5 musts for keeping your business afloat when life knocks you down

I was consumed by one thing and only one thing: we probably weren’t going to be able to conceive a baby. I had already been grieving this for years, since we’d been trying with zero positive pregnancy tests. But, the second surgery proved it to be an even truer reality than I had imagined it to be in my mind.

And now, Jesse and I were faced with some soul searching and big decisions about where we were going to go from here, but we also had to run our business. Well, we weren’t just running a business, we were right smack dab in the middle of a busy wedding season, shooting almost every weekend as Limelife Photography and pouring every ounce of our spare energy into building Idealust. In the middle of that craziness, I was trying to figure out how to be okay with whatever God had in mind for our future family.

Can I get super honest with you? Good.

There were days when I felt so disconnected to all we had built as entrepreneurs, because I so desperately wanted the details of this other part of our life to fall into place. There were days when I just couldn’t get myself to sit at my desk and be the photographer or a business coach that everyone knew me to be. There were days when I just needed nothingness inside my brain because there was too much happening inside my heart.There were days when I just couldn’t get myself to sit at my desk and be the photographer or a business coach that everyone knew me to be. There were days when I just needed nothingness inside my brain because there was too much happening inside my heart.

And that’s okay.

Maybe you’ve felt that way before, too? Because of something hard or unexpected? Maybe a relationship went downhill or someone you love got a not-so-promising call from the doctor? We’ve all been there and the truth is…we’ll be there again, at some point. It’s part of life. But, what the heck do you do with it all when you’re a creative entrepreneur? When your clients are depending on you? When your family is depending on the paycheck?

I’m so incredibly blessed that I work with my husband. When things feel a little too wild in our personal life, and if my energy is shifted in that direction, he fills in the gaps. We are able to ebb and flow and take charge when one of our (wo)men is down. But, even still, there have been plenty of times when both of us needed to put business on the backburner to take care of ourselves and our people.

I believe entrepreneurship is such a gift for so many reasons. One of the coolest things is that we can turn things up fast and furious, momentum burning like a roaring fire. Or, when needed or wanted, we can slow things down. Pause the extras. Maintain the essentials.

That said, when life throws us curve balls (all of this can also totally be applied to planned life events that take us away from our businesses), there are ways to make it work. And not just work, but work well for us and those we serve. There are ways to make the most of all the effort we’ve put in, without backsliding in business and, at the same time, doing what we need to do to take care of ourselves, our circumstances and our people.

Here are our 5 musts for keeping your business afloat when life knocks you down. Learned from plenty of personal experience over the last 8 years 😉

  1. Give yourself grace. Ease off on the expectations for a bit. You don’t always need 15 super challenging monthly goals. Maybe you only have 3 this month and one of them is to get yourself to a yoga class twice a week. Success isn’t just about money and clients and Instagram engagement. Success is living a life full of giving and loving others. Remind yourself that it’s essential to spend time loving your people, including yourself and it’s more than okay not to spend that time in your business.
  2. Go into maintenance mode. Figure out what you need to do to keep things running smoothly, without piling on any extra commitments or ideas. This isn’t the time to pick up speed, but we don’t want to fall backwards either. Focus on the essentials like getting back to new inquiries quickly and taking care of our current clients. Give yourself permission to put the rest aside, for now.
  3. Take care of your clients. If you’re taking some time away from work, communicate any new, temporary expectations, like your response time. Your clients don’t need to know all the details, but they do need to know they’ll still be getting everything you promised them. If your workflows and systems are in place (high-five!!!), you will still be able to over-deliver without the extra strain.
  4. Have a backup plan. Depending on the circumstances, depending how long you’ll be in maintenance mode and depending on what exactly you do, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan. That might mean having a list of second shooters you can call and ask for help. That might mean handing off a little more responsibility to your VA for the next couple weeks. That might mean referring new leads to industry friends.
  5. Create more space. We have to expect the unexpected. I’ve found that the more consistent I am with my morning routine and the more time I spend with Jesus, the better I handle all this hard stuff. I react less and calmly address circumstances. I don’t beat myself up for not going 90mph all the time. The only way I get good at this stuff is by creating the space to practice self-care and by building in plenty of room for my priorities, outside of our businesses.  

