Question: Bruce – I am going crazy! I am selling, managing, and trying to grow my new business! Can’t seem to get ahead.. Any advice?
This answer really applies to sales professionals, marketers, and the business owner!
So you’ve decided to start your own business. Congratulations! Working for yourself is a huge life change, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re planning to freelance from home or start your own storefront, it’s important to understand that stress can sneak up on anyone. While running your own company can be exciting, it also carries a lot of stress. Fortunately, there are several ways you can work for yourself without going crazy.
- Set regular business hours
I get it. Easier said than done. While working for yourself offers a certain amount of flexibility, it’s also important that you set regular business hours and be consistent. This is as much for your friends and family members as it is for your clients. Sometimes, well-meaning peers might think that you working at home means you’re available at anytime. If you don’t set boundaries for your work hours, this can mean you’ll have friends asking you to walk their dog during the day or relatives who are frustrated when you won’t meet them for lunch. Consider having fixed work hours four days a week. The other two days (oops, yes, we sometimes have to work the weekend as a new business owner) each week you can have flex hours. This provides you with a bit of leeway in scheduling visits and meetings with clients and friends, but you’ll still have fairly consistent work hours.
- Get organized. Get a plan. Get disciplined
Staying organized can be challenging, but it is an important part of working for yourself. Consider creating a schedule for yourself each day. Figure out how much time you want to spend contacting clients, working on projects, meeting with investors and marketing your services. If you need to interview people to work for you, you’ll also want to figure that in.
It’s also important that your work space be physically organized. If you need to get a file, for example, it’s going to save you time and stress if you know exactly where to look for it. You could get a small filing cabinet or simply keep all of your files on a shelf. When you first set up your at-home office, consider visiting a local business supply store and picking up a few helpful desk organizer tools. While this is certainly an investment, it’s one you won’t soon regret.
- Hire help. Outsource the help
Working for yourself doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. This is a secret that takes awhile to figure out on your own. It’s okay to admit that you need help sometimes. Once you’ve started your business, consider hiring people whose services can minimize your stress. You work on the most valuable areas – that you enjoy! This could be a personal assistant, for example. A personal assistant can work remotely from home, which means you can easily pay per-hour or per-day of work. He or she can help you respond to emails, manage your social media sites and update your webpage for you. You may also want to consider hiring someone to do payroll, research, and other task oriented work, as well. Outsource the work you don’t have time for and focus on the parts or your business that have the greatest impact. I would bet it is 1-2 key activities.
- Be patient
This is also very difficult. Be patient with yourself. No job is completely stress-free, and you might be holding yourself to impossible standards. Any good business takes time to grow and become truly successful. Even if you don’t feel satisfied with your growth after a month or two of work, don’t give up. Keep working each day on making your business grow, on promoting your company and on improving your services.
One more thing – there is a business principle called the “20 mile” march. Embrace it. Stay disciplined everyday to achieving your goals and working your plan! Consistency is key. The reward is right around the corner!
Lastly – don’t forget to schedule “down time”. Why have a business if it does not allow you to enjoy the activities that make you happy. So.. I will look forward to speaking with you next time. I am going outside to enjoy the rest of the day..