When a friend of mine left his job at a major accounting firm, he admits he was no longer passionate about his work. He was burned out, overworked, and exhausted—sentiments that likely resonate with many of us. So he dug deep to find what he was really passionate about, took all of his experience, and started his entrepreneurial journey as a coach.
In true Sherita fashion, I heard about his venture and wanted to help him put his best foot forward. Because I have an eye for branding and social media, I set him up with a photographer and was even an extra in his photo shoot. In return, he offered me some business advice that, at the time, I didn’t realize how much I needed. These one-off calls turned into frequent check-ins, and before long, Devan Bailey became my business coach. The advice he gave not only stuck with me, but also helped me redefine my future.
Devan knows nothing about running a lifestyle website, nor is he an expert in the types of businesses I’ve attempted to start or the home accessory business I am now in the process of launching. But he does know how to channel your potential to help you get out of your own head and rid yourself of the fear that’s holding you back from achieving your definition of success. He knows how to help you transform into someone excited to wake up in the morning, content with what happens in their day-to-day activities, and ultimately fulfilled by their work and personal life.
Here are the best business tips that he gave me and why you should be following it, no matter what you do.
Ask Yourself What You Want Your Day to Look Like
Over the past few years, I’ve struggled to figure out what I really want to do in life. I’d love to host the fourth hour of The Today Show; however, that is not a job for which you simply apply. Until I land that dream job, I will have to do something else worthwhile. For a long time, my life has consisted of running a successful blog, auditioning for commercials, freelancing with photography, consulting on social media, and ultimately running in circles. On a call with Devan, while I was trying to figure it all out, he could hear the exhaustion in my voice. He asked me a fundamental question: “What do you want your day to look like?”
I had to pause and really think. I only knew that I was tired of running around, often with nothing to show for it. So I answered his question by saying I wanted to work from anywhere, essentially. I wanted to travel and take days off without that affecting my bottom line. In contrast to what my days looked liked at the time, I didn’t want my income to be tied to me being physically present. This answer led me away from the service-based business I was running to the idea of creating a scalable product.
When you ask yourself what you want your days to look like, the question is a window to what you value, what you enjoy doing, what’s important to you, and most importantly, how you want to spend your time.
Does waking up early in the morning to be the first one in the office appeal to you? Or does traveling for work seem more your speed? Is spending time at home with your family as much as possible the most important? Homing in on the answers to these questions can help you make a smart decision about your future and which path you should follow.
Try to Care Less Without Being Careless
Yes, you read that correctly! Another key piece of advice I received is to try to care less. This doesn’t mean care less about your goals, family, or passions. It aims to help you evaluate how much effort you may be putting into things that don’t matter that much. Everything you do in life doesn’t require 100% of your effort. There are important tasks, and then there is everything else. Once you realize that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, you notice which things are slowing you down instead of making you a better worker.
The key to the practice is that you must honor the second part: don’t be careless. When you start being careless, it shows. You can make mistakes that affect your business or your bottom line. Work hard and be smart about everything you do, but perfection should not be the ultimate goal.
Success Leaves Clues
I guarantee that no matter what field you work in, successful people have done what you are currently doing. They have risen to the top, found ways to maximize their income, and run their business successfully. So why not follow the path they’ve taken? We often try so hard to be individualists obsessed with differentiating ourselves. However, as Devon told me, success leaves clues.
Undeniably, certain ways of doing things will yield better results than others. You don’t have to copy someone else to use their methods of success as a roadmap for yourself. Find a mentor, listen to an expert’s podcast, read a book by a professional, and then take their advice. For example, Devan mentioned to me that one of his mentors shared how she structured her week in a recent podcast. Monday is her day for executive planning; on Tuesday, she takes client calls; Wednesday is her day to work on open projects; and so on. Because this formula has yielded favorable results, Devan followed his mentor’s pattern and decided to implement the same strategy in his workweek. The clues to better time management were handed to him, and all he had to do was follow them to reap the rewards.
Value Your Time More
This advice was given to me many times when I was younger, but I didn’t value it until later in life. No matter how much money you have, time is the only resource that you cannot get back. We all know the connection between time and money, but take that one step forward and start thinking about time and joy. How much time are you spending on things that you do not enjoy?
Marie Kondo your professional life by getting rid of what doesn’t bring you joy. I know you’re probably thinking, Sherita, this is not as easy as it seems. Doing expense reports and attending Monday meetings doesn’t bring me joy, but I can’t just stop filing or attending them. And I get it. Sometimes jobs have necessary aspects that may not bring you happiness. But does your job bring you happiness overall? That’s the important part. If the answer is no, then following Devan’s advice and finding something that does bring you joy, should be your number one priority.
Think Big, But Start Small
I’ve had a lot of business ideas—and I do mean a lot, from clothing lines to beverages to online magazines. But none of these ideas made it far from my whiteboard. They were great ideas, but I found myself intimidated by companies that had been in the marketplace for years. I wanted to start big and compete on the same scale. As I embark on my next business venture, I offer this advice as a pearl of wisdom to every new small business owner: dream big, but start small.
If you are looking to start a product- or service-based business, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you try to launch with a full arsenal of products or services. When you start small, you can learn from your mistakes without it costing you a lot of money. You can grow your customer base and increase production without a huge investment. And most importantly, you will be able to gauge the viability of your business over time and make smart decisions based on data and experience. As I launch my home accessories business this fall, we are starting with two products, not a full line. Once those start selling, we will expand to more. As much as I want to see my products on the shelves at major department stores, I know I have to start at the bottom before I can reach the top.
Thanks to Devan, I’m thinking about my business future in an entirely different way, now that I’ve reflected on these five key points. What about you? What do you want your workdays to look like? Which parts of your business will you vow to care less about so that you can gain more focus on the whole? How will you apply others’ tips and techniques to reach your own business goals? How can you value your time more as you dream big but start small? I can’t wait to see how Devan’s strategies help you to achieve your goals.
Click Here to contact Devan and mention Busy Wife Busy Life for a complimentary 15-min session to see if you are good fit to work together.