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5 KEY things that successful business owners have learned to do

The idea of going into business for ourselves is sometimes exciting, giving us a dream of freedom. Freedom to express ourselves, freedom to set our own hours and perhaps even work with who we want to work with.  We are good at something, have a passion for something and perhaps others around us have said things like ‘you are so good at that, you should be in business for yourself’ or ‘you could totally do that as a business and make heaps of money’

The decision to become self-employed could be an alternative to a really oppressive or stressful employment situation OR as an answer to redundancy. I have even heard people say that they started a business because they couldn’t find work.

Whatever the motivation we all usually start out with some dreams, goals, ideals, a small amount of fear perhaps but mostly excitement and enthusiasm.

So if a percentage of small businesses survive their first 2 years and go on to succeed long term, whatever that looks like for them, then what are some of the KEY things they LEARN to do well.

  • They know their strengths, what they are good at and what they are not. They understand the VALUE in getting expert help in areas that they dislike or are not strong at so they can spend more time doing what they love and working on the things they do well. Outsourcing, delegation, and assistance doesn’t have to cost heaps, you do need the right people alongside you to free your time and energy so it is more about the RIGHT person and then what it may cost you, this is an investment and in a naturally DIY nation business owners need to be thinking more in this direction.
  • They set up a business plan. Use a business strategy coach or skilled mentor who is able to give feedback on it, and with goals that LIGHT you up from the inside. It’s a working document that gets a solid and focused review every 90 days, doesn’t have to be pages and pages, 2 can do it as long as the right questions are on there and there are ways to measure the goals and targets.
  • They either have some working capital or the ability to build some fast. Work out from day one how much MONEY you need for the first 6 months (this time frame will vary depending on the type of business) in business, including living money.

Capital injection, this can be done by going to a supportive bank that has a strong focus on assisting small and medium businesses to succeed, with tools, LIVE support, planning tools and that love their questions.

Building capital as you go: Plan to spend LESS than you bring in, pay yourself LESS than you earn, putting aside money for TAX and leaving some in the bank to build a capital ‘pillow’

ALSO watch overheads like Rent and other outgoings, keep financial commitments LOW, manageable and low risk.

  • They keep clean, clear financial records and comply with tax laws from day one. There are affordable systems out there, built to make this SIMPLE and with enough detail, Xero is my favorite and doesn’t cost a bomb! Have a separate bank account, keep receipts until you know what to do with them, get an accountant. Set aside TIME in your schedule to manage this until you are able to get someone else to.
  • They learn to employ themselves. Setting their own hours, turning up for work, pre-planning what they will do when at work, learn the art of time and energy management and the skill of focus. When you worked for someone else I bet you were a model employee, as a business owner and your own boss these habits are even more essential. There are many reasons a business owner may not stick to the plan of hours they set for themselves, it could be lack of knowledge of what to do in that time, procrastination from tasks they dislike or fear, lack of discipline, allowing distractions to take over. These are either resolved by learning some skills, getting some confidence, tweaking approach or developing new habits.

FINAL words, be open to learning for ever. Be open to setting goals that light you up and working systematically towards them YET remaining open to opportunities that come up.

Use your business plan and mentor/coach as anchors to help you make decisions that keep you on track to your optimal future rather than bogging you down and draining your time and energy resources.

Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you, encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and grow.

Your business will only grow as much as you do.

Back yourself, believe in yourself, acknowledge you were born for a reason and you CAN create a business that serves the lifestyle you want to live

To your business success and doing more of what you LOVE.



Taking care of ME – a VITAL and necessary thing

Having a busy family life, managing my own business and my husband’s can be hectic and if I am not careful can lead to mild burn out or more. SELF care is something I have to mindfully add to my schedule, as a woman, mother, wife and business woman, I am often sucked into the daily vacuum of caring for everyone else first, leaving little time for me.

What I have learned over the years, is that I need to be at my best in order to care for everyone else well, in order to do my work well and in order to experience energy and joy from my journey.

My opinion of self care, involves our ‘whole’ selves, our Mind, Body and Soul – if we look after one and neglect the others it is a bit like having a house and only ever cleaning the lounge….

My life, partly due to personality, who I am in the world and what I choose to do for ‘work’ , is full of giving of myself to others, so it is VITAL (not a luxury) that I find space to receive and refill my tank.

Being at ‘ones’ best can mean many things and the answers will be individual, here are some things that have worked for me:

  • Schedule ‘ME’ time into my diary, make it a physical BLOCK of time that can’t be moved or added to. Be realistic about this time and make sure that you can make it a consistent thing. I do it ahead of time for a week, I make it work, we can always make time for the things we value the most.

I recall this man telling me that every time he went on holiday, once a year from his crazy busy life, he got sick, I have heard others agree that this is the ‘norm’ they know of. I had to ask the question, WHY? There are probably many parts to the answer, some scientific, but it seems obvious that it may have something to do with the fact that he had neglected to rest and refuel on a regular basis, so his body just had to STOP him in his tracks, its almost as if some people have to get sick to allow themselves to stop or rest.

  •  I have adopted a ‘little and often’ principal to rest and restoration, here is how it might look over a month

Do exercise I enjoy at least 4 times per week, from 30 mins of walking – training in my sport

Put my feet up even if just for 15-30 mins some time in the day, usually after I have picked the kids up and they are eating afternoon tea, I will make a hot drink and sit.

Take one full week day off a fortnight, no I don’t appear to ‘have’ the available space in my diary and my to do lists are just as long but I MAKE the time, make this day all about me, even if it is catching up on sleep, taking a bath, reading a book. Because I have a big busy family I do this on a week day, I can because I work for myself, but this day can be any day and if a whole day won’t work what about a half day or 3 hours somewhere?

I used to be ‘all or nothing’, if I couldn’t fit in an hour work out I just wouldn’t bother, this way of thinking was not useful to my overall health and well being, so I had to adjust and realized that a small amount on a regular basis was just as beneficial if not more

  •  I have come to understand the art of mindfulness in all areas of my life, what I eat, what I say yes or no to (new commitments), how I feel, what my body is telling me it needs.

This is a bit of buzz word right now, but actually a very powerful thing to start to practice, it is just about becoming aware, rather than just repeating habits like a robot, stopping and just being aware the situation, hearing the amazing signals our body gives us to tell us what it needs at any given moment and then responding when possible.

  •  Being kind to myself, both in treatment but also inner dialogue, I began to notice my inner chatter and at times it was not very nice, I then set about becoming my own best friend.

And finally, deep diaphragmatic breathing often, breathing from the belly, this tells our body everything is OK, when things seem frantic, endless chores pile up, kids are scrappy and loud, my work ‘to do list’ is off the charts, emails are calling, deadlines pending – I BREATHE, and as I do I repeat ‘there is plenty of time to get what need done’ – I smile, laugh and sing to my favorite music.

I just take the pressure off myself, the results? Actually more productive, relaxed, happy and definitely more joy in all the small every day things.

Here is to your ‘self care’ – Breathe, enjoy and love yourself