There’s a crucial investment missing from your freelance blogging plans, despite the fact that it’s the most valuable and critical asset of your freelance business.
It’s something too many freelancers neglect and don’t account for… and end up paying for in the long run. Some pay with their lives.
What is this invaluable freelance asset?
Without you, your business won’t happen. Now forgive me for stating the obvious, but here’s why I’m pointing this out:
If you don’t take care of this critical asset, you’re doing your business harm.
Statistically speaking, 1 out of every 6 small businesses fail because of personal reasons such as divorce or illness.
That’s a staggering statistic. But if you think about it, it makes sense. In fact it may be even more of an issue when you’re an itsy bitsy solopreneur freelance blogging business. When something comes up that keeps you from working, no one’s there to pick up the slack.
My friend, a freelance writer, experienced this first-hand. She’d built up a nice online business. And she was doing well enough to take an early retirement from her day job and move with her husband to the condo of their dreams.
However, her business hit some rough waters. She spent more and more time at her computer trying to salvage things. But the time spent working on her business came at the expense of exercising and even spending time with her family. As she confided, she didn’t even have enough time to swim laps in the beautiful condo pool she was so excited to use when they moved in.
Exhaustion Creeps Up On You
Just as my friend felt she was close to finally getting her business back in the black, her body said enough.
She developed a painful autoimmune disorder. She could barely work at all. She struggled to keep up the pace she knew she needed to maintain to get back on her feet financially, but couldn’t manage it.
Eventually she had to declare bankruptcy. She was so embarrassed about that, she didn’t even tell her adult children for months.
My friend’s not alone. Just this week, I heard from another colleague struggling to keep his business going while dealing with debilitating back pain.
Taking Care of Your Health Is NOT an Optional Luxury
If you’re a solo freelancing blogger, it’s a necessity. When you take care of your health,
- You have more energy so you can be more productive each day. An article in the Psychological Bulletin reviewed 70 studies on exercise involving data from at least 6800 people. The research reviewers found that a whopping 90% of the various studies participants reported feeling more energy after exercising. This included people of all ages, abilities and health status.
- You ensure your business’ longevity. Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. While there are times when you have to push hard in building your freelance business, ultimately the bloggers who succeed are the ones who keep at it. I’m in my tenth year as a freelance writer. And while I no longer send out hundreds of unanswered queries and make dozens of cold calls, I still have to keep up with my full workload. If I’d burned out a few years after starting up, I’d miss the lovely experience of having prospective clients call me up out of the blue, having found me by my reputation. I can choose my clients, demand higher fees and book work as much as 4 months in advance. But that’s because I’ve been doing this long enough, and I continue to do my work well enough, to sustain this reputation. And this all boils down to having the energy, alertness—the good health—to keep going at a solid pace.
- You can overcome hurdles, rebound from failure and keep going. Good health gives you both physical and mental endurance. Freelance work is filled with ups and downs. Like many a freelancer, I’ve hit plenty of “failures”. In fact, one of my very first clients cut the project short after seeing the proposed headlines and told me, “Maybe you’re not cut out for this.” But I kept going. You need the energy to get beyond a rejection, propose new projects, and seek out new clients. Don’t count on riding a wave of successes.
- You gain confidence. Overcoming failure requires not just energy, but confidence. One of the secret ingredients for building confidence and dispelling fear is exercise. Atlanta researchers set up a daily exercise program for overweight children. After just 30 days, well before the children saw physical changes from the workouts, they consistently reported feeling better about themselves. One colleague of mine shares that simply by standing up (a great mini-workout) during a phone call she feels more authoritative.
- You can enjoy the sweetness of your success. In my book, the bitterest experience must be to work hard to accomplish something and then not be able to enjoy it. I’ve known “successful” people who gave their all to their work and ended up struggling with diabetes, debilitating digestive disorders and heart disease. Others end up divorced or estranged from their children. Success experienced under these circumstances is anything but sweet. In contrast, when you pace yourself and invest in your health at the same time as your work, you’ll be able to enjoy your growing bank balance and the glorious freedom of freelancing.
So as you plan your freelance business goals, plan to invest in yourself.
- Take the time to prepare nourishing food that fuels you and your business. And take time to savor it.
- Work activity into your day—whether it’s a short workout in the morning or a bike ride after lunch.
- Make your relationships your priority. Build your business around your family, not the reverse.
Stop thinking of these as optional indulgences for when you have an opening in your schedule. Consider them central to your business.
By investing in your energy, brain power and overall vitality, you’re investing in the most important element of a successful blogging business: You.
Image: Rutger de Moddertukker