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Success Habits for Creative Business Owners

Feb 4

Are you desperate to be more successful in your small business—but you’re just not sure where you’re falling short? Maybe you feel like you’re #doingallthethings but seeing little to no progress? Get ready to turn that frustration into confidence—because I’m sharing my top success habits for creative business owners in this video!

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Wishing you had the secret to the success habits of small business owners? This video is for you! Watch now for my best advice for creative business owners including morning routine, time management, and productivity! #success #habits #branding

Success Habit 1 | Have a Morning Routine

I strongly believe that establishing a morning routine is one of the best things you can do for not only your business, but also your personal well being and mental health.

Frankly, I don’t think there’s anything worse than rolling out of bed, after hitting the snooze button several times, to rush around getting ready for work. I did this for years—and it always left me feeling frazzled, anxious, and dreading work. Those feelings stayed with me throughout the day—until the whole cycle repeated itself the next morning.

For the longest time, it never occurred to me that there was another way. A better way.

Developing A Morning Routine

Then I started to hear about morning routines—and the thought of waking up early, to start my day on my own terms sounded very appealing.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I am by no means a “morning person.” But that chronic morning dread made me desperate enough to try a morning routine… and I’ve never gone back!

It’s taken me a few years to craft my “perfect” morning routine. In fact I shared one iteration in this video: Morning Routine For Entrepreneurs: How I Start My Day At 5 Am —and my routine has changed since then. But I still wake up at 5am every weekday.

I love this quiet and contemplative time that I have all to myself—before I’m taking care of my child, taking care of my clients, or worrying about my latest projects. It’s a chance to get my mind right and set the tone for my “perfect day”—everyday. And I’ve found it to be a very powerful and transformative habit. I now start my workday eager and empowered—the opposite of how it used to be.

My Current 5am Morning Routine

Now I wake up at 5am and immediately make a cup of coffee. I give myself a full 90-minutes for mindset work and personal development. This includes meditation, journaling, and reading.

I completed a 75 Hard challenge last summer, which includes reading 10 pages of a personal development book. I loved the practice so much that I’ve continued it as a part of my daily morning routine.

Regardless of what you want your morning routine to look like—I’d highly encourage you to just start. By far, I think this one habit has had the biggest impact on my business and personal success over the last year.

Habit 2 | Get Dressed Everyday

While most of us have been FORCED to work from home since quarantine, I’ve actually been working from home for the last 6 years, ever since becoming a full-time entrepreneur.

The Work-From-Home Wardrobe

For most of those six year I’ve been working in… well, not work clothes. I’m embarrassed to admit that most days my dress code includes pajamas, sweats and/or yoga pants.

I do it because it’s comfortable, and easy… and just lazy.

But I’ve realized over the past 6 years that comfortable, easy, and lazy is not the energy I want to approach my business with.

I know it’s easy to fall into this trap, especially on days when you don’t have client meetings, and aren’t leaving your house at all—so there’s no reason to get dressed.

But guess what: YOU and your business are the reasons!

Reasons to Get Dressed For Work Everyday

When I get dressed for work, I show up to do work. I’m more focused, more confident, and ready to face challenges head on.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever read was to anticipate and eliminate obstacles ahead of time to help reach your goals.

This was actually related to working out—and removing any barriers (no matter how small) that would prevent you from following through. So the author suggested setting out workout clothes, equipment, etc. the night before. 

But now apply this concept to any area of my life where I’m finding myself resisting one of my goals.

Now I set my clothes out the night before, which eliminates decision fatigue in the morning, when I’m ready to start my day.

Habit 3 | Maintain Regular Business Hours

You’ve probably noticed that this post is basically the story of what I did (wrong) when I first started my business—and what I’m doing now to see awesome results, and build the business I’ve always dreamed of.

One of the first big mistakes I made (and I see A TON of entrepreneurs make—even people who have been at it for years!) is not setting regular business or office hours.

This changed for me after I had my son.

I’ve said this before—but I became a much better and actually much more successful entrepreneur (like doubling my clientele) AFTER I had my kid

Office Hours: Valuing My Time More

The reason behind my success is that my time suddenly became much more valuable. I no longer had the luxury of working “whenever I wanted.”

