1. Define your niche and target market, but be prepared to pivot.

It’s important to create a business plan in the beginning, to establish a vision, target market and objectives, but also be nimble and flexible enough to adapt and take advantage of opportunities as they come your way.

Allow yourself to explore new territories and broaden your skillset. Spot a skill, product or service and go after that person or company to either learn more, or bring into your business.

  1. Find your style and put systems in place to manage.

Work at your most productive times. Are you a morning or afternoon person? Find your rhythm and stick to it. Prioritise your time each day – complete the most urgent and important things first & don’t get bogged down with trivial tasks.

Use systems where possible to simplify and streamline processes so you don’t have to spend more time than needed. Project management, CRM and financial management programs will become integral to all aspects of your business.

Whilst hard work will always take you places, it’s also essential to take time out to refresh, reset and recharge. Particularly when working with people, and within the creative industries – it’s important to manage yourself in order to be at your optimum at all times. What gives you energy and makes you feel good? Exercise, yoga, massage, facials, day trips – whatever it may be schedule it in your diary as if it is a weekly WIP.

  1. Constantly be moving forward. 

Regardless of what industry you are in, don’t sit still. Be curious and always be across trends and new technologies. Know what your competitors are doing and be one step ahead. Continue to learn, refine and expand your skillset.

Keep a separate to-do list or notebook purely for new ideas or concepts, and invest a certain % of your time each week exploring them further.

Go to events and enrol in workshops or classes for inspiration, ideas and new skills.

  1. Be on brand at all touchpoints. 

Write a personal statement, keywords that define your practice and personal brand. Ensure all interactions and communications with clients and customers reflect these values.

The same goes for online, invest time in building a great website and maintaining a presence across LinkedIn, Twitter and other relevant social channels.

Continue to strengthen and build on your brand by being consistently effective and delivering above expectations.

  1. Give. 

Share your time and knowledge with others without expecting anything in return, and add value where possible.

And although being your own boss can be overwhelming and all consuming, ensure you are giving time to yourself as well as time to your family and friends. Continuously invest in relationships; family, friends and your network. Great relationships are paramount to success – so when you are with others, be present, listen and make it count.

  1. Find your tribe.

Being your own boss means you will face many decisions, challenges and opportunities on your own. Having a strong support network is invaluable in gaining feedback when required to ensure you are making the right moves. No one is totally perfect and perceived mistakes will happen. Treat them as another new experience and learn from them. Don’t dwell, you can’t change history, so get on with the next opportunity.

If you are just starting out, get to as many events as possible, have as many coffees as possible and seek out a mentor. Not only does each one arm you with knowledge, but incredible opportunities can come from it.

If it’s right for you, move into a co-working space to work alongside other business owners, entrepreneurs and creatives. Above all, surround yourself with smart people to learn from.

Lastly, love what you do – life is too short not to follow your passion!

For more, check out this event in Sydney

Emma Sharley
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