Everything you do from the time you wake up till the time you go to bed could make or break your business. Those things that you do daily; your routines, become automated in your mind and end up becoming habits. What routines can you identify in your everyday life? Are they killing your business or do they help you grow it?
Two weeks ago, I noticed specific routines in my day; my self-talk, walking style, online visits and conversations. Almost all of them were dis-empowering me. In fact, each had turned into a habit of its own and I was using them to sabotage my growth plans. Seeing how frustrated I was in business; hardly growing in the way I believe I’m capable of, I took a walk around my block to clear my head. One thing was obvious; my habits were killing my business.
Since habits are so well automated, we hardly notice them. They begin to run from the subconscious hence we hardly notice when we carry them out.
Think about it, do you think about brushing your teeth when you are brushing teeth?
You have hard-engraved the process of brushing teeth into your brain so well, that you no longer need to think about it. But if you switch the hand you brush your teeth with, you bring the whole process into the conscious. That will help you think about the process. Only when you bring out your habits into the conscious from the subconscious are you able to evaluate how they affect your business.
How about we bring our daily actions into the conscious for evaluation? Let’s see how it affects the business.
My Top 10 Habits That Were Killing My Business
By sharing these habits, I intend to bring you to the conscious side of your brain so that you can evaluate yours too. Don’t be surprised that you hadn’t noticed them despite using them to wreck your business; that is the power of habits.
Ditching the morning walk
‘Nothing refreshes the mind like a morning walk in the chilling ocean breeze’; this has been my motto for years. But even in full knowledge of it, I have operated the last 4 months away from this believe.
Early this year, I began jogging around my block at 5.45am; a time when only a few people are up and on the road. This gave me plenty of planning time. Fresh ideas popped into my head as I enjoyed the morning breeze. I found better ways to write daring proposals to my target clients in the freelance writing sector of my business. I birthed great ideas for my mentorship and motivational programs for my clients. My business was thriving with happy clients giving referrals every now and then!
Imagine having to give up all these benefits because I didn’t feel like walking in the drizzle one morning?
How would your business profit from a daily walk? Think about it.
Chilling out long around Facebook
How often do you open Facebook app with the intention of updating your business’ page status and end up spending an hour watching videos instead. On an honest note, I have been doing this more often than I can count, only to attend to the status many hours down the road.
Being in business demands communicating with your clients and fans on a regular basis. Using social media makes this possible and effective. You can share various insights with your clients as a way to offer free consultation. This in turn converts fans into loyal clients. By ignoring your Facebook page, Twitter handle or Instagram, you starve your clients of these benefits leaving them vulnerable. They end up turning their attention to your competitor.
Ignoring my blog
Have you noticed that it’s been over a month since I posted an article on this blog? Are you wondering where I have been?
Freelance writing is fun when you make instant money from it. That shouldn’t be an excuse not to write when you aren’t being paid. Disciplined writers write for themselves first and for others after. That helps them to keep motivated to write and provide their clients with seasoned articles.
Writing within your niche is a sure way of showing your expertise and authority in it. When you don’t write, you wreck your business (like I have been doing). Besides, when you show your blog as your evidence for being a great writer, your target clients watch out for your tone of writing and consistency alike.
Don’t sell yourself short like me; write daily and post at least once a week.
Second guessing while writing
Still in the writing neighborhood, do you ever start writing then you find yourself erasing the whole paragraph? You feel like it makes no sense or that your thoughts aren’t consolidated for the copy?
Instead of carrying on with writing, you find yourself strolling around the room, making coffee, texting or calling a friend.
When I took the walk I’m telling you about, I remembered how speed writing helped me complete writing a copy with minimum distractions. Anytime you rise up from your seat when you have begun writing, you set yourself up for mixed thoughts and incomplete articles.
How about preparing yourself for writing as you do an important speech or call?
Imagine you want to call your target client and seek for business. Have your coffee ready, laptop open, editing software running, headphones in place, notebook and pen ready with the brief notes scribbled.
Postponing reading books
While I know that I should read for at least 1 hour daily, this hasn’t been the case for months. I find myself postponing the session and fitting in all sorts of weird activities; like watching a movie. Don’t get me wrong, some movies are very healthy to watch. I love Hallmark movies – they paint a great picture of the life I desire. You probably have your favorite too.
