We always pick up new habits. As an entrepreneur, picking up the right habits could be the catalyst to your success. Whichever stage you identify with; starting a business, freelancing, growing as a creative, adulting, or having a professional quarter-life crisis, these habits will help you better navigate your day to day and work towards achieving your goals and becoming successful.
Manage Your Time
It’s fascinating how quickly 24 hours can fly by, especially when you are doing something you love. The office structure of 9-5 gives people a set time and space to be productive, and as such, it’s easier to track. As a freelancer or creative, inspiration can strick any time of the day or night. On some days or weeks, you could be bogged down with work and other days have a pretty light workload. Manage your time by setting work hours, or tracking how much time you spend on each activity. You could also try “deep work” as opposed to multitasking. Productivity can be fleeting especially when you spend most of the day answering emails or responding to clients. Use productivity tracking tools like Trello or Toggle and if you have an iPhone, set a time limit on your social media apps and even email. Instead of going through each day randomly, plan and manage how you spend your time.
When you are in total control of your time and how you spend it, it can be harder to set boundaries. With freedom comes responsibility and this responsibility is something you must learn if you are going to be successful. I used to always push work aside for anything that came up; a social activity, a one-hour conversation, casual hangs, etc. Even though work was a priority, I never really treated it as such because I thought I could always get it done later.
Because of my seeming independence and freedom, I had carefree demeanor towards my time. Thus, I inadvertently sent the wrong message about my priorities to those around me.
I have had to deal with situations where some friends expected me always to make time for them. I once had a friend ask me to spend hours chilling at a park with them on a Wednesday afternoon. Such activities, at such times, are reserved for those with trust funds –I think. I was quite upset at this, and it made me look inward. I realized that it was up to me to communicate both, directly and indirectly, the importance of my work and work hours.
With freedom comes responsibility and this responsibility is something you must learn if you are going to be successful.
As an entrepreneur or freelancer, you need to re-evaluate your time and re-prioritize continually. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your independence and do fun activities whenever you want. You have to choose to so on your own time and let those around you respect your boundaries. Don’t resent people if they don’t respect your boundaries instead, re-evaluate how you communicate your priorities. It will lead you to have more respect for yourself and your work. Speaking of respect…
Respect Your Work
Our society still sees 9-5 office work as the only legitimate work. Though this is rapidly changing, it is still primarily embedded in our psyche that a 9-5 is the only genuinely legitimate professional lifestyle. For some freelancers, this can be quite a challenge. Many creatives suffer from the Imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is when a person doubts their accomplishments and the validity of their creation and has an internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Many creators continuously feel undeserving of any accolades they receive for their work. From personal experience, I’ve come to realize that having an imposter syndrome can be limiting to your growth.
To be successful at what you do, you have to first, respect your work. Take pride in your resourcefulness, your creativity, and your projects and tackle challenges with intention and passion. It’s not the typical work structure, but you are working just as hard if not harder, than someone in an office. When you start to see the value in your work, other people will too.
A lot of creative projects start as a hobby, and that’s ok. You might have started with a blog, leisure photography, playing around with photoshop, etc. Do not downplay your growth and, achievements and do not turn down opportunities to learn more, collaborate, or show off your work. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it, and more people will start to see you as an authority in that space.
Enter Action with Boldness
A bit hypocritical for me to be writing about this as it’s something I’m still trying to master. So this is a “note-to-self” as well. As an entrepreneur, freelancer or creative, you would have to execute projects, pitch your ideas, pitch potential partners or clients, etc. With any of these, you have to enter action with boldness. You must communicate confidence and conviction when you work on your projects and when you talk about them. Pitch your ideas confidently and reach out to people, clients, or companies. Don’t sell yourself short or let your fear show. Instead be bold and confident. If you believe it, others will too.
Take pride in your resourcefulness, your creativity, and your projects and tackle challenges with intention and passion.
Don’t Stop Learning
Learning will keep you vibrant and enthusiastic. Everyone should never stop learning. Entrepreneurs and creatives, in particular, need to possess this quality in other to be successful. As an entrepreneur, you will need to maintain at least a basic knowledge in different fields as this helps you navigate the world of entrepreneurship better. Reading books and listening to podcasts, is an excellent way to keep learning and stay up to date on industry trends and innovative breakthroughs. Knowledge shouldn’t be limited to just familiar topics. You should learn things that can be later applied to your specialty both directly and indirectly. After all, some of the most excellent ideas come from the intersection of fields. A broad range of knowledge will help you collaborate better, come up with clever ideas, continue to discover new angles to old ideas, and be a better creative.
Besides, continuous learning leads you to become either an expert generalist or a T-shaped individual – both which possess numerous advantages.
Note: Success, as used in this context, does not mean only financial success. As a freelancer, entrepreneur, and creative individual, so many things can mean SUCCESS. Getting the courage to share your work, getting an email response, finishing a project, etc. The success is in the process as much as the results.
Do you have any other habits you think are helpful as an entrepreneur, freelancer, or creative? Comment below!
Photo Credits: Jj Mendez , The Creative Exchange , Alexandru Acea