Let’s face it, life is busy.
It can be downright chaotic when you own a business, work as a freelancer, or run a side hustle. But entrepreneurship has its rewards too.
There’s something very satisfying about earning your money from your own efforts, on your own terms, and on your own time. And sometimes the most challenging aspects are also the most rewarding.
A variable income, less structured schedule and no oversight can feel overwhelming, so how does one succeed? Here are a few tips for you brave souls who choose to make your own way.
#1 Set Goals for Your Business
Setting goals and writing them down is one helpful way to manage the chaos of running a business.
We’re more likely to achieve goals when we write them down. There’s a ton of science (even new neuroscience) behind goal setting. Goals give us direction and motivation. If ever we start to feel overwhelmed or sidetracked, we can refer back to our goals and see if the task is aligned.
Goals should be specific and measurable so we know when we can cross them off:
- I’ll spend 3 hours a week this month working on my business plan for the next quarter.
- I’ll test and choose a tool that helps me with my project management workflows.
- I’ll choose a financial tracking tool that helps me understand last quarter’s profit & loss.
When we achieve goals we feel accomplished.
When things feel chaotic I like to set really small super simple goals. I do this with my personal life – it helps me regain focus and motivation. Setting goals can be as simple as scheduling a dentist appointment.
#2 Get Your Business Finances Organized
As a business owner, you know how important it is to keep track of your money.
But staying organized in the midst of everything else you’re managing can feel like a daunting task. Picking the right tool is key to staying organized. Choose one that allows you to adopt workflows that make this painless and fast.
Here at Tiller, our Simple Business spreadsheet template helps you understand your business’ bottom line, see all your balances in a single place, project your future balances, and keep your expenses organized so prepping for tax time is painless.
Plus, the daily automated feed of your bank transactions and balances to the sheet makes this the easiest way to manage your business finances in a spreadsheet, even if you never try our business Google Sheets template.
Tiller makes a DIY approach to finances easy, but it’s always good to consult with an accountant or financial advisor to make sure you’re thinking about it the right way from the get-go.
In this post, we offer a few tips for getting things on track with your business.
#3 Stay Flexible with Expected Outcomes
We can’t predict the future so it’s important to be open and flexible when things change.
Maybe we didn’t hit our target for Q3 sales. Staying flexible means shifting our goals and priorities to see how we can improve our results in Q4.
Make a list of what you learned and how you can do better.
Maybe a project with a client fell through or isn’t tracking against the schedule. How can we shift our expectations or perceptions about the situation to stay motivated? Perhaps there is another project you can move slightly ahead of schedule to fill the gap or another you need to contract out to someone else to get some support and keep things on track. Set new goals based on your learnings.
Sometimes these rifts in what we expected and the actual outcomes are a blessing in disguise.
Without the traffic jam that caused you to be 15 minutes late to a lunch meeting, you might not have landed the new contract with the person sitting behind you that overheard your discussion. Try to look for the silver lining in all the cloudy days that come your way as an entrepreneur.
#4 Reset Regularly
It takes guts to do what you do.
Regardless of the reason that you do it, owning a business or leaving the 9 to 5 can be scary in an increasingly expensive world. When things get stressful, don’t forget to breathe and give yourself breaks. Maybe you’re not taking a full-on vacation once a quarter, but prioritize your wellness and mental health.
Get outside for a walk once a day or dedicate time to something besides work that you really love doing. When you’re well rested and mentally balanced, your ability to focus and achieve your goals is much greater.
It’s also okay to say no.
Understand your limits and set boundaries with yourself and others. If you’ve made it this far, you can reference your goals, you have a clear picture of your business finances, and you can be flexible enough to give yourself time to reset after a stressful project or busy season.
The Tiller team is here to help.
Money matters because life matters more.
Our focus has always been on making it easier for people to understand their finances in a spreadsheet so they can concentrate on everything else that’s more important.
If there’s a feature or idea you have that would make your financial life easier to keep track of as an entrepreneur, let us know.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. If we don’t already have a solution, we’ll add a feature request for you!