There are so many articles out there telling you what mistakes to avoid, but what about solutions? In my personal opinion a “Don’t-do” list makes me paranoid that I’m constantly doing something wrong, and maybe I’m not the only one. So! What I’m going to do is give you solutions for when you find yourself having a rough time.
1. Be Productive, Not busy
“Aren’t they the same thing?”, nope! Being busy brings on stress, you rush, and in turn not completing tasks to the best of your abilities. Being productive means allocating your time properly and allowing maximum performance. If you’re trying to start something on your own like I did, it’s essential you follow these next points.
1.1 Keep a schedule
No need to get too fancy here, buy yourself an agenda or if you have trouble following that, use the calendar on your phone to set up your tasks for the day. The main idea is to have your schedule where it would grab your attention and remind you to stay on track. I have mine set up on my Ipad & computer because I’m on those all day. I set up alarms for each task 15 minutes before it’s time to start so I can wrap up the previous task. Although it’s easy to set up a schedule, it takes discipline to follow it and respect it. It took me a while but after doing it consistently it became a simple routine to follow.
The reason for keeping a schedule is not only to plan out your day but also to avoid multi-tasking or spending too much time on one thing. If you plan out your days properly throughout the week then you’ll have no problem completing your tasks. If you need more time to go back to something, then plan a buffer time at the end of your day to complete whatever was left undone.
1.2 Find the easy way of doing things
There is nothing wrong with completing a seemingly difficult task without coming out of it with a headache. It doesn’t mean you didn’t do a thorough job, it means you found the most effective way to do it. There’s a saying that goes “don’t work hard, work smart” and it’s something I’ve learned to live by. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t start doing something and immediately find the easiest and quickest way of completing it while still maintaining a high quality outcome. If you do, well then that’s amazing and good job ! It takes a lot of trial and error of finding new methods of approach or finding tools to facilitate your tasks. I’ll be periodically sharing tools I use in order to facilitate my work day, if there’s something specific you want me to cover just leave a comment below.
There’s an image I’ve seen from time to time that makes me giggle and it’s 100% accurate to the point I’m trying to get across, here it is!
I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard someone say this. I love it because it’s so true. We all know when you’re in a work environment, it’s the person that runs around the most, trying to get things done on time, that get’s the most attention and quite possibly the raise you’ve been looking for. Why? Because they’re running. Don’t be afraid to take a laid back approach, your body will thank you for it and you’ll find it that much easier to come up with new and creative ideas.
2. Give your all
If you believe in something, just do it, literally as simple as that. There’s a something someone once said to be that felt like an imaginary bat hitting me over the head.
“Stop making excuses and just [!@$#] do it!”
Yes there was some profanity used which I do not want to offend anyone, but your minds can fill in the blanks. As simple as that was, it’s completely true and it’s something I continuously carry with me when I get skeptical about building on a new idea. Some people have this fear when they want to become something greater, something beyond the norm of what is “expected of you”. I can go on about this forever but I’ll save that for another post, and I will say the following. I find when people are scared to venture off the road and do something completely on their own, something that means something to them, they’re scared because they’re used to following a structured path. What do I mean by that without sounded too one-sided. My intention is to shed some light on your doubt, why it’s there, and realize you can make a change. Here is an illustration that answered all these questions for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I value the education system. Beyond the obvious fact that it makes you knowledgeable on an infinite amount of things, it teaches you structure and discipline. There are seldom any other methods to acquire these traits and they’re important for the rest of your life. This image tells me that everyone has to reshape their natural way of thinking, abilities, and problem solving processes to meet a certain standard. One standard for all. That is almost not possible because everyone is different. Different personalities, ways of thinking, and so on. It’s impossible to properly evaluate everyone equally but it’s what has to be done. So when it comes time that you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach to do something different, just remember it’s okay to stray away from the person you’ve built because it’s time to be the person that you are. Seriously, JUST DO IT. Not halfway, not part-time, just take a leap of faith put yourself in it 100% and follow your own path. I promise you, you will NOT regret it. See I told you I can talk about this forever but I’ll stop here regarding that point, onto the next one!
3. Make time for yourself
It’s very important that even in the midst of all this, that you make time for you. Step away from your work, computer and phone and just do something for yourself. No one expects you to be working 100 hours a week so don’t put that pressure on yourself. Have cut off times when it comes to talking to clients or customers. Sure the main mentality is when you’re starting off you have to go above and beyond so you offer impeccable service that they keep coming back for more. Trust me, I’ve done it. Although it’s appreciated by your clients/customers, it will turn into a habit unless you cut it off early. Don’t get people accustomed to being able to reach you 24/7.
It’s very important to set time for yourself, allow your mind to rest, remember you’re a person not a machine.
I know how wild your mind can get when you finally start brainstorming on your idea and you come up with ten other things to go along with it. It’s not a bad thing, but don’t try to take on too much too fast. The trick is to pick one thing, make it work 100% and then move onto the next thing on your brainstorming list. The point isn’t to try and impress people with all the things you offer, the point is to give them one amazing product/service followed by an amazing experience. Now, if you’re a big team working together, each with a specific task, then you can completely ignore this paragraph and move on. But for those that are a one person show, trust me when I say focus on one thing and move on. Don’t even multitask and try to do other stuff in the meantime, just really focus. I’m sure if you read any productivity blog with a top 5 list of ways to maximize quality and productivity, one of the points is to do something until it’s done and move onto the next one. This is the exact same concept.
