I’d be a big fat liar if I told you things have always been peachy. There have been days, weeks and even months when putting my head in the blender seemed like a better idea than this entrepreneur thing. Owning a small business can be both exhilarating and exhausting. This year I celebrated my 6th year in business. That’s why this seems like the perfect time to share 6 tips I’ve picked up along the way. I hope this will prevent you from making some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made. Let’s dig in to the top 6 things I would do differently if I had to do it all again:
Tip #1: Hire help sooner.
For years I found a million excuses as to why I couldn’t hire help. “I can’t afford help!” and “it’s easier for me to just do it myself” were words that slipped out of my lips more times than I care to count. I always had a reason. And that’s why I was stuck for so long. I found myself working way too many hours doing stuff that I hated to do and wasting hours of my time operating outside of my core strengths simply because I thought I had no other choice. But that’s wasn’t true for me and it’s not true for you. A good employee or contractor will pay for him/herself…and then some. Hiring help isn’t a loss, it’s a gain. It frees you up to spend more time really working in your genius zone and as a result, you feel happier and you make more money. Win win, right? If you’re resisting the thought of hiring help, I strongly encourage you to get over it and just do it. Once you do, you won’t know how you lived without help for so long.
Tip #2: Accept “good enough” rather than always striving for perfection.
I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted on perfectionism.”I’ll just do one more take of this video…maybe then my voice won’t sound so squeaky or that hair won’t fly in my face”Sound familiar? If so, I’ve got three words for you: KNOCK IT OFF! You are getting in your own way by doing things over and over and over again that are “good enough” the first time. Use your time wisely and accept the fact that your “good enough” is very likely someone else’s “perfect.” Just get it done already.
Tip #3: Stop working from home.
When I first started my business, I worked from home. In fact I did that for the first 5 years of my business. I always thought that was the ultimate. But it wasn’t. And I’ll tell you why. When you work from home it’s next to impossible to shut off. The lines between business and personal time are so unbelievably blurry good luck ever feeling “okay” about shutting down your computer and turning off your phone so you can replenish and rejuvenate. And let me be the first to tell you…working round the clock is straight up exhausting. Get an office space (look into a co-working space if cost is an issue). Leave work at work and make your home your sanctuary. Now.
Tip #4: Give yourself permission to be YOU!
Truth be told, I did a lot of copy cat stuff when I first opened my business. I saw how people I admired were doing things and I tried to copy them. I can clearly remember creating a promo video at one point and purposefully doing this ridiculous little mannerism that someone I admired did because I thought it would make me look good–the way she did. Know what it made me look like instead? RIDICULOUS. I wish I knew then what I know now. People love you because you’re YOU. Try to fake it and they see right through it. Worse yet, you know you’re operating out of synch with who you were created to be…and that just feels…icky. BE YOU. People want to do business with you because you’re awesome just the way you are (yep, even all of those little quicks–those are especially lovable!) Be YOU!!
Tip #5: Start taking fast, decisive action.
As a business owner you’ve got a ton of decisions on your plate…all day, every day. And sometimes making decisions feels really hard because of that nagging little voice that says “Ya but if you do this than this might happen. And that could ruin everything!” Stop questioning yourself. Stop worrying so much. Make a decision and run with it. Commit. Do it. And press on. If something falls apart you can fix it. That’s all there is to it.
Tip #6: Start working with a coach from day one.
Just like every professional athlete has a coach that pushes them to progress in their sport, every business owner should have a coach that pushes the to progress in their business. Sometimes you’re just too close to your own stuff to see the black holes, the misalignment and the fact that the only one that’s standing in your way is YOU. A coach helps you avoid the potholes of business. And if you accidentally hit one anyhow, they pick you up off the floor, help you dust off and get back in the race with your head held high. The value of a coach cannot be understated. Pure and simple. That’s it for this edition.