I actually laughed at myself when I considered writing this post. I laughed because I am the WORST for NOT doing some of these points I am going to cover!
Having said that because I don’t always do them I can evaluate the benefit of doing them, compared to not, or at least that’s the angle I am going with!
Doing life is hard….adulting is hard…running a business, a household and organising children is HARD!
So here a few things that have saved some of my sanity over the years!
I can hear your eyes rolling from here! It’s a simple one to say…easy to throw it out there…but how simple is it to implement when you start a business? It took me FIVE YEARS to set my boundaries! Yep, five long, long years!
When you first start your business, you want to please! You want to win over every potential client, even if it means working a ridiculous number of hours to get them!
Whilst you are up burning the midnight oil I can guarantee your client is not giving you a second thought while they are tucked up in bed. Moreso, they won’t care if you were up ALL night working on their project when they try to haggle your hourly rate down.
If you work all hours of the night and your clients know that, they WILL contact you…all hours of the night. When you eventually have enough and set your boundaries they still won’t stop. Why? Because you have set the standard from the start by allowing them to do just that…have you on call.
Set your boundaries from the very start. I still work nights during the week but I schedule any client emails to be sent the following business day. My client’s only communicate with me during business hours even though I work on some evenings.
From 6pm until 8am I have my mobile on do not disturb. This means no texts, calls or email notifications display on my phone during those hours.
Weekends are work free time!
Set your boundaries early, it will save you so much heartache in the long run!
I am a huge lover of self love and time for yourself BUT I am also a mum, wife and business owner…so time is precious!
Self Love is whatever gives you some time out to recharge and rejuvenate. Whether it’s a run every night, a soak in the bath with a glass of wine a few times a week or a girl’s or boy’s weekend away for a few nights. Everyone’s needs to recharge their batteries is different to the next persons.
For me, self love is a glass of wine or two on a Friday and Saturday night and at least two ‘child-free’ showers or baths a week! I seriously don’t ask for much! ha ha
We are a busy household, with numerous sports/work commitments between all of us. Going away spontaneously for a few days to recharge the batteries, just doesn’t work…but a girl’s catchup, wine nights and alone time in the shower…all work in with our crazy schedule!
Find what works for you, what fits with your lifestyle and recharges your batteries enough to allow you to be the best and most relaxed version of you!
Friends and Family will not always be your biggest supporters
Okay…so they are your friends and family…they are supposed to be your #1 fans right??? Wrong!
SOME will be your biggest fans whilst others will think your business is just a ‘phase’ or they will only take interest in your business when they need something that you can provide/create/fix. Not to mention they will then ask for a discount or want it for free!
Don’t expect people to support you purely because you are related to them or they are your best friends. Most people are more likely to support a celebrity than they are to support their own friends in their businesses. Unfortunately, it’s a common situation so many business owners face.
I myself have a simple rule – if you have supported me without question, I am happy to supply/create something for you at no charge. Otherwise, I charge the same I would charge a client – family or friends, it’s the same rule.
Some are also the first people to begrudge your drive or determination in getting your business up and running. If they don’t have a business (or ever ran a business) they don’t realise the amount of work and commitment that is involved. I had a close friend who has no children just herself and her husband and could not understand why I was so ‘busy’ running children around, running my business, running a household and also studying. Some people will never understand because they have not been in your position…don’t take it personally!
Charge your worth
This one also sounds pretty straight forward…but let’s get honest for a moment. How many times have you said to yourself ‘I will drop my rate/cost and get some client’s on board and then once I get going I will put the cost/my rate up’. STOP! Don’t undersell your time OR your product/service. Set your price to match your worth. Would you go and work for someone else for $5 an hour? No? Then why work for yourself and only make $5 an hour? Yes, it may take you a little longer to get your momentum, but do you know what I can guarantee? You will onboard your IDEAL CLIENTS. Those clients who want your service/product, know the value of what you provide and will be HAPPY to pay your rate WITHOUT haggling.
