A Solopreneur's Outcome: Why Taking a 'Me-treat' Was the Most Valuable Decision

by Jill Foster on August 3, 2009

What I envisioned.
As some of you may know, last month I decided to take some time to myself – a week, in fact, to think about my business, what the future holds and how I can change my work habits to make my life easier. When I envisioned this retreat, or what I’m calling my “me-treat”, I thought about holding up in a room and thinking big, important, visionary thoughts.

This wasn’t the case at all.
It’s important to say that I held my “me-treat” at home. Many folks assumed that I took a trip to an exotic, remote location. Truth is – I sat in my living room on my couch with my dogs for a week and I worked at least 8 hours every day. Here’s the story.

Goals for my business retreat
After getting my goal of at least eight hours of sleep each night (sometimes 10 hours!), I got up and got dressed and headed downstairs to my laptop, couch, Morning Joe on MSNBC and dogs. I had some very specific goals to address during my “me-treat”. Here are the highlights:

  • Business Goal: Review, plan and schedule the kickoff of my branding/marketing plan.
  • Result: I created a schedule and tasks for my team so that we can kick off this plan. The goal is to put the plan into full execution by the end of the summer.

  • Personal Goal: Spend at least 1 hour a day doing something that I want to do.
  • Result: I gardened, played with my dogs and had lunch with a friend. I will continue this practice from now on because it’s incredibly important.

  • Business Goal: Think about the second half of the year.
  • Result: The biggest thing that I took away about Q3 & Q4 is that I needed to find a way to delegate more and stress less. So I made the decision to bring on more team members to help with the work that I have been doing myself. My time is better spent marketing my company, consulting and bringing in fun, exciting projects.

  • Business Goal: Launch my new personal blog.
  • Result: I launched my new personal blog, a blog about living in the Shenandoah Valley, launched a new look for my Good Works Grapevine blog and started a new website. How’s that for progress?

  • Personal Goal: De-stress, breathe, enjoy life.
  • Result: Yes, yes, yes.

While I highly recommend the “me-treat”, here are a few things that I learned:

Define your goals.
You should have some questions that you want to answer as part of your “me-treat”. Write them down and work toward a solution. For a one-week “me-treat”, I recommend 2-3 business goals and 2-3 personal goals in order to stay focused.

Don’t expect to avoid all client work.
And don’t stress if you have to stray from the “me-treat” from time-to-time. It happened to me and I just had to go with the flow.

Don’t be afraid to take the time you need to be effective.
While I planned for a week, I could have easily taken two weeks to create a complete plan for my business and personal life. Think about what you want to accomplish and be sure to allot enough time.

(Image Time Is In My Hands by Spanish Flea, Creative Commons)

Don’t isolate yourself.
Spend time with your family and friends during your “me-treat”. Talk to them about your ideas. Invite feedback. Process all of the data as part of your plan.

Critical for business growth (and getting over stagnation)
For me, taking the time to really work through my business goals was both critical to the growth of business and motivational – enough to really get over my stagnation and get me moving. I plan on instituting the “Me-treat” as part of my yearly business practice and will do it again in six months.

Frankly, I had forgotten that I run my business and that my business doesn’t run me.

For any business owner struggling with next steps or lack of motivation, I highly recommend taking some time to think about what YOU want to do. If you are interested in taking a ““me-treat””, please feel free to contact me as I’m happy to share my experiences with anyone who needs support.

Beth J. Bates is the owner of Web Strategies Internet Solutions and a jack of all trades in the web world. She consults with small to mid-size businesses on social media marketing and helps her clients find effective ways to leverage these mediums to meet business and marketing goals. With over 14 years experience in web development, project management and marketing, Beth enjoys putting a new twist on traditional web technology and methods. She specializes in social media marketing and how strategy, tactics and tools help businesses expand their reach through their web presence.

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