What I’ve learnt about my small business in 2019
If you chill the busyness, have a strategy and purposefully build in time for yourself, things work out in the end.
While I love flying solo, there’s no doubt that at times I drive my business in the wrong direction. Each year in December, I write down my goals for the coming 12 months and I revisit the year that’s been. In this process I find my aha moments usually come through the cracks, not in pursuit of my goals.
1. Tech stuff takes time
As someone who scrolls through their social media first thing in the morning and last thing at night, technology can easily suck up my working day.
This year I’ve been thinking about podcasting. I’ve listened to heaps of podcasts, sat through lots of webinars looking for the fast track to podcasting only to find that even for the more successful podcasts it still takes an average of 4-6 hours to produce a podcast plus one hour of recording the podcast. That’s seven hours I need to find in my week.
You can outsource the production of a podcast and it requires a budget. If you do it yourself then you still need tools such as a digital platform to create, a quality microphone, as well as pay monthly fees for hosting. It’s often easier to just abandon the idea, however if you persevere, a podcast could become a key part of your marketing strategy.
"Aha moments come through the cracks, not in pursuit of my goals."
For me, it’s still a work in progress.
2. Chill the busyness
As soloists we’re always switched on. We can get so caught up in our busyness we forget to come up for air. Our trips to the gym slide, we forget to feed the dog and it’s easy to get distracted (see point 3) with so much on our plate.
This year I made a real effort to quarantine my weekends for family time. Having two full days off has been great. I switch off all the social media and chill out. My brain gets a break so I feel refreshed on Monday mornings.
I’ve recognised it’s about having a regular routine. It’s also about giving yourself time to go for a walk, read a book or ‘procrastabake’ (a word coined my friend of mine who bakes when she’s procrastinating between writing articles).
So next year one of my aims is to purposefully build in more time to read, and less scroll and scan.
3. Procrastinating is a hard habit to beat
I was hoping this year, I’d become less of a procrastinator – I haven’t.
However, I do have two great accountability partners who I check in with every week. Being accountable in this way makes me mindful about what it is to be productive and how to work purposefully. As a result, I’ve started trying out a new practice where each Sunday night I map out my week and choose only three things to work on each day.
I have found that I need to dedicate more time to value-based work and say no to the ad hoc.
It’s a work in progress.
4. Having a strategy helps
I’ve previously written about the importance of having a strategy being a roadmap for your business.
Strategy is about making choices about how you’re going to grow your business. It can be as simple as one page. What’s important is to spend time putting pen to paper to nut out what you’re going to do and how you’re going to work.
That’s not to say there won’t be challenges, or everything will go according to plan. But remember, where there are challenges, there is growth.
5. Things work out in the end
I wish I was a laidback person, but I’m not. Every peak and trough in business brings its challenges and I’ve had to learn to roll with them.
For example, to celebrate my 10 years long service I decided on doing a big lap of Australia for three months. I thought a lot about working while I was away, and I did have a project to finalise in the first few weeks of my holiday. I found it often clashed with what we were doing that day and my headspace had shifted gears once we drove out of the city. Plus, when you’re in the remote outback of Queensland, internet is pretty much non-existent which meant deadlines were tricky.
Then I realised time stops for no one, I had earned my break and worrying about the small stuff isn’t worth it, clients will understand and things usually work out in the end.
What about you? What have you learnt this year?