How To Avoid Administrative Angst & Procrastination Pileup

They appear innocent enough.

Those seemingly non-urgent pain in the @*# tasks you figure you’ll get to sometime. Maybe on a slow day or some other time when you find yourself Piles-of-workmotivated to tackle them.

So you put them on the back burner.

You’ve got more important things to do, right? There’s no sense in letting them take you away from your “real work.”

But the problem with ignoring small—yet eventually necessary—tasks when you’re self-employed is the longer you put them off, they bigger they become. They pile up. And then, instead of demanding just a few minutes of your time, they transform into mammoth undertakings that could require hours on end to get them under control.

Sound familiar?

Avoid Unnecessary Stress: Take a few minutes; Save a few hours.

 Working as a freelance writer these past five years, I’ve learned that procrastination nearly never has a positive outcome. It’s true when approaching work for clients—and when taking care of the administrative details that come with running a business solo. Here’s my short list of tasks that can go from “manageable” to “mayhem” if you save them for later rather than nipping them in the bud.

Generating invoices – Depending how many clients you have, you could find yourself spending hours producing invoices and sending them if you wait to do all of them at the same time. For project work, consider billing customers after you’ve completed the work instead of waiting until the end of the month. If you’ve got multiple recurring monthly assignments requiring invoices dated the first of the month, set a schedule to create them ahead of time so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

Logging your accounts receivables and deposits – Matching up invoices with checks and logging deposit dates can get harrowing if you’ve got a pile of them awaiting your attention. Save yourself the headache by tracking them in your accounting system as they arrive.

Filing paper copies – As much as I do business electronically, I do still keep some paper records on file. I know many other solopreneurs and small business owners who do, too. Again, putting them where they belong nearly as soon as they cross your desk can save you the hassle of shuffling through mass quantities.

Balancing your checkbook and reconciling your bank statement – If you like nightmares, let two or three or more months pass by before you pay attention to these tasks. While reviewing and matching up your checkbook’s records with those on your bank statement and in Quickbooks (or Freshbooks or Excel or whatever accounting tool you’re using) may never be a dream come true for you, it will go so much easier if you take care of it promptly each and every month. Plus, if there’s any discrepancy between what you’ve recorded and what your bank’s reporting, you’ll want to address it with them ASAP.

Logging your business mileage – That 56 cents per mile deduction can add up—and so can the time you’ll need to spend if you wait too long before logging the miles you’ve put on your car going to business meetings and events. I regrettably procrastinate on this one every quarter and then find myself muttering choice words under my breath as I scour my Google Calendar for the appointments I attended over the prior three months.

 With all of the above, I’ve learned that a few minutes now can save many minutes (sometimes hours) later. While you may feel tempted to put off those little to dos until tomorrow…or the next day…or the one after that, don’t procrastinate! It’s a mean, spiteful practice that will come back to bite you.

What administrative tasks have piled up on you lately?

By Dawn Mentzer (Struggling with writing fresh content for your blog? Drop me a note!)
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

 

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sanity Saving Pre-Vacation Checklist for Solopreneurs

Ahhh. Vacation! Time to unwind, feel the sand between your toes, read a good book, escape your cares, and leave theSouth Padre Island, TX Beach pressures of work behind.

Those are the rewards that await you IF you survive the insanely stressful, tense days before you finally whisk yourself and your loved ones away.

When I started my own freelancing business five years ago, I suffered a number of pre-vacation symptoms – including short temper and scattered brain – prior to departing for our family get-aways. While those things afflicted me when I was on a corporate career path, they intensified after I became a solopreneur. The pressures of wrapping things up are a wee bit more demanding than when I had colleagues within a department to cover for me while I was gone.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With some thought and planning, you can make preparing to go away a less harrowing experience.

Solopreneurs’ Pre-vacation Survival Guide

Here are my ready-set-don’t-fret tips for getting your act together before you leave your office.

