The reason many small and one-person businesses fail is that they neglect their most important client. You are your most important client. If you aren’t taking the time to do the work you need to grow and improve, you will never survive, and you will not do your best work for your other clients.
Act Like a Business
The first goal of any business is to ensure the continuation of the business. Even if you’re running a one-person business, you are still a business. You need to act like it.
What do you need to do today to make sure that you are still in business next week, next month, and next year?
You need to invest time in your business every week, or else you won’t have any clients or customers to worry about in the future.
As a business owner, you need to spend time each week working to improve:
- Marketing and client acquisition
- Monthly revenues
- Your long-term plan
These activities will look different for every business. I spend time every day writing content for my business. It has taken years for the content I produce to make a difference. But, every week, I get inquiries from clients who have found out about me from the content I created. If I hadn’t planted all those seeds over the past few years, I wouldn’t be reaping the harvest I’m enjoying now.
I also am always looking at my rates and looking for other revenue streams. In the past three weeks, I have been developing a new project that will help me increase my revenues without significantly increasing my workload.
This side project has forced me to reconsider what is possible in my long-term plan. I have a five-year plan that I evaluate and update each year. But, recent developments have me updating that plan early. I now see that I can be further ahead than I ever dreamed back in December, the last time I updated my long-term plan.
Some of my clients spend time each week fine-tuning their Facebook ads. They also work with me to see how we can attract more clients to their business using the content assets we have already created.
I don’t know anything about your business. But, I do know if you aren’t spending time working on your business, you will never last.
One of the objections I hear from other one-person business owners is that they don’t have time to work on their business. They are too busy serving customers or clients.
If you aren’t working on your business, and putting your business needs first, you are not going to do your best work for your clients.
One big reason for this is mindshare. Your mind continues to work and worry about tasks, even if they are not in your current consciousness. An example is the blog you want to start for your business. You know it would be helpful, but you don’t feel you have the time for it.
While you are working on client tasks, part of your brain is fixated on the blog you aren’t doing. You are wasting mental resources. Over time, this mindshare problem eats away at your ability to focus.
If you want to do your best work for your clients, you have to take action on your own business.
Feast and Famine
Freelancers and other one-person business owners often suffer from feast and famine cycles. They get so busy doing work for clients that they stop marketing themselves. Then, once they get caught up, they find that they don’t have enough work, because they stopped marketing.
This leads to panic. Panic may cause you to take on clients that are not a good fit. This leads to more stress.
If you spend time treating yourself like you are your most important client, you can avoid this problem. If you have a regular marketing routine, no matter how busy you get, you will always have clients. You will also be able to pick only the best clients to work with.
You may not think you are a numbers person. But you can change that. You don’t have to become a data-nerd. All you need to do is see that a few key metrics in your business are tied directly to your bank account.
As you spend time understanding what numbers matter most to your bottom line, you will start to make better business decisions. But, you can’t get to that point if you don’t put in the work evaluating your business.
A couple of years ago, I discovered that my most profitable projects were explainer video scripts and video sales letter (VSL) scripts. I also happen to love these projects.
It wasn’t until I looked at the numbers and saw how much more per hour I made on these projects did I realize I needed to be more active in seeking out this kind of work.
Once I did, my income shot up, and my workload decreased. But, it only happened because I took the time to look at my numbers.
No business can survive long if they ignore the basic principles of business. Once you put your business before any of your client work, you will see your income improve, your stress level drop, and your clients will be happier because you will do better work for them.