Instead, I set regular days and hours for my business. And I RARELY work outside of those hours. I also rarely do anything other than work during those hours. I work really hard and keep distractions to a minimum—so I can get the most out of my work hours.

At the end of the day I shut down my computer and close my office door—signaling work is officially over! I spend the rest of my day focused on my family and myself.

Clients and Office Hours

Having regular and established office hours helps create consistency and trust with clients. It’s so important that it’s actually one of the first things I share with new clients. 

During my client onboarding process, new clients get a very robust “new client welcome email” from me, which contains important information like my office policies and—you guessed it—office hours.

Because of this, clients know what to expect from me and when they can hear back—which helps build trust.

They also know not to disturb me during my “out of office hours.”

If you want to see exactly what I put in my client welcome email—and actually use it for your own business—to help build trust, set expectations, and create boundaries for the perfect client experience—then you have to check out my Client Onboarding Email Template!

Habit 4 | Focus: Turn off Distractions 

We all know what it’s like… you sit down to work and before you ever get started on your first task notifications are pinging, your phone is buzzing, you’re responding to “urgent” emails, and you suddenly find yourself scrolling on instagram, and can’t even remember what you were actually supposed to doing.

Just like everyone else you’ve got a limited number of hours everyday. And here’s the TRUTH: If you actually want to be successful in your business—you’re going to have to prioritize those hours to make sure you’re only giving your attention to tasks and projects that are helping you achieve your goals.

Everyone and everything is desperately vying for your attention whether it’s marketers and advertisers, social media platforms, news media, your clients, your audience, your friends and family, or your dog.

You have to focus. You owe it to yourself and to your business.

Focusing means saying YES to just a few things, and saying a solid NO to everything else.

Eliminating Social Media Distraction

One of the best ways I’ve found to keep myself from getting distracted during my workday is to straight up eliminate the possibility of distraction as much as possible. I do this by taking all social media apps off my phone—unless I’m using it in the moment for a specific business task.

For example—if I’ve decided ahead of time that I’m going to post X number of Instagram stories today, as a part of my pre-determined marketing plan, then I use Instagram on my phone during that time. And then I delete the app.

And for some reason this is SHOCKING to most people I talk to. I always hear – “oh my gosh! How could you just delete the app from your phone? Won’t you be missing out on everything?”

Um no. For two reasons:

First, I’m not missing out on anything. I’ve already decided what tasks I need to be working on to reach my goals. And if I’m on Instagram (when I’m not supposed to be), then I’m missing out on building my dream business

Secondly, Instagram wants you back. Real bad. They kind of have a sick obsession with you. So if you delete your app, and then you want to get back on, Instagram makes it fairly easy for you to do just that.

More Ways I Eliminate Distractions from My Workday

  • Turn off all phone and desktop notifications. I don’t answer text messages during my office hours (except for a few exceptions from very few people). But my most of my friends know that if they text during office hours, they’ll hear back from when my work day is over.
  • Only answer email once a day. In fact I’ve made it a goal to only check my email once a day—which of course is much easier said than done. But I’ve actually gotten a lot better.

I actually took the email app off my iPhone as a part of my Holiday Break. 

By the way, if you want to know how I take a distraction free extended break from my business you have to check out the video—Client Expectations For The Holidays: Step-By-Step Guide To Going On Break.

Back to my email app—when my break was over, I just didn’t reinstall it on my phone.

The Truth About Those Urgent Emails

By removing the app, I had the realization that 99% of emails are just distractions. In fact, they’re things that really don’t deserve my attention at all.

The other one percent (like client emails) deserves my full attention—so I have a dedicated block of time at the end of each work day to give them just that.

And for all of you worrying about those super urgent emails that just can’t wait… I want you to just stop and think about that for a second.

How urgent are those emails, really?

I’m pretty sure that I’ve never received a notification of an emergency situation that needed my immediate attention via email.

And for the things you think are urgent—I’m guessing, most likely they have to do with client requests or new client leads… and they can wait a couple of hours.

Because just think about the message you’re sending to a client when you stop all momentum in your business, to respond to a simple question or task.

