This list has been designed for anyone who needs to make the best possible use of their time and most importantly stay in a good headspace, as they work for themselves. (In particular, women, as our brains, bodies and hormones work differently, so we are prone to more ups and downs – this can be proven scientifically…). This list is based on my own experiences over the last 20 years, and from coaching 100’s of other female coaches.
Listen to the podcast version of this post (with extra stories included) On;
1. Know your strengths
– This is critical and also helpful with many facets of how you work, regardless of the type of work you do. Eg, are you an extrovert vs an introvert? Does your business model and/or your days include a lot of people? or, perhaps it includes more alone time? Then the question is what do you prefer, how do you work best? Extroverts and introverts can do either, but knowing this about yourself allows you to factor in ‘downtime’ if needed for recovery.
Understanding your personality and those of the people you work with (and those you help if you have a people-based business), is VERY empowering. The more understanding we have the better our lives in general, the less conflict, the easier and more ‘lubricated’ all our transactions…
(One of the personality tests I like a lot is the free ‘love languages test’ – which explains how people show and therefore expect you to show them, your love and attention! It’s a game-changer this one, for many relationships. Here is the link for you to do it (https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/ )
This leads to the next point
2. Outsource the things you don’t enjoy or are not good at. It saves time!
I am a big fan of outsourcing what you are not good at, but I know many people are not good at this. A good rule of thumb is if you can earn 2 x per hr, what the other task is valued at, then outsource it for better use of your time. (Trust me, the moment you do it, you will understand the value but probably not before.)
A great website to hire online help – in particular, anything to do with technology is upwork. Here is the link for that site; https://www.upwork.com/
3. Keep the marketing approach as simple as possible.
There’s no doubt you need to do marketing for your business, but often the ‘how’ and ‘why’ is easy to overcomplicate. Trying to ‘follow’ all the rules about ‘doing it this way’ or that way, (the way the other person does it), or the way the guru taught you, often ends up leading to frustration in the best cases and being a major cause of burn out in the worst.
Instead, keep it simple by helping your ‘ideal client’ to ‘solve their problems’. Knowing what these two things are is critical to help you market yourself. Rather than just churning out the traditional ‘advertisements/buy my stuff’ style of marketing.
On that note;
Regardless of how big your brand/company is people want to know the person behind it, so don’t be afraid of connecting with humans and being seen, even if it’s online. (Pictures of yourself and videos feel narcissistic at times, I know, but it’s the next best thing to meeting them in person.) Plus it’s important and it works as far as to generate leads into your business. You will notice you get less cold leads when you do this.
Here’s a video I made on the subject of keeping it as simple as possible plus finding out what works for you (as it’s not always the same as what works well for the next person.) – video of kate on Youtube – of work for yourself tips.
4. Do the most important things at a time of day that works for you. (The perfect time of the day is different for everyone)
You may have heard the saying – do the most important things first thing in the day? And set your alarm to get up at 4 or 5 am? I know for some people rules like this are not practical. For some of us, it isn’t practical to meditate first thing in the morning (some of us have kids who have sleepless nights right?)
Many of us are juggling various responsibilities like family, relationships and working for yourself etc… so getting up earlier and having less sleep doesn’t sound appealing right?
Understanding that if you work for yourself the list of ‘things to do’ is never-ending.. knowing this can actually provide some relief in itself. So stop trying to ‘get all the things done’.
Then knowing what’s critical and what isn’t is crucial. Which brings me to an extra list that I want to share with you on ‘How To Prioritise Your Time in Business’, especially when your ‘to-do list’ is huge.
5. Make Yourself Accountable – To Your Own Word
Either to yourself or to a friend to show up and do the thing, eg, from admin tasks and book-keeping, to ‘doing the workout’.
Or make yourself accountable where you will potentially face public humiliation if that kind of thing can work for you… (eg, posting on social media).
So really becoming a person of your word is critical. But I believe you cannot work for yourself successfully unless that is you. It’s a skill that can be learnt. Learn it fast, if you aren’t already that way inclined.
6. Listen To No-one
(while learning from ‘selected’ others to make the journey faster)
Learning from and listening to a very small, selected group of people, is important. Shutting out most other ‘noise’ and opinions is even more important.
(For eg, Listen to those who do work for themselves – and on the level, you want to be on). Not listening to the opinions of some friends and family can become critical. Sometimes the people who have your best intentions at heart, ie, just to keep you safe, won’t be able to help at all.
