It’s official; you have finally launched your new business. That is pretty damn exciting, congratulations! Now, how do you make it successful? How do you not work yourself to death?
It is easy to jump into this thinking, “Wow, this is so much fun!” and not really have your act together to be successful. Trust me when I tell you, if you go into it thinking it is easy and the pieces will simply fall into place or if you think you need to work 90 hours a week and be available 24 hours a day, you will burn out fast and your final product will not be the best it can be. I believe there is a three-part process to running a successful business: Business structures, building community and being authentic. Use the guide below to set your business up for success.
Business Structures: Take the time to create strategies and boundaries to be successful. Most business owners find themselves overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid and just plain miserable. They also have clients who are not completely satisfied with the level of communication, customer service, and vendor partners who do not really enjoy working with them (no one likes an unorganized or scattered business owner!)
So, what do I mean by systems, strategies, and boundaries? I mean everything that happens on the back end of your business.
- Start by having a dedicated workspace. No, your dining room table does not count.
- Identify your ideal client and give yourself permission to market towards only this client. It is even ok to turn away business that is not a good fit (you can thank me for this later).
- Put your systems in place. Everything from concrete work hours, client communications, and accounting to scheduling your day in a way that works best for you.
- Do your research for apps and plug-ins to make you more productive.
Community: I cannot stress enough how important it is to know the community related to your business. This can be your local network or a virtual one. It is, quite likely, both. Go to as many networking events as possible. Meet people and get to know their work. A good referral is better than any advertising you will ever do. Build a community of peers that will lift you, challenge you and help you along the way. Do not ever badmouth another person in your field (or ever, really!). Remember that competition is healthy and a rising tide lifts all boats.
Authenticity: Personally, I believe this is the hardest and, perhaps, the most crucial element. Know who you are. Identify what you uniquely bring to your industry. I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing why you do this job. What motivates you to get up every day, give 100% and come back again tomorrow? Why are you valuable? Each of us brings a special and unique “super power” to the world, and to our clients and our industries at large. I believe my super power is the ability to hear what someone is truly saying, re-frame it and then share it in a way that is actionable, productive and offers solutions. What is your super power? Learn it. Share it. Market it. Know that you are the only person who can bring your unique talents to the table.
When you are living an authentic life and running an authentic business, you develop the unique ability to judge yourself solely on your own actions. While you might be inspired by others in the field, you are not comparing yourself to them – your super powers are different – and there is room for all of us.
Welcome to this exciting time. Now is the time to set the stage for the years ahead. You will learn, try new things (lots of new things!) and discover what works best for you. Remember that the vision never changes but the path changes all the time. Be open to learning, failing and starting over.