There’s nothing better than taking charge of your own destiny by being your own boss! But to be successful long-term, it’s important to take steps to preserve your sanity and stay efficient.
While it’s tempting to give 110% of yourself – and your resources – to your business, prevent over-extending by keeping in mind a few key tips:
1. You don’t have to be “on call” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Sometimes it can be hard to establish boundaries. While you want to be as responsive as possible to your stakeholders, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to disconnect sometimes. “Training” those who work with you to value your time can actually be helpful in gaining their respect overall.
2. Take a break
In the same vein as #1, you need to occasionally block out some “personal time” so you can regroup and recharge. Research shows that time away from your business actually helps you get more done in the long run, and let’s face it: we get pulled in so many directions, it will only get done if it’s on the calendar.
3. Be innovative when it comes to resources
People in a “real job” usually have easy access to paid resources and other perks. But once you start your own business, you’ll likely find it’s not necessary to pay full price for things like research, pricey databases or subscriptions.
Much of the information you need can be found online, with just a little digging. If you need to use a paid service for a certain need, check with other small business owners to see if there are any co-op opportunities before spending the big bucks. For example, many media database providers allow public relations consultants to share a subscription at a lower cost. Don’t be afraid to negotiate!
4. Establish procedures
It’s important for small business owners to take the time to define and document operations processes, so you aren’t constantly reinventing the wheel. It’s easy when we’re strapped for time to neglect this step, but it’s key to staying efficient long-term.
5. You’re not alone
As a business owner, it’s easy to feel like you’re on your own. So it’s important to build a network of professional support – and with social media this doesn’t have to be in-person, so it’s easier than ever.
For example, independent public relations and creative professionals have formed strong bonds around the Solo PR Pro LinkedIn group, the weekly #solopr chat on Twitter each Wednesday (from 1-2 pm ET), as well as a Facebook page. These outlets give new and veteran independent consultants a forum to ask questions, share ideas, and make each other laugh on a regular basis. Regardless of your specialty or business niche, chances are there’s a similar community of professionals out there for you.
These are just a few top sanity-saving tips. What are yours? If you’re an independent business owner, how do you stay focused and productive?
Solo PR Pro community founder and blogger Kellye Crane has been a successful independent PR consultant for more than 15 years, and enjoys helping creative professionals interested in independence down this career path. Connect with Kellye at solopr.