There’s nothing more rewarding or fulfilling than building your own business from the ground up and watching it grow. There’s also nothing more exhausting, challenging, defeating and at times, down right frustrating, than going it alone.
I started my Freelance Writing business over a year and half ago and it’s been such a colourful journey. I’ve made incredible connections with people all over the country, cried over setbacks and celebrated successes. I’ve chased down payments (embarrassingly enough), gone broke, had big pay days, built a network, created a portfolio and so much more in between. What’s keeping me going? My inner cheerleader. So, if you’re a new entrepreneur or you’ve been at it for a while and need a little extra motivation, soak up my favourite 5 ways to keep on truckin’ as a new business owner!
Create/refine/transform your business plan
This is a KEY step! Whether your new biz is a carefree passion project or the sole source of your income, creating a business plan will give you the clarity and direction you need to create a brand and make waves. I’m in the midst of creating a real plan with the help of the Canada Business Network. There’s templates and help here: Business Plan Templates. PLUS you need a legitimate business plan if you want to apply for any government grants to help you get started as a new entrepreneur (*there’s tons of grants for young, female entrepreneurs, specifically). If you created a plan months or years ago and feel it doesn’t reflect you and your goals anymore, revamp it!
Take breaks during your self-directed work day so you keep your vision fresh and your energy pure. I know what it’s like to get so enthralled with an idea that you forget to move, eat and pretty much do anything else but work for hours. It’s not healthy or sustainable! Take time off–and this goes for anyone at any job, doing any task. You’ll return to your work more productive, creative and calm. Building your biz isn’t a race, it’s a marathon, a journey, so keep yourself hydrated, well rested and able to carry on.
Shut out Competitive Clutter
I feel a little poison enter my soul and my Ego comes out to play when I focus on all of my so-called “competitors” or other new biz owners who are seemingly squashing their scene. There’s a difference between inspiration and demotivation. The former feeds your soul, the latter drains it. Don’t let all of those self-employed success stories you obsess over on Facebook, Instagram or whatever your social media weapon is, tell you there’s no more room for your vision or that you’re any different from the biz owners who’ve made it big. The difference between you and them? Time, experience, connections, money and a whole other list of things their pretty profile won’t expose. Unless they’re your personal mentors, unfollow, delete, unsubscribe or do whatever you have to do to shut out the noise and refocus on YOUR passion.
Surround yourself with Positive Supports
Give yourself space from all the naysayers and idea-haters in your life. Instead, rally the troops. Keep connected to the people in your life who believe in you, support you and, most importantly, are honest with you. I can’t count how many times I’ve had a “grand” idea about taking on a slightly sketchy writing project with a less-than-legitimate individual only to have my mum gently suggest that she has a bad feeling about it. I listen to her and my other faithful friends and family AND I’ve learned to trust my gut.
Be Confident with your Rate
If you’re not sure how much you should charge for your services, research other companies who offer similar things and see how much they bill per hour. My BIGGEST learning as a new entrepreneur has been to own and be confident in my hourly rate. I started off feeling awkward and wrong when I’d announce my rate to clients. I felt that because I love writing so much I shouldn’t charge a lot. CRAZY thinking. I’m not saying you should overprice your services, I’m saying you should value yourself and what you do and charge accordingly. Make sure clients understand and agree to your rate and your date of payment. Get it in writing, whether that’s through email or a letter. If you don’t do contracts make sure you protect yourself someway so you’re efforts aren’t lost on sneaky people.
Remember, even though you may be entering the world of self-employment and entrepreneurship you are not alone. Tons of Canadians are doing exactly what you’re doing right now and they’re facing their own unique challenges and triumphs. In reality, around 16% of all working Canadians are self-employed. Keep your perspective, keep your passion and keep on truckin’!
Get more perspective here:The Globe and Mail Report on Self-Employment