Military life is full of separations, and while they can be difficult for you and your whole family, it's a great time to get extra work done in your small business. I recently experienced a TDY with my service member, Nick, and this episode goes over my top tips (and things I did wrong) during our TDY when it comes to running your small business. This is episode 130 of the Moments with an MEO podcast.
In this episode, I chat about:
If you have tips for small business ownership and TDYs, feel free to message me on Instagram: @new_altitudes
Check out MilSO Box here: www.milsobox.com
It's okay to put the business first. And it's okay to put the business last. Sometimes we know it deep down, and we just need to hear it. So if you needed to hear this, maybe you're sitting in your office right now. Or maybe you were last night, and you can hear the TV in the other room, and you just wish that you were cuddled up with your family watching a movie, instead of sitting at your desk. Or maybe you feel guilty, because you don't want that. You can hear that TV and you're like, oh my gosh, that movie, again, I'm so glad I have work to do. But you feel guilty for even thinking that. And no matter what you feel your feelings are valid. Entrepreneurship, guilt is a real thing. But the good news is that during a TDY, there's less of that, because you can work and you can feel guilt free during those moments.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the moments within m e o Podcast. Today, I want to talk about something that I just experienced. And it's not my first time experiencing it. However, this was the longest TDY that Nick has had. And so running my business, especially with multiple businesses, around this Extended TDY, if you will, was a little bit different than most. And so I did a poll on Instagram. And you guys asked me to do an episode on how to run your business around a TDY. And so I want to walk through things that I did that were super helpful, as well as maybe some things that I wish I had done, and I didn't do and I should have. So that's what we're going to talk about today. If you're new to the male spouse community, a TD y is basically like a training exercise mission, if you will, where your service member goes away for a little bit of time. It's not drastic, it's not a deployment, it's not typically a crazy, long amount of time. This was Nick's longest TDY. And it was three weeks. So a fairly good chunk of time without him, especially since I had just done the MBO retreat four days before this. So we came home, we had four days together, and then he left. So really, we haven't seen each other all that much in over a month. So a TDY actually stands for temporary duty. So while they're gone, there's a lot of extra time. And there's things that you can do to efficiently use that time and be intentional with that time. And there's things that you can do that can kind of make that time less efficient for your business. So the three things that I wish I'd done. Number one, I wish I would have planned ahead, so that I didn't have to work the four days in between, like the retreat and when he left. So I wish I didn't have as much work that I needed to focus on in the days leading up to his TDY because I knew he was going to be gone for three weeks, and I wanted to spend time with him. But there was also a lot of things that just had to get done. And so I wish that I had planned ahead a little bit better, and been able to work less and spend more time with him before he left. Number two, and this is the biggest one honestly, I wish I had set healthier boundaries for myself. I realized after week two, that I was starting to burn out. And it was because I had been working from the time I woke up until basically the time I fell asleep. And I went to the gym and I walked with my friends and I did you know some I did some continued education for my Realty license. But really, for the most part, if I was at home, I was working. I skipped lunch because I wasn't paying attention to the time. I worked weekends. And I found myself even bringing my laptop into the bedroom. I hate saying this, to be honest, I hate saying this because I am a huge advocate for my clients personally, to have healthy boundaries. And one of those is not to bring work to bed. But I found myself doing that. And I got wrapped up in this idea of like I have these three weeks to spend on my business and I have all this extra time where I'm not feeling guilty and we're going to talk about that entrepreneurial guilt in a second. But I had all this time where I didn't feel guilty for working and so I felt like I had to hustle harder. That's not it healthy. And that's not good. And I don't want to encourage that and you guys, and that's why I am being vulnerable and sharing with you guys that this is something that I failed at during next TDY make sure that you're setting healthy boundaries, make sure that you are number three is I wish I took the time to do more fun things, more things that were just, I want to do them. So let's go do them. I