We’ve coached and had conversations with hundreds of incredible creative entrepreneurs. Almost every single one of them has shared that this, entrepreneurship, is the dream because of the freedom it allows them. Most of the time, that means fun stuff like travel, doing what they love and getting to work from home. Sometimes, that means freedom, space and opportunity to take a step back from your business to take care of yourself.

Comments 32

  1. Thanks for sharing your heart Becky!!! This past month I’ve been working to deal with some things too while still maintaining my business, just not as hard as I normally do. Giving ourselves grace is definitely needed and actually taking time for ourselves too. Life isn’t all about work work work. 🙂

  2. You are speaking to the souls Becky! I love your story and heart when you speak truth. I have been working on creating more space lately and I couldn’t be prouder of myself. Reading this today has definitely made this a valid argument.

  3. So glad to hear you’re giving yourself that grace, Kayla! Sending lots of love your way as you work through everything! xo

  4. Ana! Love to hear you’re creating that space and that you’re proud of yourself for doing it! This makes me smile so big. Thanks for your never-ending encouragement, friend <3

  5. Thank you thank you for baring your soul and sharing your experience with entrepreneurship. I have definitely felt this way and sometimes in limbo about what to do, but taking a step back and giving myself some grace, has allowed me to refocus. This is so poignant for entrepreneurs that I really appreciate you taking the time to share xo

  6. YAY for grace! So glad to hear you’ve experienced it’s beautiful benefits in the hard times, too. Thanks for the love, Katelyn <3

  7. Such great advice Becky! It’s so good to have this game plan, because I have noticed when I get distracted by something else in my life outside of work my business suffers to a point that makes me so sad. It becomes a vicious cycle. Thank you for your vulnerability!

  8. Ahhhh… It’s tough…. Becky, it’s always a pleasure to read your articles. I’m a fan!

  9. Oh Becky, I’m so glad I was able to sit down and thoroughly read through this. When life hands me a few curve balls, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed because I feel like I still need to go that 90mph. Thank you reminding me to create that space and to go into maintenance mode. ????

  10. Oh what a vulnerable and open post! These tips are so spot on too! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Girl… I’m right there with you. Walking a similar road. What you said about physically just not being able to sit at your desk and work because of the all-consuming worry about your personal life is so true. I’ve never met another entrepreneur but it quite so honestly and raw.

  12. So glad this is helpful, Christine! It’s always so much easier with a game plan. 🙂

  13. It will pass, Katie! Sending lots of love + prayers your way. It’s so tough when you’re in the thick of it, but I promise it gets better. <3 <3 <3

  14. Love everything about this! I really appreciate your vulnerability and can definitely relate. I am working on giving myself grace and trying to not put so much pressure on myself. It’s tough, but it’s important! Thank you for the reminder!

  15. This is interesting for me because I live in a permanent funk 90% of the time with my mental health plus my dad’s auto immune disease… all affecting my positive vibes. It’s so frustrating when I want to give 200% in that small 10% of time and then I want to give up when I don’t see anything happening or when I’m feeling down in that 90%… these tips will help me when life has me down. Also (though my hubs doesn’t work with me) my husband does catch the falling ball when I’m down, thank heavens for him!

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    Hey, Kelsey! So good to know that we’re all in this together and can encourage each other to take it easy on ourselves <3

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    Oh, Jennifer, that is a lot going on! One thing at a time. Have you read The Miracle Morning?! It’s helped us so much, in so many ways! And YAY for incredible husbands!! <3

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  19. You are literally recounting my life the last few years! GRACE!!! i need to give myself (and others) more grace! And working with my hubby has been a SAVING grace! ????

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  22. It was so refreshing to read this post Becky! Thanks so much for sharing your heart. Loved your words about giving yourself grace, “Remind yourself that it’s essential to spend time loving your people, including yourself and it’s more than okay not to spend that time in your business.” Having healthy boundaries around my own self-care is something I’ve been working on a lot lately!

  23. Thanks for opening your heart and sharing this. During tough times I often forget to allow myself grace and schedule self-care even though it is essential for a balanced life.

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    I think it might be the toughest part about entrepreneurship! Ha ha! So glad this resonated with you, Shannan <3

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