How. The. Heck. is it November already? With the new year right around the corner, I’m sure most of us are looking for ways to better our business for 2015. Sometimes bettering our businesses can be as simple as streamlining our processes or creating better habits when working with clients. Even though we still have several weeks until we’ll find ourselves returning to work after the holiday break, I thought I’d share a few habits to run better businesses. That way, if you’re the planning type, you can get organized and ready to put these to work.
Use a contract with every client
One of the biggest things I implemented into my business this year was using a contract with every client. When I first started sending them out in January, there were several times I almost didn’t. I thought, “Oh, but I’m just doing this. I don’t really need a contract.” Wrong. You never know when something isn’t going to go right. It’s worth it to use a contract with every client, even if they seem like the nicest person on the planet. You’d be surprised at what might happen when you start actually working together.
Organize your website
This is less of a habit, but still something to do throughout the year. Go back to your website, and organize it. Make sure it’s displaying what you do in the best way. I’ve revised my website several times this year. When it didn’t make sense to keep certain things listed, or when I wanted to add to my packages, I reevaluated what I had, added what I wanted, and organized the rest. Keeping your website to the point and easy to navigate could help you gain more clients.
Track your finances
This is a habit you should definitely have if you’re running your own business. No one wants to sit down at the end of the year and try to figure out 12 months worth of money changes. It took me a little while to get into the habit of regularly tracking my money, but I’m so happy I did. Now I have a spreadsheet where I can see all my clients, the work I did for them, invoices, and payment dates as well as a separate spreadsheet to track revenue, expenses, and my actual profits. Seeing what’s coming in and where it’s going when it’s going out can help you make better financial decisions (like investments) in your business.
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Automate what you can
One thing I learned from Leah’s Stress Less and Impress ecourse was definitely to automate everything I could. Instead of manually making invoices in Illustrator and sending them off to the client, things are much easier now. I simply go to PayPal, do a few clicks to get the invoice I need to send, and it’s on its way to the client. I’m always looking for ways I can make things easier for myself and the client as well as save time. Templates, no matter for invoices, contracts, or in project management systems, are a great way to do this. Make it a habit to check in on your process throughout the year to see what you can automate.
Take a deep breath
Lastly – something we could all stand to do. You know those moments when you look up from your computer screen, you’ve still got a laundry list of things to do, and you just feel so overwhelmed you want to call it a day? Just take a breath. This could also mean give yourself some time away from work throughout the year. I love, love running my business, designing for a living, and interacting with women who are incredibly passionate about what they’re doing, but sometimes I just need a break. If you feel that way too, take a vacation. If you can’t just go on a quick beach vacay (trust me, I get it) take a day off to go exploring with your spouse or have a long lunch with a friend. Give yourself the whole weekend to relax and unwind. Taking these moments for yourself ultimately gives you more energy for your business.
Well, there you have it! Are there any new habits or things you’d like to try for your business next year? I’d love to hear about them!