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The Business Owner’s Self-Care Manual For 2012

You may have already reviewed 2011 and set your goals and aspirations for 2012. If you have not already thought about how you operate WITHIN your business, here are some guidelines to help you focus on what is important for yourself as a business owner…

1. Happiness is not financially dependent

My personal favourite. I often hear the phrase “I will be happy when I have more money.” But when you ask people what is most important to them as business owners, other factors often appear above money on the list. A person’s happiness is not related to their financial wealth. Even if you believe making money “makes” you happy, be aware that happiness is a state, and can be achieved at any moment!

2. Look after your basic needs

Eat and sleep. Being tired or hungry can make many problems seem worse. Ample rest and sustenance is vital to a healthy mind. Physical exercise is good for the mind also. Regular exercise gives you energy, improves mood and relieves stress, anxiety and depression. It also forces you to be “away” from your business and allows for the curious mind to be imaginative and plan into the future.

3. Goal Setting

Don’t set your goals by what others think is important. Only you know what is best for your business. Break bigger goals into smaller steps and targets. Smaller steps are much easier to accomplish. They provide a gradual sense of success that motivates you to continue. Your business wasn’t built in a day, but some of it was!

4. Do what you love

Expert performers are nearly always made, not born. It’s practice that makes perfect. If you like something you are more likely to work hard at it to become very good at it. When it comes to choosing what you would like to do in your business, choose the things that you like. There is assistance for everything else.

5. Inject a laugh or two into your professional life

Even forced laughter can bring about a positive mood. And like yawning, laughter is contagious! Laughter has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on our coping skills. It also helps to build rapport and positive relationships. We often remember the little jokes and laughter shared at business meetings. Use them to re-enforce your business relationships.

6. Don’t let a little fear stand in your way

Business owners too often avoid doing things that they want to do or that are good for them because of fear. Avoiding activities or situations that are fear inducing only results in increased anxiety about that situation. Doing the things that we are a little anxious about forces them to become less frightening. You have the power!

7. Do business for yourself, not others

It is a competitive world out there. We can often feel pressured to do better than the people around us, rather than simply trying to improve our own business. I see many business owners getting so obsessed about competitors that they lose sight of the goals that they originally set for their own business. It’s important to stay individual and work towards your own success, rather than working towards outperforming others.

8. Work isn’t everything

Business owners who enjoy relaxation outside of their business are more likely to be more productive and engaged when they are at work. Also, multi-tasking is being encouraged as a myth. “To do two things at once, is to do neither.” So said Publilius Syrus, slave in the 1st century B.C. With the onslaught of technology and connectivity, we now work more, and work faster. Take a moment now to consider a “work-only” life, and then go schedule some down-time!

9. Volunteer

Doing something that helps others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. This effects how you feel about your business and endorses a sense of personal achievement. It also allows you to give back to your community, whether privately using your skills, or professionally helping other businesses to find their feet. Remember others helped you when starting out.

10. Make mistakes

And make them well. Then learn from them and convert them into your personal lesson portfolio. The benefit of making mistakes is that you can then refer to your “mistake procedure manual” to avoid further problems. Very few businesses have grown out of perfection!

The point of this list is to merely bring focus to the aspects of business that many often put on the back burner. The back burner does not provide us with great energy, so maintain the tips above in the front burner this year, and your business will fire up and gain momentum in 2012!


Be hopeful. Think about your business positively. Worrying about past performance will surely hold you back. If something didn’t work last year, then change it, or scrap it. Nothing lasts forever, especially booms and busts. Welcome the changes, and plan for a positive future.

Remember your successes. When people get stressed they tend to go into ‘all or nothing’ thinking and search for evidence of how poorly they performed or how catastrophic a likely event might become. Focus on moments in 2011 where you were proud of yourself. If you haven’t already, write them down and “bank” them. They will gain “interest” and sustain you during the tougher days.