The problem is that everyone has differing opinions about ‘what you are doing’, and it can knock you off your ‘perch’, shake your certainty and in the worst cases derail you from your projects that aren’t fully formed yet.
Take all advice with a grain of salt. I say that in knowing that everyone has an opinion, as I mentioned, BUT it not all worth listening too.
Consider – have they been where you are going? or where you want to get to?
Filter, even the advice you do get and look at how can you practically get that to work for you, knowing that there are fundamental keys to success when you work for yourself and that not everyone is cut out for it, which is ok, but if you are in the ‘work for yourself basket’ then you are approx a ‘1 in 12’ individual who is ‘brave’ enough (or stupid enough) to try it. It isn’t for everyone, which brings me to the next point.
7. Find a Support Crowd (not a complaining group)
What I mean is a group of like-minded people, who have similar values, who can lift you up when you need it (it may be an online group), and it most likely is NOT your current social group.
I don’t mean a group you can complain to. I mean people who simply understand what it’s like to work for yourself and if they do give you support it won’t be to tell you to get a ‘real job’ unless you really should.
If you do choose to complain, understand that’s a dangerous road to spend too much time on. What I mean is, it’s pointless to wallow in the stuff that doesn’t work and add to the list of things that don’t work and to discuss how things aren’t or can’t work… Instead, find groups of people that lift you and help you find solutions.
Complaining does no one any good, nor will it help you grow your business and attract more customers! (Yes, believe it or not, the better the mood you are in, the better your business and the better your marketing will work).
eg, I have many friends who don’t work for themselves, and that’s ok, I still love them to bits, but I don’t talk about my ‘work for myself issues’ when I am with them.
I save that for my group of ‘we work for ourself’ friends. A network of people I HIGHLY recommend you find for yourself.
8. Guard Your Time!
This is especially important if you are just starting as you will find not only distractions from the tasks that are uncomfortable but as you get better, people will want to pick your brain and buy you coffee. While I love socialising, you need to be mindful of ‘doing YOUR tasks’ first and at the appropriate time during the day – and keep your word with yourself about this.
Eg, In the health industry we are lucky as we can choose to not let people come late to appointments, because for example if they do and we let them, it means our entire day is running behind. (Unlike a hairdressers appointment, where they have to finish what they started).
To get out of places where you may be wasting time (or where people start to chit-chat and you haven’t done your important tasks for the day), you can use the ‘Oh I have to go to another appointment’ reason. I highly suggest you use it, especially if that appointment is to do your own work!
9. Get a Good Cause
If your business doesn’t tick this box for you, then I highly suggest you find a hobby or some outlet that allows you to contribute to and think about others. This has been shown clinically to reduce depression and anxiety in many humans and it’s a great exercise to simply stop caring about yourself and your problems for a while.
If you can tie in, the ‘actual’ work you do, how fulfilling and amazing would that be! As health coaches and personal trainers, we are incredibly lucky to kill so many birds with one stone with regards to this 😉
10. Look After Your Health
I know this goes without saying, or maybe it doesn’t but in my mind and the world of working for myself, I’ve personally experienced the health game-changing on me through different stages of life and business and I know that if I am not looking after myself daily, then the quality of what I do starts to slip.
Meaning I yell more at my loved ones. I gain weight and feel generally blah about myself when I don’t use my body to it’s fullest potential. Plus I lose my day to day motivation and general ‘mo-jo’.
Fortunately for me, I know enough about health to know that people cannot have a great business and life if they don’t pay attention to ticking this box too!
Make sure if health isn’t your game (or if you have dropped the ball like I did a while back), you become accountable to someone to help you prioritise this part of your life again and find what works for you!
… I often have a coach in either body or business.
Looking after yourself can and should be fun. Ok, it may be a little hard to start with, but fun things are as important as exercise in my mind, so start there. Want to do a practical exercise with me right now?…
Make a list of 10 things you enjoy and put at least 1 of them into your diary to execute in the following week. No excuses. Sorry but it’s breaking the rules here to include drinking alcohol regularly or anything detrimental to your health…
(That’s for the party list 😉)
This clean ‘fun’ can be as simple as connecting with a friend on the phone, exercising or reading a book. Whatever it is, it gives you an oxytocin release which makes you a more pleasant human, who then gets more out of life and contributes better to the human race (and it goes without saying, therefore runs a better business)!
If you would like my help in executing more in less time with regards to growing your fitness or health coaching business, click the link here to see if I have any times available to chat with you about what may be possible, in your business.