Many people dream of working for themselves, being their own boss, and having the freedom to only take on clients they want to work with on projects they love. What they don’t realize, however, is that there is a huge difference between building a business and being self-employed.
If you want to build a business, you need to start acting like a true CEO, and that may mean abandoning some of the tactics that made you a great employee. There is a big difference between being a true CEO, and merely being “self-employed:”
- CEOs scale their income. Self-employed people trade hours for dollars.
- CEOs leverage the skills and talents of others. Self-employed people rely only on their own skills.
- CEOs have the vision and make the plan. Self-employed people do, then do some more, then do some more, then do some more…
Discouraged yet? Don’t be. Every business owner started out self-employed. Just don’t stay there. These tips will help you build a sustainable and successful company instead of just another job:
Don’t try to do it all yourself.
Building a sustainable business that you can scale requires that you leverage the talents and time of others. While it might seem cost-effective to simply do everything yourself—especially in the start-up phase when you likely have more time than money—it’s a path to burnout and stress.
Solorpreneuring might work when your biz is brand new, but it won’t work to grow your business.
Instead, separate your tasks into those that you love and are especially suited for and those you dislike or aren’t good at. Then make a solid plan to get those that you aren’t good at off your list of things to do. If you feel like you can’t afford to outsource it all right now, start with what you tend to procrastinate the most on, even if it’s just a few hours each month.
(Want to learn more? Check out How to Outsource on a Shoestring Budget.)
It’s fine to work from home, but don’t live at work.
If you work from home there’s no clear line in the sand between your work day and your home life. For some entrepreneurs, this creates a situation where they never really leave work. Since there’s always work to do, it’s easy to end up working every available moment—often to the detriment of your family relationships.
This only goes one place – burnout. Nip this disaster in the bud with these tips:
- Build your business around your life, not the other way around.
- Add time for self-care to your weekly schedule.
- Have a specific space where you work on your business, and keep it separate from your personal life.
- Adjust your expectations. You don’t have to be Superwoman every day. In fact, you can’t be – do what you can, let go of the rest, and outsource the busy work!
(If you are struggling with self-care, read Note to Self: You Matter!)
Vacations and downtime are important.
Don’t create a business that requires you to be “in the office” every day. At the start, you may need to be available more, but you should definitely be planning for the day when you can be “off the grid” for extended periods of time.
- Have trusted contractors who can handle things when you’re not available.
- Leverage automation tools such as autoresponders and auto-webinar systems.
- Create repeatable systems so you’re not always reinventing the wheel.
- Apply the KISS principle, Keep it Simple, Sweetie!
While you might not be able to hit the road with no internet access for weeks at a time, at the very least you should be able to reduce your workload to a daily check-in.
Sound impossible? It’s not. With some forethought and planning, you can create a team—and the systems they need—to successfully run your business without becoming overwhelmed and overworked. Now that’s acting like a true CEO!
Make time for the Big Picture.
One of the biggest differences between being a CEO and merely being self-employed has to do with being the keeper of the vision that made you quit your job in the first place. In order to hold on to that vision, and make sure it guides the development of your company, you must make time to grow and nurture it.
Block time in your weekly schedule for strategic planning. Otherwise, you will end up perpetually working in your business, instead of on it. It’s a trap! And it is one of the most common mistakes I see female entrepreneurs make as they try to transition from a start-up to a successful company.
Being self-employed isn’t the same thing as being a true CEO.
If any of these tips resonated with you, the sooner you get your head around the mindset shifts and strategies to make the change, the better!
Need a little help? Consider booking a mini-intensive with me and we will spend an hour talking about your business and identify where you can make a few changes today that will get you turned in the right direction and poised for growth.