And most important of all, have some FUN! Here’s to you and your business in 2012.

Image: “2012 year in a row of years/Shutterstock

Elaine Rogers is a Business Trainer, Coach and Writer. She takes pain away. She helps soothe the rough and tumble of running a business through education, information and coaching. And a bit of entertainment. Elaine hangs out at The Smart Train She provides online training and coaching solutions in the areas of MS Office Skills, Business Skills, and Soft Skills. She also provides exclusive content for her ever growing email list.

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  • Great reminder Elaine. 

    One of my first blog posts this year was about choosing goal words to define direction for the year (it’s the first time I’ve really focused on that). 

    And I’m guilty of #7 – but just in the last week decided to be more authentically me and share my true voice – that what I have to say is worth saying – even if it’s not what people expect to find on my website. {More warm & life-coaching rather than hard & salesy}

  • No truer a said word, Angelique.
    Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Authenticity is a hard one to manage, simply because of the “roles” we play in life. Especially the roles we perceive that we “must” portray. By being more ourselves, we attract the type of clients that we will be happier working with.

    Well done on the blog post, I am on a slow start this year, as other things took priority. And everything in it’s own time I say! 🙂

  • Liz Barron

    Great article Elaine – thank you!
    I especially like the piece about not worrying too much about the competition – you need to stay true to yourself and overall strategy.

  • No truer a said word, Angelique.
    Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Authenticity is a hard one to manage, simply because of the “roles” we play in life. Especially the roles we perceive that we “must” portray. By being more ourselves, we attract the type of clients that we will be happier working with.

    Well done on the blog post, I am on a slow start this year, as other things took priority. And everything in it’s own time I say! 🙂

  • As someone said one day – It’s dog eat dog out there!! Well maybe so, and we need to check in sometimes just to remind ourselves that our business and work needs to reflect our own values and way of doing business (of course not to take away from the constant learning we can benefit from every day).

    Thanks for stopping by Liz, have a great week!

  • Elaine, I’ve decided to put lots more, other than work in my life for 2012. What you’ve said here really resonates with me so I intend to pay attention and take your advice on board. Thanks for sharing, great post!

  • I imagine it’s good timing for you this year Niall, and congratulations on your priorities. Thanks for reading, and best wishes for 2012, will be a fab year for us all 🙂

  • Louisa

    Great post Elaine, Makes 100% sense!  Inject laughter in particular!  Definitely my favourite point! 

  • Louisa

    Great post Elaine, Makes 100% sense!  Inject laughter in particular!  Definitely my favourite point! 

  • Thanks Louisa!
    If we have laughter every day, we cannot go far wrong 🙂

  • Good post, I liked it, Elaine. I think an informal attitude works wonders in offices, and a flexible time system. I recently read a bizarre dress code booklet from Swiss bank UBS. It was 44 pages long (they have since changed it after being mocked for being pedantic) and covers endless bizarre issues about needing skin coloured underwear and clean glasses for “optimal vision … [to avoid] an appearance of negligence.” A bit of sense of humour helps everyone.

  • Another great post Elaine.  I’m adding that You Tube video from #5 to my stock of “pick-me-up” videos, songs and quotes, for when I let #2, 6, 7, 8 and 10 take over.  I find having that type of resource to hand really great to kick-start my motivation again.

  • Hi Elaine,

    I love number 5 and 6. Just because it’s work, doesn’t mean you gotta be serious…in fact, a laugh a break the ice and show how ‘human’ you are. And fear will always remain that unless you tackle it….

  • There is something immediately rewarding about the instant relief gained from watching a great visual Mairead, I am pleased you will put it to good use 🙂 Even a small flash mob can make a difference, in fact it just takes one person really 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed the post, and can take something from it.