    • Let clients know you’ll be going out of town.
      Don’t only inform them about when you’ll be gone; also let them know on what date you’ll no longer be working on assignments. For example, if your plane leaves for Florida on Tuesday, August 5, you might decide you won’t work on client projects after Friday, August 1.I typically give myself at least one business day off before I leave because I always discover there are eleventh hour errands to run and personal tasks to tend to. You might also want to include the day after you return as an off-limits day so you can catch up on things at home or administrative tasks. Email the dates of your unavailability to your clients at least one month in advance. If you tell them by phone, email them a reminder.  They’re human after all, and they’re likely to forget exactly when you said you’ll be leaving and when you’ll be back.
    • Reschedule assignments that would be due during the week(s) you’re on vacation.
      You’ve got the responsibility to come through for your clients. Plan to get their work done before you leave for vacation. About one month before you depart, schedule assignments on your calendar throughout the week or two before you leave so you’ve reserved ample time to complete them. Your clients will appreciate your reliability – and you won’t have to play catch up when you return home.
    • Resist taking on new assignments the week before you leave.
      Yes, the money will look awfully attractive because you know you’ll probably be spending lots of it during your vacation. But if a prospect or client brings a new project your way just before you leave, ask if you can begin to work on it after you return. Remember, in adherence to the last bullet point, you’ve already scheduled client work for that week before vacation. And then there’s always the unexpected that can – and likely will – pop up just as you’re starting to have visions of palm trees and margaritas dancing in your head. Don’t load up your pre-vacation week too heavily, or you could find yourself scrambling.
      • Schedule your blog posts and social media updates.
        Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean your marketing efforts have to go on a hiatus, too. You can still keep your blog and social media accounts afloat by writing your posts and updates ahead of time and scheduling them to publish while you’re gone. If you have a WordPress blog, you can future-date posts. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer make it easy to schedule social media updates, plus Facebook has built-in scheduling capabilities.

 

    • Pay your bills in advance.
      If you’re not set up for automatic payments, schedule time in advance to take care of any bills that will be due while you’re gone. This year, my Verizon Wireless and Visa payments will be due during my vacation, so I’ve created an appointment on my Google Calendar to remit them the week before I leave. That helps me in two ways: 1. They won’t slip my mind. 2. I won’t lose sleep over worrying about them slipping my mind.
    • Set up your automated email vacation response.
      Don’t haggle with this at the last minute. Do it at least a week or two in advance so you’re done with it. Set it so people know when you’ll be unavailable, which would include the time before and directly after vacation when you’ll be preparing to leave or catching up after you return.
      • Change your voice mail greeting on your office phone and mobile phone.
        Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do this too far in advance of your vacation, but take care of it the day before you’ll no longer be available to field client calls.

 

    • Create an instructions sheet for the person(s) who will be looking after your home while you’re gone.
      If you’ve got a house/pet sitter who takes care of your home and furry family members when you’re on vacation, you can avoid the worry of “Did I tell them everything they need to know?” by creating an instructions sheet. We’ve used one for the past several years, and we update it each time we go away if anything has changed. We include: our dog’s feeding and medication schedule, our plants’ watering schedule (I’ve got 40 outdoor potted plants in a variety of places, so yes, this is a necessity!), the combination for opening our garage door with the outdoor keypad, swimming pool care instructions, our mobile phone numbers, our home’s landline voice mail password, location of our vacuum cleaner, local emergency contacts, and most important – our Wi-Fi password!

I know. It sounds like a lot of work. But when you’ve got everything in order ahead of time, you can spare yourself the debilitating rush of cortisol that comes from frantically taking care of loose ends at the last minute.

Try it, and I think you’ll agree; you’ll relax more easily and enjoy that first vacation cocktail so much more by planning for your departure in advance.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ Post

[Image is from one of our past vacations at South Padre Island TX]
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Deck the Halls – and Your Small Biz: Add Sparkle With These 3 Professional Touches

As the holidays approach, we put an exorbitant amount of time and effort into making the season bright for all around us. It’s as it should be….but don’t forget to look ahead and think about how you can make things a little brighter for your small business in the New Year.

NOW is the time to focus on the things you can do to propel your business forward in 2014. Whether your past year was one that didn’t quite make its mark or one in which you exceeded expectations, you can always find ways to improve and add some professional polish.

Some ideas for brightening your small business in 2014

Refresh your website.

How long have you had your existing website? It might be time for a re-do. Does your site look dated? Does the navigation not serve visitors as well as it should? Is it difficult for you to change content? If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, you might consider an update. Tip: Unless you’re a web designer/developer, don’t attempt on your own. If you think your audience can’t tell the difference between a self-created Weebly site and one that’s professionally done, think again. This is your brand we’re talking about. Your website will be the one place all your other online spaces, marketing material,s and messaging point to, so it pays to have one that’s well done and shows you mean business.

Pose for some professional photos.

