Growing a business is full of ups and downs. One moment you're flying high, the next you're in the depths of despair. And when you're serious about paying off that debt, getting to the next level, or finding a way to pay for the new space you just leased, you may feel like you need some systems or organization to get you there. It might feel like it's time to get serious. Get organized. Even grow up a little.
But what if you're the free-spirited type of person?
What if the thought of boring checklists and structured work days makes you throw up in your mouth a little bit?
Maybe you quit your corporate job because you wanted more freedom. Now you're supposed to impose structure upon yourself?!?
Maybe you have even stopped your own business growth because of the overwhelming silent scream inside of you, demanding, "DON'T BOX ME IN?"
So how do you grow a company and get to the next level when your natural wiring demands flexibility, creativity, and freedom?
After working with hundreds of creative business owners over the last 6 years, here are some tips for you:
3 Productivity Tips for the Creative Business Owner
1. Plan time, not content.
Instead of planning on doing specific tasks on a specific day, just block off "desk time" or "marketing time." Then, on that day, look at your list for the month, and start with the tasks that feel easy or fun. You can go in any order. Do what feels easy. Mix it up. Turn on some music (or even a movie in the background) for the super boring stuff.
As long as you are blocking off time each week for your marketing or admin stuff, you don't have to relegate which tasks you do each minute of each hour. Change it up. You're creatively wired for a reason--use that superpower!
2. Use checklists with freedom
I use an online To Do list that allows me to see what I need to do, without the task disappearing if I didn't get to it right away. In the past, when I put tasks on my calendar or in the Reminders app on my phone, the notification would disappear when the day is over. No bueno. Instead, use a system that allows for flexibility within your week or month. Yes, I have "overdue" tasks. But at least I can see them! Then I do them in whatever order I feel like. I give myself a full WEEK to get some of them done. You don't have to push through or forget it (that's an all-or-nothing mentality). You just need some freedom. I also give my staff permission to bug me when I'm super late ("Hey Jen, do you have that newsletter article?"). The accountability and pressure-prompting appeals to my personality and I actually get the task done when I know my team needs the article so they can put it on the website and get it published for our clients.
3. Go WITH your natural moods, not against them.
Not feeling it? Don't push it. Instead, go for a walk. Dance it out with some fun music. Jump in the car, clear your head with a drive to Starbucks, get your favorite coffee, and allow yourself some friendly small-talk with the barista. When you come back to your desk, you'll be refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle your newsletter, website edits, bookkeeping, or Facebook ads. Don't push through. You'll end up banging your head against the wall. (Nobody has time for a concussion!)
After chatting with a free-spirited, fun, "don't box me in" client of mine this week, I recorded this quick video for you. Please excuse the neighbor kids having fun in the background and try to ignore my slight rocking. I was on my deck, sitting on a rocking chair. I wasn't trying to make you dizzy, I swear!
Listen. You were made with your free-spirit for a reason. You are creatively, uniquely YOU. Go WITH your strengths (not against them) and your company will flourish.
Here's an idea for setting up systems, even when you're a free spirit.
The Never Alone Inner Circle Retreat is coming up quickly! At the end of September, our coaching clients will gather for a time of renewal, clarity, and planning. We'll take two full days to take a look at your business, identify what's working, what's not, and what your next steps should be.
With a focus on business, faith, and family, you'll leave renewed, refreshed, encouraged, and motivated to grow your business in the right direction (and yes, we'll talk about systems that still allow freedom and creativity)! We'll take some time to ask GOD where He wants to lead and guide your business. He wants to give us wisdom. We just have to ask.
(The deadline for the Retreat was yesterday, but I'm extending it 24 hours. If your heart is pulling you to attend, just shoot me an email and I'll see what I can do!)
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!
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