30 Ways to do business better

You’ve given the tax man the heads up and splashed the cash on a new laptop guaranteed to attract clients like Caroline Flack attracts 22-year-olds. All you need to do now is make this working for yourself lark work for you. How hard can it be? With some of these little nuggets of wisdom put into practice along the way, not as hard as you might think, actually. Give some a go and let’s get that new laptop earning its keep, eh?

1. Do what you love, love what you do

Do a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Ok, that’s a lie. You’ll work your backside off, but you’ll be passionate as hell about it.

2. Just get on with it

That ten minutes you waste thinking about getting cracking could mean getting finished ten minutes early. Get a shift on.

3. Listen more

Embrace advice like it’s cold hard cash. Because, in a roundabout way, it is.

4. Say no

To the client who doesn’t sit right with your morals, to the one whose reputation for paying late rings alarms and to the one you’ve really not got time to do a good job for right now.

5. Never stop learning

Register for Skillshare and commit to a course a month. New skills equal new business.

6. Be a nice person

People buy from people. Be polite, listen carefully, smile and be genuine, always. Yes, even on that Monday after a rough weekend.

7. Trust your instinct

They say that if something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably because it isn’t. Trust your gut.

8. Avoid unnecessary stress

Building a business is stressful enough, without letting bad clients keep you up at night. Let them go, nicely.

9. Spot the warning signs

If they balk at your rate or over-demand hard from the outset, spot the red flags and run a mile.

10. Don’t let comparison steal your joy

They’re not better than you, they’re different. Grow your own garden instead of standing at the fence looking at theirs.

11. Be the answer to people’s problems

You’ll never be short of business if you offer something that solves a person’s problems. How does your business service a need?

12. Don’t compromise your values

Because no amount of money is enough to warrant working your arse off for someone who makes Trump look tame.

13. Go the extra mile

Schedule a face-to-face every now and then, send a Christmas card, share their posts on social media. It’s not hard but it’ll leave an impression.

14. Keep clients in the loop

Long term projects can feel a little lost in the ether over time. Keep clients in the loop with a weekly or monthly update and present it nicely to boot.

15. Multitasking is overrated

Multitasking is for mugs. Give one task at a time your full attention and watch your productivity soar.

16. Be less social

Being social won’t pay the bills. Unless you’re a social media manager, in which case knock yourself out.

17. Do the things that scare you

Pitch for that client you don’t reckon you stand a chance of getting. We dare you.

18. Read often

The news, the industry updates, the business books, hell – even the chick lit; never stop reading.

19. Expect to fail

You’re not going to get everything right and the sooner you realise it, the better. Learn from the falls, then brush the gravel from your knees and crack on.

20. Chill out a bit

Nothing in life is worth your sanity, so make time to walk, run, have a beer, see friends, go on holiday or whatever the hell else makes you happy amidst all the hard work.

21. Chase the clients

You can’t rest on your laurels with a business to build. If a client is on your wish list, go get ‘em tiger.

22. Build your brand early

Establish from the outset whether you want your brand to appear uber-professional and corporate or friendly and approachable. Then build your marketing materials and brand message to suit.

23. Treasure those testimonials

Good client feedback is like gold dust. When you get some, make sure the world knows about it.

24. Build a clique

Because collaboration is the new competition.

25. Save for a rainy day

In the feast and famine cycle of freelance, putting away the pennies when you’re feeling flush is the key to weathering the storm when times are hard.

26. Go hard on admin

Admin is boring AF but not doing it opens you up for a whole world of pain that just ain’t worth it. Set time aside once or twice a week to get your books straight and finances tidy.

27. Work when you want

If you work best at midnight, work at midnight. Just make sure it fits around the needs of clients.

28. Follow the trends

Stay ahead of the curve on industry developments and be prepared to step out of your comfort zone once you see a new trend emerging.

29. Slip into something less comfortable

We’re all for a hoodie but there’s nothing about pyjama bottoms that sets you up to slay the day. Get a shower and get dressed, you filthy animal.

30. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver

Under-promise and over-deliver is the failsafe formula to impressing clients on the regular and keeping them coming back for more. Which is what you want really, isn’t it?

Helm harbours the extraordinary life movement, helping small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs flourish with space, events and advice. How can we help you become the best you can be?

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