“By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.” Robert Frost, Poet
When you start your own business, you think it will be a doddle. Your time will be your own, to do what you want, when you want.
It’s not long before you realise that your illusions of working on your MAC in the park, meeting up with your mates at your local Costa Coffee, and then casually trotting off to pick up the kids from school are a tad far-fetched.
If you’re anything like me, you probably spend every waking moment clock watching, giving yourself little goals throughout the day (“If I finish this by noon, that’ll be tidy…”), only to kick yourself in frustration when something crops up and ruins your plans.
It’s tough being a working mum with your own business at times, but you simply remind yourself why you do it.
For me it’s about doing something that I love and believe in, something that satisfies me.
It’s about being in control of my career, my money, my clients, my colleagues even – everything is my choice.
Yes, I’m constantly juggling balls and yes, the odd one or two has at times, fallen.
But I’ve learned that that’s okay. I simply pick them up and continue juggling again.
What has helped me to be far more productive overall, is to have goals – both for my personal life and for my business.
Goal Setting for Clarity and Focus
Goal setting gives me both clarity about what it is I want, and focus.
We often have vague desires floating around our minds, don’t we?! Setting them down in terms of exactly what it is you want, stops you from spinning your wheels, getting nothing done.
When I have a clear goal in mind, it’s much harder to be distracted or led astray by shiny ‘objects’ (or shiny object syndrome). My attention is focused on exactly where I need to put my energy each day in order to get it done.
Goal Setting for a Sense of Responsibility
Once it’s down on paper, that’s it! I’ve given myself a sense of responsibility to see it through.
Achieving this is now down to my own attitude and actions.
I can’t blame others for my failure to at least make a start. I’m now solely accountable, even I make small steps towards my target (and I often do this, by breaking down my goals into small, daily action plans), I know I will get there.
Goal Setting for Motivation
I think motivation is probably one of the hardest aspects of running a business, because it’s can be lonely when you’re running a business on your own.
It’s hard to maintain the motivation to keep going if you don’t have someone by your side cheering you on.
Goal setting keeps me motivated, moving forward. Especially when I see progress – seeing how far I’ve come is enough of a motivator to not give up or turn back.
One Goal at a Time
Like any skill, it’s something I’ve had to learn and it’s something I continually practice.
The more I commit my goals to paper and actively work on them, the more I’m motivated to set goals that challenge me and are outside of my comfort zone.
If you’re not setting goals for your business yet, I’d encourage you to make a start today.
Take it one goal at a time, and break that goal into small, bite-sized chunks.
So, if for example, you’re starting a business from scratch. Your first goal might simply be to seek advice on whether your idea is viable. Here are some handy tips on the Start-Ups UK Blog, on how to put your idea through its paces.
If you’re in business already and finding it hard to land new clients, why not make it a goal to follow-up on just one new lead every day. Here’s my free PDF, with 10 Ways to Land New Clients.
Whatever goal is most important to you, choose just one thing to focus on until you move on to the next.
Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t do everything yourself.
It’s so important to seek help and support from friends who have your genuine interest at heart. Friends who will help you stay accountable for the goals you’ve set.
Are you a mum in business? What lessons have you learned in successfully juggling your work and life?