Are You A Proactive Or Reactive Small Business Owner?
[TLDR Summary] Stop letting your day run you. YOU have to be the CEO and run your business according to your life and your priorities. It's all about focus. Join me to take part in this year's Planathon. It starts October 30th and is 5 days with 15 speakers and 25 videos to teach you how to run a better business. Oh, and it's FREE.
For most of my adult life, I have been in a position that was far more reactive-based than proactive. I started my career in law enforcement at 21 years old - an "industry" that by nature reacts to the situation presented.
A crime was committed, I was called, I assessed and responded to the situation, interviewed subjects and witnesses, took people to jail, and filed reports about the evidence of what had already happened. On the occasions that a "proactive" investigation was developed, it was still based in knowledge and information that had transpired, with the aim of catching criminals during future unlawful acts.
Fast-forward to 2011, and I began to volunteer for the band Megadeth as a Facebook moderator. While I was eventually able to be creatively proactive with contests, campaign ideas, and the overall social media strategy - the bulk of my time was spent deleting spam and belligerent comments and reacting to the never ending flood hateful interweb trolls.
Now as a small business owner working from home, I create my workflow and services for clients in the way that I choose. While my business allows me to be very proactive in creating what I am offering for sale - if I'm not careful I can easily slip into the daily minutiae of reacting to how the day unfolds.
Maintaining my productive creativity, while getting administrative tasks done, requires a level of mindfulness, tools, and accountability.
Here are the ways in which most small business owners (including myself) spiral into reactive-mode:
- Checking email first thing in the morning.
- Responding to emails immediately.
- Having audible or obvious phone notifications.
- Checking your phone every 5 minutes to see if you have notifications.
- Checking social media platforms (ahem...Facebook) constantly.
- Not taking restorative breaks during the day.
- Taking phone calls that are not scheduled.
- Not knowing what the day's priorities are.
- Having distractions such as music or TV during mental tasks.
- Responding to last-minute client requests.
Ok, so does the above list hit home for you? If I really sat here and thought about it, I could probably come up with several more examples - but I think you get the picture.
You are reactive if you are led through your day without purpose or mindfulness in your work.
Since I am never going to give you a problem without a solution, here is a list of the ways in which I am proactive with my day and my business:
- I start with writing out the top 3 priorities for the day.
- I "theme" my days: Monday is for marketing, Tuesday is for client work, Wednesday is for content/blogging, etc.
- I only check email first thing to see if there are any immediate client needs (it is a rare occasion that a client request cannot wait) - all other emails wait.
- I take regular breaks where I stand up and get my blood moving and stretch.
- I take a 20-minute nap almost every day.
- I eat lunch away from my computer.
- I have scheduled times that I respond to emails.
- I have scheduled days that I meet with current and prospective clients.
- With rare exception, I do not take phone calls from clients unless they are scheduled.
- I regularly take the time to read and educate myself for pleasure and for work.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
Priorities, schedules, and checklists.
This might seem super constrictive and neurotic to you, but let me explain a little further...
I do not time block my calendar (as in, every day at 9 am I check email) - I find that to be too much and life inevitably gets in the way.
A system that is doomed to fall off the tracks will make you give it up entirely, knocking you back to square one.
The more I fine-tune and reevaluate my systems, the better they work. Life changes constantly, so making sure your system still fits your evolving business needs is essential.
The #1 difference-maker in my business has been participating in the Planathon.
What is the Planathon? It's a free virtual event held in the fall that brings together experts in all areas of entrepreneurship for a week of training. I have never, EVER participated in an event that was so well-run - with accountability partners, tons of value, and the kind of training you would expect to pay hundreds of dollars for.
It didn't lose my interest and get lost in the day-to-day. I became MORE interested, inspired, and excited as the week went on.
While I was pretty good at not letting my day run me, I still had to master what to focus on in my business that was in alignment with my values and goals.
I had spent the previous 6-months realizing that my long-term clients were not a good fit for me and I needed to pivot what services I offered.
The Planathon taught me how to prioritize and focus on what's important in my business - and how to overlay that onto being proactive with running my business.
Now it's time to plan for 2018.
I'm even more excited this time than I was last year - because I know what a difference it's made in my business already.
You might recognize some of the faces below as industry-leaders that have made a big impact in the entrepreneur world.
YOU are going to get access to their genius for FREE.
As a super special extra bonus...
I am turning my Rockstar Solopreneurs Facebook Group into a "pop-up" Planathon group for Planathon week. We'll plan your digital marketing right along side what you're learning to plan for the rest of your business. How fun is that?
Hey hey, I'm Cara - Pinterest marketing evangelist and lover of all things Squarespace website design. I team up with online entrepreneurs to get tons of website traffic into sales funnels (marketing speak for getting eyeballs on your website and turning them into customers).
Click the button below to get in touch!