By Kristie Tamsevicius
The entrepreneurial life... yes THAT'S the life for me. Being your own boss can afford you the freedom to work when you please, do what you want, and spend more time with your family. It's true, owning a small business can be a dream come true, or a nightmare if you let it be.
There are untold dangers to be had with owning a business. Without careful and deliberate attention, a business that was once designed to suit your needs may easily turn on you like a growling fearsome creature that keeps you trapped in the corner. How do you tame the small business beast?
Here are a few tips to help you keep control of your growing small business.
=> TRAP #1 The Endless Workload - Running in circles to stay "caught up" How many of us have had a day that starts at 6 am - no shower - crunching on a dry piece of toast only to come across a major client emergency. In between getting the kids off to school, buying milk because you are out, and attending a client meeting at 2 and hoping it will end so you can get home in time to you're your child up from the school bus.
ANSWER: We all have days like this - that's life -- but you can make sure those days are the exception and not the rule.
CREATE a plan before your start your day. Make efficient use of your time. Group your tasks into "doable" chunks.
SET a definite schedule and stick to it. Don't work during family time. Let your family know how important they are to you by honoring them with your total presence during that family time. Honor yourself by taking that time off to live your life, renew, and dream new dreams. If you started your business to make more time for your life, than make sure you are actually taking that time to do so.
STOP working on time. Set your key "must do" priorities for the day and let the rest slide. How many times have you said , "I'll do just one more thing and then I'll be caught up." It never really happens now does it? As your small business blossoms, so will the growing list of clients and your personal "to do" list along with it.
=> TRAP #2 Complete Overwhelm: Blurred Vision - Panic - Lack of Focus
ANSWER: Someone wise once said, "You have to say NO, in order to say YES". Take time to carefully consider each opportunity you are presented to see if it's right for you. You have to make space in your life so MAGIC once in a lifetime opportunities arrive in gleaming gold ribbon at your doorstep you have room to accept them.
LOOK UP - there's a whole world beyond your work desk! Don't keep your nose so close to the grindstone a.k.a. computer screen -- remember to think about what you are doing, why you are doing it, and if you want to be moving in that direction. Clarity makes it easier to boldly use your "no" muscle and take back control. Having a clear vision also evokes the "law of attraction" and before you know it, the universe starts pulling toward you the things you want most in your life
=> TRAP #3 Taking every client and job that comes along When I was first starting out, I made the mistake of thinking that I should take every client and job that came my way. After all isn't that what business is about - being busy is how you make money right? WRONG!
Being smart about how you invest your time and talents is the true path to success. Working with the "wrong" clients can be very costly both in terms of money lost and in personal terms. This is especially true if you are offering a service that taps into your personal talents.
ANSWER: If a potential client approaches you and your gut says "this is not right" than you need to trust your gut and GET OUT. I've been taken for money and taken personally on disastrous paths by not trusting that little voice.
Before you take on a new client ask yourself these questions:
"Will I enjoy working with them?" "Will this project be fulfilling for me?" "Will I be able to charge enough to make it worth my while?" "Do I have time/room/space for this client right now?" "Is this person dangerous, do I trust them?" "Is this person going to demand more of me than I am willing to give?"
If the answer to any of those questions is NO than politely decline or refer them on. By being clear about who your ideal client is you will attract those clients. When you work with the right clients, you do your best work. When you do your best work, clients are thrilled, they'll gladly refer you, and before you know it you'll have clients lining up at your door. I can tell you personally, this has worked VERY WELL for me. I now work with a "family" of clients whom I dearly love. When I am happy, I can do AMAZING creative things. My clients love the personal attention and service. It creates a self-propelling circle of prosperity for all involved.
=> TRAP #4 Busy Body Syndrome: Family? Social Life - What is that? As odd as it may seem, the very business you started so that you could spend more time with your kids can easily turn to into a wall that keeps you from doing just that.
ANSWER: Stick to definite work hours. Learn how to slow down and unwind during off hours. Stay in touch with friends. Pamper yourself. Creating a routine such as drinking a cup of hot tea, or changing to comfy clothes to help you mentally switch to "relaxation" time.
Stop to enjoy the impromptu kisses, songs, and pretty pictures your kids offer you. If your child wants a moment, stop, breathe, give it to him, enjoy the special feeling of that moment...then move on. Parents are fabulously gifted at multitasking. But don't make the mistake of multitasking your family. They deserve ALL of you (and you NEED it too).
SO - KEEP THAT BUSINESS ROPED - THAT PLAN IN HAND.... They say in life that if you get stepped on enough there will come a day when you become strong enough to stand up for yourself. Take your small business by the horns and hog tie it -- shape it, mold it, and manage it to be a vehicle to support the life you have always wanted. When you are very clear about what and who you are, people find that very attractive.
Nothing makes clients happier than knowing and actually GETTING exactly what they expected (and more)! Be good to yourself and your family.
Enjoy what you do and the clients with whom you do it. Success and happiness are simple really, know what you want, and then CREATE that....
About the Author
Kristie Tamsevicius, is the author of "I Love My Life: A Mom's Guide to Working from Home"! Thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs have used her step-by-step home business system to earn money working from home. Get a free ecourse Home Business Success Secrets at http://www.webmomz.com/ilovemylife1.htm