You’ve read the 4 Hour Workweek.
You’ve been watching Gary Vee’s Instastories every day for the past year.
You’ve downloaded approximately 73 different worksheets, ebooks, guides, and free trainings.
You’re ready to be self-employed and step into the role of your own boss.
Or are you?
It’s trendy to be an entrepreneur. And the internet gurus sell a pretty picture: working a few hours a day from a beautiful beach with your laptop casually sitting next to a beautiful tropical drink.
But the reality is that successfully being self-employed involves more than working from anywhere in the world and raking in the money.
Being self-employed requires discipline, hard work and a lot of faith.
But if you want to succeed, there are some things you should quickly figure out. These 7 top tips will help you be the best boss you’ve ever had.
1. Figure out how you do your best work
Working for yourself means you have many choices in how you work. You can rent office space, work from your kitchen table or find a coworking space. You can work only in the mornings or strictly as a night owl.
Some of these options might sound fantastic to you but it’s not about which idea sounds the best to you, it’s about figuring out the conditions you need to perform your best work.
When you first begin to work for yourself, pay attention to your habits.
- When do you feel most productive?
- When are there minimal distractions in your workspace?
- Do you find yourself getting lonely during the day if you work from home?
- Do you find yourself doing anything but work in a particular location?
- When do you get your best ideas?
One of the perks of working for yourself is that you get to create an ideal working environment but it can take some experimentation before you figure out what that is.
2. Know what makes your money
The most important thing you need to do in your business is to earn money. Of course, there are going to be thousands of other things you need to do to keep your business thriving but they are all secondary to earning revenue.
One of the biggest mistakes solopreneurs can make is to distract themselves with tasks that don’t earn revenue. It’s easy to feel like you’re working all the time but not seeing any growth to that bottom line.
Identify the money makers in your business. What are the tasks that bring in sales or customers? Is it going to networking events or making sales calls? Is it sending out emails to your email list or hosting webinars? Try rearranging your schedule so that these are the first items on your to-do list every day. Don’t let yourself to anything else until you’ve knocked them out.
When you’re self-employed, you have to create your priorities. Make sure you are prioritizing making money over everything else.
3. Find support
The term “solo business owner” is slightly flawed because we can’t accomplish anything if we’re truly alone. Even the most introverted solo business owners need a community.
Being self-employed brings a set of unique challenges and while it’s important to have a supportive family and friend circle, you also need a community of peers who understand the ups and downs of working for yourself.
And if you’re shy, you don’t need to worry about awkward networking events because you can create a community that works for you. Social media is brimming with communities. Two of Team Edgar’s favorite ways to join communities are Twitter chats and Facebook groups!
You can also invest in support by hiring coaches, joining group coaching groups or investing in mastermind groups.
4. Keep learning and improving your craft
There will probably come a time that you will be so busy running your business, you’ll have less time to focus on improving your skills.
Don’t fall into this trap! You can never stop learning and improving yourself. Sure, you may not have an educational stipend or the ability to attend a conference on your company’s dime but you should look for opportunities to keep improving your skills.
Whether you are polishing your craft or learning how to be a better business owner, investing in yourself will help your business grow, even if it takes time away from client work.
5. Create your processes and automate what you can
If you work for yourself, you handle every little detail. From appointment scheduling to making sure the bills get paid, everything in your business is on your shoulders.
That doesn’t mean you have to become a slave to your business. It means working smarter and creating processes that make work seamless and automating the time-wastey bits of your business. (You know like scheduling your social media… oh wait, we have a tool for that! 😉 )
6. Draw boundaries
Working for yourself means you get to work from anywhere but it also means you can work from anywhere. You might start with the intention of only working during work hours but within a few weeks you are waking up before the sun and you are crouched over your computer long into the night.
You have to create boundaries in your business or you will burn out. Set office hours, turn on autoresponders for your emails and clearly communicate with your clients when they can expect to reach you. Setting expectations upfront with your clients, family, and friends with when you’re working and when you’re not can help cutback on overwork and overwhelm.
7. Expect ups and downs
The most important thing to remember about being self-employed is that it’s not all octopi and starfish (which is Edgar-speak for rainbows and butterflies). There are good days, bad days, profitable months and lean months. If you want to not just survive but have longevity in your business, don’t expect everything to come together one magical moment and then stay together.
Expect to ride the wave of entrepreneurship and know that going through the low times is just like earning a merit badge in entrepreneurship. You can’t move up until you get one. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be much more prepared to handle the ups and downs of self-employed life.