As easy it is to spot  an amateur website, it’s also easy to spot a “selfie” profile pic. I’ve found professional pics to be one of the best investments I’ve made for my business. They put that finishing touch on your website and the social networks you use professionally. And if you’re invited to speak at an event or guest blog, you won’t look like an amateur when they ask you for a high-res head shot. Not all photographers will cost you an arm and leg.  Ask around and do some research to find one who will bring out your best without costing you a bundle.

Start your blog – FINALLY!

I’m secretly laughing to myself because I know at least four people personally who at this moment are saying, “Does she mean me?” Hmmm….maybe I do. I’ll never tell! But what I will say is if you have any doubt about how important blogging is for your business, read this article by Stephanie Frasco. Twice.

No complaining or whining about not having anything of interest to write about! You have a business. Your business has customers. Your customers find some value in what you offer them, so expand on that through your blog. What breaking news in your industry will help them live healthier lives or do business better? Have you launched a new service or expanded an existing service to enable them to save time by outsourcing an annoying task? What tips can you give them to extend the life of your products? What questions do customers most frequently ask about your services? Creating and sharing your own content via a blog is a powerful way to build authority, gain trust, and turn leads into sales.

 

Go ahead; deck the halls, but don’t stop there.

As you’re hanging mistletoe and stringing lights this month, remember to think ahead about how you can make your business sparkle and shine next year. What steps big or small would sprinkle some professional pixie dust over your small business?

 

By Dawn Mentzer

 

 

 

Solopreneurs: If You Got Hit by a Bus, What Would Happen to Your Business?

I think it’s important to have an optimistic attitude as a solopreneur…but it’s also important to have one foot firmlyBlurred bus planted in reality and accept that we’re not invincible. Planes crash. Cars collide. Hearts go into cardiac arrest. Downer, right? No one expects those things to happen, but they do. My hope is that they never happen to you (or me!). But if any of the above or some other unanticipated tragedy strikes, would someone know where things stand with your business?

I got to thinking about that over the weekend. My husband, besides knowing where my checkbook is and what bank holds my business account, wouldn’t have much of  a clue about my clients, my projects, and many other components of my business. Yes, we do talk quite a bit about our work, but that’s not the same as having detailed information and a plan should the unthinkable happen and I’m rendered unable to carry on.

So, I’ve started compiling a guide that my husband can refer to if he’s ever faced with taking care of my business because I’m not around to do it myself. In it, I’m categorizing and addressing things like…

Login info

  • Laptop
  • Gmail
  • Social networks – all of them
  • Productivity tools
  • Wireless phone account
  • Online banking

Paid memberships and subscriptions that auto-renew, for example…

  • Domain name registrations
  • Web hosting
  • Writers Market

Monthly fees that are paid automatically and electronically to vendors, for example…

  • Hootsuite
  • LegalShield Pre-Paid Legal Services

Physical location of

  • Bank statements (paper and online)
  • Credit Card statements
  • Tax info

Current lists of projects in progress – This will need to be updated on a weekly basis because what’s started and what’s completed changes regularly. Especially important will be identifying…

  • The Clients for whom I’m working.
  • Any payments given for services not yet received from me.

Outstanding proposals or informal estimates that haven’t yet been accepted and that aren’t logged in Quickbooks – This also will need weekly updates.


Quickbooks crash course

  • The basics of how to get in there and perform some basic functions
  • The name, email and phone number of my Quickbooks consultant

I’m sure I’ll discover multiple other items to add to my list as time moves on, but this has at least given me some peace of mind. It’s giving my husband some as well.

Although you and I are solopreneurs, we can’t think only of ourselves! What do your loved ones know about your business? Would they be able to pull the pieces to together if anything should – heaven forbid – happen to you?

I’d love to hear from you on this topic! What “safety net” have you built for your business?

Image courtesy of thephotoholic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Taking a Break Without Breaking Business Momentum – Tips for Making the Best Use of Time on a Road Trip

Thrilled about taking a holiday break, but stressed at the thought of projects falling behind and work piling up? If you’ll On the roadbe one of the many small biz pros on the road (literally) to an extended weekend over Easter, relax! There are ways to get away from it all and manage to stay on top of things.

