needing to find clients where you live, AND you can compete with large companies by identifying a specialty niche that you service because of your expertise.

You start learning and doing and it feels like play even though you are working harder than you ever have.

People around you can’t believe that you are working so hard and spending so much time on your computer. You have created a little world that you escape to in your mind. You are inspired, borderline obsessed about bringing this “thing” that you see as your true calling, to life. When people (your husband) tell you that you are working really hard you snort inside because it sure doesn’t feel like work. It feels like art. It feels like creating. But you keep that secret to yourself.

You start receiving never-ending marketing materials from people who you don’t know, whose list you signed up for because they had a cool but inevitably useless freebie.

You become overwhelmed with on-line marketing paraphernalia but you still read it all. Every time you read something new, you start to think that there is something you aren’t doing and should learn. You worry that you aren’t keeping up to date with what you “should” know or “should be doing”. Every time you find out about something new to do to make your business work, someone else is selling you a new program. It feels like a tornado. What is going on?

You have unconsciously opened an energetic doorway.

There is no boundary between you and the on-line world. The grasping, clinging energy of the people who are selling these programs has entered your own energy field. And it’s coming in through your in-box. This is not something that you were prepared for. If you are like me, you are used to centering your own energy around people, so that you don’t pick up emotions that aren’t yours.

But from your inbox?

Yes. If you don’t control what you receive you will end up responding and reacting to things that have nothing to do with you. It’s like television. If you watched everything that you saw on television, you’d only eat fast food and feel obsessed about improving your skin, cleaning your toilet, how you smelled and you’d want to look like Barbie.

Energetic overwhelm coming from your inbox is the downside of having an on-line business.

What to do?

1. Ground yourself. Breathe 5 deep, slow breathes. Imagine yourself rooted to the ground. Surround yourself by a golden light that is not porous – won’t let anything else in. This may sound hokey but it is where you start. You will step out of the stress response (flight, fight or freeze) and move back into your body.

2. Become aware of the effect that promotional emails have on your body. If your body feels light and free when you read a promotional email, great it’s a keeper. If your body feels tight, heavy, constrained and panicked when you read a promotional email, dump it.

3. Control the energy that enters into your space. In this case your space is not your physical space, it is your electronic space. You inbox. If you feel tense, anxious and panicky when you read an email, Un Sub Scribe. No matter what. Even if the newsletter comes from someone you like. Keep only the subscriptions to newsletters that leave you feeling light, and invigorated.

3. Focus on YOU. Take back your personal power and remember why you started an on-line business. Clarify what you have to bring to the world. Write that down and post it above your desk or working space.

4. Form or join a support group. Make sure you get out of your own head and have people you can talk or laugh with. This might be an in-person group of other solo entrepreneurs or a virtual group. I’ve been a member of a 4 person support group since I became an online solo entrepreneur five years ago. It works.

5. Get away from your computer and other electronic devices on a regular basis. Plan free time into your agenda. That means going outside, walking, dancing, playing where you are not focused on your business at all. It’ll keep you sane and you’ll probably end up getting some new, fresh ideas.

You can download a recording here, to help you to shift your focus back to YOU.

Let me know if you’ve experienced an energetic drain through your inbox and what solutions you’ve found below!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Houkje Ross February 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Bev,
I just put myself on a ‘facebook diet’ because the energy there can easily take me away from my own voice. Being a small business owner, I experience all of the above that you mentioned (including mass quantities of freebies that are taking up storage on my hard drive)!

Information overwhelm is a huge problem and I’ve just recently realized that the only way out is to learn to trust my own knowledge and intuition to make decisions. There is a time and place for research, information gathering, and even seeing what others are doing… but ultimately, it comes down to listening to yourself. You’ve outlined all the ways of doing that. The only thing I would add is journaling… which is basically another way to check in with yourself and tap in to your own knowledge and wisdom.

Great post! Thank you!

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Bev Barnes February 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Houkje, a Facebook diet is a great strategy as is journaling. Thanks for sharing. Bev

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Gail Kenny February 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Very valuable advice! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for the tips. I’ve already realized some of this and your validation will give me that much more power to trust myself and unsubscribe to some of the newsletters I’m getting.

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Bev Barnes February 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Great Gail. I think it is all about trusting yourself!

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Emily Downward February 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Thanks, Bev! I laughed at some of this because I can definitely relate! I have been unsubscribing more and more, as well as hiding some people on my Facebook Newsfeed.
Thanks for paving the way for us newbie solo-preneurs and sharing your knowledge!

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Bev Barnes February 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

You are really welcome Emily!

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Lori February 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Bev, AMAZING! You’re SO on target. Appreciate seeing the situation as a watcher. It is just what I needed today. Awareness brings protection from the chaos and fear. Thanks.

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Bev Barnes February 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm

It is so helpful to just observe what happens and realize that you don’t have to be ‘in’ it! Glad it helped Lori!

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Mackie Schaars February 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm

So true! Just as I used to think secrets to life were contained in magazine articles…then as a product of infomercials…now it’s the inbox onslaught! It’s like that “whack a mole” game….sometimes it is just hard NOT to click that button for one more freebie or newsletter or Facebook page.

Love this line in particular… “You have unconsciously opened an energetic doorway.” What an excellent, on target way to regard all the excess. I’m off to get the locks changed on my energetic doorway!

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Bev Barnes February 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I love the idea of getting the locks changed Mackie!

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shannon February 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Dear Bev – I cannot tell you how much I needed this post! You describe my experience to a T, which was incredibly validating and liberating! I have since stopped reading anything that sends my “lizard” into a tizzy and am focusing on keeping my energy, feelings, senses and thoughts on an even keel. I was so afraid to “let go” of all of the information that is swirling around out there but once I did, I think I am actually making much more progress. It feels slower and simpler but much more enjoyable AND more fruitful! And it’s really the enjoyment that I am after. This is a journey of discovery, experimentation, fun and learning and it has to custom fit ME every step of the way. THANK YOU for understanding and sharing this!!! xo Shannon Falkenstein

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Bev Barnes February 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

You are so welcome Shannon. I love what you said about this journey of discovery, experimentation and learning. That is what is fun and keeping the focus on that makes it all even better!

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Alison Elissa Horner February 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Loved this metaphor- “Entering the online business world is like going through the hidden wall to get on the Hogwarts train. There is a huge on-line community that you don’t realize is there until you go through the wall – so to speak.” So true!

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Bev Barnes February 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

For me Alison it is still mind-boggling that this alternate universe actually exists. There are a world of metaphors waiting to be created 🙂

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Janelle February 8, 2012 at 5:08 am

Um … yes, yes, and yes. Thank you for hitting the experience right on. I hadn’t thought of it as an energy issue until I read this. You are so brilliant Bev! Thanks for sharing your light.

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Bev Barnes February 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I’m glad it helped Janelle!

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