The balancing act of working IN or ON your business is one that the self-employed or SMEs manage every day.
Working in your business is doing the tasks required for your client, which is the service you provide or product you sell. For example, cleaning homes or proofreading (like me). This creates your income, so it needs to be a priority.
However, as we all know, running a business also requires pesky tasks such as admin, whether that is accounting or data inputting or even replying to emails from prospective customers. This is all working IN your business and it is so easy to get bogged down! Before you know it, the month is done, and you barely know what day it is. Maybe you need to take a step back and work ON your business, but how?
I have always prioritised working in the business because if your clients aren’t happy then you won’t have a business before too long! However, January was a slow start to the year (although strangely my books don’t reflect this), so I ended up with more thinking time and I was able to really reflect on where I want to go with my business. I got my accounts up-to-date and this gave me a chance to reflect on how far I have come. I have grown slowly as planned and I have hit my income target for the tax year, so I am pleased! But things are changing this year and it is now time to set new targets and have a new plan.
Working ON your business takes time and effort though, so here are FIVE tips to help:
- Delegate – It isn’t always possible, but can you look at bringing someone in to help with tasks such as accounting or data input, things you either spend a long time doing ( I a m a s l o w t y p e r..) or that you are not an expert in. The cost is a factor, but with VAs (Virtual Assistants) being more popular and bookkeepers and accountants offering deals you may not need to commit heavily to reap a benefit.
- Dream – Dare to dream about what you really want. Take time out of your day, perhaps stop scrolling on Facebook, and think about where you want your business to go. This is the first big hurdle, working out how to get there is the next one, but if you have no goal the path is irrelevant.
- Dialogue – Talk to someone else about it. I have a best friend I meet up with most months for a spa day to relax. We sit in a hot tub and come up with ideas for my business or solutions to problems we may have. It definitely helps to get another perspective, and in the right environment you can really come up with some great ideas (I can recommend a hot tub!).
- Downtime – Give your mind a chance to rest – if you are overworked you won’t have the brain space to think about your business in a helpful way as you will feel overwhelmed. So, give yourself permission for a day off occasionally. It can be easy to get drawn into answering emails at stupid o’clock, but you don’t have to. This whole article is basically me telling you to have spa day, as I love them, but whatever you like to do to relax, do it. Exercise can really help too; my best ideas usually turn up when I am running or after yoga.
- Don’t be afraid – We all think if we don’t reply straight away the client will be lost or letting someone else help with writing our blog or editing work may compromise quality, but don’t be scared to let someone trustworthy and qualified help. You can spend time planning and creating new ideas and bringing in new work and it will end up having a far more powerful effect on your business in the end.
So, in essence, find some time to make plans, set goals and rethink through what you are doing and why. We all know we should be doing it but as the business gets a hold of us, we can all be guilty of letting things get out of hand. And book yourself that spa day!