3 Tips to Grow Your Business… and Enjoy It

By | 2016-12-01T19:14:04+00:00 May 28th, 2014|Startup Culture|

When I first started my business back in 2006, I honestly had NO idea what I was doing. I knew I liked the idea of setting my own schedule, being my own boss, and making money… but I wasn’t sure I was actually able to do any of those things successfully.

Over the next few years I learned A LOT, a made a few mistakes, I did a few things “right”, and I was actually able to grow my business into a full-time deal with a full-time income!

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As I look back over the past several years, it’s fun to see how far I’ve come. And as I think about the things that helped me to grow my business (and actually enjoy the process) there are 3 main things come to mind…

1. I stopped comparing myself to other, bigger businesses.

There will ALWAYS be someone who has more clients, more advertisers, more customers, more revenue, etc. and no matter how big I get, there will always be someone bigger. So in my opinion, there’s really no point in comparing, unless I always want to feel bad about what I don’t have.

Yes, it’s good to strive for more and try to make ourselves and our businesses better; but not simply so we can say we have more clients, more Facebook followers or more advertisers than whomever we’re trying to impress or whatever businesses we’re competing against.

I’ve simply tried to focus on doing what I do best and the way I feel it needs to be done. I’ve stopped worrying about what everyone else is doing. Not only has this tip helped me to further my strengths and improve my weaknesses, it has also helped me to grow my business without all that stress of “keeping up with the Jones'”.

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2. I stopped doing it JUST for the money.

I personally think you MUST enjoy what you’re doing or you’ll burn out and quit. While the income is obviously a large factor in why we do what we do, it simply can’t be the only reason we work — at least that’s how I feel.

I have the privilege of doing a job I truly love (at least 95% of the time!) and I know that makes a huge difference in my happiness.

I have had a couple full-time and part-time jobs that I absolutely hated. I dreaded going every day and I constantly counted down the hours (and minutes) until I could go to lunch or leave for the day. It was not fun, and those jobs were JUST for the money.

When it came to my own business, I decided very early on that I would only keep going if it was something I really enjoyed doing on a daily basis. Then, when the money started coming in, it just sweetened the deal. It wasn’t always fun in the beginning, and there are still many things I do that I don’t jump up and down about. But for the most part, I really love what I do and feel fulfilled at the end of each day.

I love the challenge of juggling home life, family life and business and trying to figure out the best way to “have it all”. And of course I definitely enjoy the income from my business, but I don’t do it JUST for the money—I can assure you of that!

3. I stopped doing it for free.

I realize this is a direct contradiction to what I just said above—but both statements are actually true. Let me explain…

Whenever I get asked to do a giveaway, a sponsored post, go on a trip, review a product, or promote anything using my business name, I always stop to think if it’s something I would be willing to do for free (i.e., just because I know I would personally love the product or enjoy the trip).

If the answer is “yes”, then I feel like it’s probably something I can confidently promote on my blog. However, I don’t actually do it for free. Here’s why:

You wouldn’t expect a grocery store to hand out free groceries week after week. You wouldn’t expect an accountant to give you free tax prep services year after year. So why should I be expected to do all sorts of things with no payment?

Yes, there are times when I donate my services for a good cause or choose to personally promote things I use in my daily life with no payment. However, if a company specifically seeks me out for my audience, blog content and online reach, I’m not just going to bend over backwards to promote them out of the goodness of my heart.

I’m nice, but not THAT nice!

My time is valuable — so even though I do love my job and I’m not doing it just for the money, I’m still not going to do it all for free either. Plus, there’s no faster way to run your business into the ground than by offering all your services for free!

I do realize that since the main goals of my business (and my life) are to SIMPLIFY and ORGANIZE, that definitely affects my priorities and the concepts behind my business.

I know the 3 things listed above won’t work for every business or self-employed person, but these 3 concepts played a huge role in helping me grow my business AND enjoy the process (it hasn’t always been an easy process either).

I’m thrilled to be able to say that I love what I do and that I’m able to make a living doing it! And believe me, I do realize how fortunate I am. However, if you currently can’t say the same, I hope this post might inspire you to think about your job and life choices and make a few positive changes to get you to a place where you can truly say, “I’m doing what I love.”

About the Author:

andreadekkerAndrea Dekker is the simple living enthusiast behind the Andrea Dekker blog, business, and brand. She is passionate about simplifying every aspect of life in a way that makes sense for real people with real lives and real budgets. She lives her version of “simple” in a 125-year-old farmhouse with her husband, their 2 children, and an ever growing to-do list.