Five business lessons I learned last year

2014 was one heck of a year.

Life-wise, but also business-wise. I’ve learned so much about ways I want to work, what’s important to me in both of my businesses, and how I want my life and my work to interact with each other.

(I wrote about my 2014 highlights here.)

In this time I’ve managed to spot a few bad habits, and have learned simple ways to actively overcome them.

Here are a few things I learned over the past 12 months which have really helped me in being a self-employed, freelancing, project-juggling, home-working, entrepreneurial tarot reader and writer.

If you run your own online business, I hope they help you, too!

two-of-pentacles-kitty-kahane-tarot

1. Stop checking your emails.

Seriously. Stop it.

It’s like constantly asking for more things to do, when you already have enough going on! Constantly checking emails (and social media) is a form of procrastination. You can deal with your emails once or twice a day and everything will still get done and the world will not stop turning and people will not stop liking you.

Honestly – I love email with all of my tiny beating heart, I really do. But you have to get that thing under control. I turn my email programme completely off when I’m focusing on a piece of work now and it’s just amazing.

(If I’m not working online, I turn my entire internet off. REVOLUTIONARY.)

If you make no other business resolution – make this one.

2. Do one thing well.

It might surprise you to know that I’m not a multi-tasker.

True, I have a whooooole lot of projects running at the same time and I like that. But last year I really learned to focus on one thing at a time. If I’m spending the day working on my tarot course, then I clear my diary for that and save any web work for the next day or week. If I have tarot readings to do, I’ll clear the morning and not even turn on my email programme until I’ve got those done.

This approach really helps me to feel like I’m making solid progress with an important project, rather than spinning a whole bunch of plates. I’m not a robot and it doesn’t always work out that way, but when I do stick to the ‘do one thing well’ principle, it damn well works.

3. Under-promise, then over-deliver.

Less stress for you, more joy for your clients. It’s a cliche but it’s such a good one – I’ve made this my motto now. Underpromising – i.e. promising a realistic, not overblown service to my clients gives me the freedom to go the extra mile as and where I want to – which makes people feel special!

4. Your job is not to please everyone.

I started to hone my niche last year – for example in being more explicitly queer in my tarot work and in choosing to work only on special projects with women in my web design business. I’ve realised that I can’t be all things to all people… and that is *such* a relief.

Focusing on a ‘target audience’ (ew – sorry) helps me to be clearer about what I’m trying to provide. If I try to please everyone, I’ll end up presenting a watered-down version of myself, whereas if I aim my work at my specific community, I can create much better work that is right for them.

And by them, I mean you! The person who is here, reading my blog. 

It’s better to lose the people who don’t fit with my own vibes than compromise myself to fit the needs of people I’ll never end up working with. You are the people who matter to me.

5. If it’s not you, stop doing it.

I experimented in 2014 – including writing a brief series for a website that really isn’t me. I’m always glad to try new things out, but I kinda knew before I started that this particular one wasn’t right for me.

I want to learn to trust my gut about this stuff more this year, rather than always saying yes.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the word ‘yes’. But saying ‘no’ more often makes the yesses mean more, and it means I can do them better.

I’ve also tried repeatedly to organise more tarot reading at events and parties. I build a nice page and plan a few marketing emails to local venues… and then I never do anything with it. Probably because I’m focused on other things right now and this feels like a sideline. So – time to stop doing it. Time to take it off my list.

 

Any of these resonate for you?

 

PS – If you like posts about self-determined working, freelancing and running your own business, here are a few more…

Why I’m quitting social media

Finding new ways of working

Proactivity vs reactivity

 

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8 comments

  1. Ellen says:

    Although I don’t run a business, some of these lessons do resonate with me. They are also applicable to our day to day life
    If you’ve learned these lessons last year I am sure you’ll start this one a quite a bit wiser:D

  2. Sarah Dawn says:

    These are great Beth! I would 100% agree with all of them. I would personally add “stop checking social media” along with “stop checking e-mail” I’m so bad about impulsively checking Twitter and Instagram. :)

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      Thanks Sarah. Yeah, Twitter is a bad habit for me too… but it brings me so much joy and fun and useful info that I just let it be my ‘one vice’ (one! ha!)

  3. Celia says:

    I don’t run a business, but these definitely resonate with me– particularly underpromise and overdeliver, and your job is not to please everyone!

    Being a college student who really wants to be involved in extracurricular and travel and have a social life and do silly things like sleep and eat makes me really bad at saying ‘no’ sometimes, as well as more often saying ‘yes’ but not giving myself time to get through all my projects.

    So I’m trying to focus more on fewer projects and make sure to save time for tarot and other witchier pursuits in 2015– it’s going pretty well in these first six days, at least! :D

  4. I love this! I don’t have a business yet, but these are great things to keep in mind as I begin to establish one. Particularly the not pleasing everyone. With my blog, I can already tell I’m going to lose a lot of people as I venture into Tarot and the spiritual journey that I’ve so desperately been seeking. But I hope to attract people who need what I have to share!

    So, so glad I was introduced to your blog today :D

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      Hey Amber! Yeah, if you write a blog it’s a big deal to make a change that you know will lose you some readers. But ultimately it’s your work, and it’s about your passions and ideas. Good for you, and excited to follow your blog :D

  5. Joanne says:

    Also a 100% yes from me. I have been so using email to procrastinate and it’s interfering with my desire to focus on Tarot readings. All of these apply as I make Tarot a major part of my biz this year. I’ve put your bulleted list items at the top of my Compass note.

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