April 13, 2024 • Productivity

The Mindset of Entrepreneurs Who Own Multiple Businesses

Balance exists.

Quick story time (and tips) for my fellow entrepreneurs who own multiple businesses.

I’m part of a private networking group of women entrepreneurs.

Some in the group know that I operate an e-commerce candle brand, Spoken Flames, and serve clients as a designer—sometimes through my branding agency, Essy & Jo, or as a freelancer.

Within the group, someone asked: “Where are my multiple business owners? How do you balance it all?”

I was tagged in the thread.

My drafted response to that question (I wrote it in my Notes app) was lengthy.

It read like a novel. Sometimes, I overshare.

Answering questions like those can be selfishly therapeutic and selflessly advisory. I’d never want someone to endure the pressure and pain that entrepreneurship can present. I’m full of lessons and stories to help others avoid that.

So, in my long note, I touched on everything that could be helpful—from learning the psychology of money, the need to hire—freelance versus full-time—and setting personal boundaries to manage multiple businesses.

Shavaun on mobile phone - entrepreneurs who own multiple businesses

But not wanting to get too deep into the roots of why some of us (myself included) overachieve or take on too much, or even the complexities of hiring, I kept my response light with two top-level, tangible things I do as an entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses.

I’ll share those two tips (shared in the private group) below and the mindset shifts I’ve made to know when enough is enough—and how to create boundaries so that you don’t sacrifice your health, happiness, and well-being to pursue multi-entrepreneurship.

So, thank you to my fellow multi-entrepreneur who asked: How do you balance it all?

Does Balance Exist for Entrepreneurs Who Own Multiple Businesses?

With clear systems and boundaries, yes—balance can exist for my fellow multi-hyphenates. 

But I know this only because I’ve lived the chaotic, stressful, and overwhelming version of multi-entrepreneurship that was unhealthy, unorganized, and unsustainable.

I had accepted so much work, and business was booming on paper. Meanwhile, I was gaining weight, losing sleep, and sleeping on boxes overnight in my office to meet deadlines.

Slowly, then suddenly, I spiraled into an unhappy place.

But look, let’s first acknowledge that being multi-passionate is a gift.

You’ve identified more than one thing that sparks joy or curiosity enough to build more than one business around your interests or expertise.

But that gift can quickly become a nightmare without the right team, process, and expectations.

You can fall victim to your own ambition.

So, before you fall off the rails, consider these two top-level and tangible tips for executing multiple business ideas.

How to Manage Multiple Businesses (Two Tangible Tips)

  1. Use productivity and project management tools to document and separate your tasks by each business—and count your personal life on your boards, too. It’s too easy to let personal stuff slip, so I honor my life as much as I do my business. I’ve started using Notion. When tasks are separated and prioritized by each endeavor, you can make progress without feeling like you have an overwhelming to-do list.
  2. Allocate hours for each business/task. Start with your cap—maybe 60 hours per week, for example. I split up those 60 hours across the endeavors. Again, letting one task consume your attention is too easy, creating a domino effect of falling behind and feeling overwhelmed. So, I either get what needs to be done within the allocated hours or shift the timeline/expectation. This definitive approach doesn’t work for everyone.

The Mindset of Managing Multiple Businesses

If you’ve ever met with a VC or watched an episode of Shark Tank, it’s easy to feel guilty (or wrong) for having more than one business.

They say go all-in on one thing—even if it means eating ramen and couch surfing indefinitely.

And understandably so.

As the people making cash investments in your company, investors should know you’re fully invested in that one business to ensure a multiple return on their investment.

In that context, being a multi-entrepreneur to them can be a red flag.

But this isn’t for the business owner seeking venture capital, per se.

There are different kinds of entrepreneurship.

These mindset tips are for the lifestyle entrepreneur or solopreneur who wants to prioritize their peace over profit.

That said, the mindset of managing multiple businesses requires these two traits:

Acceptance

When it comes to balance between business endeavors, I accept that when one of the businesses or clients needs more of me, the other will get less. 

Boundary-Setting

Set clear time blocks for who and what gets your attention. As a multi-hyphenate, there will always be something you could be doing. But setting boundaries for your time and energy will help you avoid sacrificing your health, happiness, and well-being.

Serial Entrepreneurs Hire

The ultimate solution to managing multiple businesses full-throttle is to hire.

Replace yourself as fast as possible and build a team that can execute your vision so you can free up your time to nurture another business idea or retire on a beach.

This is easier said than done.

Also, not everyone has the piña colada beach retirement as an end goal—some of us enjoy bringing ideas, brands, and businesses to life, for life.

But, back to hiring: I shared the interesting growth and stats for hiring freelancers with Entrepreneur magazine.

Managing multiple businesses comes down to what type of entrepreneur (and businesses) you aspire to have and be.

When I pursued business growth at any cost, I paid in and sacrificed my health and mental wellness.

As I redefine success for myself, my mindset around managing multiple businesses has shifted to a place where I prioritize peace over profit.

Notion boards and boundary-setting, however simple it sounds, help.

About the Author
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