How to Cope in a Lone Wolf Business
Making ends meet is top of mind for a lot of business owners and employees these days. Even if your business is open, reduced revenue may make it necessary to furlough employees. Rather than close altogether, many small business owners have decided to move to a one-person staff until things pick up again. This can be incredibly stressful on the person “left behind.”
Whether it’s a boss or a lone employee, the following tips will help decrease the stress behind being the only person representing the business.
Yes, you want the doors open but not at the cost of driving the one employee crazy. Businesses all over the country have reduced hours right now. If you have a single employee running the business, shorten hours. Make sure you update this change on all forward-facing, information areas like your website, social media, and your Google My Business listing.
If you are the lone employee, recognize what brings you the greatest amount of stress. Is it a line of customers that you can't process quickly enough? Maybe it's an angry customer that tries your patience. Or perhaps having to limit your services under the new normal brings you the most amount of stress. If you have a lone employee working for you, find out where their biggest stressor is. Once you know what it is you can solve for it.
Leave it at Work
While this is easier said than done, the human body can only handle so many hours under stress. If you are stressed at work, create an after-work ritual that helps your mind recognize when the workday ends and your rest time begins.
This is especially important when working from home. In the days when we had a commute, getting into the car and playing a favorite song could act as the ritual that signified the end of the day. Today, we need something more. Your end of day ritual could be going out for a walk, tossing the ball with your dog, or talking to your kids. Whatever you choose, do it every day when your workday ends. The pattern of it will help your brain feel more at ease.
Bring in Help
The budget may not allow for several full-time employees, but if there is a particular time of day that you've noticed a crowd building at your business, think about bringing in help for that time. This will reduce the stress of the single employee.
You don't want to compound the stress of the workday by piling on other things that make your body feel unhealthy. For instance, while you may be tempted to end a busy day with fast food, don't. Making unhealthy choices will only increase your stress and decrease your body's resilience. Instead, have a healthy snack while you cook a good meal or purchase takeout from a restaurant that specializes in healthy cooking.
Reframe How You Think About the Job
When you are the only person working at the business it can feel very lonely as well as exhausting. While you can't change the fact that you are the only employee keeping the business running, you can flip or reframe how you feel about the experience. Instead of focusing on the stress and the work that never seems to get done, think of the things that you are thankful for. For instance, some people are currently out of work with no salary coming in. Other businesses have had to close their doors permanently because they can't wait out these business closures. Thousands of people have lost their lives or a loved one to this illness. When you start looking at it from the perspective of gratitude you will come to appreciate your job and your health more.
If you are the only employee at your business, you need to safeguard your own physical and mental health. Concerns about money can be stressful enough without adding in the stresses of being on your own. With these tips you can help navigate some of the strongest causes of stress and begin to appreciate the job you have.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.