As a creative freelancer or entrepreneur, it’s likely that you’ve encountered procrastination at one time or another. Am I right? I know from my own experience that while I love the absolute freedom that comes with having my own business, I also respond well to structure and being told exactly what to do (that’s why 30 minutes with my personal trainer will ALWAYS be more effective than 3 hours in a gym left to my own devices). Most of us aren’t lone rangers, so if we’re going to build thriving creative businesses, we need to create structure and build support and accountability systems that will help us grow.
Here are a few strategies that work for me:
Surround yourself with motivated, engaged, and happy people
My mum always says that misery loves company. ‘Aint that the truth! Luckily, the same is true of motivation, happiness, and success. Surround yourself with people who possess those traits and watch yourself stretch to meet them.
Start your day with three things you’d like to accomplish
Staying on track is all about creating little systems that you can do quickly and regularly. For example, I start each day by writing down three things that will get me closer to my goal. No matter what else I do, I make sure I complete those things. The trick is to make the tasks small and easily accomplished. So, instead of writing “re-do website”, try “call website designer to discuss new design”.
Create a marketing plan
In order to have goals, you need to have a plan. I know that creating a marketing plan can seem like a daunting prospect, so keep it simple. Pick one or two areas of focus e.g. networking or sending out a newsletter and create small steps that will help you get there. So for the networking example, your goal might be to research networking groups in your industry and put a date in your calendar to attend one event. For your newsletter, it might be working on your list of contacts, researching which service to use, or creating a list of topics that you’d like to write about.
Create a client list
We all know that it takes a lot more time and energy to get a new customer than to retain an existing one. Create a list of every client that you’ve worked with as well as every person that’s expressed an interest in working with you. Invest time in reconnecting and asking what you can do to help them. Once you’ve re-established contact, check in regularly to see how you can help.
Get an accountability buddy
One of the best things I’ve ever done is get an accountability buddy. Every day we hop on Skype for a five-minute conversation to share the three things that we’re working on that day as well as offer feedback, resources, etc. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve cranked out the three things I was supposed to do minutes before speaking with her. Think of it as weigh watchers for your business!
No matter how motivated we are, we ALL need guidance, feedback, support, and the occasional kick in the pants. If you could use a little (or a lot) of any of those things, let’s chat. I’d be happy to help!