Do you spend your days spinning lots of plates? I know I do. Whether you’re self-employed or working for someone else, life is always going to be a juggling act in one way or another.
Your need for time to yourself can easily get pushed to the back of the queue.
I love writing my blog. I know it’s no surprise that I love writing, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it for a living. I spend a lot of time writing for other people so it’s great to be able to use my own voice for a change.
It’s also my chance to talk to you, entertain you and give you something you’ll find useful.
Let’s face it, becoming self-employed represents freedom. Freedom to work in your own way, set your own schedule… and to spend every waking hour thinking and worrying about your business! We all have other commitments so having a clear boundary in place between your working life and the rest of your life is essential if you’re going to avoid a stress induced meltdown.
Setting boundaries doesn’t just help your personal life either. It can boost your business too. I often find that I’ll have a lightbulb moment when I’m loading the washing machine or going for a run when work is pretty much the last thing on my mind.
When I first started my business I read everything I could get my hands on that could teach me the new skills I would need to reach potential customers. I’m still reading, but over time I’ve worked out where my time is best spent. Even though I write marketing content I’m constantly learning about marketing strategy and if there’s one lesson that I hear time and time again it’s this:
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER!
Even if you think your product or service could be for anyone, it couldn’t.
As regular readers will know, I received a wonderful birthday present for my 40th last year (if you’re not a regular reader, catch up here).
The beauty of a yearlong present is that it keeps on giving, however there’s always the risk of a lapse in attention. I’ve found that whilst I embarked on the challenges with huge enthusiasm in the early stages, I’m now panicking at how little time I’ve got left until my next birthday at the beginning of September. (Don’t worry, I won’t sulk if you don’t buy me a present.)
When I first started my business, using content marketing was an easy decision. I produce content for other people so it was the obvious way for me to showcase my skills. That said, deciding exactly what I was going to write proved slightly more challenging.
I knew that I had the ability to talk to people and translate what they told me into something other people would enjoy reading. However, I’d spent my writing life up to that point either working on fiction or writing reports and advice letters to clients when I was still working in the law. I had hundreds of ideas but still didn’t know where to start!
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about content marketing. You may even know what it is. If you’re reading this thinking that you should know but you feel silly asking, this blog is for you.
The thing I love about being a sole trader is that internal communication is easy. I may run the risk of talking to myself on a regular basis, but I find it’s sometimes the best way to get a straight answer!
Equally, if you only have a handful of employees keeping everyone up to date is simple, but what happens when your business grows? You may have an increased workforce or have opened new premises so you can’t rely on word of mouth communication any longer.
In those circumstances, a company newsletter can be a straightforward way of making sure everyone is aware of new developments, but done well it can be hugely beneficial in other ways.
If you’re tasked with running a training session, I’m guessing that the last thing you want is to be that person who sent everyone to sleep. I remember the first time I had to deliver legal training to my former colleagues. I thought it would be easy. I had no problem being eloquent in front of a judge and they were occasionally scary. These were the people I worked with every day, yet I found myself stumbling over words, eyes glued to my notes whilst I tried to remember exactly what I was supposed to be talking to them about.