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15 Business Tips for Self-Employment/Entrepreneurs

I'm celebrating 15 years in business today! This idea of putting together 15 tips for business owners (or maybe 'up and coming' business owners) came to me as I was thinking about all I've been able to experience over the last 15 years. I shared this reel on social media that made me tear up. It's definitely been my business baby that I've worked really hard to build up! View here!

My sweet kiddos took some great photos in my new office to help me document this special day! Without further ado.. let's get to the tips.

1. Start the business. Just start! You will never know if you don’t try. If you’re feeling called to it - it’s probably for you. You won’t know everything. You might not know anything. But, you can get up daily, try hard and pick up more skills as you go. It will come together with time. You will start to master your craft. And, if it doesn’t work out - or you decide that it's not for you, THAT’S OK, too. You'll never have to wonder "but, what if..."

2. Boundaries. As hard as it can be, set business hours. Yes, they may change, but, stick to them as best as you can. Setting your phone aside (or turning off notifications at the least) and putting your computer to sleep after you've "clocked out" will give you time to re-charge. Working around the clock will just lead to burnout. Ask me how I know...

3. Know Your Priorities. Clients and sales are important, but it cannot be made an idol. Family first for me. (For the record, I still struggle in this area, even after all of these years.) Sure, in busier seasons, these can get out of whack, but we simply re-assess and put everything back where it should be.

4. Growth. Get outside of your comfort zone, often. It's imperative for growth! Keep growing and trying new things. If you’re in a creative industry such as myself, it’s also important to find your niche and master it! Stepping out of that comfy box will help you to learn where you shine best! Find some trainings in a season that's not as busy to help build your skills.

5. One day at a time. You can’t and probably won’t accomplish everything in one day (as much as you want to) and it’s OK. There is always tomorrow. (I am reminding myself here, too.)

6. Have a servants heart. No matter what your business is, whether it’s services or tangible products, be ready to serve your clients with a grateful heart. How you made your client or customer feel will leave an everlasting impression on them. And, they will most likely return and be glad to support you.

7. Get others involved. Get your children (if you have) involved. Once in a while, I will take one of my children to a shoot. It’s important for them to understand (depending on their age) a healthy work ethic, and WHY or WHAT mom or dad is doing when they are gone. It helps them to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for their parent’s work. Sometimes, it’s just having my kiddos run to the mailbox or help add stamps to envelopes. Involvement will lead to willingness to help in the future.

8. Work from home? Get out from time-to-time. If you work from home, get out once in a while and work remote from a coffee shop or another favorite place. Get away from the distractions at home. I am so guilty for throwing the laundry in or folding a load of laundry quick. That’s a perk to working from home and a blessing to be able to do that, but I sometimes get too distracted by all things chores at home and have to get away to really focus. Making it a 'once a month' habit has been treat for me.

9. Brain dump's are essential. I can’t tell you how important these are. As an entrepreneur, the thoughts are always developing, right? We thinkers can lose sleep easily over a brain that doesn't stop. And, if you’re anything like me, you squirrel from one thing to the next. Get a paper planner, and brain dump every night before you wrap up the day. You will find that you sleep much better knowing all of those thoughts are down and ready for the day ahead.

10. TAXES. Ugh. Taxes. I definitely didn't want to include this one, but I do think it's a good point. The best practice for me is to get them accomplished at the end of the month. All expenses added in, at the EOM, saves me SO much time and stress at the end of the year. We like to check in with our tax accountant mid-year to have her evaluate where we're at so that the end of the year isn’t a total shock.

11. Communicate and follow up! It’s frustrating to reach out to a company and not get a timely response. Customers are likely to go elsewhere. Schedule time in your day to make those connections happen.

12. Know your worth. Let's be honest, pricing is definiltely not fun for me. If I could give my services away, well, I just would. I have struggled since the creation of my business with what to charge. BUT, it's important to figure out what you need to make to successfully run your business.

13. Honesty is the best policy. Mistakes will happen. Own up to them and make it right. Don’t ignore mishaps and hope that they will go away. Serve your customers well.

14. You are your brand. Small business is not easy, but it’s a huge blessing. To be your own boss, to make your own schedule, to be able to do what you LOVE day in and day out while making sacrifices in other areas, well, it's not something everyone will understand. But, it's the choice we make. We show up, do our best, be trustworthy, serve well and make a difference. That's how we develop our brand. It's much more than a logo or brand identity. It's our heart.

15. Most importantly, pray. Pray for your business and for God’s direction. If you’ve been around for any time at all, you know I’m a Jesus lover. I trust that He knows what’s best for me and I know He will lead me well when it comes to my business. He's proved that time and time again. He's brought me some amazing people whom I call best friends. I hope this blesses you and gives you some insight into what I've learned about being an entrepreuer. I still have a lot to learn, and I could have shared so much more. But, this is what was on my heart today. I come from a long line of business owners, so maybe it's just in my DNA. My dad alwasy told me, "Just keep pressing forward." And that, we shall do.

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