Here’s a personal story. Two years ago I had an idea to create a creative agency, exactly like I do now. So I started off with an idea and it was good, feasible. As I was brainstorming I would say “Ou! What I’d I offered WordPress themes for purchase like ThemeForest” or “I should have a YouTube channel for web development ‘how-to’s”. Long story short I have tons of ideas that I wanted to implement all at the same time of my launch. I worked hard, stressed myself out, the quality was in the range of 0-5 on a scale of 10. At the moment of my expected launch I had four pages that had absolutely no value to them because I didn’t put enough emphasis on all of them. So, don’t be a jack of all trades. Be a master! Focus on one thing, make it work, and move onto the next one!
5. Bring awareness to your product or service
This is something that I think I’ve told every single one of my clients when they ask me “Why is no one buying my product?” Simple, because no one knows about it. The internet is huge, there are so many websites out there in your field of interest that it’s hard to just come across the new kid on the block. It’s actually nearly impossible if you don’t:
#1 Create awareness
#2 Consistently grow your traffic and search engine presence
By awareness I don’t mean pay hundreds of dollars on paid advertisement to get in everyone’s face, that won’t work. Yes, I can say that with confidence. Imagine this, you’re walking down the street minding your own business and someone just jumps out at you and says, “Buy my product now!” What would your reaction be? Chances are you’ll thank them for their time but you have to continue on your way. Or you might stand there and listen to be polite but chances are there will not be a conversion. People need to trust you, you have to form some kind of credibility around yourself and your brand before you offer them a product/service. My favorite way of doing this is through blogging and Twitter. This is entirely a topic on it’s own and I will be preparing a small course on how to go about this in January 2016. If it is something you’ll be interested than please subscribe and you’ll be first to know when it’s ready to go.
6. Ready. Set. Launch!
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for since you first had the idea of your product/service, the dreaded launch. Before I say “Just rip off that band-aid and launch!” We’re going to take a step back for just a second. Make sure everything is set and ready to go, and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! Every aspect of every detail is 100% functioning, clear, and ready to be seen by the world. For example if you’re launching a product on your website make sure the following list is checked off:
- All links are functioning and no broken links are present
- Everything is proof read
- All elements (photos, videos, buttons, etc) are fully functional
- The website looks spectacular across all devices
- You’ve properly set up Google Analytics and tracking pixels (if applicable)
- You’ve tested your contact form (or any other form) and links to social media
- Everything you want people to know if on your website and easily accessible
These are just general points, this may be right on the money for some of you but for others you have your own specific list. Regardless, make sure everything is done properly. You want to be able to give a good first impression and answer all inquires.
Now, it’s time to rip off the band-aid get it over with and just put it out there! And please, don’t be afraid of failure. You actually have to expect it if you plan on being successful. Here’s a little post from Seth Godin:
Last night, a comedian tried out some new material, and someone in the front row didn’t laugh.
Last week, I put up a post with a new idea in it, and thousands of people who read it didn’t retweet or share it.
Last year, someone ran for office and didn’t get every single vote cast.
Failure! Certain failure.
Of course your next project isn’t going to delight everyone. That’s impossible. It’s certain that for some people, your project is going to be a failure.
At the same time, it’s also quite unlikely that your project will please no one.
So now, we can agree that it’s all on a spectrum, and that success and failure are merely localized generalizations.
Once you realize that failure is certain, it’s a lot easier to focus on impact instead.
7. Interact with customers
The most important thing in the beginning, and always for that matter is your customer interaction. Your initial job is to listen to your customers/clients, respond, and build a relationship. I understand how if you have a large client/customer base and you don’t have a team to answer all inquires then automated messages or general answer forums are the easier way to go. Although, try to avoid that. People want to have a sense of recognition, to know that you care about handling their business. I’ve worked at a supermarket for 9 years of my life and the one value I got from it that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, is the importance of going that extra step to make your client/customer feel special. Even if you take a minute to just ask how their day is going or to show interest in them rather than jump straight into business, it’ll take you a long way. Not many people take the time to do this because, it just merely takes up time. So think about it, if you’re in competition with another company and you take the time to send an extra little personalized something that makes the client/customer feel appreciated, who will they be more loyal to? Everyone, no matter who they are, likes to be recognized and appreciated for a moment in the day.
8. Know your market
Always be aware of your market. Do monthly research and keep statistics. Know what people are talking about in your field, what questions are asked, what people are looking for. This is how you build productively and continuously offer great value. Following trends also allows you to run successful campaigns and receive maximum results.
9. Be a leader
Lastly, be a leader. Be the support your team needs and be there to answer questions. This is your business that your team is loyal to, they believe in you and your vision so be there for them as a leader. Delegate, teach, and build a strong team that will take the entire business to the next level.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions leave a comment. See you next week!