When you reduce your rate, you will work twice or three times as many hours for clients who are NOT your ideal client, to possibly break even or make a small margin in profit. You will waste countless hours UNPAID for revisions, or issues or those client’s will argue your price/rate, want a discount or some kind of bonus. They are NOT your ideal clients. They do not recognise the value of the service/product you are providing. Set your rate/prices with your IDEAL CLIENTS in mind. The client’s will come…by setting your rates to match your worth from the very start you are marketing and attracting the clients you want in an ideal world and you are NOT working ridiculous hours for small to no return and undervaluing your products/skills, in an attempt to obtain more clients. One IDEAL CLIENT is worth 2, 3, even 4 non-ideal clients.
See what competitors are doing…but don’t let it CONSUME you
Now, I am sure most people at some stage have been consumed by the thought of ‘the grass is greener’ envy or admiration when it has come to a competitor/s…am I right? We have all looked at a page and thought ‘Why are they getting all these jobs?’ – ‘Why are they so busy?’ – ‘How do they get the time to do all of this?’ and on and on it goes.
Now not only does this waste valuable time that you could be contributing to your own marketing/networking or even to client work or order packaging…but it’s also what I like to call ‘smoke and mirrors’. Social Media is a playground for people – personally and business alike – only showing what they want you to see. Business’ posting every single day showing work they have created…when in fact some of the posts are rehashed old projects that no one notices because it’s been 12 months since they last posted it. In that time people have seen so many other things on social media they have forgotten seeing a post a year earlier similar to the one that’s just popped up onto their news feed.
Other posts are projects they have completed for friends/family or themselves, potentially not paid jobs (or discounted)…but not organic client work. Or mock-up projects they had to complete for some study for a certificate or course they were doing, but it’s not posted to social media as a ‘training mock-up’ it’s left to appear as a client project.
Whilst I am not saying these businesses should not post such things – because I am also a huge advocate of the ‘fake it till you make it’ ideal – my point is that whilst you are checking in with your competitors, you don’t know the truth behind what you are seeing – you are seeing what they WANT YOU TO SEE! They are selling you and their followers a perception and you are buying into that. Yes, some businesses will be busy and have projects/orders coming out their ears and that is amazing for those businesses and that is what everyone wants to achieve BUT don’t waste time analysing competitors social media and running hypothetical scenarios as to how busy/not busy they are and let that consume you. You do you and let them do them, and if nothing else learn from what they are doing…create your own posts and create your own perceptions to sell to your followers!
Get uber organised
Okay so I am probably to the umpteenth extent of being organised…I start organising at the hypothetical mention of something! But in all honesty, being organised as much as possible is a huge help to keeping your sanity, your business, your house and the people within it running close to clockwork.
I utilise Dubsado for my client projects – it also includes Automation features, invoicing, scheduling and client portals! For a small business it literally is a life saver, game changer and allows you to focus more on what you do best and less on the emails and follow ups!
Dubsado is a monthly subscription, but is worth it AND THEN SOME! The next two days they are running a 20% off special. You can check them out here if you need some automation and something to save you some time in your business!
I also use Google Calendars to sync across all my technologies to ensure that no matter what I am on I have all my reminders and appointments at the touch of a button. My phone, desktop, laptop and iPad are all synced together so I can never miss a notification.
There are so many organisation apps available that you can find something that works how you need it to for your lifestyle and business/personal requirements. Another couple of apps I have used over the years are Wunderlist and Asana. I also use Trello for meal planning.
I also try to show my children the benefits of being organised ahead of time. More so my teen…I have shown them the benefit of packing bags the night before school/sport/dancing and mapping out study timetables for tests – Even my Toddler likes to pack their own bag ready for Kindy.
By teaching your children how to organise themselves, it does relieve some of YOUR organisation, and minimise it, to merely asking if they have done it. It also gives my children a sense of responsibility for something and provides them with necessary life skills – pretty sure neither of my children want their mum organising their days when they are 30!
Once you get some organisation and get into a routine things will run a lot smoother…by putting reminders and your schedule into an app it also helps to take things off your plate so you are not trying to remember EVERYTHING!
These are just a few tips and nothing too earth shattering but they do help! Always remember there are only so many hours in the day and whatever doesn’t get done today will still be waiting for you tomorrow!