We’re nearly half way through the calendar year. Already! It’s a good time to assess how things are going, don’t you agree? For me, the first six months of this year was overflowing with a lot of firsts.
- I’ve created my first responsive designs to work on mobile as well as desktop (watch out for a future blog on Responsive Web Design)
- I’ve also created my first ecommerce client site. After much research, I’ve partnered with BigCommerce (so stay tuned for another future blog on why I chose their platform).
- I’ve been designing more in WordPress too. Although I’d been avoiding it, in preference to a lesser-known CMS (one that’s more stable and flexible), so many people already have WordPress – or have been told to use it – that I have bowed to pressure. Its idiosyncrasies still irk me, but I’m beginning to appreciate the convenience of some of its features and plugins.
- I started a Referral scheme. As my business operates primarily on word of mouth, I give a discount certificate to anyone who refers me to a new client. So far I’ve given out a handful of Referral Certificates, and hope there will be many more.
Who is this post for? It’s written for solo business people or micro-small business companies who are trying to do it all on their own, maybe struggling to grow and needing some work/life balance. It’s not so much for those who already have a team of employees.
The end of June also signals the end of the Australian financial year and I’m pleased to have recorded my most successful year so far. I’ve gained the most new clients in a year (and that’s just been the last 6 months).
The Tax Man will be pleased too, dammit. But he can’t take it all…
How often have you heard business coaches and consultants harp on about finding time and ways to work ON your business, not IN it?
Working ON your business is rewarding
As I’ve earned a little more, I’ve also been reinvesting some of it into the business, mainly into self-education. I followed Warren Buffett’s advice “Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do – anything that improves your own talents.” I’ve signed up to a number of courses this year and am slowly acquiring new skills whenever I can squeeze in time between ‘real work’.
So I’ve been stretching myself and expanding the services I can provide.
I’ve also been slowly redesigning my own website. It was supposed to be completed in April, but… you know… I keep learning new things, coming up with new ideas… I’m like the proverbial house painter whose own house is badly in need of some paint. But it is coming. And it will be worth it.
Most exciting of all, I’ve rewarded myself by booking a trip to the UK in September to attend the “Generate London” conference. It’s a conference specifically for web designers. I’m hoping to return full of ideas and inspiration (and probably the need to sign up to a few more courses, and change my new design yet again, I suspect!)
Anyway, I hope you don’t think this post is just a brag-fest on my part. I sincerely hope you’ll take some ideas from what I’ve learnt and use them to grow your own business. So what about you?
5 ways to work ON your business
Even as a soloist, a few of the ways you can work ON your business include:
- Education: Find online courses that allow you to work at your own pace. I schedule in chunks of time (just an hour here and there) to spend on my training and education.
- Marketing on Social Media: Restrict yourself to certain times of the day/week to create or find information to post and share on Facebook and Twitter. I find this allows me to keep posting consistently without getting caught in a huge time-suck (oh, alright, sometimes I do!)
- Brainstorm ideas: Take a little time on a Sunday evening to brainstorm some ideas for your upcoming blog content or other marketing initiatives. It’s amazing what your mind can come up with when it’s refreshed from a bit of time out.
- Streamline your processes: If you still do all your accounting in an Excel spreadsheet, talk to your accountant about switching to an online, cloud-based product like Xero or Quickbooks Online. Once the initial setup is done, you’ll be surprised how much simpler life can be.
- Consider what to outsource: Especially those things you’re not happy doing yourself.
- For example, one of the things I dislike most about WordPress is the ongoing maintenance. It’s so critical to keep on top of updates to plugins, themes and the WordPress core, and ensure that your backup process is in place and working correctly. But a little ball of stress knots in my stomach each time I have to click that Update button. If that’s you too, let the experts at WP Copilot look after it for you. For $39 a month, you gain a lot of peace of mind, and rake back precious time each week.
- And sure, you might have started your business with a DIY WordPress website, back when your startup budget was almost nil. But do you really want to spend hours working out how to make changes and additions to it? If web design isn’t your core business, why not outsource it now to someone else, and get on with the elements of your business that really need your own expertise?
That’s where I come in. Contact me today for a friendly chat about your website and how I can give you back some precious time to focus ON your business.