When you first make the leap to full time entrepreneurship it takes a lot of courage and faith in your abilities to make it happen. But aside from the obvious advice to get clients and master sales there are some things that probably won’t occur to you right away. Here are my top 4 non business tasks every entrepreneur should do.
1. Find your business uniform. No, not yoga pants.
It’s really tempting to scale back on all the “social conventions” that come with working in an office. But it’s worth taking the time to determine a business uniform to create a good work/play separation (yes, even in your wardrobe).
One of the tenets of sales for the Mary Kay cosmetics company is that each work day the sales team (aka ladies carrying pink cases full of makeup) get dressed fully, including shoes. It’s a psychological boost because most people don’t do their best work in old sweats sans shower.
Of course if you’re a yoga teacher, carpenter or have another unique job then your uniform will probably not be business professional.
Trust me, you’ll be thankful you started this habit every time you meet someone during a workday who shows interest in your business and you’re actually presentable or when a last minute meeting doesn’t leave you scrambling for some clothing without lycra.
2. Set a schedule
Again, as soon as you’re free from the shackles of corporate it’s easy to adopt a free wheelin’ approach to your time. But this is the time to become more disciplined, not less. The reason is that with your schedule too open it’s easy to always work “later” and spend all your time on personal or unimportant tasks.
The great news is that you can rework your schedule at any time. Just make sure you set aside time to work on client projects, do the marketing that will get you clients, and handle all the admin stuff that goes along with running a business.
3. Create off campus time
Whether your workspace is in your home or a separate office, it’s worth investing time away from your desk. For one, it can be incredibly lonely working in your business, even if you have a partner or employees on site.
Some ways to get off campus include joining a networking group or regularly meeting for coffee with a colleague. You can also plan longer times for conferences or events out of town. At the very least search for some meet-ups in your area and go hang out with people to keep your social skills sharp.
(P.S. You should be glad right about now that you have some actual business clothes to wear.)
4. Define time to deal with boring stuff
Listen, no one and I repeat no one enjoys filing, dealing with taxes, filing paperwork with the state or cleaning up their computer hard drive. So it’s easy to let these boring but essential tasks lapse until you have a stack of receipts a mile high or a computer that’s so slow from old software and files that it barely starts up.
So create the habit now to regularly deal with these unfun tasks in business. It could be a monthly task but in my experience that’s really easy to ignore. Instead, try a weekly block of time – maybe an hour to start – where you get that stuff done and then move on with your day. If you need some incentive to get started then schedule a little reward immediately after you complete the task such as a coffee date, afternoon of design work or conversation with a mentor or friend.
When it comes to creating new habits, starting the first day as a full time entrepreneur is best but if you’ve already made the leap begin now to see the impact that a regular schedule, office wardrobe, time away and admin work can bring to your business. It might not be the most fun ever but, just like a full time job, getting the important stuff done pays dividends.
Action Step Identify the one tip that you can incorporate in your life and business this week and get started!