Business owners open their doors (physical or virtual) with bright eyes, looking forward to the entrepreneurship payoff.
The freedom to create their own schedule.
The ability to travel, to pay for the things they want, and to create the experiences that have filled their daydreams.
But here’s the thing—if you approach your business from Daydream Land instead of focusing on the processes and behaviors that create said daydream, that’s all you’re going to have.
That’s why in this article, you’re going to discover exactly how to build your business for success from the beginning. And if you happen to find yourself already in the trenches with a big “WTF is happening?!” on your face—no fear, my friend. You’ll learn how to turn things around.
Here are the five keys to building a foundation of success into your business.
Live & Die By a Schedule
How many days do you spend in front of your computer, staring at your screen, with your brain running in a million different directions?
You’ve got so many different projects on your to do list, and in a few hours, it seems little has been accomplished.
Your plate is no more empty than when you started, and truth be told, most days, it seems impossible to make any headway.
If you don’t have a process in place to tell you exactly what to do and when to do it, your brain has to sift through all of the responsibilities you have, categorize their level of importance, and choose what to work on first.
When you have multiple pressing tasks or projects that need your attention, it creates stress and overwhelm, putting you into a state of fight, flight, or freeze.
Here’s a couple of examples of what this looks like in your business.
If you feel stressed from all of the projects or tasks due and you freeze, you’re likely to stare at your computer and wonder where the time went.
Likewise, if you feel stressed from all of the projects due and you go into flight, you can find yourself trying to walk or yoga away your feelings, only to find at the end of the day that nothing got done and the pressure is worse.
Living and dying by the schedule means there’s only one problem in front of you at a time. There’s only one thing to focus on and accomplish. So even if stress comes up for you, it’s focused on this one problem.
Right here. Right now.
To help you stay grounded and make your schedule even more effective, put tasks that are similar together.
For example, put all of your creative or writing tasks into the same day. When you need to be on the phone, make sure you streamline your calls back to back.
This process will keep your calendar clean, and it’ll help you stick to your schedule.
Stay in Your Zone of Genius & Automate the Monotonous Tasks
Don’t wear all the hats in your business.
It’s easy to feel like you have to do everything, either because you don’t have the money to hire someone or you don’t trust someone can do it at the same level you do.
But here’s the truth, every time you put your time and energy into something that isn’t your genius, serving your people, or bringing money into your business—you cheat your clients and yourself.
You lose out on money.
You lose out on opportunities.
And you cut back on your ability to serve.
You’re either too exhausted to give your absolute best or to keep honing your expertise.
Or you don’t have the capacity to scale and make a bigger impact on your audience.
This is what we call scale sabotage — when you take on too many things in your business and keep yourself from truly growing.
Here’s a great hack to scale smarter.
When you start bringing money into your business, take a specific percentage of the profits and use that to hire a team member.
This can be for a certain number of hours each month or on a per project basis. But start with someone you will use regularly to get some of the work off of your plate.
It can be shocking how different your life is when those random, sporadic 2-5 minute tasks are handed over to someone else so you can focus on the more important pieces.
Before you know it, you’re more productive because your attention isn’t being pulled to things you don’t need to focus on, and you’re getting hours of time back to put into the tasks that are actually important for YOU to handle.
When you try to wear all of the hats, you’re compromising the quality of service you offer and you strap your scalability.
Start hiring early.
To drive this point home, you can hire someone to automate all of the monotonous tasks in your business that need to be done but are a time suck.
By having those pieces automated, you free up time and space not just for you, but also any team members you hire.
When you can put the unskilled, repetitive tasks in your business on auto, then you free up the mental space and time of your team members for them to give you THEIR best in terms of creativity, innovation, productivity, and problem solving.
If you want a team that’s high performing, then get as much of those monotonous tasks on auto as possible.
Learn to Say No—Often
Not every opportunity is a good one, and not all good opportunities are right for you. You have to learn what is a good fit for you and your business, and what’s not.
Here’s the tricky part.
If you hold on too tightly to your vision, you can miss the turns on the path you couldn’t see coming that lead you to your goals.
If you don’t hold on tightly enough and go with the flow, then you find yourself lost in a field where you can die of dehydration.
Here’s a simple way to start evaluating when to say no and when to say yes.
Ask yourself these simple questions:
- Does this help get me closer to my goal?
- Does this get me to my goal faster?
