I have a confession to make… I’ve fallen victim to one of the key perils of freelancing.
I’ve been so caught up in delivering services to my clients that I’ve neglected to make time for my own business.
One of the toughest challenges I’ve encountered as a freelancer is setting aside enough time to map out my own business plan and establish a clear direction for my business going into 2019.
So today, I’ve done something unusual. I’ve blocked out an entire afternoon in my calendar to tidy up my website and write this blog post. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?
Then I got to thinking… if I’m working as a digital marketer, copywriter and photographer and even I have failed to appropriately promote myself and my business, what hope is there for other small, local business who perhaps need support in this area anyway?
It’s ridiculously easy to put the promotion of your business on the back burner because you’re busy. But busyness is a killer of creativity and consciousness, and it will eventually slow the growth of your business – even if you’re filling all of your time with servicing the needs of clients.
Make a conscious effort to be fully present
The first step is to recognise that you’re neglecting something really important for the sake of firefighting. In years to come, do you want to look back and wonder where all that time went, and on what?
Dan Sullivan – an expert on entrepreneurship and founder of The Strategic Coach Inc – says this:
“I find that people are very busy looking outside of themselves for the next thing that’s going to propel them as an entrepreneur, when, in fact, the answer is inside themselves: Stop being busy. Stop filling your time with activity, with tasks. Work on being present instead.”
Being present will enable you to focus on what is really important.
Now that might not even be about nurturing your business – it could be recognising that you need a lifestyle change; that you want to spend more time with your family and are in need of a better work/life balance. After all, most freelancers and small business owners decide to ‘go it alone’ for precisely that reason; a better work/life balance.
Obvious alert…perhaps the key is to do fewer things that make more of an impact?
“Well duh” I hear you say. “Who’s going to do all of the things that I do now if I decide to reduce my task list? This copywriter is crazy…”
The point I’m making is that it is so important to be conscious of where your time goes and to consider where any improvements can be made. Even if, like me, you simply set aside half of a day to take stock and evaluate where you are and where you want to be, that’s a good start.
Because the fact is that we don’t have forever to fulfil those promises and plans we hope to get around to one day.
What I’ve learnt from taking time to reflect on where my time is spent is that I won’t just suddenly stop being busy. If I don’t change my mindset I will just continue to be too busy to accomplish the things that truly matter.
My recognition of the need to be more present and more selective with my time doesn’t just help me, it helps my clients too. My attention should be 100% on the client I’m working with at that time and this is something that far too many of us struggle with in today’s distracted world.
Now it’s your turn.
Set aside some time to understand where your time goes and make a note of where you’d like to be investing more of it. It might just save you waking up in years to come and wondering where it all went.