Consider these ideas for taking care of business without officially punching the clock while you’re road-tripping it…

  • Take note – Traveling gives you uninterrupted time to think about things and brainstorm – take full advantage of it! Bring a notebook to capture ideas. If you’ll be behind the wheel; ask someone else to take notes for you.
  • Load up on apps – Before you leave for your journey, make sure your smart phone has got essential apps loaded and ready for action. A few I wouldn’t leave home without: WordPress, LinkedIn, Evernote, Facebook Pages Manager, Google+, Twitter, Hootsuite. If you haven’t use any of them recently, do a quick check to confirm that they’re not asking for updated usernames or passwords…things that you probably won’t have on hand after you leave your local environs.
  • Read up! – I’m guessing you’ve got a list of “do business better” books that have caught your attention, but that you haven’t found time to consume. During a road trip, take advantage of your status of captive audience and read (or listen to in e-book form) one from your hit list.

Remember, the point isn’t to work a lot while you’re taking time away – but keeping up with a few little tasks and taking care of some to dos can help make your return to business as usual a much more smooth  and less-harrowing transition.

Enjoy your weekend! And I welcome your thoughts on ways to make productive use of road trips!

Image courtesy of seaskylab / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Small Efforts to Move You Closer to the Big Picture in Your Solo-Business

Whether you’re laying the groundwork or are already up and running as a solopreneur, long-term goals and aspirations Big Pictureare probably at the very core of many of the decisions that you make and actions that you take. Those objectives serve as guide posts to keep you on track, but they can also lead to paralysis if you overthink every little move that you make and put too much constant thought into and emphasis on accomplishing big initiatives. To stay nimble and make progress in building your brand, there are lots of little things you can do in the here and now to make a big difference when getting to where you’re ultimately going.

To name just a few…

Give Linkedin a tad more effort

You can gain so very much by doing just a little bit more on Linkedin.

  • Update your photo – or add one if you’re one of those folks with the shadowy silhouette representing you.
  • Grab the business cards that you collected at recent networking events and send at least 5 professionals (personalized!) invitations to connect.
  • If you’ve got invitations from others waiting for you in your in box, accept them and send messages in return to thank them for asking you to join their network.
  • Post a link to a particularly helpful article and share as a discussion on one or more of the Linkedin group pages that you belong to.

All of these will help people put a face with your name, build your network and make you more top of mind with both your online and offline connections.

Get your bookkeeping crap in order

OK, so you’ve got a sea of receipts piled on your desk or stuffed in a drawer…maybe it seems like too much work to dig through them right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be more organized from this moment forward. Make it a point to document, categorize and file receipts AS YOU RECEIVE THEM. Seriously, it takes just seconds if you deal with one or two at a time as opposed to saving them for one monumental moment when you’ll be stuck with the nearly impossible task of total recall. As with any other business task, procrastinating with financial records keeping will just make it harder in the long run.

 

Check in with a client about something other than work

It will only take you a few minutes at most, but it can generate goodwill that lasts. Simply send an email to a client (ideally one whom you haven’t had much contact with recently) to check in and say “Hello.” If it seems awkward to reach out only to say something along the order of “Hi, how are you?” then consider finding and sharing an article or blog they might find interesting or telling them about an upcoming event or webinar that looks right up their alley. Going the extra mile to show that you care or to be helpful in some (non-billable) way can put you way up there on the likeability meter.

In the interest of space and time, I’ve listed three here, but I’ll follow up with another post soon to share more small steps that can move solopreneurs closer to checking off their big picture business plan to dos.

And I’d love your help! Please either comment here or email me at dawnmentz@gmail.com with the little actions you’ve discovered can make a big impact when working toward achieving overarching business goals.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Making Your Mark as a Solopreneur – Trademark Basics

As a business owner, you work hard to make a name for yourself and to find ways to set yourself apart from your Registered Trademark competition. One of the more obvious ways to do that is to visually suggest that particular wording, symbols or designs – in and of themselves or in combination with each other – belong to you.

When you’re defining and differentiating your brand, a trademark (brand name) can help you create and maintain distinction. “Trademark” is often used to refer to both “trademarks” and “service marks” – which are similar, but slightly different.

Trademarks are used to identify and distinguish the provider of goods.

Service marks are used to identify and distinguish the provider of services.

When Can You Use Them?
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the “TM” (trademark) or “SM” (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO.”

So you’re allowed to slap the “TM” or “SM” to your name or logo without filing any documentation. Doing that lets others know that you’re claiming the particular verbiage or symbol or design, but legally you don’t really have much of a leg to stand on if someone else starts to use the same thing to represent their business offerings.

The official federal registration symbol is ®. Don’t ever put that on your name, logo or anything else unless you’ve taken the step to get your mark approved and registered by the USPTO. Even if you’ve got a registration application pending, you need to stick with the “TM” or “SM” designation until you’re official.

