There's no one way to become a successful independent businessman or woman, but there are several key stepping stones that can help keep you on track for success. Here are five steps to keep in mind if you are considering going independent or just feel like something is missing from your routine.
It's almost a shame that an idea as simple as this has to be placed on a list but today more than ever people have abandoned breakfast. Folks these days seem like they are in a constant rush and meetings are being scheduled earlier and earlier; because of this the importance of a well-balanced breakfast cannot be overlooked, especially for independents. You have a lot of responsibility; a lot of pressure and that takes a lot of energy - so why start empty. Breakfast literally breaks the fast you had going since dinner, it gives you energy, focus and a moment to organize yourself before diving into emails. Speaking of emails
Today email has essentially become a virtual to do list, letting you know what needs to be done, where, when and in what matter. Email is a great tool, but it is often an overwhelming tool. It's important to check your email first thing so you can begin to create a rough schedule of your day, week or month. Email etiquette dictates prompt response and it can be insulting to let something slowly disappear into your inbox - so stay on top of it and get into a routine.
This is the heart of any independent business, the idea that your time is worth money, it's how you gain an income by charging customers. But what about beyond that? Beyond when you are directly providing a service or making a good? All those little hours or minutes of in-between time or side projects or "can't wait till tomorrow" instances, how do you value those? It's a good habit to have a set way in which you value your time, not just for billing, but also for priorities and organization. How much you think your time is worth will dictate how and when you choose projects, charge clients and take time off. As long as we are on the subject of valuing time
So many small business owners, freelancers and independents feel as though they need to accept every project that comes their way, and the truth is you do not. If you feel a project will be too overwhelming, too costly or just does not fit your business plan well, then do not hesitate to turn them away. We all want to make money and do well but sometimes over committing or committing to the wrong project can be costly. Consider all the factors when accepting new work and how well it will fit in with your business plan.
Last but certainly not least - say thank you. No small business does it entirely on their own. Whether it is a vendor, supplier, client or even a spouse - take time to show your thanks and appreciation. The newspaper may be dead but the thank you note is still very much alive and very much recommended. A handwritten note does wonders in the business world.
Learn how to calculate a cost-based bill rate with our new, easy-to-follow video tutorial.
News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is the October 17, 2016 edition.