When it comes to improving yourself and your business, there’s always a dollar figure on the table.
Use this service for $19.99 a month! Buy this book for $14.99! Take this eCourse for $99.99! None of these things are intrinsically bad to invest in, but it does get overwhelming — and, for someone just starting out, that dollar figure can add up fast.
Not all bloggers NEED to use a combination of Tailwind, Leadpages, and ConvertKit, but we’ve been trained to think that these products are necessary for success. Knowledge is power, but for a new business owner, investing both time and money into taking an eCourse can drain your — already limited — resources.
When you find yourself bottoming out, there are things you can do to keep your forward momentum going, without spending time or money.
Have a Good Work Ethic
I often find myself getting stuck in fake productivity loops.
There is so much information out there, it’s easy to make a full-time job out of consuming it all. I’ve been trapped in that cycle of reading news, asking for advice, and commenting on other people’s posts in Facebook Groups.
It’s one thing to show up, but it’s another to actually do the work.
Sometimes what feels like “working” is not actually working towards a goal at all.
Part of having a good work ethic is knowing what works, what doesn’t, and when to give up. If you find yourself burning out, take some time to step back, and invest your time back where it counts.
Make a schedule, hold yourself accountable, and don’t stray from your goal.
Be On Time
This works for business owners, and for people who work in traditional office environments.
Being on time doesn’t cost you anything, but being late could cost you a meeting, a project, or even a job.
If you struggle with time management (like me!), find a tool that works with your brain, not against it.
⏃ Get it on paper. To-do notes, calendars, a hardcopy schedule, or an organizer. Buy one, buy them all, buy whatever works for YOU, and block out time or tasks on them.
⏃ If digital is more your thing, check out tools like Google Calendar, Trello, and Asana.
⏃ Know when to delegate — and I don’t mean “just hire a VA.” Decide how much an hour of your time is worth, and find ways to cut out the stuff you can automate — like Tailwind for Pinterest, and Freshbooks for accounting.
Learn How to Say NO
It’s hard, I get it, but it’s the most important thing you will ever do for yourself.
When you say “yes” to everything that comes your way, you’re doing a disservice to yourself. Saying “yes” to everything is also a really effective way to waste time — believe me, I learned that the hard way.
After someone asks you to do something — whether it’s a friend, family member, or business pal — ask yourself if the task truly fits on your plate.
If it doesn’t, be polite, yet firm in your response.
Remember: you don’t need a reason to decline someone’s request. If you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to. You’re an adult, and you aren’t indebted to anyone, especially when it comes to your attention and energy.
Also, a tip: even if your reason for doing something is “I don’t want to,” fluff up your response a little bit. A simple hi, I would love to, but I don’t have time this week — maybe ____ can help with this instead! works wonders.
Reject Stereotypes, Always
When I first wrote this post, in early January 2017, this section was titled “Keep an open mind.”
But things have changed since then, and now, rejecting stereotypes is more important than ever.
There are, without a doubt, different sects of the business and blogging world. There are the religious stay at home moms, the coastal fashion bloggers, and the Big Names who rake in six figures a month.
My point in bringing these comparisons up is: the things we have in common far outweigh the things we don’t.
Judging someone based on their appearance, or religion, or sexual orientation, will not get you far, ever. You never know who will be the next skeleton key to your success.
Don’t shut down opportunities because they aren’t immediately part of your end game. Yes, you should be goal oriented, but don’t be so focused that you a) lose part of the bigger picture, and b) leave no room for growth or flexibility.
The universe will send you what you need to be successful.
Don’t end opportunities before they’ve even had a chance to plant themselves and prosper.
Keep Your Chin Up!
When it comes down to it, this is — without a doubt — the most important item on this list.
You’re gonna have bad days. There’s no way to avoid that — hell, even when you’re at the top of your game, a broken iPhone screen or bout of food poisoning might be right around the corner.
None of that matters, though. When you put good energy out, you’ll get good energy back.
Having a good attitude can be difficult some days, especially the ones that start with getting up on the wrong side of the bed. Even when you feel like a raging monster on the inside, keep your interactions with other humans — the Starbucks guy, the wireless representative, the person commenting on your last post — positive.