Working for yourself can be the ultimate in liberation. You are in control. No asking for time off, or begging for a raise. You set your own perks. But, on the flipside of the coin, you earn those privileges by hustling your own work and negotiating with clients. You can’t call in sick and have someone cover for you. Often the successful consultants are the ones that were just too stubborn to give up. They have developed their own methods and may be reluctant to share them. Here are five habits every successful entrepreneur has developed.
Business consultants manage time and build in boundaries
Running any business can be taxing, but for solopreneurs, like many of us in the consulting industry, the time required can be never ending. We have to find ways to maximize efforts while safe-guarding our health and sanity.
- Prioritize ruthlessly and do the first things first. Always.
- Set a schedule and force yourself to stick to it. Make it work for you, but keep it consistent.
- Don’t let work run over your life. Make time for family, friends and fun.
They outsource their life
There are things you love doing and things you don’t. By finding others who can do the things you don’t you can maximize your enjoyment of life and simplify your schedule.
- Housekeeping and maintenance are two areas that time and must be done, but don’t have to be done by you. Why not hire someone?
- Virtual assistants can handle many online and simple business tasks, such as email, responding to website queries and the like.
- Outsourcing saves time, reduces stress and allows you to focus on the things that you are most passionate about.
They focus on relationships
Rather than treating every encounter as a business transaction, they focus on building relationships with clients, partners and others they come in contact with. What better way to do business than working with friends?
- You can more readily meet the needs of a person you truly know, so it makes business more productive.
- As a solopreneur, everyone you work with is part of your personal network and an extension of yourself. These relationships often prove invaluable if treated with respect.
- Ignoring this principle means that not only are they just numbers on a spread sheet to you, but they probably think of you in the same way.
They prepare for the ups and downs that come in every business
Know your industry. Is it seasonal? What drives it? Learn the factors that are likely to increase or decrease your business and be prepared to survive them. Study how the economy effects it too.
- Plan to build and increase business when times are good. Be sure to set some aside for slow times and those times with peaks and valleys.
- When business is slow, use the time to deepen your relationships, both in business and personally.
- Build a strategic plan and decide how you will handle good and bad times before they come.
They don’t sleep and are constantly planning, learning and growing
If you want to be at the top of your field, you have to work for it. Successful entrepreneurs often report that they require little sleep and use this time to dream about their future and plan towards it.
- Read everything you can about your business and entrepreneurship in general.
- Dream about what your future business could be like and use that to set goals. Think about it regularly. The stronger your image of it becomes, the more real it becomes to you.
- Create strategies for growth and map them out. The more you prepare, the easier it is to deal with changes as they come.
Consulting is a tough business. You can succeed if you determine to do whatever it takes to get there. Take inspiration from those who have gone before and set yourself up for success by developing these habits and adding your own. Over time, you’ll develop your own success strategies, learn to stick with what works.
And most importantly, they don’t have all the answers. Some of the business consultants I know are the ones who are always learning, growing and are working on themselves to really improve their business.