A realistic vision of being autonomous

Being self-employed requires a lot more than most people realize. If you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, you will want to know everything about your field, your products, and your customers … but you WILL NEED to know how to run a business. It is important for business owners to realize all the hidden areas that consume a surprising amount of time and energy behind the scenes in running a business.

Whether you produce one work of art per week, one book every 3 years, or 500 products, you are running a business and you must treat it as such. Five-year business plans and annual agendas (also known as action plans) are essential elements of any business.

If you are serious about your career, review your business plan every 5 years: find out what worked, find out why you didn’t achieve what you hoped for, and write a new 5-year business plan. Organize monthly meetings and try to get on the “to do list” before the next meeting. It is also wise to allow spontaneous brainstorming sessions on a regular basis.

Consultation and marketing, record keeping, blog management, accounting and tax preparation, as well as time for education and research, should be scheduled in. We spend an amazing amount of time cleaning clients’ study, offices, entry areas and bathroom. Other time-consuming tasks include preparing the studio for workshops and sending appointment reminders, event invitations, or promoting an interview that has just been published.

Depending on the type of business activities you have planned, you may be running a blog, updating a website, running an advertising campaign, or using social media. It will be necessary to create logos, images and promotional materials. It’s also good if you have a media page, where you share links to places you’ve been featured in the media. You may need to produce new articles, press releases, and create new web content to keep your site from looking stale and to ensure consistent media exposure.

Whether you have staff, outside services, or have a partner, you will have to learn how to manage people’s skills in the workplace. These are the most important tips for effective teamwork:

• Be patient with each other.

• Understand, empathize, and work within the other person’s capabilities.

• Work with what people enjoy (or hate) doing.

• Understand when circumstances prevent agendas from happening.

• Be a ‘cheerleader’ or ‘problem solver’ for each other.

Letting go of the things that go around in your mind over and over, long after the workday is over can be challenging. The best thing is to write it down, whatever it is, and when it reappears in your mind, you say to yourself: “Okay, it is written, you will not forget it and you can do it when you have time.” “Make sure you get to those lists.

Changing your way of thinking can also be helpful. Learn to view all the pressures you face in a positive light. Instead of being stressed out by all those items on your to-do list, celebrate the fact that all of these great options are there to follow up, one item at a time.

To be successful and happy, business owners learn to enjoy feeling pressured. Personally, I like having a to-do list and feeling productive. I like to remember the day and see that my efforts had some kind of measurable effect. A satisfying sense of accomplishment is important to me. I tend to stay positive, albeit with chronic pain and some lack of sleep from time to time … I can also get a little irritable. However, in general, work does not affect me. Complications do. When things go wrong and equipment crashes or we lose data … that’s when I can get in a bad mood. However, with every complication comes a learning curve and we develop new prevention skills and contingency plans.

I’ve also learned that just because there are options and opportunities that some companies have been successful with doesn’t mean we have to do them all. Some of those options are not suitable for our business at this time. Location, contacts, skills, talents, budget, and time – these all play an important role in what works for the individual business.

As you can see, open communication and a professional attitude will take your business to the next level. Learning how to be flexible and organized, create strong plans, and be prepared for contingencies will help you stand your ground when problems arise that disrupt business activities.

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