When you’re self-employed your DO list never seems to shrink. It’s always up to you to make sure that you’re generating enough profit from your work to pay the bills and then some.
If you’re anything like me, you started the new year with optimism and a list of great ideas. Yet, the first quarter of the year is almost over and I have no choice but to admit to myself that I haven’t made nearly the progress I intended. Projects that should have been launched in January are still languishing on my desk.
What’s a business owner to do? THINK BIG and WORK SMALL. A bold business owner sets clear business goals (the THINKING BIG part):
- What are my earning objectives for the year?
- Am I clear on the services I’m offering?
- Are my earning objectives realistic, given my current service offerings?
- How many hours each week do I want to be working?
- Am I focusing on the right action(s) to help me accomplish my business objectives?
- Does my current business structure support or hinder the kind of life I want to be living?
These are important questions. For best results, I urge you to answer them honestly. Ask and answer them every business quarter. These questions guide everything else you do to keep your business profitable and enjoyable.
Once you’re clear on the big picture, you then need to implement the right habits and daily tasks (the WORKING SMALL part) that will help you accomplish your goals.
When you’re self-employed, the only way the money rolls in is when you take consistent focused action. The best way I’ve found to effectively work small is to identify my highest priority DAILY tasks and track them.
Working small is my way of focusing my time and energy on taking right action one day at a time. Of identifying my highest priorities that I must implement daily to stay on track. For example, knowing my annual earnings goal for the year, I break it down to monthly and weekly goals. By doing so, the question I ask myself at the start of each week is: What do I need to do today (or by the end of the week) to achieve my earnings goal and propel my business forward?
Every small action you take toward your goal is a success. I remind myself every day that five or 10 calls or emails every day may not seem like enough (when I need business NOW). But over a year’s time? Those smaller numbers add up to hundreds and even thousands.
WORKING SMALL means you focus on what you need to complete TODAY. Don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day. Start small and build on it. Look ahead a day or a week at the most. Don’t obsess too far into the future. Spending time or energy thinking about what I need to do six months from now overwhelms me and I begin to lose traction.
Every day of not doing makes all your next days that much more challenging
When you regularly track your progress, it’s hard to make excuses. Daily tracking also benefits you by giving you the opportunity to ask if what you’re doing and tracking are the right things. If not, you’re able to make immediate tweaks and course corrections so you don’t wake up three months from now and realize you’ve made no progress.
I find that even one day with every box checked off (or at least more checked than not!) inspires me to do better the next day. It becomes a fun competition to accumulate as many checks as possible. And, the more I do, the more successful I feel. And success builds momentum. And over time, I’m building positive work habits AND achieving my business goals one day at a time by thinking big and working small.
THIS WEEK’S CALL TO ACTION:
Focused action = business progress. Identify the actions that will give you a return on your daily investment of time and energy AND that will help you grow your business. Set up a simple tracker and get started. Commit to reviewing your progress consistently. Make it your goal to beat your personal best every day. Ask yourself if you’re doing your best to make progress. If not, commit to being and doing better tomorrow.
THIS WEEK’S BUSINESS MINDSET SHIFT:
Write one page about why you’re feeling stuck. Be honest. Write about how it feels to not be making progress. Then write about how great it would feel to be taking focused action consistently.
BUSINESS SUCCESS TIP: Stop accumulating more information. You know enough for today. BE the expert and act accordingly.
“Things do not happen; things are made to happen.” (John F. Kennedy)