Being a business owner is a constant learning curve. There are always new opportunities, new challenges, and new situations forcing us to learn and grow. For me, there’s never a shortage of “lessons” I’m being taught. Here are a few business life lessons I’ve been learning the last several months:
Make time to invest in your own business. It’s easy to invest in your clients or customers, putting all your time and energy into improving your products or services to better serve them. But at some point, you have to stop and carve out time to put your own business first. Take those few days off to do some intensive business planning. Make the time and budget to update the website. It might seem like insignificant details, but if your own business is always getting the leftovers, eventually that’s all you’ll have left for your clients and customers, too.
Details matter. Excellence is a way of life. Whatever you’re building, learning to do so with utmost care and attention to detail is of paramount importance. Of course, I don’t mean to get so caught up in perfection that you never finish anything. What I do mean is to tackle the little projects with the same care you put towards the more important projects. Treat the small client project with the same excellence you invest into the much larger client project.
Breakthrough starts with open arms. Worrying and frantically trying to problem solve usually only makes things worse. Choosing to embrace challenges with open arms from a patient mentality puts you in a posture to see clearly. Don’t make hasty decisions before all the facts present themselves. Seek out the facts from reliable, reputable sources – mentors, trusted peers, those more experienced than you. Look for inspiration and open doors to be your guidance.
Celebrate every victory – large and small. In the day-to-day grind, it’s easy to lose sight of the small victories and progress you are making. So you didn’t get every item on your to-do list accomplished today. Honestly, it happens – more often than not, it seems. Instead of focusing on that, focus on the victories you did have. The client meeting that went better than expected. The encouraging phone call with a mentor. The task you had been dreading all week but crossed off today. Those are victories worth celebrating.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! Here’s the thing. You will never run out of tasks to get done. Your to-do list will always regenerate each new morning. And sometimes, in some seasons, there simply will not be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you “should” do. Before you allow that feeling of being overwhelmed to get the better of you, simplify your tasks into the 3-4 MUST DO items for the day in each area of your life: professional and personal. Get those things done, and whatever else you fit in on top of that becomes icing on the cake.
Take a break. It’s been said that the time we enjoy wasting is not wasted time. Turning everything off and retreating away is sometimes the single most healthy and beneficial thing we can do for ourselves and our business. We’re all far more creative with recharged batteries. Taking the time to STOP and prioritize rest in your life will make you a better business owner. (Read more about this topic in a blog I wrote about how taking a vacation HERE)
In the thick of it, life lessons aren’t always pleasant to learn. But looking back over my years in business, I am so thankful for the ways I have grown and changed (for the better!) as a business owner and I look forward to the future lessons I’ll get to learn.
What are some of the life lessons (big and small) you’ve been learning through your business lately?