We are wizards. As solopreneurs we work hard pulling all the levers, pushing all the buttons, and turning all the wheels that make our venture work. We can sometimes feel like the Wizard of Oz hiding behind a curtain.
For most solopreneurs and small business owners, there are five areas that we can improve on. These five resolutions can help get the wheels turning and the fires burning for you and your business in 2017.
#1. Be More Efficient
Efficiency is a no-brainer when you think about it. When we are in business for ourselves, by ourselves, every second counts. And time wasted on something that can be automated or delegated, even if it seems small, can drain the life and precious minutes out of your day.
We all have something that we can delegate or automate. We all have something we spend way too much time on that could be so much easier, simpler, and smoother. What is yours? Can you automate it? Can you delegate it to someone else for help? Whatever it is, resolve to take that one thing (or two, or three) and spend some time this week nailing down how to be more efficient in this area.
#2. Be Consistent
Now that we’re all as efficient as ninjas let’s resolve to be more consistent. Your consistency (or lack of) is a direct reflection to your clients and customers of your reliability. Whether they realize it or not.
Where can you be more consistent? Consistent in blogging. Consistent with branding. Consistent with your morning routine. Consistent with client communication. Nail that down and then schedule your little heart out (and if you’re anything like me you adore schedules like your former teenage self loved Justin Timberlake).
The morning is prime time to be consistent. It’s when your mind is freshest and before you have fallen under the anxiety-inducing spell of emails and fire drills. Personally, I like to do my consistent things (blogging, social media automating, reading) in the mornings, and then leave afternoons for meetings, correspondence, and all the things that are going to pop up unexpectedly.
Your consistency may look different, and there may be some trial and error as you nail this consistency thing down. No matter what you're wanting to be consistent with, make a reasonable and measurable plan for communicating reliability to your customers through your consistency.
#3. Team Up and Collaborate
There is power in numbers – even for the solopreneur. Make a resolution this year to introduce yourself to a working relationship with a fellow in your field or someone who does something different but complimentary to your work.
And the collaboration need not be complicated or hard to find. First, the right person(s) may be right under your nose. Consider your (faithful) friends and family. I know many people who I have strong personal relationships with who are freelancers, solopreneurs, and small business owners as well. Do you?
Second, it doesn’t need to be something complicated or elaborate. Maybe it’s a one-time thing (think: offering your blog for posts from a guest writer) for the month of February. If it goes well, maybe offer them one week a month for the rest of the year. Not only does that take something off your to-do list (fewer blogs to write), but it also opens you up to their following and them to yours.
Not to mention you just may learn something from one another.
When collaborating, however, make sure that the person you are working with plays by the same rules as you do, that they are reliable, that they are kind, that they work hard, and that they are in it for the success of both of you and not just themselves.
#4. Read More
I can’t tell you how many years I have resolved to read “X” number of books every year and have fallen short. But, you know what? I still ended up reading more. Everyone at every stage of life and business development can benefit from reading more.
But let’s not get all technical with this one. “Reading” can include listening. I love using the free Hoopla app. Not only is the app free but you can listen to up to 7 free audiobooks per month. All you need is a library card. Seriously.
And it isn’t limited to audiobooks. You can download digital books, movies, music, and more. However, for our purposes of reading more, I would urge you to avoid binge watching movies. That’s not going to accomplish our goal.
I listen to books in the car, in the shower, and before bed. And don’t let anyone tell you that this doesn’t count as “reading.” They are liars.
#5. Be Abundantly Grateful
Lastly, and most importantly, resolve to be grateful. Gratitude is a mindset change and sometimes takes a little work. But gratitude isn’t something to be reserved for November. A friend of mine uses a gratitude jar and everytime something good happens, she writes it down on a small piece of paper and tucks it inside. By the end of the year, she has a jar full of gratitude.
Perhaps something a little simpler would be up your alley. Next to my daily to-do list I write something I’m grateful for that day. It may be the sunshine falling through the window or the sound of the wind in the trees. The point is developing an attitude that replaces the negative thoughts and resulting feelings with positive ones.
We all know the power our mind has in the way we feel. And the way we feel has a direct impact on the way we work and live. By starting with a plan to welcome more gratitude into our hearts, we are paving a path for positive impact on the way we live.