What’s the Big Deal About the ®?
In a nutshell, your brand name gets some legal protection and benefits from registering with the USPTO. To name a few from the agency’s website:

  • Public notification that you’ve claimed ownership of the mark.
  • Legal presumption of your ownership of the mark.
  • Exclusive right to use the mark to represent the goods or services that you’ve listed in the registration.
  • Ability to bring legal action in federal court if someone uses your mark without authorization.

How Do You Register a Mark?
If you do choose to file an application to register your trademark, it’s smart to do a search in the TESS (USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System) to make sure no one else has filed an application for the same mark.

And because registering a trademark is a legal proceeding, it would be wise to consult an attorney to guide you through the process.

Costs associated with registering vary depending on a few different factors:

The application form that you use
There’s a “regular” ($325) and a “plus” ($275) form. The plus version costs less because it comes with more strict requirements on what goods and services can be registered.

How many marks you’re registering
You may only request to register one mark per application.

The number of products and services classes your mark will be associated with
Say you want to sell hats and blankets under your service mark. You’d need to pay double the fee because those items fall under different classes.

Of course, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg, so I suggest visiting the USPTO website where you can review their comprehensive list of FAQs and other information relative to trademarks and service marks.

And you might have noticed that “The Insatiable Solopreneur™” has had the “TM” behind it for some time. There’s a reason for that – but I’ll wait to share it a little later in the year. 😉

Have you officially registered any trademarks or service marks for your business? Please feel free to share your tips and advice on the topic here!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Managing an Upswing in Business Without Dropping the Ball

Ask any freelancing solopreneur, times of “feast” and times of “famine” go with the territory. The famines bring on ID-10057422frustration and fear. And while the feasts bring on hope and a sense of renewed worth, they also present challenges. Indeed, a sudden surge in prospects and projects is glorious, but it can also be unnerving if you’re not well-prepared to handle it.

Think ahead!

If you’re a new solopreneur, you probably don’t have the number of clients you’re ultimately aspiring to work with. Now’s the time to research and test the vast array of productivity tools that could be life savers down the road. Check out collaboration and file sharing tools like Dropbox and Google Drive, note taking and organizing software like Evernote and Ubernote, and social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer.  Better to get acquainted with them now than when your business takes off and you won’t have time to learn how to use them – that’s when you’ll need them most!

Put a system in place.

When your work load goes from lack luster to “luck of the Irish,” your best management tool is setting up and sticking to a system of working that promotes productivity. The luxury of going with the flow when you’re short on clients and assignments will exit the building when the project pace quickens. Planning your days and weeks in advance will help you stay on target and get a firm grasp on your capacity to take on new work.

Tip: Dedicate time slots for specific projects and tasks on your calendar. For example, every morning, I reserve 6:30 – 8 a.m. for social media and the rest of my days are scheduled in time chunks for working on clients’ projects or meetings and conference calls. Use your proposals to determine the time you’ll need to reserve on your calendar – and be cognizant of the deadlines you need to meet.

Go “old school.”

A good old-fashioned white board could be your best friend! Even with your schedule plotted on your calendar, a white board can serve as an effective in your face tool for reinforcing precisely what you want to accomplish on a given day and anything else you need to keep top of mind. I have 2. One small one by my desk that lists my tasks for the day and a large one on which I keep track of projects in progress, upcoming assignments, outstanding client invoices and prospects. I really don’t know how I’d keep my head on straight without them!

Really, the very best way to prepare for success as a solopreneur is to anticipate success in advance. Not only will planning for increased demand put you in a good position to handle an upswing without dropping the ball, but it’s also indicative of an optimistic and confident mindset that can propel your business to reach its potential.

Ever experience an upswing in business that you weren’t prepared for? How do you manage your multiple projects and responsibilities without dropping the ball?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Solopreneur Self-Assessment: Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Launch Your Own Business

By Dawn Mentzer  – Connect with me!  Facebook  | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+

Being a solopreneur takes more than a business idea, compliance with regulations, and cash to get things off the ground. QuestionsIt’s a state and style of business ownership that requires a level of commitment that isn’t a good match for anyone and everyone.

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a solopreneur in 2012, here are some direct questions you should ask yourself before taking the leap:

Why do I want to be a solopreneur?

