In my first article on Fresh Business Thinking I explained why I chose to give up my day job and set up my own business. What I didn't explain was how I did it or how much time it took. Once I'd made the decision to set up my own business I knew I had to begin working right away.
I needed to have a name to start with, business materials in-line with my new brand, finances in order, a website and enough clients to cover a monthly wage. What's more, I had to work every hour possible to achieve my goals. At times I thought I was at breaking point. I looked haggard and needed at least seven cups of double strength coffee just to get me through the day. My partner even sent me an article that stated "Burnout is one of the byproducts of investing in yourself."
It's so incredibly important to do the time if you want your business to succeed, but it's also imperative to be organised. If you're not organised, you'll need to put in double the time. I had three months to prepare (that was my notice period), which was a good amount of time to get the essentials in order. I locked myself away from all distractions, even friends and family - Luckily they've been incredibly understanding and supportive.
Organisation is essential
To make the most of my day I get up at the same time I usually would, have lunch at the same time, and finish work at around 6pm. A routine is one of the best ways to remain productive, as is ensuring your days are planned out.
As there is so much to do when you start a new business, it's vital to break tasks down. Make them manageable and achievable to keep you motivated and on target. Here's how I created order out of chaos:
Move to the cloud
There are numerous studies that suggest those who working remotely are more engaged, satisfied and productive. I'm not working completely in the cloud, but most of the apps I use are cloud based, so I can essentially work from anywhere and remain proactive. This means I can take advantage of co-working spaces, and not be confined to one space, working alone.
Record ideas and inspiration
Paper lists and creating spreadsheet after spreadsheet can be ineffective, and you'll soon get tangled up in numerous documents. I downloaded Evernote on to my phone, so I could quickly jot down any new business names etc. I use Evernote as a "brain dump". It's ideal for me as I regularly have creative ideas, but I don't want them to distract me and take me away from the task at hand.
Manage tasks effectively
I've used a few task management apps in the past, but found Trello to be the most useful for my situation. It's free, easy to use, allows me to break down tasks into lots of bite size chunks and keeps everything in one place. You can create boards, lists and cards, add due dates and easily move cards and boards around to suit you. I'm currently using it to plan in monthly work for my own business and website, along with client work.
Saving passwords to your desktop or mobile device and not keeping a record of them is a bad move. I found this out early on, when had to start resetting passwords and wait for logins to be resent. This was a huge waste of time. I now use Google Drive to record all passwords to carry out my work without delay.
I may have locked myself away from the real world, but being active on social media has helped motivate me. Not only is it a great way to build brand awareness and a personal presence online, but it's a great way to connect with likeminded people, those in a similar situation - some may even be competitors, but everyone I've come across have been incredibly friendly and provided encouragement.
I know I'm not the first person to set up a business, which is why I've read so many articles on how to remain productive, tips and tricks for growing a new business and so much more. The internet is full of great ideas and advice, so use it to your advantage!
It's great to have this new found freedom, but I know my career and income rely solely on me being able to remain motivated to do my job. Being organised, breaking down tasks and speaking to others within similar fields has given me a sense of achievement and continues to drive my determination to succeed. Also, when I need motivation, one quote from one of my all-time favourite movies, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, always comes to mind, Don't dream it, be it and that's exactly what I plan to do!
By Anna Morrish, freelance writer, marketing consultant and founder of Quibble Content