My life has changed dramatically in the last month.
February was a mess of constant travel, setting up my business, and meeting deadlines. I've been so overwhelmed with the amount of work that I've needed to do the last few weeks! Ultimately, I need to just sit down and figure out a daily schedule that works for me.
However, even though it's been crazy, I've learned SO much in this first month of owning my own official business. It's been a wild ride, and I thought I would take a moment to sit and reflect on it here.
So, here are 5 things I've learned from starting a company:
1. Consistency is key
This is a lesson I have actually learned over the last year. It's something that I'm historically bad at doing because I am more of an all-or-nothing kind of person.
However, the past few weeks have solidified the fact that I really need to be consistent in my work and what I do. Because a little bit of work each day towards something will get you a lot further along than just trying to do everything all at once.
For example: this blog. It's fallen to the wayside in the last two weeks, but that's something that I really can't allow. Having the consistent blog twice a week is going to be one of the best marketing and sales strategies I can possibly use, and I can't allow for client work to get in the way of it.
2. Set boundaries and guard your time
I love working freelance, but there's something I've noticed about my world now. Because I am a lot more flexible in when I can work, I get asked to do things more often or have people change their schedules on me.
So far this hasn't been so bad. This week it's been a matter of watching my friend's adorable puppy instead of working from my office. It meant hanging out with a friend all day on Wednesday instead of working. It involves doing all of the planning for grocery shopping and cooking during the day. Like I said, these are things that are important and need to be done, but it has also impacted my work.
That's why I've started setting boundaries for myself and have committed to working 9-5 every day of the work week. Even though as a freelancer you're supposed to have the freedom to work wherever and whenever you want, this boundary for me is the only way that I can actually get anything done. Plus, at the end of the day I get to go home, hang out, and relax, not catch up on all of the work that I've put off during the day.
3. Being responsible takes time to learn (but it's also fun)
I used to be afraid of being responsible. Now I relish in it. I love waking up in the morning and getting shit done that I need to. I feel like I'm slowly turning into my dad's girlfriend who is maybe the most responsible person in the world.
Frankly, I am kind of amazed at how responsible I have become since starting my own company. In the last three weeks alone I've registered a business, figured out my taxes, streamlined my invoicing process, and so many other things.
In short, I've grown so much more over the last month than I have in a year because I've been forced to. I genuinely feel like a different person now than I did a month ago.
4. There aren't enough hours in the day...so you need to work smarter, not harder.
Okay, so this is one that I'm still working on perfecting. But if I've said it once, I'll say it 1,000 times: the key to a successful business is planning ahead, making a to-do list, and crossing that shit off of it.
Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to write faster and better. I want to speed up my workflow so that I can take in more money. If I can take in more money in the amount of time that I am devoting to work right now, I'll have more time to focus on getting better at my craft so I can charge higher prices.
How am I doing that? A few ways:
- I started writing in the Hemingway App to check for passive voice and difficult sentences.
- I've begun writing everything that's in my head on the page, then going back to edit after (increases word count and gets me closer to the finished product than editing on-the-go does).
- I've rented an office so I can't work from home without losing money. When I work from home I feel like I have to clean or organize or do other things.
In short, I'm building structure into my days and workflow to help me figure out where the slowdown is.
Is it helping? I'm not really sure yet. I think I'm noticing some measurable differences but we will see.
5. Focus, focus, focus.
Honestly, I think Focus is the #1 thing that anyone can do to increase their business. And all of these tips and tricks mean nothing if you don't focus on them.
This goes beyond turning your phone off and working (which is something I've started doing and has made a huge difference for me). But it also means focusing on your business goals and figuring out how you're actually going to achieve them.
Do you run a business?
What are the things you've learned from your company? Leave a comment below!