Tomorrow marks Outshine’s 8th birthday, which means a lot of years of being in business for me, and every single year I’m grateful that I’ve made it this far. It’s not been easy, and at times I’ve felt like jacking it all in, so I always like to take these anniversaries as a time to reflect and pen my latest insights from another year of being a small business owner…
There are 5 key takeaways that stand out for me this year: –
1. It’s Good To Collaborate
It’s all well and good being able to work well on your own – something I’m very comfortable doing. But my business has come on leaps and bounds from smart collaborations, and being open to changing the way I work in order to team up with other savvy entrepreneurs who are paving the way with great ideas and innovative thinking. They push my boundaries, teach me more than they probably realise, and help take my business and career satisfaction to another level.
Regardless of how capable you are, always be open to working with others – collaborating with the right people will always take your business and career up a notch or two.
2. Take The Pressure Off
I’m my own worst enemy at times as I’m inpatient with myself, and as a result pile on the pressure to reach my goals now, or ideally yesterday if that was possible! With the juggling act of running my own business along with raising two young children, I’ve realised that this pressure does nothing other than create stress and unhappiness. By getting comfortable that the success I want will come in time if I keep working hard, and remain focused, I’ve allowed myself the opportunity to enjoy my work – and life – more, instead of constantly looking at ‘what next’ and feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
Whilst it’s good to look ahead and know what you want in life, don’t get so focused on the future that you forget to enjoy the now.
3. Stay True To Your Passions
It’s easy to caught get up doing work that pays the big bucks, and moving further and further away from what you actually love doing in your business. From time to time I’ve fallen into this trap, and it’s never felt good. Of course it’s nice to see a big lump of dosh hit your bank account, but for me that’s never equaled career satisfaction. When I’ve taken on jobs – or clients – that haven’t felt right, the engagement has played on my mind, manifested into stress, and ultimately left me wishing the time away until the job was done.
Thankfully this has only happened to me on a few occasions, but I know it can be hard to turn down good money when cash-flow is tight. That said, when you have a good business model and stay true to what you love doing – and why you went into business in the first place – it’s a lot easier to enjoy your work, focus on the tasks that will attract the right clients, and ultimately leave you feeling a high level of career satisfaction when you log off and go home.
4. Choose Your Service Providers Carefully
I made the big mistake of using a service provider for my business that has failed on multiple occasions – and I kick myself every single time. I should have gone with my gut-feel from day 1 but instead I’ve endured endless technology issues as a result of picking someone that was never right for my business, or me. Today marks the day that I can end that contract and I couldn’t be happier!
When a potential new client is considering working with me I always say that they should go with their gut feel, and make sure that whoever they choose, it’s someone they connect with and feel they can trust. If only I’d taken my own advice! Take your time to choose important providers for your business, and get to know them. Ask the right questions, and be thorough, so that you go into a partnership with your eyes wide open and excited about the service they’re going to provide. If you’re unsure, ask more questions, get recommendations, or steer clear!
5. Stop Filling Your Diary
I’m someone that can get a little excited when I look at my diary and see lots of appointments and ‘stuff’ happening in my week. But more often than not, when the time actually comes the day can feel quite overbearing. Over the years I’ve reigned myself in and recognised that space in my diary is a good thing – which might sound obvious, but I see this happening every day with my ambitious, go-get-’em clients who are itching to do their very best, ASAP. We want things to happen ‘now’ (see point #2!) so filling up your diary can feel like the right thing to do. But it’s not.
When you stop trying to cram too much into your day or week, you give yourself time to think, focus on the right tasks, and produce quality work that gets great results. It’s also not a good look to be running around parading your ‘Busy Badge’ – being in control, calm and collected is a much more attractive look!
So as you head into the new financial year, make your diary your best friend and give it time. I’m not talking about wasting time giving tasks and projects more hours than they need (cue: Parkinsons Law) but instead being realistic about how much you can deliver in conjunction with your normal energy levels. If you’re trying to pack too much into your day, over and over again, it won’t end well and you – and your business – will pay the price.
It’s been a great year over all, and I still pinch myself with every year that goes by that my career change and dream of being a successful business owner is actually a reality. It’s not easy, I work hard, and I think about my business a lot – but that’s OK, I’d rather be thinking about my own venture than someone else’s!
If you’ve been thinking about setting up your own business, or would like some guidance on notching up another anniversary, book a complimentary consultation and lets see how we can collaborate!
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