It’s been a month since I found myself in a small business owner’s nightmare – being sick and not being able to work. My illness was a little worse than the common cold; forcing a five-day hospital stay and a slow return to work. Aside from needing a nap some days, I am back at work and grateful to be - regardless of how long a full return takes. In my down time (there was plenty of it), I realized I never considered what would happen to my business if I was out of commission because of illness.
I almost never get sick. The few times I have; I’ve always managed to work through it. Not this time. Passing the buck to a solid second-in-command is always an option but there are still just some things you have to do yourself – at least that’s true for me; like writing this blog. I could have passed it off but it wouldn’t have been the same; for you or for me.
I’ve learned more about my business from being sick than I would have learned otherwise in the first year if I hadn’t. Trust me, being out of commission due to illness teaches you what is truly important for your business – the MUST dos vs. the nice to do. Take this lesson with you when you’re running at full speed ahead. You’ll find there is enough time in the day to hit the gym, eat healthy and spend time with family/friends.
Here are some of the other lessons I learned:
Be honest with your clients – They’ll appreciate it more than if you pushed yourself beyond the point of no return. If you can’t make the calls or write the emails yourself have someone else do it for you. I don’t know if this is a generation thing but I prefer to speak to someone if I am going to blow deadlines or ask for extensions. An email just seems like a coward’s way out. I was incapacitated but my younger sister stepped in and made the necessary phone calls.
Don’t put off today what can be done tomorrow – Using your down time wisely is key to your success. I was able to get through the month of May without skipping a beat on social media because I set up daily Facebook, Google+, Tweets and LinkedIn posts ahead of time. For anyone following Tabula Rasa – White Paper, Red Pen LLC on social media, nothing was amiss.
Stay connected as best you can – Smartphones and tablets are a great way to stay on top of your email and stay connected without totally overdoing it. Just managing junk email can cure boredom (if that doesn’t work find a Netflix marathon. Bloodline is a good choice and the new season was just released May 27).
Embrace your recovery time - It can be your friend or your enemy. The choice is up to you. When you’re tired take a nap or go to bed early. Fighting it just prolongs your recovery time and increases your chances of a relapse.
Give yourself permission to be sick and to recover. Your business will be better off and so will you. Remember, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life” – Socrates.