In my business, I work with a lot of solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. By definition, this means that these individuals are 100 percent responsible for their self-created businesses. They have no bosses, no partners, and no Board of Directors to guide them. No one to mentor them. No one to help them get wherever it is they want to go.
This also means that there is no one there to hold them accountable for their actions or inactions, whichever the case may be. They don’t have someone standing over their shoulder, looking down over their work, and forcing them to put in their time. There’s no one there to say, “Hey. I’ve noticed you’ve been slacking lately. Better pick up the pace or it’s not going to be good.”
And while it’s easy to see these sorts of behaviors in others, when they’re being too lax or not getting enough work done, it’s often harder to see that in ourselves. We’re very quick to reason away our actions, coming up with what we believe are some very “good” reasons as to why we’re doing what we’re doing or why it won’t matter in the end.
Plus, we all have down days or days when we don’t accomplish much. Maybe our mind is on something else, preoccupying us so we can’t focus on the task at hand. Or perhaps we don’t feel well, subsequently making it harder to be our personal best.
Certainly, this is understandable from time to time, but the problem exists when these types of days become more the rule than the exception. Too many unproductive spells can very easily lead into dreams left unrealized, to goals left unmet.
That makes recognizing when you’re in these phases critical to your success as a solo entrepreneur. So, what can you do to help yourself realize when a down day has actually become a down week, month, or (yikes!) year?
If you’re not feeling as successful as you want to be, ask yourself the same question I recently asked someone I work with. Ask yourself: “If I were working for myself, would I fire myself?”
Now, before you go on listing all of the great things you still do for yourself and your business, let’s get a little more specific. I want you to ask yourself something a little more powerful: “If I were working for myself, would I fire myself for a particular task?”
If answer is yes, then you better change something up because you’re likely not going to be as successful as you’d like. One option may be to hire that task out, letting someone take care of it so you can focus on other areas of your business that need your attention or areas in which you enjoy more.
The only other alternative is to hold yourself more accountable, to quit letting yourself slide. Set time on your calendar to get the task done or find an accountability buddy who will ask you regularly whether you did what you said you’d do, increasing the odds that you can answer yes.
Don’t become the type of employee that you yourself would fire. Instead, aim to achieve the title of Employee of the Month. Even if it doesn’t really come with any perks (you are self-employed, after all), at least you know that you’re achieving your full potential. Isn’t that perk enough?