Happy people are more productive, both at work and in everyday life.
Research has proven this, and the business world is catching on. Many companies are investing in happiness workshops to learn how to create an intentionally happy workplace. These workshops are showing huge impacts, but are often not feasible for the entrepreneur or solopreneur who’s just starting out. However, it is just as important (maybe more so!) that those in the early stages or who work alone or in small teams learn how to create happiness in the workplace. 90% of businesses are small businesses, and many fail within the first year of opening. Research has shown that investing in employee happiness pays dividends, which can help businesses grow and expand, instead of pack up and shut down.
Why You Should Care About Your and Your Employees’ Happiness
Happiness at work results in reduced stress, healthier employees (which also means less sick days), better quality service, and, as a result,happier clients. And happy clients tell their friends, which, of course, snowballs into higher profits. Happy clients are the best source of marketing for a business. How do you get happy clients? Start with a happy workplace.
7 Ways Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs Can Improve Their Workplace Happiness
Tip #1: Get a goal buddy
This is a MUST. People feel happier when they get positive feedback on what they’ve accomplished, and when they feel like what they’re doing is meaningful or creating value. If you’re the only one working on your business, it may feel like you have no one to share your accomplishments with (and calling your mom gets old). Find another entrepreneur (or, if you’re in a small team, pair up) and get together once a week to discuss your goals for the week – and your accomplishments. Praise each other for getting your shit done, and celebrate with each other when you meet your goals.
Tip #2: Connect with your people
Sometimes it seems like you don’t have the time, but happy people make time for friends and family. If you’re at home alone all day working,you may start humming the blues without knowing why. Try working out of a coworking space a few days a week, or invite your friends over to work from your place. Even if you don’t talk to each other, there is a sense of community, which we all need to feel happy.
Tip #3: Give something away
Making a difference in someone else’s life brings us happiness. While you may not be able to give away 10% of your profits, you may be able to give away 1%, or do some of your work pro-bono or discounted. Or take a couple of hours each month to mentor or teach young kids in your community to do what you do – or do something you know how to do. I guarantee you’ll be filled with joy.
Tip #4: Invest in your professional development
Research has shown that people are happier at work when they are challenged and feel like they are growing in their field. If you don’t have a boss to push you into a new course or training (because you are the boss), you need to do this for yourself. Explore some local classes or e-courses and take the leap to learn or expand your horizons.
Tip #5: Make your achievements visible
This goes back to Tip #1: we’re happier when we’ve accomplished something. You may not have someone around each day to high-five you when you complete a task, so make sure your achievements are visible to you. I write down each task on a sticky note at the beginning of the day. When I’ve completed the task, I crumple it in my hand to truly show how badass and powerful I am!
Tip #6: Say “thank you”
People who regularly express gratitude are happier. There are a number of ways you can incorporate gratitude into your daily life. I like to write down the things I’m grateful for at the beginning of each day. Today, for example, I wrote that I am grateful for my toes, because they keep me balanced, and that I’m grateful for dairy-free macaroni and cheese. What you’re grateful for doesn’t have to be profound or serious; it just has to invoke a sense of gratitude. Doing this exercise sets my day on the right track and reminds me that everything is fine. It keeps me present (another tip for happiness), and optimistic.
Tip #7: Exercise
I know, I know. You already know this. But seriously, exercise does make us happier. My one caveat on this: do something you actually enjoy. I found that when I was trying to be cool and do barre I wasn’t happy, even after the workout. I hated the culture and felt out of place. If you’re not exercising now, it’s probably because you haven’t found something you love doing. Take some time to explore what speaks to you for exercise, and then tell your accountability partner (see Tip #1) how many times you plan to workout that week. If you don’t reach that goal, make the stakes high. I once told my accountability partner that if I didn’t go to yoga 3 times in one week, I’d have to donate to Trump’s campaign. I made it to yoga 4 times that week.
C0-Founder / Chief Happiness Officer
A recovering lawyer and trained happiness in the workplace coach, Sarah is Flauk’s resident business ma’am and money strategist.