Businesses are like bodies. Sorta.
The healthier they are, they longer they last. As a self-employed individual, you’re like the heart and soul of your enterprise. You are the central core of everything and you can’t afford to break down.
Losing grip on things can not only mean a loss of profit but it can also be quite demoralizing. Think lots of tears, pints of Ben and Jerry’s, and a cave like mountain of covers on your bed. Oh and crazy wild hair and a few extra pounds when all’s said and done, just to top things off on a positive note.
A streamlined operation rather than a stress-ridden one certainly holds a certain appeal to most people. And by most people I do mean sane people. After all, who actually LIKES stress except you crazy folks?
Fortunately, there are many ways to run your business like a well-oiled super machine. Using these methods is rewarding not just on a business level but also on a more personal one. Meaning you’re no longer a raging bi-atch, high on Ben and Jerry’s and 10 pounds heavier than last month because you thought you could handle all the stress but…
Turns out you couldn’t. Eeek.
So let us count the ways.
Have a clear objective. Every business aims to make a profit but beyond that, what else is it you want to attain? What’s burning in that secret little heart of hearts you harbor? Remember to always be realistic though. Believable.
Make a list of how you can attain your objectives by creating a timeline paired with what you should do and when you should do it. Doing this gives you a sense of direction. If you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, just go back to this list for reference as well as inspiration. Think of it as your built-in slayer of the dragon called writer’s block.
Reality checks are your friends. Dreaming big means that you are always thinking of possibilities beyond the horizon but it is also important to ask yourself some hard questions once in a while.
Ask yourself if your plans are viable. It’s likely that traveling to the moon by the time your 21 is not exactly a realistic type goal. Unless you happen to have family that works for NASA.
Ask yourself how long it would take you to reach them? Do you have the necessary resources? Are your goals slightly uncomfortable, yet still believable and realistic?
Honest assessments help you to realign your focus as well as to keep frustrations at bay. Make it a habit to do this every 6 months or so. Yes, it might not always be the most exciting thing you can do for yourself, but trust me, it’s important.
Sit down, look over your plans and know where you are. Are you still on the right track? Still headed in the right direction? Make necessary adjustments if you are not.
Learn to delegate. Don’t shy away from outsourcing certain tasks because this will save you a lot of time in the long run. Yes it’s scary the first time you do it, but practice makes perfect, and you can find some great folks to work with.
Minute details like handling incoming and outgoing communications can be done by others for you. Daily reports at the end of the day can still keep you informed. Note that though delegating may cost you money, it pays immeasurable dividends by freeing your mind of stress-inducing clutter. Trust me I’ve been on both sides of the ship. The outsourcer, and the outsourcee.
Know the risks and create a contingency plan. There is no such thing as a problem-free business. It’s only natural to run into bumps along the way. Sometimes even mountains and dark cavernous black holes of fear as well.
Accept that there are some risks, done your tough girl (or guy) gear and you’ll be able to prepare yourself for whatever may arise in the future. The more prepared you are, the less likely you’ll be to lose sleep. And I don’t know about you, but if I lose sleep I’m TERRIFYING to the rest of the population.
Look at your competition and note the problems they might be having. Chances are, if you don’t learn from other people’s mistakes you’ll end up making them yourself at some point. For any organization, it’s always better to practice preventive habits rather than reactive ones.
Maintain a positive mindset. How you view your business affects your morale. If you think of it as a fun yet challenging labor of love instead of hard work, you’ll find yourself enjoying life and your business enormously. That means that any stress that ‘may’ arise won’t be too taxing.
Not to mention a positive attitude doesn’t just prevent low morale but it also increases productivity as well as improves the overall quality of your work. Really, try accomplishing something when you’re miserable… it’s like pulling teeth.
Many folks might say that despite the perks when you are your own boss the cons are not worth the trouble.
Don’t let them pull you down and piss in your cheerios. There are tons of ways to combat any downsides of self-employment. But at the end of the day, its successes and failures will still be up to you.
And that’s pretty dang satisfying.