Curious to learn about the secret sauce behind small business owners who consistently achieve their goals? Did you ever wonder what habits and mindset they have?
Ever since I started the Small Biz Babes Community, I noticed there is a common pattern between small business owners who are hitting their goals and patterns between small business owners who find themselves “stuck”. I compiled a list of 8 principles to achieving your goals based on my personal experience in business and experience I had working with small business owners over the years.
So, if you ever find yourself feeling stuck or unsure about how to move forward, grab a pen and notebook and let’s dive into these principles together.
01 – Have a plan
You would be surprised how many times I am having a conversation on Instagram when a small business owner is asking me for help with something, and as I start asking them questions, they realize they don’t really know what they need help with. That happens when we don’t have a clear plan to follow.
What do I mean by a “having a plan“?
- Define where you want to go, what is the end result, as well as by when you want to achieve it and explore options to get there
- Then, write the action steps you need to do and what you will need to learn and schedule it in your weekly schedule to execute it.
“I am going to start an Etsy shop, and I want to take it full-time by next summer.”
I didn’t just say I would start an Etsy shop and hope to take it full-time one day if I start getting sales. That doesn’t put any pressure on your results – what is my deadline, and how much will I have to earn?
You need to know what you are working towards, so you can write specific steps you need to take to get there and research the most relevant information about it. This way, you are not just looking for “Etsy tips.” Instead, you are specifically looking for “how to grow my Etsy shop full-time.”
You know how much money you’d have to earn to make that happen. You’d know how much profit you’d need to earn from each product and how many products you’d need to sell. You’d know that you would have to learn how to drive traffic to the shop. You know, you would have to think about how to scale it.
Without a plan, it’s easy to get distracted by searching and trying random tips without having a strategy and path of your own.
It leaves you overwhelmed, with no results, feeling stuck, not moving forward.
02 – Focus on what you CAN control
There is never an easy time to grow a business. There are people who will constantly complain that the market is changing; there is too much competition, the algorithm is changing, there is covid, and there is a recession.
What do all these things have in common? They are all true.
And despite that, there are two groups of people – people who are resourceful, adaptable and find a way to work through it. And people who will talk about all the reasons why it is hard.
I used to be that complaining person when I started my very first business, and I wasn’t even aware of it. I would hang out in those Facebook groups and conversations that would end up just a self-pity party and didn’t lead to anything. It just made me feel powerless.
Running a business is indeed hard. There are a lot of things that we can’t control, but there are a lot of things we can control.
What we CAN control is:
- Where we spend our time, energy and mental space.
- What content do we consume, what do we learn and what we apply
- How much social media do we consume, what do we fill our days with, what conversations do we pour energy into, who do we go for coffees with, and which events do we attend?
So it’s really up to us whether we look and give power to alllll the things we can’t control or focus on what we can control today and take action.
03 – Surround yourself with the right crowd
Have you ever found yourself talking about your goal for your business to your friend or family, and all of a sudden, you found yourself explaining yourself and left that conversation defeated, second guessing if your goals are too big or if you can even do it?
If so, it means that you are trying to seek motivation from people who are settled in their comfort zone and try to protect you because comfort zone is a safe place to be.
They are not the best crowd to ask for business advice and motivation when they are not running a business themselves.
Surround yourself with people with the same goals, aspirations and action-taking attitude.
People who are ahead of you. People who achieve the goals you want to achieve. They will push you, and inspire you, and you’ll learn from them.
03 – Educate yourself every day
I know what you are thinking, “Michaela, I don’t have enough time in my day to do what is already on my to-do list, and now I am supposed to educate myself”?
That’s what I used to say, and it didn’t get me far. I have been wondering about the same question for months. Such as “How many # to use? How to get more customers? How to get people to follow me?”
Here is the thing, imagine you read one article or watch one training per day on the topic you need to learn in your business that you can start applying tomorrow. By the end of the month, you read 30 articles or watched 30 training videos that you can now apply to your business and move forward.
Here are the ways how you can learn:
- listen to podcasts on the go
- read one newsletter from a person who shares expertise
- watch one online training before you turn on the TV in the evening
- read one blog post instead of scrolling through social media
05 – Learn to respect your time
More specifically, understand the difference between where you are
- Spending time – things you have to do (reply to emails, provide customer support, send out packages, record videos)
- Investing time – things where you are not seeing results now, but you need to do it to see results in future. For example: continue learning how to market your business and improve your reels even when now you have low views and low orders. You are investing time in learning and educating yourself so you can create better content, and you are investing time in creating that content so you can get better and see results.
- Wasting time – driving to another part of the city to save $3 in your business and wasting halfway doing it when you could instead do product research, design, marketing – anything that leads to sales. Or you waste time constantly recording new content when you need to create a system that allows you to repurpose it.
If we don’t recognize which activities are in which category, time will get away quickly. Then it may seem like you are not getting closer to your goals because you are mismanaging your time.
06 – Work with your body, not against it
Give your body & your brain what it needs to perform the way you want to perform.
In the early stages of my business, I would often work past exhaustion, no matter how productive or unproductive I was. I was terrible at taking breaks and working late nights. I thought the more I worked, the more I was going to accomplish, which isn’t always true, but it sure will leave you feeling drained, tired, uninspired and unproductive.
There is a couple of things you can start doing:
- Pay attention when you are most productive, creative, and efficient in your work and work around that. Some people are sharp early in the morning, and some are more productive late at night. If you need to understand or learn something that requires brain power, do that in your most productive hours. Don’t waste your most productive time with something like replying to emails.
- Take a break, jump jacks, and drink water, so your brain can function.
07 – Design your environment for success
Protect your time and focus by eliminating anything that can derail you from accomplishing your task (and is in your control).
- leave the phone away when you are working
- don’t open your email until your big thing on the list is done
- use timer
- bring water
- change up the rooms
- don’t work on the sofa when that’s just making you all sleepy
08 – Apply what you learn
This single thing is going to move the needle the most.
Sometimes we consume all the information and feel like we know it all, but we don’t take the time to apply it. No matter how many courses we take, knowing it’s not going to change the results if we are not going to apply it, right?
So if you’ve been struggling to see the progress, be honest with yourself, ask yourself: “Did I really apply this?” Analyze what you applied. Where can you improve in your application process?
If you’d like to dive deeper to this topic, I invite you to tune in to today’s podcast episode here 🎧.