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10 Things Every Solopreneur Should Know To Be Successful

10 Things Every Solopreneur Should Know To Be Successful

When you are in the business of being in business for yourself, it can definitely get lonely at the top. As a solopreneur, you often have to set your own deadlines, motivate yourself, and light the fire under your own seat to get things done. How you measure success is subjective. Is it important to you to make a certain amount of money? To have time off to travel? To be able to balance homelife and work? To get yourself out there in the world and have an influence on people?

No matter how you define success, these 10 things are what make solopreneurs successful:

1. They know that money isn’t the main focus

When money is the focus, the big picture becomes lost. You are in business to provide a service, or to do something you love or feel passionate about. The money is what results from this. When solopreneurs make it solely about money, the passion gets lost.

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2. They get that being true to their brand is more important than selling out

Affiliating with companies that are not aligned with your values, will make your customers distrust you, and make them think you are selling them out, rather than creating relationships with them. Stay true to your brand. Focus your resources on expanding your message rather than diluting it with other people’s messages.

3. They know the value of their time

Successfull solopreneurs know that time is important. They are not afraid to charge what they are worth, and to say “no,” if something will take more time than it will be worth.

4. They are not afraid to try new things

Keeping on top of latest trends is important. Clinging to a software program, or a way of operating that is outdated keeps you behind. Forge ahead. Many programs offer things like free 14 or 30 day trials so you can test things out with no risk.

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5. They are consistent, no matter what

If a successful solopreneur says they are going to send out a weekly blog, they send out a weekly blog. They also keep their branding consistent on all platforms, by using the same colors, fonts, etc. to be easily identified.

6. They surround themselves with people who are smarter than them

They don’t think that they are so smart that they cannot learn anything. A know-it-all has no room to grow. Just when we think we know something, a new study comes out to debunk the previous theory. Challenge your brain by having conversations with people who are more versed and educated than you in areas that you know less about.

7. They know the power of collaboration

Cross-promotion, and partnering with others can expand your reach, and increase your credibility. Don’t try to stay all by yourself but be open for collaborations which will bring you forward.

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8. They make mistakes, and they keep going

Mistakes happen. Obsessing over them does not make them go away. When you make a mistake, take the time to clean it up, or rectify it as much as possible. Then, move on. Don’t let it stop you from taking action.

9. They remember to have fun along the way

All work and no play … well, you know how the saying goes. Staying focused and being productive is great, but if it is turning into too much “hard work,” it may be time to revisit your business. You should be enjoying your efforts along the way. If you are not, you can become burned out, and the type of business you are in may not be a good fit for you.

10. They celebrate their small victories, as a means of encouraging their big successes

When your eye is focused on a big goal, it can be easy to overstep the small victories that lead to success. Pat yourself on the back when you make that difficult phone call. One of my favorite examples has always been when brick and mortar business owners frame their first dollar bill they made from their business. Frame your own version of a dollar bill by celebrating your first twitter follower, your 100th email subscriber, and so on.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Bridget Baker

Web Presence Sherpa

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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