wish I had taken myself out to the movies, or I wish I had ordered Mexican food takeout and you know, had like a slumber party in my living room, even if it was just me and the dogs like I truly wish I had done more things that were fun. And then I did not get swallowed up in the hustle culture. But that's what happened. And here's the funny thing. I hustled so hard in the last three weeks while Nick was gone. And while I did make some progress in some areas, I can be 100% truthful and say that I did not hit all my goals. I did not do everything that I thought I could. And I didn't do as much as I have done on previous weeks when I have had healthy boundaries. So burnout isn't kind to you. And by week three, I was truly like sitting there irritated at everything and everyone. Every conversation I had was annoying or frustrating. I was sick and tired of working, I was sick and tired of doing nothing. I was so over it. And I'm sure whether you have had a business endeavor or not in the past, during a TDY. We all feel this, like we want our service member to come home. And that's where I was I was like, I just want Nick to come home so that my schedule can go back to normal. I could have had a normal schedule, I just didn't give myself that grace. And I did not give myself that time. So the three things just to recap of what I wish I had done, but I failed to do number one planned ahead, so I didn't have to work before neck left. Number two setting healthy boundaries, please, please, please, please set healthy boundaries, y'all. And then number three, I wish I had taken the time to do more things that were just plain fun. And I didn't. However, there were four things that I did that worked really well during this TDY. And so I want to talk about those two. Number one, I got to work a little bit more, without feeling guilty for working on my business. This is something that comes up at every MBO retreat. This is something that comes up in many conversations with clients when I do one on ones with them. And that is this feeling of, I want to work on my business. But I feel guilty for wanting to work on my business. When my kids need me. I feel guilty for wanting to work on something in my business or staying later in my office or meeting up with clients when I know my husband is home. And this is rare time that I get to spend with him. I feel guilty for not sitting down with my husband on the couch to watch TV. And instead I'm in my office and I just feel overwhelmingly guilty. This is something that is extremely common and entrepreneurship in general, not just military spouse hood. But then we've also got that extra layer as a military spouse, where we have limited time with our loved ones. Sometimes we are stretched thin because of deployments or TD wise with kiddos. And sometimes it's just not possible to do at all. So we have to pick we have to choose. And some days it will be the business. And some days it will be the family. And some days it will be something else entirely maybe your health, or maybe just a fun vacation. It's okay to put the business first. And it's okay to put the business last. And I just want to make that extremely clear. Because sometimes we know it deep down and we just need to hear it. So if you needed to hear this, maybe you're sitting in your office right now. Or maybe you were last night and you can hear the TV in the other room. And you just wish that you were cuddled up with your family watching a movie instead of sitting at your desk. Or maybe you feel guilty because you don't want that. Maybe you feel guilty because you can hear that TV and you're like, oh my gosh, that movie again. I'm so glad I have work to do. But you feel guilty for even thinking that and no matter what you feel your feelings are valid. Entrepreneurship guilt is a real thing. But the good news is that during a TD why there's less of that because there's one less Human Being needing your attention at the times that they normally are. So you can get, you can work. And you can feel guilt free during those moments. And I truly enjoyed it. I love drill weekends, I love it when my husband is gone one weekend, every month, because it means I get to spend that weekend working on my business. And I love it,
I truly do I enjoy that time. Because it means that I can work now while he's working. And then when he comes home, I can show with him and it's less guilt for working on the weekends. Number two, I set goals. And I told you earlier, I didn't achieve everything I thought I could. But I had an extensive list of goals. And if you're new here, I do have like a to do list that I like to do. And that's your three things for the day. And then anything else that you might get to if you have time, but really sticking to those three things a day. Because I got wrapped up in the hustle culture, I set more goals than three a day. And so when I didn't achieve them the next day, I felt like I had to accomplish four or five in order to make up for the previous day. And I did not give myself the grace to just relax. That's where I kind of took this a little too far. However, I think setting goals during a TDY is a fantastic idea. Because you know, roughly it's not like a deployment, you know, roughly when they're coming home. I knew Nick was coming home on Friday, I didn't know what time on Friday. So I counted Friday out I was like I'm just going