5 steps to protect your business from YOU

Success!Each year, people in the United States celebrate Independence Day on July 4th. But if you’re a solopreneur, you can choose any day to declare your independence from self-sabotaging habits. That’s what we’ll be exploring this month.



Of all the possible dangers to your business success, the biggest one can be summed up in a single short word: YOU.

How so? Because chances are excellent that you’re creative, curious, and energetic—and, if you don’t consciously, intentionally channel those attributes into achieving your clearly stated goals, they’ll distract you from those goals and lead you down a rabbit hole of interesting but ultimately unproductive activities.

If this sounds distressingly familiar, here are some ways to safeguard your business from you.

How clear is your vision of success for your business ? If your goals are fuzzy, you’re going to have a helluva hard time figuring out how to achieve them and how to tell when you’ve arrived there. Do whatever it takes—work with a coach, spend some time at a hermitage, get therapy—to get clear on what you want to achieve and how that will make life better for you.

You simply don’t have the time, energy, or money to wing it when it comes to marketing and business development. You must know how any given activity contributes to your clearly articulated business goals.

Too many people ignore the concept of primacy, which holds that you are the most important person in your own life. Obviously, other people—partners, families, clients—are important, but not as important as you are to yourself. That means that you have the right and the responsibility to take care of yourself and what’s crucial in your life.

Does this mean that you stomp on everybody who even appears to slow you down? Of course not. It does mean that you respect yourself as much as you respect anybody else, and that you step up to the plate as your authentic, powerful self. (For an energizing and beautiful discussion of stepping into your brilliance, see my colleague Bonnie’s post.)

Again, there’s nowhere near enough time to do everything you could do or might like to do to grow the business of your dreams. That’s why you get to be firm about what activities you’re willing to actually spend time on.

If you know in your heart that you’re not going to do something, even if you think you “should”, have the guts to acknowledge it. Don’t put it on today’s To Do list, ignore it, and continually move it to tomorrow’s list; that will only drain your energy, focus, and confidence.

And if you know it needs to get done, ensure that it will get done: Work with an accountability partner who will also be (compassionately) ruthless in holding you accountable for completing that uncomfortable-but-important task. Be smart about how you do this; you don’t want to fall prey to the top 5 lies about accountability.

I know from painful personal experience how incredibly easy it is to get seduced off task. That’s especially true when the seduction seems to be in a good cause: “Oh, that’s something I was wondering about! I’ll just click that link and check it out.”

Make it a habit to ask yourself why you’re doing a particular task. Is it on your To Do List of consciously, strategically identified activities that will advance you to your key business goals? If it’s not on your list but is a genuinely valuable idea, does it have to be addressed now, or is it better scheduled for tomorrow so that you can get today’s important work done in a timely manner?

Fabienne Fredrickson recommends posting a sign in your office that asks, “Is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time?” (My sign is printed on purple cardstock, since purple is the color of abundance. Plus it looks great with my office decor.)


How are you designing and safeguarding your success?


Have you identified specific tactics and strategies for directing your creativity, curiosity, and energy toward achieving your big goals? Woohoo for you!  Please share—the rest of us can never have too many tools like this!

Or are you one of the many entrepreneurs for whom these five steps fall into the category of “simple but SO not easy to do”? If that’s the case, perhaps a useful strategy would be to explore whether a good consultant who specializes in action planning, implementation, and accountability could be of value.

I know someone like that. In fact, I am someone like that, and I’m curious to know if the services I offer would be a good fit with what your business needs are. There’s a low-key way to find out: Call me at 319-270-1214 or email me at [email protected] to set up a get-acquainted call. After 30 or 40 minutes, we’ll both know whether we’re fated to do some serious butt-kicking together or if we wish each other the best and say good-bye.  What have we got to lose?

(By the way, thanks to Daniel Albi for posting the fireworks image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)


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