There are a lot of people who are curious about what it’s like to run a small business and some who are even more curious about how to prioritize their self-care while trying to run a business. On today’s blog, Marylyn is taking you through a typical day as the founder and CEO of Simple Self. She's sharing her productivity tips on staying motivated and how she approaches daily self-care as a business owner.
8:00 a.m.: Waking up with the world's most adorable alarm clock.
This morning I wake up around 8:00 a.m. Luckily, I have a foster kitten who wakes me up meowing every morning so I don’t really need an alarm. The first thing I do after drinking some water is feed her and give her some cuddles and play-time. For me, this is a way to start my day on a good note and take my mind away from thinking about work first thing in the morning. I am an animal person and fostering kittens brings me so much happiness and joy!
8:30 a.m.: Apartment tidy-up & get ready for the day.
Next, I make a cup of coffee and tidy up my apartment. I find that I can't work in a cluttered space, so this is an important part of my morning routine to have a productive day. I put on some very basic makeup and brush my hair. If I don't do this first thing in the morning, I'll end up waiting until it's 1:00 p.m. and I'm still in my PJs and it's not a good feeling!
9:00 a.m.: Emails, emails, and then more emails!
In the morning I always respond to customer emails first. Usually these are customers that have questions about our products, want to know the status of their order, or want to do an exchange or return. Then, I go through my inbox and respond to other emails that only require a quick and easy response. I star the emails that I need to think about a little bit more before I can craft a response.
10:00 a.m.: Quick planning break on the balcony.
This initial review of my inbox usually takes me around an hour and afterwards I take a short break. I sit on my balcony in the sun and drink my coffee with my planner and write down my plans for the day. I write down all the tasks that I want to get done for the week and then I try to narrow it down for what I can realistically fit into the day. Usually, I overestimate what I can get done, but that's something I am working on!
10:30 a.m.: Send out today's orders for fulfillment and inventory control.
After planning out my day, the first thing I do is send orders to my fulfillment team. I gather the orders from both customers and retailers, create shipping labels and packing slips, and then email everything to my Los Angeles based fulfillment center. They take it over from there and pack up/ship orders that came in from the past couple of days. I used to do all of the fulfillment by myself, so it has been so nice to be able to outsource this part of my business and free up more time for myself to focus on other things!
Next up on my to-do list: create a shipment plan for inventory to be shipped to a warehouse. One of the warehouses I work with just changed their shipment creation workflow, which meant I had to learn about this new and seemingly more complex system today. Such a headache!
12:00 p.m.: Lunch break and walk around the neighborhood.
A big form of self-care that I incorporate during my day is getting outside. I gain so much energy just by taking a quick walk around my neighborhood to get exercise, sunshine and fresh air. I struggle with feeling tired and unmotivated in the afternoon and this is the one thing that has really helped me!
1:00 p.m.: The real work begins...
I always have to deal with things like customer service, fulfillment, and inventory during the morning time, so once all of that is complete by the afternoon I can finally start on the real work! This usually includes either creating social media content, working on product designs, a website update, or some form of marketing.
Today I am going over some designs for a new product we're launching in July, reviewing our social media calendar, and working on an Instagram feed post with intentions for the month.
4:00 p.m.: Quick kitten break and then finish up work.
It's time to check in on my foster kitten who has been sound asleep the whole time. I realize it’s already 4:00 p.m. so I take a break and watch some YouTube while playing with my kitten. After taking some photos of her for a family interested in adopting her, I jump back into work to tackle some of the emails that I starred earlier in the day.
6:00 p.m.: Winding down at the end of the day.
I go to a workout class at 6:00 p.m. which helps me to unwind after a day of work. Afterwards I eat dinner around 8:00 p.m. and watch a TV show (right now I'm really into the show 'StartUp' on Netflix with Adam Brody). I typically go to bed around 11 p.m. after taking a shower and getting ready for bed (and of course playing with my foster kitten and putting her to bed).
For my nighttime routine I like to read a little bit before I go to bed and I try to avoid my phone at least an hour before bed. If I'm having trouble unwinding, I’ll put on a meditation from the 'Calm' app to settle down for the night.
Evening Reflection: Productivity and the “Grind” work culture
Looking back at what I’ve accomplished for the day, I usually feel like I should’ve accomplished more than I did. My motto is 'it’s better done than perfect', but this is something I am constantly struggling with. I am not the type of business owner who can work extensive hours. I recognize that at a certain point I don’t get anything done so there’s no point in me continuing to work late into the day. I’d rather take the time I need to recharge so that tomorrow I can feel more refreshed and ready to go during the hours that I am feeling the best.
It has always been my dream to start my own business and I still can’t believe I actually made it happen. I feel so grateful to be working on Simple Self. I’d love to give anyone advice on starting their own small business. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!