There is a spotlight firmly on work-life balance, what it means and whether it is achievable. I regularly read about how being self-employed means you will be giving up your free time to work long hours in your business, I disagree.

The misconception here is that everyone is trying to build a thriving and ever expanding enterprise. We are looking over the fact that some of the happiest solopreneurs don’t work full weeks, don’t need to and don’t want to. The big distinction is the difference between what is being defined as a successful solopreneur.

In my working life I have worked with over 4500 sole traders, I have been in business for myself and I have many friends and family who are in business for themselves. Through my experience, I have seen success for these individuals defined in so many different ways that I have lost track and that’s the way it should be.

I know a photographer who only does weddings and only on a weekend. She knew how much she wanted to earn to live comfortably when she started out and was able to get there with only a few days work. She is living her ideal lifestyle despite the opportunity to put on more people or work long hours but she recognised that she didn’t have to.

While there is so much pressure pushing people to grow big, put on a bigger team and shoot for more, sometimes it takes just as much courage to reach a sweet spot in business and be content with what you have. This is when business and lifestyle meet and it is a different point for every person.

The point is, it doesn’t matter if you want to grow a multi-million dollar enterprise or start a business on the side to put a couple hundred extra dollars in your pocket a week. We regularly hear the stories of the few who hit the big time but we rarely hear about the everyday people earning a comfortable living and spending the rest of their time enjoying the life they have created.
So here are my top 3 tips to building the business and lifestyle you want.

What is success to the self-employed?

1. Paint a vivid picture of your goal
The more detail you put into this picture the easier it will be to recognise when you get there. Few people in business actually take the time to set a goal, fewer still write the goal down and rarely will someone take the time to fill in the detail.
Do it in a way that resonates with you. If you like to draw then actually draw a picture of what it looks like.

2. Make the plan

Don’t go and download a 15 page business plan template and start filling it out, yep I tried that and I didn’t even finish filling it out before I lost track of what I was doing. Make it short and simple and focus on stepping stones that will get you to your end goal.
Whatever you path is, break it down into bite sized achievements and give yourself recognition as you move through the steps.

3. Take the action

once you have a clearly defined goal and the stepping stones to get there, then it’s time to walk out the door. Don’t procrastinate, just start with one thing, no doubt your plans and strategy will change along the way.

These are the steps I have learnt that have helped me in my business life, I have heard them spoken in many different formats and by many different people but the message is always the same for me; Set the goal, make the plan and take the action.