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3 top tips for greater satisfaction as a small business owner

Being an entrepreneur can be a source of great happiness and you can make it even more satisfying...

Have you ever pondered the connection between running your own business and happiness? It's a question that's been on my mind lately as I reflect on my own journey as a pension I set up 30 years ago came to maturity, I realise how much my perspective on retirement has evolved. Back then, 55 seemed like the epitome of old age, a time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labour - who on earth would want to work longer than that?!


At the time I was working in marketing and the prospect of a career working with corporates yawned ahead of me. No wonder I thought like that.


Six years after setting up the pension I took the leap to work for myself. And that was a complete game changer in how I feel about my work. Transitioning from the corporate world to running my own business not only altered my professional journey but fundamentally transformed how I perceive work and fulfilment.


In light of the recently released 2024 World Happiness Report, it's fascinating to observe the trends in life satisfaction across different age groups. While younger individuals tend to report higher levels of happiness, there's a noticeable dip as people age, followed by an upswing in happiness among 60+ years-old adults.

How do your own levels of satisfaction compare?


Cosy rocking chair with blanket
"Oh those were the days! I was so happy."

Looking back at my satisfaction over the years, I am struck by how I have bucked this trend. I’m pleased to report I was very happy in my 20s, but my 30s were astounding and, again, in my 50s I feel I am rocking it! And I can put a lot of this down to running my own businesses and the autonomy, creativity, purpose and pleasure this has brought me.


As I recently celebrated the maturity of my pension, I found myself facing an unexpected truth: I don't want to retire. Would my 25-year-old self be pleased or appalled?! In reality the prospect of another five years, and beyond, holds a sense of excitement and possibility; it’s a testament to the ongoing evolution of my journey as both a coach and entrepreneur.


So, if you're considering embarking on your own entrepreneurial journey or looking to enhance your existing journey as a small business owner, here are three top tips to help you unlock greater satisfaction along the way...


1. Cultivate a healthy work-life balance:

It's easy for us to get caught up in the hustle and grind of building our businesses, far harder to prioritise self-care and maintain a balance between work and personal life, but it's essential.

Schedule regular breaks, set boundaries around your work hours, and make time for activities and relationships that bring joy and fulfilment to you outside of work.

For example, I schedule four week-long breaks, spread throughout the year, whether I think I need them at the time or not. It means my work becomes more productive and sustainable with less chance of burning out.

And every week I make sure I do something that an employed person couldn't do!


2. Embrace continuous learning and growth:

The life of a business owner is stuffed full of challenges and opportunities for growth.

Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, see them as valuable learning experiences that contribute to your personal and professional development.

Always stay curious, seek out new knowledge and skills, and be open to feedback and constructive criticism.

And I have found it incredibly useful to focus on what I do want rather than what I don’t want – the difference in this frame of mind really is the difference between success and failure.


3. Connect with a supportive community:

Building and running a business can be rather lonely at times, but it doesn't have to be.

Surround yourself with a supportive network of fellow business owners, mentors, and like-minded individuals who completely understand the challenges you face. Sharing experiences, seeking advice, and celebrating successes together can make such a difference to your happiness and well-being.

I run workshops for small business owners, and it never fails to impress me how powerful it is for us all to share the issues we are facing and to find others are in the same boat. We have some great solutions to offer that actually work because we acutely understand where each other is coming from.

Actively seek out your tribe. It doesn’t have to be a group. I have curated my tribe over the years one person at a time. They all provide me with something unique. And  I probably wouldn’t have stayed in business as long as I have without them.


Remember, the entrepreneurial journey is as enriching as the destination. There is no doubt in my mind that being a small business owner has greatly enhanced my satisfaction and happiness. Whether you're just starting out or you've been on this path for a while, embrace the challenges and opportunities that come your way and do use these small business owner satisfaction tips to help you unlock greater happiness. And if you ever need support along the way, don't hesitate to reach out.


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