In 2010, I started a side hustle with the hopes of it one day becoming a full-time gig. I had a goal of becoming my own boss and I was relentless in making it happen. In fact, I still am. Entrepreneurship was never just about making money to me. I really wanted to do something I loved and wanted the ability to do it wherever I wanted.
I’ve also found that entrepreneurship and remote work have a ton in common such as:
- The inability to unplug. It’s hard to truly disconnect when your business is like your baby and you’re growing it as well as nurturing it.
- The flexibility both provide.
- The ability to work from home.
- Coffee shops have now become your second favorite place to work.
In today’s blog post, I am going to talk about seven lessons I’ve learned about entrepreneurship and remote work, since I’ve been doing both for six years now.
1. Be intentional when setting goals.
Sometimes it can be easy to set goals because it gives you a sense of motivation to start off your day or week. However, being intentional about your goals is about really wanting what you’ve set out to accomplish. Your goals for the workday should be centered around the bigger picture. This will allow you to keep your vision top of mind while taking the necessary steps — even if they are small — to achieve each milestone. Here are some key steps to get started:
- Write down three goals you want to accomplish for the day.
- Categorize those goals under a short-term goal. For example, let’s say your goal is to publish 30 blog posts this month. One of your goals would be that you are writing a new blog post each day. This holds you accountable with a timeline in place.
- At the end of every workweek, review what you’ve accomplished. This gives you an idea of what you completed and what you didn’t. Seeing this can help you readjust where needed to be more efficient for the next week.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. Set realistic goals that are doable. Don’t overextend yourself.
2. Discipline will eat procrastination for lunch all day, every day.
Creating healthy habits plays a crucial role in your success. From how you start your day to how you wrap it up, you have to be disciplined enough to take action.
Of course, there will be days when you don’t have much motivation to get anything done. This is where being disciplined will help. Once you get into the habit of knowing when you can take breaks and when you have to stay focused on a bigger project without interruptions (even if it’s only 1 hr a day), you’ll shift your mindset to make it happen.
Finally, make sure that you have a dedicated space for your work. Not having to go into an office every day (i.e. working remotely) means that you can easily fall into the trap of staying in PJs and working on the couch or in bed. What’s worked well for me is getting up, getting ready, and working in my office.
3. No one will care more about your business than you.
There are a ton of things that keep me up at night, but one main theme has always been my business. Truth be told, it’s my other baby. I constantly have to think about how to keep it going, what I’ll need to do to make it recession-proof, making sure that I am adding value to my target audience, and ensuring that I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
Earlier this year, I parted ways with a client that I had been working with for the past 5 years. It was time for something new on both ends, and that’s also just the nature of business. Putting it into perspective, this client had to do what was best for their business and I am doing what’s best for mine. Past results don’t matter — it’s about looking ahead and seeing how you can infuse your business with the best working relationships and executions that will drive the highest ROI.
4. It’s okay to mix in self-care activities during the workday.
I used to start my days off with an early morning workout, but now that I have two kiddos and they already get up so early, I’d rather use the first 30 minutes of my morning to hang out with them before getting started on work.
In between my working hours, I also make time for coffee runs, a quick walk with my kids, and then always end my workday with a run by myself. For me, having that alone time to reflect on my day and what the next day holds for me is so important as part of my self-care routine.
5. Pay more in quarterly taxes every quarter.
I have to admit that when I started my business, I was more excited about getting it started and running it than the logistics. After the first full year of running my business full-time, I filed my taxes with my accountant and owed over $60,000 in taxes. As a small business owner and a solopreneur, my jaw dropped.
This happens to a lot of first-time business owners — they don’t realize they have to pay quarterly taxes and for those who do, many underpay. I get it, some of you reading this are much savvier and are probably thinking it is ridiculous I didn’t think about my taxes.
No excuses here, but it was a great lesson learned. I still had the cash to completely pay off the money I owed that year for taxes, but it also made me smarter with how I handle quarterly taxes. I overpay every single quarter and have my financial model set up to ensure that my profit margins are strong YoY.
6. It’s normal to lose your sense of motivation.
We’re all human. There will be days when we won’t feel our best and we will want to slow things down by not accomplishing a ton when it comes to our goals or work commitments. Even though I absolutely love what I’m doing and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, I do have my off days where I just don’t feel 100%.
But as I mentioned above, make sure you are disciplined and create healthy habits that will foster your personal and business health. Also, give yourself time to rest if that’s what you need. Sometimes all it takes is half a day or a full day’s worth of being disconnected from work to gain the motivation to jump right back into the swing of things the next day.
7. Be smart about your finances.
Living well below your means makes sense, right? If you can’t afford to buy fancy cars, clothes, and even go out to eat every single night, don’t do it. Yet, so many of us do. I’m not here to lecture anyone reading this, but it’s so important to save where you can. What’s scary is that more than 47% of Americans would struggle to come up with $400 to cover an unplanned expense.
In fact, 21% of working Americans aren’t saving at all and 38% cite that they have too many expenses. Here’s the thing: both of these are within YOUR control.
As I mentioned above, developing a financial model that supports the health of your business as well as your lifestyle needs is important. And as a business owner, you do have to pay yourself first. I’ve always been a believer of these things, and have continued to build a model for how my business operates to support these beliefs.
More specifically, I learned early on in life that saving and investing my money was more important than buying materialistic things that I couldn’t afford — or if I could, they weren’t going to add much value to my future.
Wrapping It Up
Doing what I love for work has allowed me to have the life I always wanted — to be able to spend time with my kids and my husband while also working hard to build a business I enjoy. There will always be challenges in trying to do all of these things, but the rewards heavily outweigh the drawbacks.
My reasons for doing what I do have always come down to two really specific things: freedom and money. Let me elaborate a bit. I wanted to be able to do the work I loved whenever and wherever I wanted to, while also making more than what I would ever make at a full-time gig.
My business goals center around being able to add tremendous value to the clients I work with, providing expertise that exceeds anything they have in-house while also providing strong results, being passionate about the work I do, and being able to make a living doing so are my personal success indicators.
Finally, I’ll continue pushing myself to grow even when it’s uncomfortable and live a life doing what I love. I love motherhood more than anything, as it has given me an even greater sense of purpose in life. That I am able to couple that with my entrepreneurial journey is something I continue to be grateful for every day.
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