- Do I need to reevaluate my goal?
- Do I still want the same goal?
- Do I want to reach my goal with this person/experience/thing beside me?
- Is this in alignment with my values?
The answers to these questions will help you make a stronger decision.
And if you find that you made a wrong choice and said “yes” when you should’ve said “no”—you can always change your mind and change your path.
When in doubt, remember this, “Saying no to distractions leads you to the path of riches”.
Prioritize Your Physical and Mental Health
In the beginning of your business, your business only works when you do (unless you’ve already checked off key #1).
Later on in your entrepreneurial journey, you’ll face challenges in your business that require you to think creatively and critically to find solutions that will take you to the next level.
You can’t do either of those things if you’re not taking care of yourself mentally and physically.
When your business isn’t growing according to plan, it’s easy to let your health standards slide.
Any of this sound familiar?
- I can go a few nights on four hours of sleep or pull a couple all nighters.
- I didn’t mean to miss a meal, but I wanted to try intermittent fasting anyway.
- I meant to make time to journal, but I had content to create.
- I didn’t mean to fall asleep when I was supposed to be hanging out with my partner—but they’ll understand.
These are just a few of the common things business owners struggle with, and if you don’t have a routine set up to keep these things at bay, you can find yourself halfway through a family sized bag of Cheetos wondering what the hell happened to your life.
So here’s how to avoid that work-swallowed-me-whole trap.
- Remember to live and die by the schedule. Schedule in all of the things you need to have a healthy mind and body. Because when things get crazy in the business (and at some point they will), your schedule will be your saving grace.
- Fall in love with high performance. When you commit to making yourself perform better, other choices become clear. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, it can be difficult to go on a diet. If you want to increase your productivity and clear up your brain fog so you can 15X your business in the next year—then it’s a little easier to make the switch to green smoothies and exercise.
- Protect your sleep. If you’re not sleeping well, you’re damaging your body. If you’re damaging your body, you aren’t as productive, which can hit your bottom line.
- Make space for the little things. Take time to shower. Make an hour for your partner or loved ones. Brush your teeth. Dump the 24/7 pajamas and wear something that makes you feel powerful. The little things go a long way in helping you maintain your health and inspiration.
- Setup monthly life reviews. Once a month, do a check in with your life and business. Track what’s working and what’s not. Track what happens in your business when you take care of yourself versus when you don’t. When you see the data for yourself, it makes the process exciting because you can see when you’re on track to grow and when you’re not.
Set Boundaries With Clients and Employees
You’re constantly training people how to treat you, especially in business. And wherever there’s an unclear boundary, clients and team members will likely cross it.
It’s VITAL that you have clear communication and develop a process to talk others through when a boundary has been crossed.
Not sure how to do that? Follow these steps:
- First, don’t assume that because someone crossed your boundary that means that they don’t care, that they don’t respect you, or that they want to steamroll you. More often than not, they either didn’t know or weren’t clear on the boundary you set.
- Two, don’t assume that because the boundary is clear for you that the boundary is clear for them.
Different people have different learning modalities.
Some people need to read something before they understand it. Others need to hear it. Some need to see it in action. Some need to work through it and hit the stumbling block for it to stick.
So make sure you have several conversations (in different ways) about what the boundaries are, what they mean, and what the repercussions are if a boundary has been crossed.
Here’s an example of how to make this work:
- In your onboarding process for clients and/or team members, clearly write out and label all boundaries. Ask for their signature stating that they’ve read everything.
- Go over these boundaries audibly (whether that’s an audio/video of you reading them or having an actual conversation).
- Have them repeat back to you what the boundaries are.
- The first time that they cross a boundary, make it a learning experience. Sometimes they need to pick the rose to know the thorn is there.
- Third, protect your boundaries. Understand where your lines in the sand are, and how you handle your boundaries being crossed. This takes time, but being aware of this process will help you think through it with a level head instead of an emotional one.
- Fourth, be flexible. As you grow, boundaries will change and you’ll discover new ones you didn’t know you had. So it’s important to have conversations with your clients and team members if you notice something out of line.
If you’re starting your business, implement as much of this as you can, as early as possible. This is how you build success into the foundation of your business.
If you’re already on the journey and find yourself saying, “CRAP! I Should’ve done that!”— there’s still time, my friend!
Start implementing these pieces now, and watch your business transform.