I have never been happier in my working life now I am plotting my own course and living by my own wits, creativity and hard work, but inevitably being your own boss brings its own special challenges!
From my experience so far it clearly does take time i.e. years to build any business and the always on, all on you, unpredictable job description can send you crazy at times. However, I sincerely believe from what I’ve seen so far that if you just follow your nose, persevere and ride out those days when that insecurity and fear gets shouty you will get wherever you need to get to.
I have been learning so much at every turn, but I have done my best to summarise some of my biggest lessons so far. Quite a few echo the wise words shared with me by my mentors such as Ankush K Jain and Steve Chandler but of course it’s only when you insightfully see and experience these things for yourself that the penny really drops!
So here are my top tips for being unstoppable running your business in 2019 based on what I’ve learnt in a year of running my own – I believe the same would hold true as a leader in any organisation:
Conversations, conversations, conversations
Everything that has happened in my business has been the result of conversations, some bearing fruit immediately, others taking months to evolve. If anything you are doing relies on relationships, having conversations – preferably not in text form – is the only way to achieve results.
Stop searching for ‘the answer’
I repeatedly get frustrated wanting to see the full picture about how my business will play out when I only have a few pieces of the puzzle so far. Go full out with what makes sense now, or you’ll waste precious energy and time trying to figure out all the answers and second guess yourself when you can’t possibly know what the future holds.
When we are working flat out and our minds are racing it is tempting to just work harder and try and do more to get on top of things. Actually the most helpful thing is often to slow down take our foot off the accelerator to regain the perspective and clarity which allows us to make best use of the time we have without burning us out.
You are wiser than you know, trust there is a good reason you are where you are, and that the in built satnav that powers your instincts and insights will keep you on track even if you’re not totally clear where you’re headed.
One thing at a time
When we consistently have long lists of everything we feel we want and need to do it can be overwhelming. Pick the most important thing to do next and just do that as well as you can. Your mind will soon settle down and you’ll find you get more done than you think.
Go where the energy is
If you feel like you’re wading through treacle something is probably out of alignment. It’s important persevere, but if you keep running up blind alleys, focus your energies where things come more naturally and people actually want to hear from you.
Choose where to give your attention
Juggling multiple commitments – for me doing the school run most days – can be a major drain when you constantly feel you should be doing something else and your mind is elsewhere. Choose where it genuinely makes sense to give your attention moment to moment and give yourself permission to give that your full focus. Everything that genuinely needs to get done will get done.
Listen to your body & mind
When you are running on empty, all sped up or feeling the pressure physically and emotionally do what you can to take care of yourself. You are your most valuable resource. Pushing through in spite of yourself is unlikely to be productive and may make it harder to bounce back later. There will always be good and bad days so do your best to work with your mind and body not against it.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Don’t waste energy deliberating about things that don’t really matter or you already know the answer but feel unsure of yourself. If you have a clear feeling go with it. If not, do anything that makes sense to get clearer, otherwise leave it for now. Often when you stop focusing on a problem the solution arises naturally or it stops looking like a problem.
Ask for help…but don’t expect anyone else to tell you the answers
People, especially if they have been in a similar position are enormously generous with their time and advice. Use the resources around you for support – mentoring or coaching can be invaluable – and practical assistance, but remember that no-one else can tell you the right thing for you or your business, only you can know that.
Follow the breadcrumb trail
Especially when you are starting out there is going to be a huge amount of experimentation. Don’t get disheartened when things don’t work out or you don’t know where it’s all heading, just keep following the clues about what does work and do more of that.
If any of this rings true for you or you’re feeling kind of crazy and would like to chat get in touch via LI or firstname.lastname@example.org