  • I think fear in its many forms and ways to creep in on us, will always be a part of running a business. There is also that sweet aspect of never really being sure what next year will present to us, and at least it can prepare us better for adversity, each knock and blow hardening the skin so to speak 🙂
    Thanks for reading Tina, and sharing your insights 

  • I know of businesses who do not have a Health & Safety Statement or a Code of Conduct for employees, and a 44 page dress code booklet? Only the Swiss would get away with it! Perhaps this was the “sense of humour” they thought the employees needed.
    And yes, light-heartedness, laughter does help us get through the working day Alex, for many reasons beyond the obvious [feel good hormones, rapport etc] as long as it doesn’t go beyond a “joke”
    Thank you for sharing that with us Alex, and I agree about allowing employees some self-responsibility with time and attitude. It can really help to empower staff and build morale, and ultimately loyalty, dedication and momentum during tough projects.

  • Julie Silfverberg

    Great post, love the video. Plenty of good suggestions and food for thought

  • Food for thought – now there’s a sustaining suggestion – thank you Julie 🙂 
    Glad you enjoyed the post, yes the video is great 🙂

  • Debi Harper

    Love this post, going to print it out and put it above my desk:)

  • Thank you Debi, I think that is a great idea!!

  • Really good idea Helen in terms of how items can ‘make the cut’ for Evernote. Glad you like it and thanks for sharing.

  • I’m an android user,but here’s a few apps you should look into. I’m sure there is a iOS equivalent for all of these.

    Prey – Free security app for finding and tracking your phone

    Pomodriodo – Nice productivity apps for the Pomodoro method

    Sleep as android – Tracks your circadian rhythm while you sleep,and wakes you up when you’re not in deep sleep so you don’t end up feeling groggy

    Aldiko – turns your smart phone into a e book reader

    Mighttext- Not really an apps so much as a chrome add on,but it lets you see texts coming in and reply from your computer

  • Many thanks for reading the post. Great to hear. When your own system is up and running let me know. You’ll catch me on Twitter: @Con_Keppel

  • Hi Nik.

    Thanks for reading. Some great ideas there. ‘Prey’ – we have iCloud which tracks your phone. Comes as standard (thank God – lost too many phones to date).

    Mighttext sounds great. Will definitely try it out.

    Chat soon

  • Hi Aoife,

    I think another point worth stating is trying an application like Rafflecopter uses Facebook to get people to your site to enter a comp using a simple application. It’s also very ‘social’ and clever in that it gets new visitors to your site while building the reach of your social network. Great post and thanks for sharing with us.


  • angelina Dom

    very informative post, one more i got here i think the content of the most must be very important in my opinion in social media content is also very important if you are coming up with unique content and healthy writing then it also my attract the follows on social media.

  • beatricewhelan

    Great post Aoife. I see so many pages running like and share competitions, so many of them get away with it. It would be great if Facebook came down on this a bit more. As you point out, with the free apps it is quite easy to run a competition according to the rules.

  • Great clarifying post Aoife.
    I agree goals are of utmost importance, and that “normal” content should appear “as normal” also – not every fan is interested in the competition!
    Thanks for sharing great tips and highlighting the apps.

  • Hi Reginald, Thank you for the comment & yes, SEO is now critical for each and every business.

  • Wishing all of you a great Christmas! Take all and oh wait…Happy New year too (in advance)

  • Eric Bryant

    Merry Christmas

  • Thank you Donncha & congratulations again….allthough it’s not your first time & my guess is it won’t be your last. Happy New Year, Niall

  • Gilbert Samuel

    I’m glad I made the list Niall, It’s my first though but I’ll try to be one of the most active of all. I hope the readers will find this post helpful too.

    Happy new year

  • Hi Gilbert & thanks for the comment. Looking forward to reading more great posts by you. Many Happy Returns, Niall

  • essam elmasry

    these are really good fiance suggestions, and i loved to add that people could also invest some money as alternative finance in the new auto trader software Neo2. and in this review Neo2 scam or legit?.it explain everything about it. and how it works

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