Running your own business can be hard! But running your own business in the service industry can be even harder… For service professionals, you are your own no. 1 asset and need to be on top of your game at all times. Take a look at these tips for creating a thriving service-based business…
- Develop a Proper Self-Care Routine
Proper self-care is an absolutely essential component of any thriving business, and in fact a thriving life in general, but for a service-professional, it might be even more important. In a service-based business, it is YOU who is for sale – your time, your energy, your expertise… and all of that needs to come in the package of optimal personal functioning in order to be really successful (whatever your personal definition of successful is).If you’re low on health, low on energy, low on drive for life… that is going to come across in your offerings, and definitely will prevent you from achieving your maximum possible potential and delivering the most potent possible experience for your clients when they work with you. There are a few key components to any proper self-care routine, but importantly, what or how they are specifically will vary wildly from person to person.– A consistently healthy diet
Note the key word – consistency. This one might take some tinkering with, but it’s one of the most important things you can nail down for yourself if you truly want to excel in what you do.
– An enjoyable exercise routine
Regardless of what this is for you uniquely (I enjoy dancing, rebounding, walking/cycling and yoga), it’s got to be enjoyable, rather than being another chore to complete. And it’s got to allow you to move enough during the day to keep fresh energy flowing through the body – vital for health and wellbeing but also for showing up in life inspired! If possible, choose something that allows you to spend some time breathing in fresh outdoor air and connecting with nature.
– A decent sleep schedule
A decent sleep schedule is so vital for optimal functioning, and involves not only going to bed at a decent time but having a wind-down ritual that allows the brain and body to prepare for deep, restful sleep. Phones and computers should be put away an hour or two before bed, with some spare time to engage in whatever activity relaxes you. It goes without saying that it’s best not to consume anything caffeinated late at night or to consume heavy meals anywhere near bedtime, which wreaks havoc on the body’s night-time recovery process.
– Meaningful alone time
Time spent deliberately in quiet solitude is such an important part of self-care, even if life is such that it can only be managed for 5 minutes a day (such as for those with small kids). This time can be spent checking in with yourself to see how you really feel, what your own needs are, and generally assessing how the day has gone or is going and if there’s anything either internal or external that requires extra attention. Alternatively, it can be used to simply recharge in silence. This is great done at the end of the day to gather up any gems of insight that may have been missed during earlier busyness.
- Set Boundaries
Anyone who isn’t familiar with the ins and outs of running their own business won’t understand the basic essentials for keeping things ticking along. Such as, when you’re busy brainstorming, writing blog posts, working on your website, drafting social media content, etc… you’re truly busy. “Work” is a very different ball-game for a business owner, and being that you’re 100% responsible for your own schedule you’ve got to be disciplined, even if others don’t understand what you’re doing.This means setting boundaries for the giving of your time, energy, and presence, and making sure that you stick to them, even in the event where somebody else deems that you are or should be “available”. Making sure that interaction is on your terms, rather than bending to accommodate others (though remaining fluid and open to exceptions), will provide enough of a structure to allow for spontaneity here are there without losing too much ground.Imagine it like this: if you worked a standard 9-5 in an office, it wouldn’t be acceptable to have somebody sidle up to your desk and decide that they were going to take up a chunk of your time while you were on the clock. In fact if you allowed this, you would probably be fired pretty quickly for negligence. Running your own business is similar; although it might seem to others like you’re living the easy life (after all, you’re not stuck in an office) time still = money = the ability to have a thriving life = the ability to best serve those who you set out to serve in the first place. If you want to have anything to take home to show for your work at the end of the week, it’s essential to have boundaries that you can keep to.Speaking of others not understanding, family members, friends and sometimes even complete strangers can tend to be resentful when you spent a great deal of time doing what to them is “nothing”, but to you is the lifeline of your business. Getting used to people not understanding your vision and the action that’s needed to keep it moving is a very good idea.
- Schedule Time Off
As previously mentioned, being completely your own boss and therefore 100% responsible for your own scheduling, means it’s you who has to schedule appropriate time off for yourself. This can be difficult especially in a service-based position, as the tendency is to want to be “on call” all the time in case anybody needs help. But ESPECIALLY in a service-based position, it’s important to resist this temptation! Being on call all the time will lead to burn-out, which will lead to not being able to provide the optimal service for your clients. Contrary to what most of us have been taught, it’s the least selfish thing ever to put ourselves first. If we don’t put taking care of ourselves first, we can’t possibly take care of anybody else well.If you have a website, integrate it with a calendar plugin such as Simple Calendar which integrates with your Google Calendar so clients can see when you are, and are not, available – be it for session work, meetings, or answering email. This is a huge thing I learned this year, and which I have only recently integrated. Stating clearly when you will and won’t be available is the perfect way to avoid the guilt of having to explain to a client why you haven’t responded to their email all weekend, for example, if weekends happen to be your off time.If you truly can’t avoid checking email during off-times, explain to onboarding clients that if it’s genuinely an emergency they can send an email with “emergency” in the title, and stick to reading those emails only.Finally, if you want weekends off, schedule them off!!! Nobody else is going to cut you a break until you specifically decide for yourself to do so.
- Charge What You’re Worth
It is cosmic law that there is a limit to what we can give in direct correlation to what we allow ourselves to receive. This is no joke… if you undercharge for your services, it’s impossible to give the full scope of what you’re capable of to anybody, as you’re denying the full scope of your capabilities to yourself. Anywhere you deny yourself, you deny everyone… Therefore, rather than it being a negative thing, it’s an absolute pre-requisite to charge what you’re worth in order to be able to deliver the greatest service to your clients. The more we see the worth of what we bring, the more our clients will meet us in realising their own worthiness.There is another very important aspect to this one. If you consistently undercharge for your services, you leave yourself with a deficit. In this way, you have less energy available to create meaningful and useful content to help those who may not be able to afford to work with you. It’s actually counter-intuitive to charge less if your goal is to be of service, and far better to work within the price range that matches what you’re offering, even if it means narrowing your potential paid client base, in order to be able to spend excess resources on meeting your true desire as a service-provider, which is to help people.
- Take Risks
This one might seem a bit out of place, but is actually another essential element of any thriving business, service-based or otherwise. It can be tempting in a service-based business to stay firmly within the realms of what is already expected by clients and perhaps by yourself, but this is a sure-fire way to hit stagnation. Taking (carefully thought-out) risks not only expands the dimensions of your personal growth beyond familiar comfort zones, but grows your business at the same time (your business is an extension of you), and as well as that, it grows your clients… by showing them that you lead with your own words and that more is possible for them too.Particularly for those in a caring role, such as the healing or coaching profession, there can be a tendency to place what one perceives to be the “needs” of others over one’s own needs. Deconstructed, this tendency can be found to be actually very detrimental to the ultimate evolution of all involved – it’s necessary to put our own needs first in order to be able to truly be of service to others in any meaningful way. It is said by the great Mystic Almine that “a risk is simply something that mind cannot control” (from the New Runes of the Infinite Mother) – take inspired risks in the direction of your greatest dreams, and all of life will flourish around you.
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