When I left to begin my world travels, I knew I’d be bringing my small business along with me. I packed my laptop, its charger, and…me! That’s the moment I became scared. As I sat on our sailboat bobbing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, it hit me: I have to depend on me, my skillset, my work ethic, my organization, me! There was no paycheck pending, no work in the pipeline, no one to tell me what project to prioritize. I would have to do that for myself.
Popping my laptop open, I established some entrepreneurial goals. Below are a few practical ways I’m able to boost my output and success. Perhaps they will work for you, too!
Create a schedule that highlights your productivity.
Understanding your “seasons” will benefit your work. Someone once told me, “Nothing in nature blooms all year.” When I was in my press-press-press phase (you know, working 100+ hours a week and surviving on a liquid diet of caffeine), I wasn’t sure what that meant. Seasons? That only applies to plants, I thought.
I started to track myself, however, month by month, day by day. I noticed there were certain parts of the month where I would wake up early, feel energized, creative, and productive. Then, there were certain parts of the month where I would feel less productive, less energetic, less creative. During those times, I would feel more internal and reflective than sales-y and innovative.
I shifted my schedule to harness all of the potency each of those seasons provided. When my creative energy naturally showed up for me, I designed marketing material, blog content, newsletters, e-mails. When my internal, analysis energy showed up, I reviewed the analytics, finances, and projections. When my energies matched my mindset, my work started to flow more naturally and my tracking, analysis, and strategy improved.
Find your business buddies.
These are the people who are willing to talk straight business with you. They will ask you the difficult questions like: But why? Why not? How? Is that possible? Is that scalable? Does that make sense? Is that worth it? Is now the right time? Why do you want to do this?
Business buddies have experienced all of the different phases of business building; they are important because they’ve been there. They’ve done the heavy lifting, they’ve dropped the hammers on their own toes, they’ve learned and grown stronger. They are individuals who have put themselves in the position to not depend on a paycheck from someone else, and they know how that feels. Those are the buddies you need, and they may not be your “friends” as you define “friend.” They may be a business buddy, and that is it. That is exactly what you need.
Here are 5 keys to success that every business owner should know.
Redefine success every six months.
When I first started my business, I had no idea what success would look like for that business. I needed concrete numbers so that I had a clear understanding of what my business was even doing. I put the numbers down on paper and tracked them. Every six months, the numbers change: sometimes they grow, sometimes they don’t. The numbers reveal what is working and what needs to shift, leading me to new definitions of success every six months.
Stay on top of the paperwork.
A lot of business ownership is paperwork, and living on a sailboat surrounded by beautiful islands makes it difficult to want to stare at a computer screen reviewing invoices or reconciling bank statements. Paperwork will creep up on you if you don’t stay on top of it. There are many apps (such as Calendly, Later, Genius Sign) that can help you with the scheduling and paperwork, but mostly it takes downright gritting-teeth effort. Get it done! You won’t regret it.
Understand it won’t always go as planned.
You will have rough months financially. You will have technical problems, people problems, scheduling problems. People might complain. But this is part of the work, and it’s a key part. Jumping hurdles is one skill that entrepreneurs learn quickly, and challenges only strengthen those jumping-hurdle muscles. Don’t be offended or panicked if something doesn’t go as planned. While having a business plan is primarily important in every business, it’s only your guideline and circumstances might and will occur unpredictably. I’ve had launches turn into disasters. I’ve had people demand their money back. I’ve had schedules that conflicted so badly, frustration set in. It happens, and it will happen again. But it’s all part of the journey of understanding something very important: It may be your business, but you are not in control.
Seven months into being a world-traveling digital nomad, I have learned many, many lessons, but these lessons stick with me because they force me to grow. They remind me to not fall into a comfortable routine, but to stay alert, stay challenged, stay creative! They offer me a platform on which to spring, sending my personal growth as a business owner leaping into the air. I am thankful for the opportunity and the space to travel with my business. It has given us time to sit together, dream together, and work together: just my business and me.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, know that is part of the process. Keep showing up for yourself and for your business, and you’ll see it start to inch its way into momentum.
To hear from another woman who’s pushing past her fear to pursue her dreams, listen to one of our favorite podcast episodes, Skillet’s Jen Ledger Shares Her Faith, Her Fear and Her Strength – 044!
You’ll also like 5 Simple Ways to Be a Dreamer and a Doer, 2 Simple Secrets to Long-Term Success, Being a Successful Leader Starts With You, The 6 Qualities That Make a Female Leader Strong, 10 Ways to Stay Focused When You Work From Home, and Exhausted From Work? 5 Ways to Refuel During Your Day.