In the seven short months of going full time with our small business, we have had to learn to adapt as we grow.
Some may look at self employment and imagine someone working when they want, home in their pajamas, and taking all the vacation they want! HA! It's not that glamorous!
While working for myself definitely has its benefits, the pressure of knowing that this is the sole income for my family weighs heavy.
Here are a few things that have helped us as we continue growing...
Set Up Work Hours
Most clients will think their project is the most important, and that is ok. To them it is important, and I want to treat it accordingly, but I don't want to sacrifice my private life at the expense of pleasing all my clients.
I have set up work hours, much like in a corporate job. My family knows my work hours, and knows what time work is over for the day.
Of course, like a regular office job, some days deadlines are due and I have to work longer or late at night to finish a project or two.
Respect your free time, or you will always feel stressed and end up not enjoying your job.
Turn Down Clients
I know this sounds bad, especially when you are trying to grow a business, but you know your limits.
If you know you won't be able to meet their deadline, or prefer not to work with that particular person, go ahead and turn them down.
Now, if your business is dying and you desperately need a paycheck, then take the job!
As we have grown, we have set certain requirements for new clients before we hire them. If they don't meet those requirements, we kindly let them know and refer them to someone else.
Knowing we needed recurring income each month, we have focused mainly on our Retainer Program. While we do some bigger jobs, like Websites and Brand Packages, We want to work closely with our clients on a continual basis.
Retaining good clients is extremely important for any growing business.
Adapt as you grow
We have some of the greatest clients, here at SHOUK Designs! They understand that I'm a one man show, and respect the fact that we are growing.
While we could use that as an excuse, we have tried, and will continue trying to always improve in areas where we fall short.
Last month we sent out a survey to our Retainer Clients asking in what areas we could improve on. While most had great reviews, we took the lead on a few suggestions and made a few changes.
Since those changes, those same clients that left the suggestions have come back and told us how happy they are with the quick positive responses to their suggestions!
I am the first to admit, that I score very low on organization. That's why I brought on my wife, Susannah, to help in the administration part of the business.
Using several different programs for organization is key.
Time tracking, project management, finance management - we are always trying to improve and find what works best for us and our clients.
You will have many ups and down while being self employed.
It all comes down to doing our best, keeping a perfect balance of work and private life-all while staying organized and becoming more successful in what we do.