Managing stress as an online entrepreneur

Today marks the end of April and the end of Stress Awareness month. I am certain another Stress Awareness month will pop up before 2016 runs out. To start with, I wrote this article to help business owners manage stress and to end this month of Stress Awareness, I have written an article for current and prospective online entrepreneurs including bloggers, tech and elearning specialists and basically anyone who spends a huge amount of their working time online.

Running an online business is different from any other business. You find yourself working at all hours and sleeping for just a couple of hours a day especially if you are new to the online world. When I first started, I would spend my entire day trying to get things done and go to sleep at about 3am only to wake around 6am to continue life and work. It wasn’t easy.

On my own, I have learned alot about how to cope. Me being the DIY kind, learned mostly by trials and costly errors. Once my entire website was somehow deleted – don’t know what I must have clicked lol but I freaked out and contacted my hosting company and they rolled it back to the way it was 24 hours before and of course I lost some data and had to find away to remember what was there before and recreate them.

Backing up my website and data never really occurred to me but with time I just found myself learning from mistakes and trying new things everyday. Using what I have learnt and my experiences, I have compiled some tips that could help online entrepreneurs cope with the stress of their new found job.

Basically, there are a few important things every online entrepreneur must do to avoid “heart attack”. Websites can get deleted. Websites can be hacked. Computers can crash and ….. Well you need to protect yourself against things like this.

Here is what I do and I know it will help you too.

1. Automate alot!

The world we live in today needs social media for gossip, news, and even to get your business out there. I am a very private person and I took me a while to understand that social media wasn’t just for those who like to be out there or for celebrities. You can actually be on social media and live a quiet peaceful life.

All my social media accounts are for business or my blog. My instagram suffers badly – I really am not into it but I know I need it. I do get a little personal with them as you need to have a human face in everything you do in life.

The thing with social media is that you need to be committed and consistent and that takes a lot of time and effort. It can be stressful and a little annoying being of social media 247 when your business and other issues need your attention. So to prevent this, I automate.

My website is linked to my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Everytime a new post is published, it is automatically “announced” on these social networks. Then every hour, my website sends a random tweet with any of my posts and their links to Twitter which automatically reposts it on Facebook. Everything is linked – a mini “Internet of things”.

Same goes for my newsletters. Rather than compose one every time a post is released, I have set things in a way that once I publish a new post, a newsletter is automatically created and sent to my subscribers. This way I don’t have to always manually perform tasks.

Sometimes I have up to 4 posts ready. I just schedule them to go published on any day I choose. I could go on and on but I am sure you now get the gist. I automate so that I don’t have to find time to manually perform tasks that could take up too much time.

To get most of this done, you need to be tech savvy. If you feel overwhelmed by it all, then employ someone to get it done for you. I offer most of these services and can even coach you on how to get it done via my personal site.

2. Delegate once you are able to!

When you are new to the online world, you tend to get most of the work done yourself including creating your website – I did and it was real hard work.

Eventually, you will get to a stage when you start to earn some money and need help to continue to grow. You really can’t do it all yourself. Once you can afford it, you can get an assistant even if it’s a virtual one but you must be clear on the assistant’s duties before they take them on.

Any assistant you get must be extremely tech savvy and ready to work if you want to remain sane. You really don’t have the time to train anyone on how to get things done especially if it’s just you and him/her in your company.

If you have a big enough team, you can take on volunteers or trainees who can be mentored by your experienced staff and shown the ropes. If it’s just you, I repeat take on someone with experience simply to avoid stress and for continuous productivity. Even experienced hands need to be inducted/trained to do things the way your business functions.

3. Back-up alot!

This is so important. You need to back up your documents and websites. Anything can happen say what say what! In my mum’s school that I run, there is a software we use for managing the school’s accounts, reports cards, payroll, billing etc. It used to be installed on our main system (PC) with a backup file where all the data was stored once you clicked “back up”.

I was really against having this system installed on our PC being a tech savvy person who knows that systems can decide to crash but the provider of this software had no cloud based service and they never told me there was a way I could access via the internet – all they needed to do was to install on one of my subdomains.

One day the PC started acting up so I called the IT guys in to sort it out. They never told me they were going to format the PC but they saved the files before they did. When they told me that the system crashed while they were working at it so had to format it, I nearly fainted! Luckily they backed up all the files before formating. UnLuckily the admin hadn’t been backing up so she lost about 6 months worth of work and yes she had to manually put in every detail 🙂 – a nice punishment for failing to perfect her duties.

To cut the story short, they had 2 options – give us a better version or I find a different provider. They finally installed a version you had to access via the internet! Yipee! Only God knows why they gave us the old version as we never paid a penny for this upgrade. Everyone was a lot happier as the old system was a little too archaic and cumbersome to use – we literally had to connect 2 systems and make sure they both were logged into the school management system for others to be able to log in and work.

The reason for this little story is so that you can see how important it is to back up files. You can use Dropbox or even One Drive for your files- it’s that easy. They are cloud based and you will never lose your data unless of course they aren’t telling us the true risks of using a cloud based system. But for now, we are safe using the cloud. What’s this cloud though? Won’t rain spoil the files? Lol. Just kidding but I did get asked this question once – I was dumbfounded.

You don’t backup just documents and photos. You also need to backup your website. You really don’t want to lose your website. To backup and keep your website secure, you can employ my services.

What do you think?

Are you an online entrepreneur? What else do you do to keep things running smooth and to avoid stress. You are a business owner and need to be able to manage the challenges that come with being the boss. Here is an article I wrote recently that can help.

#BeHSEWise