It kind of sounds like you’ve either got nothing better to do (which I know isn’t true). Or your just willing to bend to their every whim—most likely at the detriment of more important tasks (which I hope isn’t true). You decide.

Comment below—does the idea of removing your email app from your phone and only responding once a day terrify you? Would you be willing to try it for one week? Let me know!

Habit 5 | Plan Everything Ahead of Time

Like a lot of people, Monday used to be my least favorite day of the week.

In fact, I just dreaded Mondays.

The hardest part was just showing up and staring at a blank computer screen, wondering, “what do I do?”

I’d inevitably wind up rummaging through a litany of “tasks” scribbled across various sticky notes and “To-Do” lists—still unsure of where to start.

At this point I already felt behind—at the start of the day, Monday morning! It’s a horrible feeling.

After several years of this uninspired inaction I became obsessed with planning and productivity. 

(Also, again this was after my son was born, and my time became that much more precious and limited).

My Favorite Time Management and Productivity Book

One of my first ‘aha’ experiences with time management was reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

This is honestly one of the best and most life changing books I’ve read and I HIGHLY recommend you check it out.

It’s so good, I’ve actually read it twice, and will likely read it again. I’ve gleaned different invaluable insights each time I’ve read it.

One of my best takeaways from the book is being aware of the tasks you’re putting in your to-do list or your planner. Then making the higher level decisions about whether or not those are the things you should truly be focused on.

That question can be answered in whether those tasks align with your goals, personal values, and where you’re ideally headed in your life.

Honestly, this concept was game changing for me.

I’d would love to do a whole video just on that idea. So let me know in a comment below if that’s something you’d like to see.

Schedule Everything Ahead of Time

My second ‘aha’ moment was the concept of scheduling everything ahead of time instead of using to-do lists.

Basically I have learned that To-do lists just don’t work for me. In fact, they don’t work for most people.

The problem is that to-do lists are just a running list of tasks that are all fighting for your time, with no hierarchy of importance.

Just like Stephen Covey taught—we typically focus on urgent tasks over important ones.

This means that we stay overwhelmed with busy work focused almost exclusively on the most urgent tasks—ignoring the bigger picture and the tasks necessary to help us achieve our goals. 

For Example, let’s say you have a goal of earning $100,000 in your business this year. You can map out a plan of the tasks you need to accomplish in order to reach that goal. In this example those tasks would be important because they are helping you reach your larger goal.

However, most of us fail when we are constantly responding to the ‘urgent’ tasks (i.e. answering endless emails, responding to social media comments, etc.) instead of tackling the important goal-oriented tasks that aren’t constantly screaming for our attention.

Essentially you’re making a choice with your time—and when you’re choosing urgent over important, you’re not choosing your goals.

Just let that sink in for a second.

Consciously Choosing To Work On Your Goals

The other thing that happens, is when we look at a to-do list wondering “what next?” is that we’ll often choose the easiest task or the tasks that don’t require us to step outside of our comfort zones.

And we know that goals don’t take place inside of our comfort zones—if they did, we’d already have accomplished them.

Again, this means that we’re choosing “busy” over consciously making the decision to work towards our goals.

It took me several years to fully grasp this concept.

And I have been obsessed, reading various books, learning from different teachers and programs—and I’ve finally developed my own fail-proof system to get my “to-do” list done every single week.

The secret is: I plan everything out ahead of time.

That way, nothing’s left to chance, or worse, my whim.

I show up to work every morning, look at my calendar and know exactly what I need to be working on (and how long I’ve got to accomplish that task).

Then I get to work—remember, without any distractions—and get that one task done.

Then I move on to the next one.

This one concept has been absolutely life changing for me—and I’m so excited to share more about it in my next video.

Now you know my top 5 success habits for creative business owners—and what I do every day to make sure I’m consistently working towards my goals. 

If your goal is to build a luxury brand that attracts your dream clients and helps you charge what you’re worth, then you have to check out my free 20-page guide: The Brand Blueprint.

Wanna learn more of my favorite productivity tips to help you run a successful business? Be sure to check out my YouTube channel.

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