Setting aside one hour to read one chapter or so of a book helps you gain new insight and develop rich arguments about life. This helps you generate fresh ideas for your business hence the desired growth.
You don’t have to get stuck with huge business books; even a silly comic book can shine an unexpected light bulb in your mind. Be open to read across the thousands of genres available in the market. You will be surprised the amount of wisdom you can gather from such!
Calling people later (or never)
Sometimes calling clients and friends becomes an uphill task to me. In fact, I have one client I have been ‘forgetting’ to call for the last two weeks. For whatever reason, I’ve been postponing making the call. Can you imagine how much business I have lost in the process?
Making calls; warm or cold, may not be the easiest thing for you but your business depends on it. You don’t have to call them to get business; it could be to wish them a happy birthday, anniversary or even share information with them. The fact that you called them shows that you care.
The words, “I forgot” hurts your business, so don’t forget to call your clients. Be the one they remember in every possible way. That’s the way to top their ‘Favorites List’.
Delaying the visit to the market
How important is your health to your business?
If very important, then you know you should eat fresh food, especially vegetables instead of processed foods. The market is the best place to pick those. Living in Mombasa, the coastal city of Kenya gives me the privilege to walk to the market to select fresh vegetables for my meals.
By not going to the market once a week, I miss the opportunity to take a refreshing 45-minutes walk, sharpen my bargaining prowess with traders and access fresh food at affordable prices. Watching and listening to the traders and buyers also gives me fresh ideas for my business.
Hanging amazing actions for later
I have a naughty habit of pushing the best actions to the back burner. Somehow, I convince myself to attend to them later. How do you handle the sharp ideas that pop into your mind from time to time?
For a while, I knew I should write an article on dealing with the loss of a client. I recently lost a client and went through a mourning period where though I had resolved to them go, part of me still wanted them around. By not writing about it, I discouraged myself from writing other articles and sharing my thoughts with people who are going through the same. This isn’t the only amazing action I have been postponing.
In overall, when you get that great idea for your business, write it down or record it in your phone. Have a timeline to act on it; don’t delay for a month to begin, it tends to fizzle out and lose taste. It would be better if you brainstormed on it and tested it to see if it works for you or for someone else. It could be the breakthrough you have been waiting for.
Great ideas are good to have, but they are useless if you don’t act on them soon.
Holding onto unhealthy relationships
(I’ve gotta hide my face to say this). I have a monkey-mind that tends to run around with twisted images for weeks if I don’t tame it. This leads to chats with people who don’t add value to my business and life in general. You know those coffee meetings or text messages that bear nothing more than gossip? That’s what I’m talking about.
If you are a victim of those, you may want to allocate the time spent on such thoughts to something more fruitful to your business, like speaking to your mentor. Catch yourself thinking about such and instead of quickly ditching the thoughts; thank them for serving their purpose and say goodbye. Part with them in peace as you would a person who no longer deserves your friendship; learn your lesson and move on.
Surround yourself with people who challenge you to pursue your business goals and build your ideal lifestyle from it. Have them hold you accountable for your thoughts, promises and actions. That way, you will focus on what helps you serve better in your world.
Avoiding tough routines
Each one of the above habits has pulled my business down for the last 4 months. Changing them into their exact positive makes my list of tough routines. These are the tough routines I know I should do for my good and the good of my business, yet I haven’t been doing them.
What is your list? Take your time to note your daily routines and list them like I have done. Then turn them into the positive alongside their benefits so that you are motivated to pursue them.
Note, changing these habits will mean changing your lifestyle not just a day’s activity. From exercising, regulated online presence, reading books, eating healthy foods to maintaining healthy relationships are now in my list.
This isn’t an easy game; it is a lifetime commitment, brace yourself for the ride to save your business.
What are you doing yet you know you shouldn’t? While it’s clear you desire to grow, some of your habits are killing your business. Remind yourself why you started your business in the first place. If you wrote it down somewhere, revisit the notes. See how far you have grown or diverted from your why. Evaluate your habits to pick out those defying your why. Your business depends on it.
What habits have you identified in your daily life that are killing your business? Comment about them here.