- Talk to people you meet about your work. No business person ever sold anything without communication, and the best, most memorable way you can connect with others is by talking to them in person. And don’t censor who you talk to. It’s tempting to select only those who you think would be interested in what you do, but let yourself be surprised! Tell anyone and everyone! It’s amazing who will suddenly come up with a lead for you, or be directly interested in purchasing what you do or make.
- Think about how the product or service you’re selling reflects you. What does it say about your values, what you believe in? What does it say about your personality or character? If you don’t love it and believe in it, maybe that explains why business isn’t so good. If you do, are you really selling it like something you love, or have you been influenced by your fears to do a weedy sales job, with ‘safe’ branding, and cautious marketing? Get some people you trust, who know you well, to give you some feedback on who you are, and do a frank self-evaluation. See if your identity fits with the image of your product.
- Get away from the computer. It’s useful, without a doubt, but it is also a tyranny. It freezes up your body and makes your mind rattle. It affects your sleep, and its multiple distractions lead to lack of focus. Ration the time you spend on it. Get out into the open air or a quiet café and take a notebook for writing work stuff in. Yes, a notebook – remember those? Tactile things with bright covers that you can doodle in and which let creativity flow…
- Look after your body. Without a routine, like people who go into a work-place each day, it’s easier to graze on snacks, forget exercise, hit the bottle before cocktail hour and forget what fresh air can do for you. Schedule in breaks to walk or cycle, do stretches or meditation. Get massages, fitness classes, osteopathic check-ups, doctor’s appointments in the diary and give them the same (or greater) status as all the worky stuff. Don’t wait until you feel fuzzy with tiredness and aching all over to stop and pay attention to what your body needs.
- Whether it’s having occasional work-chats with a friend in a similar position, working closely with a website designer or other techie, making or refining a product with other people, having training that will improve mastery of your work, sharing your own learning with others, or having a coach*, being in the same room as other people who give you confidence and improve your business can make life much more enjoyable, and open up wider horizons than you can think up alone.
Onwards and upwards, my self-employed friend…..
*Look no further