How serious are you about your business?
For many women in employment showing that they are serious about their work means being prepared to work long hours, travel away, return to work after just 3 months of maternity leave, bowing to the pressure to work full time, prioritising a meeting or project at work over their child’s school play or sports day or putting work before their own health.
So when I ask women how serious they are about their business and what it means to them to be ‘serious’ about it, they often come back with a similar response. They tell me they work all hours on their business. They’re up at night after the kids have gone to bed or they’re still in employment but get up early and do an hour of work on their business before going off to do the day job. High-flying, successful, smart women often equate long hours and pressure (induced by someone else or self generated) with being ‘serious’ about their work.
There is something to be said in the fact that if you love what you do you don’t mind working long hours.
But you still have to eat.
You still have to sleep.
You still have to, and want to, spend time with your family.
For many Brainy Girls, one of the reasons they opt to run their own business is to have more time. But ironically they often end up spending more time on their business than they spent at work when they were employed.
So when I ask how serious you are about your business, I’m not asking how many hours you work on it.
I’m talking about your mindset. Are you treating your business like a hobby? Or are you treating it like a business? Perhaps you are treating it like a hobby because for it to be a serious business venture you think you need to spend more time on it – time you just don’t have. You think you need to spend the kind of time on it that was expected of you in your high-flying Corporate position.
What I’m trying to say is that if you have the mindset that you are serious about your business you can start to think smarter about how you run it without necessarily working longer hours on it. If you have the right mindest you can start to take your business really seriously – by investing in yourself and others to help you make it a success whilst simulataneously making life easier for you.
Here are my top 5 things you can do to work smarter in your business without necessarily working longer hours:
1. Set goals and make plans.
Yes, I know some of you still think this is really boring and unecessary but really it’s not. You do need to set goals and make plans to ensure you take action towards the goal. The goals and plans ensure you take action in the right direction. I know some very busy women who never stop but spend an awful lot of time working on activities that aren’t really moving them in the right direction. Why? Because they don’t set goals or make plans. They just wing it. If you’re not used to setting goals for your business and planning your day to day activities try my free business plan on a page.
2. Delegate as much as you possibly can.
Delegate the things you don’t like or the things you’re not particularly good at. Preferably both. Decide when you think you will be able to afford to delegate some of the activities to someone else – then do it several months earlier.
Honestly, freeing up your time to focus on the strengths you bring to the business is a completely worthwhile investment and most people put this off for far too long. If you don’t yet have business activities you can delegate (although I find that doubtful – websites, copy-writing, graphics, administrative tasks, research & phone calls can all be delegated) at least make sure you are delegating other activities you begrudge spending time on such as cleaning the house, ironing and gardening.
I’m not saying these activities are automatically unpleasant. Some people love cleaning or ironing and many people find gardening therapeutic but find the activities you don’t enjoy and delegate them to someone else. Or delegate the ones you never make time for. I don’t mind ironing but I pay someone else to do it for me most of the time and have done for the past 9 years.
Because otherwise it builds up and my other half has been known to complain that the house resembles a badly run laundrette.
3. Clear your head at the end of each day by scheduling the next day’s tasks in.
Scheduling the next day’s tasks in before you finish up for the day should reduce the amount of time you spend thinking about your business when you’re not working on it. Since I started scheduling the next day’s tasks I have far fewer 4 o’clock in the morning virtual business meetings. You know, the ones you hold in your own head in the early hours and which stop you getting back to sleep again.
Then revisit the days schedule each morning, amend if necessary, then stick to it. (If you need help scheduling activities when you sign up for The Amazing Business Plan on a Page, you’ll also get access to my free Weekly Planner).
4. Stick to one thing for a while.
Many entrepreneurs are highly creative, in the sense that they come up with lots of ideas (not necessarily that they are creative in the traditional artistic sense although many are that too). So they have a tendency to flit from one thing to the other, never seeing something through. Often I can look back at a client’s history and see numerous great ideas that were started but not followed through. If they had just committed to one course of action in pursuit of their goal they would have made giant leaps in their business. Of course if you have properly tested a product with your market and it’s not working out you need to address that and offer something else, but at least stick something out long enough to really judge whether it’s working or not. You’ll make life much easier for yourself if you focus on one thing at a time, rather than having 5 different ideas on the go.
5. Invest in the right kind of mentoring, coaching or consulting to help you take your business to the next level.
I once took part in a coaching programme that revolutionised the way I thought about my business. The coach, when talking about how much to charge for our products and services told me that it’s almost impossible to charge more for a product or service than you have been prepared to spend yourself. This is because if we haven’t spent that kind of money on ourselves we tend not to feel worth that kind of money and that then comes across in our sales. Investing in ourselves and our business gets us where we want to be so very much faster. Entrepreneurship is a long game, but that’s no reason to take a boat when we can catch the plane.
So there you have it, my top 5 tips for working smarter in your business.
How do I know these things work?
Because I do them all and I know they make a difference.
Which of these 5 things do you do? If you don’t do them, why not? As usual, let me know below!