Quick note: You may have noticed some funky looking links within my posts. This is my experimentation with monetizing my blog (I am after all an entrepreneur…) so if you’re a regular reader, you can feel free to disregard these links… they’re identifiable by the green color and double lines beneath them! 😉
Most freelancers and entrepreneurs may not be aware of it, but their vices could very well be sabotaging their businesses.
And nope, I’m not talking vices like sex, drugs, and rock and roll. (Those are the fun ones!) Nor am I talking vices like smoking, drinking, and a very single-minded propensity to smuggle chocolate into the bedroom for a delish little late night snack. (OK, maybe that last one is just me…)
I’m talking vices that may or may not interfere with your body’s health, but almost certainly they interfere with the health of your business and the health of your bottom… er… line. (As in your revenue people, get your brains out of the gutter… sheesh, mention the word sex or chocolate and ya’ll all go haywire!) Entrepreneurial sins if you will.
So Are You One Of These People?
Have you pushed your bad work habits aside or shrugged them off, disregarding the fact that they may very well be putting your business at risk?
It’s possible you’re “aware” that you’re doing all these things but not completely cognizant of exactly how badly they can affect you… and then again you could be completely blind to these little vices you have, and be obliviously paving a slick road for yourself straight to entrepreneurial hell. (Get it? Vices? Sin? Hell? Dang I’m clever…)
Or mayhap you’re just in outright denial, (it ain’t just a river in Egypt ya know!) because put simply… that just feels more comfy to you. I really don’t know.
But regardless of whether or not you’re aware of your vices and entrepreneurial sins, consider this post your wakeup call. It’s pure craziness to wear blinders (intentional or not) when it could be costing you business and revenue, and when your reputation and brand is on the line. Clear?
That said, let’s talk about a few of the vices or entrepreneurial sins you may or may not be guilty of.
Almost everyone is guilty of setting their work aside at times. Often it becomes a huge problem before you even wake up enough to realize it. Some people tend to do it midway through a project while others often do it before they have even started working in the first place. (BAD idea, trust me!)
You are guilty of the sin of procrastination if your mind stops you from working by telling you that you have all other sorts of things to work on first, things you gotta do that just can’t wait.
You know, things like… gotta take out the trash… gotta throw that load of laundry in the dryer… gotta email that lady I meant to email the other day… gotta check my stats… gotta make sure my bank account is in order… gotta, gotta, gotta do everything BUT that thing you gotta do most.
Your mind likes to play games and tell you that you can do your work later that night, or you’ll get up extra early the next day, and be SURE to get it done on time… you still have plenty of time after all. The only problem is that later that night rolls around, and it doesn’t get done.
Or early the next morning rolls around and you’re still snoozing like the bum on the corner that drank too much booze the night before! Needless to say, that deadline is suddenly looming closer and closer, and you’re nowhere close to being done.
SNAP OUT OF IT!
Your mind can play massive tricks, and give you a false sense of security thinking that no matter how long you set your work aside, you can still reach your deadline.
But the reality is that you need to remember a lot of things can happen and that things won’t always go your way or according to plan. Save yourself some stress and grief by doing your work as early in the game as possible, whenever possible. And in the mean time, be sure to give yourself plenty of padding around the edges when taking on new projects, to allow for the inevitable.
Excessive Web Surfing
The Internet is full of deathtraps that can sink your tidy little schedule and good intentions straight to Hades. Say you are doing some research for a project and you are surfing along, trying to dig up intel you can use.
In the sidebar you see an interesting link that has nothing to do with work whatsoever. But boy does it look enticing! Almost compulsively you click and end up surfing along, gathering new intel that has absolutely nothing to do with the project you should be working on.
Shame on you for not controlling yourself and giving into that temptation to click! Now your adrift in a sea of information you were NOT even looking for.
Not only that, but you’re now guilty of two things. Not only do you lack proper focus to get done that which needs to get done… but you are (albeit unintentionally) poisoning your chances of success with your business as well!
And let’s face it. The sin of excessive surfing is oodles more difficult to overcome for freelancers and entrepreneurs, as compared to people who work on the corporate scene… simply because there’s no one looking over your shoulder! (Not even an annoying co-worker, much less a boss…)
So if you truly want to shake off this problem, you have to give yourself a little tough love. (Yes, I know, tough love can suck!)
Clear your non work-related bookmarks and your RSS folders to lessen the temptation to surf. Turn off Twitter and Facebook, because again… it’s temptation to surf when your friend sends you links to every funny video known to man.
And if you really think you can handle the impulse, you can set aside some specific time each day just for your web surfing. That way if you do find an interesting link in the course of actually WORKING… you can take note of it and just check it out later on… when your priorities are out of the way.
Jumbled Time Management
Once in a while, it’s necessary for you to take a break to freshen up your fried brain cells. However, it’s a different thing altogether when that break turns into a day off or even a mini-vacation.
The choice of playing hooky when I want is actually one of the reasons I went into business for myself… but seriously… if you want to make money and grow your business, it simply can’t be an everyday occurrence.
And don’t try to deny it doesn’t happen to you either.
The first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have a problem in the first place! 😉
I can pretty much guarantee we’ve all experienced those days where a 30 minute timeout somehow drifted into an hour… then two hours… and before you know it, it’s already time to call it a day.
Then what happens? You end up walking around the house muttering like a crazy person to yourself, saying “Damn where’d all that time go… I didn’t get a lick of work done today!”
From there it’s a steep plunge into darkness, self-flaggellation, and negative mental talk that winds up making you feel like a douche because you feel so darn lazy all of a sudden, while the rest of the world of business is getting fat and sassy and raking in millions. (OK so maybe that’s a little dramatic, but not far from the truth!)
What makes this mildly different from procrastination is that a procrastinator genuinely believes that it’s okay to take a break from an assignment because they’ve talked themselves into believing that when they are ready to get back to work, they’ll have plenty of time to get the job done, and then some.
A lousy time manager on the other hand simply has no idea how to go about sorting out their day and keeping themselves on task for maximum efficiency.
If you find yourself committing this sin (so to speak), a very obvious and simple fix is to prepare a working schedule for yourself and (la di da) actually implement and stick to it!
In most cases, a white board for your office wall and an alarm you can use to set time limits are essentials and can really do the trick of keeping you moving.
They are simple but effective ways to remind yourself that it’s time to do certain things, personal or otherwise, or time to quit doing something so you can move on to the next important task you have on that nice little schedule you finally got around to creating.
Stick to this whole staying on task, scheduling thing for about 6 weeks, and when the times up, you’ll have ingrained a new habit (you know… vices that are actually GOOD for you) that actually gives you a positive outcome in your business… rather than totally killing your mojo, dragging your brand and rep through the mud, and putting a major crimp in your wallet.
So let me have it… what deadly entrepreneurial sins are you yourself committing… mayhap at this very moment? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and let us know if you have a special way of overcoming them.