Ability to set your own schedule, getting paid for doing what you love… It’s critical to your success to think about what’s driving your decision to start a business. There really aren’t any wholly right or wrong answers to this one, but I caution anyone whose motivation stems from frustration about dealing with the personalities and temperaments of their superiors and coworkers. As a solopreneur, you’ll need people skills to a higher degree than ever before. You’ll be representing your brand everywhere you go – online and offline. Being able to foster a positive reputation and create good will is essential. Burning bridges is not an option; it can ruin you before you get off the ground.

Do those who matter support my decision?

Anyone who depends on you emotionally, physically or financially should be on-board with your decision before you jump in. That means you have to be realistic with them about the risks and sacrifices that come with business ownership. You might need to cut back (or completely eliminate) weekend dinners out on the town and buying full-price Abercrombie might become a thing of the past. Not only that, but you might also find yourself working weekends or taking business calls during the dinner hour. Prepare those around you for the lifestyle changes that will come with the territory – and gain their acceptance.

Can I accept criticism – and being 100% accountable?

It’s all you, baby! That can be both a blessing and a curse for solopreneurs. It’s a terrific position to be in when all things are running smoothly, but when they’re not, you’ll be faced with placating anyone who questions your pricing, policies, and products or services. Hopefully the punches will be few and far between, but as a solopreneur, you’ll be the one who needs to roll with them.

What if this doesn’t work?

The power of positive thinking goes a long way, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to have a back-up plan. Put some thought into what your options are if being in business for yourself doesn’t quite work out. Luckily, being a solopreneur gives you the capacity to become well-connected in the community. Be sure to network (both face-to-face and online) to build a strong base of connections who know you and your professional strengths. Fortunately, that also gives you clout as a business owner – so if you do it well, you may never need to move to “Plan B”.

Do I need help?

When you’re starting a solo business, there are lots of i’s to dot and t’s to cross. Do you really have a firm grasp on all that’s involved? As a solopreneur, you need to realize and acknowledge your business smarts and skills deficits before you serve your first client or customer. There are organizations out there that can help. My personal favorite is SCORE, an organization with over 360 chapters nationwide. They provide free mentoring and low-cost business workshops to start-up entrepreneurs and those with existing businesses. If you’ve got unanswered questions, registering to meet with one of their mentors would be a wise decision. Expert advice and feedback from a third party can give you new insight and a fresh perspective – and increase your likelihood of succeeding.

What other questions should solopreneurs ask before declaring themselves “open for business”?

Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

New Year Resolutions for the Solopreneur: A More Motivating Way to Set Goals and Objectives for your Business

Connect with me!  Facebook  | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+

Setting goals and objectives isn’t one of the more glamorous aspects of running a business. But it’s a way to keep yourself Happy New Year - 2012motivated and accountable (to yourself and to those who rely on you to succeed).

To make the arduous task more palatable, why not approach it from a different perspective? Make “New Year’s Resolutions” for your business. Sure, the difference is simply semantics, but words have the power to affect your attitude and enthusiasm.

Here are a few New Year’s Resolutions to consider for your business:

  • Lose weight. No, not in pounds, but rather in activities and processes that are dragging you down and holding you back. Reflect on 2011 and make note of anything that you’ve been devoting a bunch of time to, but are getting little or no return from. Then set a date to cut it from your diet.
  • Get fit. That’s right, build and tone your professional muscle! Push yourself to learn more and develop your business skills. List some new books you’ll buy, new blogs you’ll subscribe to, workshops you’ll enroll in, webinars you’ll sign up for…

Then there’s the financial fitness component (Is “budget” a four-letter word?). Project your monthly revenues and expenses for the upcoming year. Will they enable to live within your means? Now is the time to take a good, hard look at that. And vow to keep impeccable records throughout the New Year.

  • Give back. Volunteer involvement in a community organization is fulfilling and can get you better connected. Just be sure to select a cause you believe in and set expectations up front about the amount of time you’ll be able to commit.
  • Be more adventurous. Although cliff diving might not do a lot for your business, going beyond your comfort zone in other ways can. Whether you decide to start tweeting on Twitter, make cold calls, go to a mixer by yourself, start a blog or join a Google Plus hangout, you’ll generate awareness of your brand and increase your professional confidence.

You’ve heard it countless times, “Fail to plan. Plan to fail”, but the cliché’ is dead-on. Although you may not need an excessively elaborate plan for your business in the New Year, you do need to set some goals and determine what actions you’ll take to accomplish them. If you’re as driven as most of the solopreneurs I know, I’m betting your odds of following through with your “resolutions” are rather promising!

What other business resolutions would keep solopreneurs on track in the New Year?

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