to clean and relax that day waiting for Nick to come home. And then whenever he's here, I'll go pick them up. But I knew that I had X number of days or X amount of time. And this is perfect for working on smart goals. We've done episodes where we've talked about smart goals before. But one of the things the T is timeliness, being able to set a goal and understand that in order to for it to be successful in order to see that growth. And to see that that goal has been accomplished. One of the things is you have to set a time on it. You can't just say I want to make a million dollars. You want to say I want to make a million dollars by the time I'm 35. Otherwise, I want to make a million dollars that's so abstract that like there's no you can't plan for that. You can't plan around that. You want to set a time. And so what a TDY offers you is that time limit, you're given that you don't get a choice. And so you can go through your goals and say, Okay, what can I accomplish in this amount of time, maybe it's only a week, maybe it's two weeks, maybe it's three, like next was this time, maybe it's two months, some are even longer than any that Nick has been on. So being able to say, Okay, in this amount of time with the responsibilities I have, these are the realistic goals that I can get done. And then push yourself to actually get them done. The third thing that I did that I loved that I
did during TDY was that I deep cleaned and reorganized, I completely redid my office, I decided I needed another desk, I bought said desk, I really deep cleaned. Because again, that time that I would normally spend with Nick watching TV or something else, I wasn't doing anything. And it was a great break from the high focus busy work. And I was actually able to get things done without too many distractions, which is nice. And then the fourth thing that I highly recommend that you do is have a dream day. This is especially important if you still have your business as a side hustle to an actual corporate job or a job where you work for someone else. A dream day is something that I used to talk about often. But since quitting my corporate job, I have my dream day every day, so I don't talk about it too much. But I did this during the TDY because obviously I have new goals, new dreams and new ideas on where I want to be a dream day is where you spend the whole day living out your dream. So if your dream is to take your side hustle to full time, and you write down on your sheet of paper that you walk the dogs in the morning, and then you go out for Mexican food with friends for lunch, and then you have your client calls in the evening. And then you cuddle up and watch a movie at night and you only worked three hours and that's your dream day. Put in your PTO take the time off and have that dream day make that day a reality. What this does is number one, it helps with manifesting but if you're not that into all the woowoo stuff, that's okay to really what it does is it allows you to realize that it's possible and it allows you to feel what it feels like to have that day A and of course you want more of it. But it also allows you to say, You know what, that was awesome, but maybe not my dream day, maybe next time I would do it this way. When I had this as a side hustle, and I had a full time corporate job, I loved doing a dream day, once every other month. I didn't want to take too much PTO, sometimes I would do it on a weekend if I really craving it. But having a dream day where you just take the day off of work, maybe a Friday or even a Monday, Mondays are great to take off to have a dream day because you start off the week strong. And you get a three day weekend. Like who doesn't want that. But what I loved was every other month, I just reminded myself of the vision I just reminded myself of where I wanted to go and how to get there. And that was beautiful. And that led to me quitting my job a little over a year ago. So if you are currently going through a TD why highly recommend that you have a dream to aim so take out a blank sheet of paper. Write down from the moment you open your eyes, whatever time in your dream day. Are you sleeping in? Are you waking up early? What does that look like for you? All the way through until you go to bed? And what time did you go to bed? Did you stay out late? Did you get to bed early like figure out what makes sense for you and what your dream day would look like and then bring it to fruition? Especially while your servicemembers gone. Alright, those are my quick tips for how to run your business successfully during a TDY. And I hope that you found this vulnerable episode encouraging and enlightening, and hopefully you learned from my mistakes. But I would love to know can you send me a message on Instagram that's at New underscore altitudes. Just send me a message on Instagram if you listen to this episode and you found it helpful, or if you have another tip for someone who might be going through a TD why, especially if you've got kids because obviously Nick and I don't have that experience yet. And so if you have tips for how to run your business successfully during a TDY send them to me on Instagram that's at New altitudes. Have a great day and take care