All in all, I'm pretty happy with how 2005 turned out. My business is taking off. I've built a solid foundation to support even more growth (which I forecast for 2006) and I've even managed to take some time off.
I'd like other entrepreneurs and business owners to feel as good about their business as I do about mine, so I thought I'd take a moment to share 5 things I attribute to my successful 2005.
1. Attended seminars. This one is HUGE. Nothing beats getting out of your office and away from your computer and actually meeting people face to face. I've come away from these events with clients, joint venture partners, and more. (And that doesn't even include the great information I absorbed and was able to put to use in both my business and my clients' businesses.) If you only put one of my 5 tips to use, this would be the one to do -- that's how valuable I've discovered attending seminars to be.
2. Hired a coach. Again, this was another tough decision to make, but I'm really glad I did. It's difficult to see your business objectively, so having a neutral observer on your team is extremely valuable. Coaches help you get out of your own way (and believe me, that's a biggie for us entrepreneurs.) They can help you with both your inner game (your habits and mindset) and your outer game (your skills and business structure).
3. Started systemizing my business. Unless you want to be chained to your business night and day, you have got to start systemizing your business. Yes, all businesses should have systems in place, even if you don't have anyone else working for you and you primarily sell services. The best part is when you do have systems in place, your business suddenly starts running a lot more efficiently and effectively (and you can start sleeping better at night and relaxing on vacation).
4. Outsourced. For all you control freaks out there, this one is for you. If you don't start hiring some help, I guarantee you'll never be able to grow your business because you'll be constantly doing tasks you have no business doing. Do yourself a favor and get some . I've just hired a project manager/director of client services, plus I have 2 backup writers and 2 virtual assistants. Building a team has been a big stress reliever for me.
5. Focused on my inner game. Shifting my mindset away from "freelancer" to "business owner" was another big piece of the puzzle. As soon as I made that shift, all the other four techniques fell into place because it suddenly made them easier to do.
It's tough to change your inner game on your own -- hiring a coach is probably the fastest way to do this. But there are some good resources out there if you want to begin dabbling in it first. Do a search and see what comes up, I started my journey with free ezines and articles.
Creativity Exercise -- Make 2006 the best year ever
Go back and reread my list. Now get out a piece of paper and start brainstorming ways you can integrate my tips into your business. Which one do you think will bring the quickest results? Which one will be more difficult for you to start doing? Which is the one you SHOULD be doing?
Have fun with this exercise, really play around and see what comes up. Don't censor yourself, just write down the answers that bubble up even if it doesn't seem right. You might discover something important about yourself and your business that might be the key to launching you forward faster than you ever dreamed possible.