Nicole Brzoza, founder Heart & Style.
It was summer 2017 and I was so happy. Happy that I finally registered my business and was able to start working as a virtual assistant next to my full-time corporate job. I just wanted to start working and didn’t know back then, how much organization that would actually take. But I kept going and eventually, I had to learn the hard way.
Just with my bigger goal in my mind I started to look for my first clients while my old company required me to work overtime almost each day. I found my first clients for my virtual assistant work quite quickly and so it happened more than once that I worked 12+ hours. 10 hours in my old company and then 2 or 3 more for my clients after work. And every evening, I came back home like a zombie, only functioning but not living anymore.
My partner was everything else but amused by this situation and my body told me quite quickly that it also wasn’t very fond of me working so many hours a day, not even considering my working hours at the weekend! So I got sick quite often and while I stayed away from my corporate job I still used to work for my clients in the meantime. I mean, as a freelancer now, you can’t simply take some days off.
At some point people started to get worried about me as I didn’t take any time off anymore and therefore neglected my partner and my family. After some serious talks with my family and partner who wanted me back and not the zombie I’ve become I realized this cannot go on like this anymore. And as my old corporate job made me quite unhappy and didn’t help me to live the life I have always wanted I quit and I cut in working hours to have more time for the most important people in my life again. Also, I needed to take care of my health before I got seriously sick.
Working as a virtual assistant paved the way for me to live a self-determined and independent life. That was at least the goal and I enjoyed my newly won freedom to a great extent. As it was summer I enjoyed going out a lot, going for a swim, travel here and there. Because hey, I was now able to divide my working time myself. However, this time I fell into the other extreme and found it very hard getting myself to work again.
Now I got easily distracted by all the beautiful things outside and although I managed to accomplish my client work within the deadline I found it hard to work on my original purpose. However, my bank account showed me quite quickly that I needed to change something if I wanted to make a living out of it and I knew deep in my heart what I was lacking: consistency.
I always had a hard time with self-discipline and consistency and as I researched the topic more and more I found out that consistency is not what every person thought it would be. It’s not about doing a task for several hours (which is intensity) but rather repeating certain tasks every day. And by researching various techniques and strategies that will help me creating an overall more consistent business I started to implement it in my own life to bring more balance to my work.
I really must say that I failed several times but I got up again and tried again to implement the different strategies and eventually, I saw some great results in my business. Not only was I able to watch my success grow through consistent practices, but I was also able to introduce a 4-day work week in my routine, working less than 8 hours a day and accomplish more tasks in a shorter time while staying highly focused. It was in this time when I learned what it means to work smart not hard and so I took on the next challenge to accomplish even greater things.
During the course of my work as a virtual assistant I noticed that there were not a lot of women who started their own online business and I wanted to change that. And as I’ve always been quite passionate about equality in the business world and wanted to grow a much bigger, sustainable business I decided it is time to help women with my experience and start this venture in a clever way.
By hiring a mentor who helped me build this business I was not only able to save a lot of time which I otherwise would have needed to look for all the information about how to build a professional brand but I was also able to keep my established 4-day work week with working less than 8 hours a day.
And guess what? Although, I was not hustling all the time I got awesome results in the first few months. I grew quite quickly an audience who trusted me, who purchased my offers and who helped me grow in a way that will sustain me for a longer time period. And now that I’m using my productivity techniques to keep my working hours low and to build passive income streams in these hours I am on the best way to cut in even more working hours in the future.
Now, I can enjoy the time with my family and my partner even more without being in “zombie-mode” and I’ve never been sick again ever since I’ve been running my own business. I don’t worry about not being able to complete my tasks as I use the few hours in the week to work highly focused on my business without allowing anything to distract me in that time.
I believe that working hard will never get you a balanced live. However, working smart will and this is what we should all look out for. We should always ask ourselves how we can work more productively and efficiently in less hours so we can still enjoy our lives with our family.
So have a close look at how you can accomplish your tasks in a smarter way to save time and energy and to enjoy a more balanced and fulfilled life. Because a self-determined and independent life cannot be reached by living an unbalanced life.