Shrinking your way to success

For those of us who have come from either a larger business of our own or the corporate sector, the move into solo-preneurism will likely bring with it emotions ranging somewhere between exhilaration and dread.

On the one hand your days are now unencumbered. No more seemingly endless meetings that never achieve anything. No more office politics. Awesome! Then again, on day one of your solo journey it will be just you, your four walls, your distractions and your will to create your own destiny.

In my case, I remember jumping into the car on my last day in the CBD office and pulling out into the gridlock. Outside, the windscreen wipers were working overtime as the rain came down in sheets whilst, inside the car, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I was excited to be going back to what I know – building businesses. The only difference this time around is that I was all on my lonesome. It certainly brings the saying “if it is to be it is up to me” into sharp focus.

So after the “internal hoopla” (I say ‘internal’ as, usually, you are a lot more excited about soloism than are your nearest and dearest!) has died down you are left with the slightly uncomfortable realism of…….no clients/customers and, therefore, no income. “Right” (insert deep breath), “off we go!”.

I’m not afraid to say that, at least for the first month or so, I found the transition from working in a large organisation to working on my own, deceptively tricky. After a bit of trial and error though, I have found a range of things that work for me as I approach the close of my first 12-months as a soloist. I hope that some of these might help you.

1. I have a designated work area at home

Working from home is great but those little distractions do have a way of presenting themselves at the most inopportune time! I have made sure that my Office area only has within it those items necessary for work – plus some nice imagery to remind me why I am doing this in the first place.

2. I set up my tasks for the day, the night before

For much of the last 15 years, my diary seemed to have a way of filling itself with everybody else’s problems. Meeting after meeting, issue after issue. Now that I am completely responsible for filling it myself, I’ve found the best way is to devote some quiet time with my productivity buddy (Trello) before finishing for the day. First, I check where I am against the milestones in my Business plan (I hope you have one of those!!). From there, I take some time to compose the list of the things I need to do in order to progress forward in each critical area. Of course, I also love “ticking” the completed button when finishing a task (who doesn’t love that?)

3. I dress for business

As tempting as it can be to lounge around in a comfortable pair of trackies if “working-in” for the day, I find it a complete drain on my productivity. After some “experimenting” in the early days, I’ve now found myself keeping to a similar routine to that I had prior to going solo (ok, maybe I get up 15 minutes later!). Suit pants, nice shirt, business shoes – no tie. Done.  

4. I do the hardest job first

I love the book “Eat that Frog” by Brian Tracy. If you get the toughest job for the day out of the way before morning tea time, it’s amazing how the rest of the day seems positively “cruisy” by comparison.

5. I try to build in a little downtime

I’m done with the 65 hour weeks. I make sure that I schedule time each day for a few short breaks as well as at least 30 minutes to have lunch. It’s amazing the difference just a 15-minute break can make to creativity and productivity.

6. Regularly get around like minded people

Although in my work as a Business Consultant I spend time at my client’s premises, I still find myself working on my own relatively often. Sometimes that’s fine. At times, however, I feel that I need some good old fashioned human interaction. To achieve that I work from a co-working space once or twice a fortnight. In my experience they are great places to meet new people and, if you’ve come from a bigger business, provide just enough “politics” (in a good way) to remind you of the good ‘ol days.  

Meet the business

Following a 17 year career as founder and Director of multiple Companies, Geoff Daniel turned his hand to helping the owners of small to medium sized businesses realise their potential and work towards the heralded ‘work/life’ balance that so many talk about but few achieve.

As a ‘Business Success Partner’ he fills in the blanks between where a business is now and where it wants to go.

Whether delivered by one on mentoring sessions or complete integration of the ‘Business Success Programme’, a ground-breaking business planning and management system, the goal is always to provide his clients with an outcome that they could not achieve on their own.

In business, two heads are better than one!  

Geoff Daniel, Thexton Armstrong Daniel - Business Success Partner

0403 263 222