Being a sole-trader has so many benefits – you are your own boss, you’re in charge, you make all the decisions, you get to feel the pride for the work you do!

But what happens if life throws you a curveball? What happens when you, the only person who can do your job, can’t do your job?

Here are my tips for staying afloat and minimising stress when things are thrown out of alignment.

  1. Be real. Be honest with your clients as soon as possible and make sure they understand there may be a delay, and reassure them that you’re still working as hard as you can to meet their expectations. Update them as often as you can.
  2. Set up email auto-replies, so that you can feel comfortable knowing that your clients aren’t left wondering what’s going on, and why you’re unable to get back to them.
  3. Set aside half an hour to schedule some social media posts for the coming weeks/months.
  4. Try and still keep a tidy and organised workspace. Make sure you’ve still got a corner of the world (even if it’s tiny!) that is just yours, and you can retreat there to work. Fill it with whatever makes your soul happy – a nice candle, colourful stationery, upbeat music – whatever works for you!
  5. Focus on the positives – if your business is going well and you’re in demand, that’s great! People are working with you because they value you, so they are likely to understand that they may need to wait a little longer than normal.
  6. Give realistic deadlines – new realistic, not before-the-change realistic. It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver, than the other way around.
  7. Take a night off. Forget about it all for a night, sit on the couch and watch telly – then you’ll be fresh and ready for a new day after a good night’s sleep.
  8. Look after yourself. This is a temporary change, and life will return to normal (or will settle into a new kind of normal) once the initial turmoil passes.

Do you have any other tips for coping with unexpected hiccups? I’d love to hear them below!