Top tips on being your own boss
Treat yourself like an employee
Given the freedom that being your own boss entails, it can be tempting to go easy on yourself when it comes to your schedule. But if you want to run a lucrative business, it’s important to exercise a high level of self-discipline. Rather than thinking of yourself as a free agent, start to think of yourself as an employee of your business with all the rigidity and rules that entails. Come up with a schedule of daily working hours and ensure you stick to them as you would if you worked for someone else. Even if appointments with clients fall outside these hours, invest your allocated daily working time into tasks such as marketing, updating your business social media profiles, researching products and accounting.
As an employee, you are generally expected to work towards measurable goals. Apply this ethos to yourself. For example, set yourself a goal for the number of new clients you wish to attract in one week and tirelessly work towards achieving that target, as would be expected if you were an employee. If you want to be successful, it’s important that you are not too easy on yourself.
Setting some time aside every few months to carry out a ‘self-appraisal’ can also prove an invaluable way of reflecting upon your productivity and assessing how effectively you are meeting goals and moving forward. Be tough on yourself, like a boss would be. Think about your strengths and weaknesses and identify areas for improvement. But don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for things you’re doing well.
Get out there
When you work for yourself, it can be all too easy to become a bit of a lone wolf. But getting out there and networking is essential. Research local networking events on Google and check out platforms like Meetup.com, where community events are listed for like-minded people from all walks of life.
Human beings are social creatures and attending events and putting yourself out there will not only help you stay positive and motivated, but it will help you make contact with people who may become clients themselves or may be able to recommend you to people they know who might be interested in your services. You may also find that in networking with other local business people, you can get good deals on services you need for your business such as website or flyer design, accounting and more. Meeting other self-employed people will also boost your faith in yourself and your own business venture as seeing their success and sharing tips and tricks can prove highly motivating.
Ask satisfied clients for testimonials
In today’s competitive marketplace, many potential customers will use Google to check out your business and its reviews before they decide whether to go ahead and purchase your services.
One of the most effective ways you can boost the reputation of your business and convert potential customers into paying clients is to ask satisfied customers to share a review of their experience online. It only takes a minute for a customer to write a quick review, whether it’s on Google, Yelp or a platform such as Treatwell, and many will be happy to write a few lines sharing their positive experience in order to help you out.
After appointments, send a quick follow-up text or email reminder asking customers to review you, and include a link to the site where you’d like them to post a review to make it as simple and easy as possible. This strategy can be an invaluable way of boosting the reputation of your business.
Keep your online presence up-to-date
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. While maintaining profiles for your business on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can prove an excellent way of expanding your network and reaching new clients, it can also be very distracting and an easy way of wasting a great deal of time.
Approach social media with caution, remembering that on global platforms, many of the people you connect with will be from all over the world and won’t necessarily be able to access your services even if they want to. However, while it’s important not to waste too much time on social media, it’s vital to keep your profiles up-to-date. Potential customers may check out your online presence before they get in touch with you and seeing recent posts will assure them that you are actively in business and available for bookings.
Always be alert to business opportunities
When you are your own boss, you are never truly off the clock. You should be fully invested in your business and continually alert to opportunities to reach new clients and promote yourself.
Get some flyers or leaflets printed summarizing the services you offer with information on prices, as well as your website and contact details. You never know when you might be in a situation where you can share your flyers and secure a bit of free promotion; you might find you can leave some at the gym, pin one up at your local newsagent, or even leave a few at the hairdresser. You might get chatting to someone in line at the post office who could be a potential client. By always keep your business cards, flyers, or leaflets with you, you can ensure that you never miss an opportunity to spread the word about your business.
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