Transitioning from employed to self-employed is a lot more difficult than some might think. Apart from the obvious like sacrificing a regular income and enjoying paid holiday and sick leave there is another big hurdle self employed people must learn to overcome to be successful. Discipline!
If you don’t display a high level of discipline at work the boss will most likely be on your case. What happens when you are the boss? How do you find and maintain discipline?
The first thing you need to do is be realistic about the hours you are willing to invest in your business. You need to break the mindset that 38 hours make up a working week. If you honestly are never going to commit to 38 hours then commit to the number you will work. Don’t go overboard either. Allowing yourself to become so absorbed that you work more than 50 hours per week is soon going to suck your motivation and energy. It is counter-productive to success.
Once you have decided how many hours you are willing to work decide when you are going to work them. Will you work Monday to Friday? When are you most productive? Do you have the type of business that allows you to work hours that suit you? Grab a weekly planner and highlight the hours you will work. Now you have identified the hours, what tasks do you need to accomplish each week? Get specific! Now pencil those tasks into your weekly planner and stick to it! Now and again you will find your week spirals out of control, the good news is you can jump straight back to your planned week as soon as possible.
There is value in repetition in Small Business, avoiding it may mean you levitate towards the fun tasks and forget the important stuff that actually helps drive your business. Stick to your weekly planner and you will never skip the less enjoyable tasks.
If you can hire a business coach, get one as soon as possible. A good coach will ensure you are disciplined and managing your time effectively. Not everyone can afford to invest in a business coach, especially in the start-up phase. A budget friendly way to stay disciplined is to join a local networking group and hunt down an accountability partner. Meet up with your accountability partner once per week either by phone, skype or in person to discuss your plans for the week and to commit to any tasks you want to achieve. It is amazing how much more disciplined you will be if you have someone else to answer to. A word of caution; try not to use family or friends as your accountability partner, find someone who is not emotionally or financially invested in your business.
Finally, look out for those time and discipline stealers such as friends or family who call by just to see what you are up to. Avoid making lunch dates or personal appointments during your allocated work hours as these can quickly take over. Stick to the rules of being an employee; would it be appropriate to sit on Facebook for three hours a day? Would your employer let you take off for three-hour lunches with friends? Could you sit in front of the T.V watching Dr. Phil as an employee?
Give your business the best chance of survival by sticking to a weekly plan, finding someone to keep you accountable and avoiding behaviors that would have had you fired if you were employed by someone else!