Photograph by Katie Purnell found on minimography.com
Many of us creative types are building businesses from the ground up – from side hustles to bootstrapped businesses from a “home office” (aka the nightstand beside my floor bed). And we have very little time to do it in.
If this is you, you’re in good company! I kicked my business into high gear as a fresh single mama–pregnant with baby #3. It’s hard, but it can be done!
This week I’m finding myself hiring new team members, forming new partnerships left and right, making sales while I sleep and loving every minute of it. But it took some serious hustle to get started. Here are my top tips for getting through that crazy first stage:
You can do anything, but you can’t do everything
Set your intentions high, but understand that you won’t get very far without surrounding yourself with a system of support. For me, that meant hiring a mother’s helper a couple mornings a week or outsourcing my bookkeeping to bench.co – serious life saver!
Tap into a community
Having a community of people around you to help you brain dump and bounce ideas around can be incredibly energizing. Don’t underestimate the value of hashing things out with others. I’ve found tremendous success in collaborating with other designers and developers in Facebook groups and Slack boards. Finding a group of people like those in the Genesis community can skyrocket your business.
Don’t underestimate the value of hashing things out with others.
Joining a local incubator or mastermind like Hatch here in Norfolk, VA will lead you down paths you never imagined existed. Believe me, you will be inspired with strategies that you would have never thought of before and investing your time in a community like this will help save you from unproductive time!
Step away from your work
I can’t emphasize the importance enough of knowing when to step away from your work. I’ve spent hours trying to solve a design or code-related issue only to step away, go get some sleep, and actually solve the issue while I’m dreaming. Yes, I design and code in my sleep.
And you likely process all of that in your sleep too. Step away, relax, binge-watch some Netflix, take your kids to the beach, think about something else, and then sleep.
Get comfy with Parkinson’s Law
This law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
That means that if you give yourself a week to complete a small task, then inevitably the task will increase in complexity and become more daunting so as to fill that week. It may not even fill the extra time with more work, but just stress and tension about having to get it done. By assigning the right amount of time to a task, we gain back more time, and the task will reduce in complexity to its natural state.
Understand that this season won’t last forever, but use your time wisely
When you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have a full 40-hour week to work on your business. Even if you only have an hour to work every day – make that hour count. Clear away all distractions and do whatever you can to get ahead during the small amount of time you have to dedicate to your work. Try the Pomodoro technique to stay ultra productive!