3 Work Smart Secrets For Entrepreneurs With Chronic Health Issues

Chronic illness and pain shouldn’t hold you back from pursuing your dreams. In fact, it should be the very thing that motivates you to make them a reality.

Megan Stewart, Founder of Design the Conversation | Source: Courtesy
Megan Stewart, Founder of Design the Conversation | Source: Courtesy

Imagine you’re sitting at your desk typing away on your laptop and suddenly you hunch over in severe pain. The first thought is to try to control yourself so you attempt to stay calm and head to the nearest bathroom to splash cool water on your face. Yet it does little to suppress the pain.

Now imagine this happening day in and day out, multiple times a day as symptoms worsen. This was my life when I worked a 9-5. I had absolutely no say in what my body would do or when it would start to hinder my work.


Managing business and chronic health issues

Endometriosis is a disorder that impacts 1 in 10 women. Simply put, the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus causing extreme pelvic pain and other severe symptoms. While there’s no cure, treatment options exist and the severity varies.

While I was working for someone else, I wasn’t able to take care of my health the way I would have liked. So I did something about it. I launched my own company and became an entrepreneur.

Along the way I’ve learned how to better mange my health and live and work with Endometriosis. Here are a few of my self-care secrets.


1. Work smarter, not harder

At the time I didn’t know how working for myself, setting my own hours, and focusing on my health would change my life. However, I learned there would be more challenges to face as a direct result of my health.

Productivity ebbed and flowed with my symptoms. I needed to figure out a way to work less, but still maintain the level of quality my clients had become accustomed to. I had to figure out how to keep up with the rising demands of my business.


Photo: Devin Edwards, Unsplash
Photo: Devin Edwards, YFS Magazine

Working smarter became a necessity, but it wasn’t a simple path. At first, I had to work harder. I had to sprint to develop autonomous systems and processes for my business. As a web designer, that meant overlapping clients (something I don’t like to do), setting up multiple meetings a week with potential clients, and attending more in-person networking events.

I made it happen and soon I was able to give myself the breathing room I needed in my business.


2. Create an actionable game plan

In order to succeed I knew I needed a sales funnel that would consistently generate new leads. I also needed a system in place to onboard potential clients, convert them to paying clients, and physically handle in-person meetings and networking events.

It took me about two months to create a fully fleshed out client intake process. I set up a tracker to show my leads, how many touchpoints I had with each lead, their hesitations, budget and what they needed. I undertook target market research and streamlined my service offerings.

Instead of offering everything but the kitchen sink, I narrowed my focus to what I was truly passionate about and what would truly help my clients. I adjusted price points to line up with client needs. Now my process works for me.

Admittedly, feeding the pipeline for potential clients was one of the hardest things to do, but once it was implemented – game-changer! And aat the end of the day, business is about relationships. The more people you have a connection with, the more likely those people are to refer you and do business with you themselves.

There is so much that goes into running a business. Without proper systems and processes, you’ll lose precious time to things that hinder your productivity.



3. Self-care is the best care

Listen to your body and schedule time to relax. Perhaps the most important part of my system was a self-care regimen that would let me handle the physical aspects of my business. When you’re dealing with a chronic health issue it plays a major factor. So, it was important to focus on improving it.


Photo: Candice Picard, Unsplash
Photo: Candice Picard, YFS Magazine

As I created more time freedom and financial security for myself, I started eating healthier, working out more and visiting doctors to review my treatment options. We devised a health plan and put it into action.


Create a healthier life and business

Ultimately, the key lesson here is working smart. I developed a system that creates leads on demand to cut back on legwork, put my needs first and gave my clients the best possible experience and offerings. As a result, my productivity significantly improved. I can now handle a heavier workload with more clients, my body isn’t stressed out, and my relationships are flourishing.

The biggest takeaway for me was that being an entrepreneur is so much more than time freedom and financial freedom. It also gives you the freedom to take care of the things you need to take care of like your health, relationships, or general life situations.

Chronic illness and pain shouldn’t hold you back from pursuing your dreams. In fact, it should be the very thing that motivates you to make them a reality.


Megan Stewart used her 10 years of experience as a journalist, while creating digital platforms for publications who didn’t have a online identity, to open her business, Design the Conversation, a web presence development company specializing in customized websites, landing pages, and more for entrepreneurs, business owners, and coaches. Megan’s story and expertise have been featured in several magazines and online publications, including Badassery Magazine. When she’s not creating kickass websites for her clients, you can find her reading a good book or spending time with her pups. Connect with @Megan_Stewart21 on Twitter.


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