There are a plethora of listicals out there. “10 reasons why you should do X….” “5 reasons not to do Y…” Many of those posts are too broad or maybe have too many common sense tips to be effective. My “tips” are some good habits and even some bad practices that I’ve had to overcome to become a better version of myself. I’m still a work in progress (#ArentWeAll) but I hope the way in which I took inventory of my personal and professional life resonates with you.
- Procrastinating aka Agreeing To Things You Don’t Care About: As a freelancer, Lawd knows I was the queen of #TeamTooMuch meaning agreeing to too many assignments: articles, videos, design projects etc. for the sake of a check. And of course bills have to be paid but when things have the same deadline or require the same amount of time and energy, something is bound to fall through the cracks.
When motivational speaker Eric Thomas was a guest on the “Steve Harvey” show, in response to an audience question about how to stop procrastinating, he basically said, ‘…there’s no such thing as procrastination, you just don’t want to do it.’ #Bloop.
When you’re at the beginning of the journey of becoming your own boss, it’s tempting to take on lots of side jobs to maintain income but that oftentimes leads to you taking your eye off the prize. You have to be willing to live below your means and struggle for a season to fully immerse yourself in what you’re passionate about.
- Feeling To Old To Be A Student Again aka Not Making Time To Learn New Things: I haven’t come across a list that didn’t include the importance of “consistency” on the journey to building a brand and becoming your own boss. Consistency doesn’t just apply to how many times you post on your site or social media, but are you consistently honing your craft? You should be enrolled in YouTube University where you can learn any and everything from how to boil an egg, build a house, build a website, shoot professional photos, edit videos, produce music, etc. Skillshare is also a great resource. A mantra my big sis, lifestyle blogger Necole Kane lives by, “…press reset as many times as you need to…” Initially I didn’t understand that but now I get it. I love that Necole is continuously resetting and refreshing her brand by TEACHING HERSELF many of the things she once outsourced i.e. how to properly light and edit her videos. Her presentation is always on point, which leads to bigger opportunities. I admire that her rewards reflect the quality of her work.
Every month re-evaluate your brand and what you could be doing better to maximize your potential. The font, colors or website template you loved six months ago maybe outdated, don’t be afraid to find a new one. Do whatever necessary to continue to broaden your audience and strengthen the caliber and quality of your work.
For example, I never looked at my interviews as podcasts. But I recently had an ‘aha moment’ where I realized that I could be doing more to repurpose my content so I just started a Soundcloud and soon I’ll be adding my interviews to iTunes. I felt old AF (as fuck) signing up for another platform where I’m now going to have to spend time learning the best ways to go about attracting listeners to my page. Between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I don’t need another one (DJ Khaled voice) to keep up with but in this day in age, you have to be everywhere and if you don’t want to adapt to whatever your audience is interested in, you must not want to grow and prosper!
- Your To Do list Is Too Long aka You’re Not Realistic About Your Time: Every entrepreneur isn’t going to wake up at 4am. The way my body is set up, I naturally wake up at 10am and I’m off to bed around 2am to ensure I get eight hours of sleep. As a freelance multimedia journalist, a “normal” day for me includes several hour long phone interviews, sending emails to schedule interviews or pitches to publicists and/or brands, transcribing and editing articles, photos and videos. Add in a couple meals, engaging on social media and an attempt at getting fresh air; more often than not, I feel like I’m not making progress.
Solution: I’ve tried to schedule my days where I only focus on certain tasks i.e editing a video could literally be 8 hours from going through footage, compressing, then the actual edit, rendering, uploading, etc. some days require research i.e. watching a season of a show before a film junket or watching a season of a series and compiling questions for the talent. As I get into more “fulltime bossing”, I’ll be using my Passion Planner to discipline myself into giving each day a specific task.
- Not Delegating: When you hire someone to take some of your to-do lists off your plate, ‘You’re paying for your time back’ as my Auntie in my head, CurlBox founder Myleik Teele once said in a podcast. It’s understandable that the thought of having an “assistant” can feel intangible when you’re a start up but you don’t necessarily need to be the CEO of a 6-figure company with a corner office to need help. Your “office” can be Starbucks or your studio apartment and you can still hire a college student, a recent grad or just someone interested in gaining more experience to assist you. “Hiring” could mean $100 a month or simply access into your world. Before you add players to your team, it’s super important to have a clear grasp on exactly what it is you need to do. Having produced events for years, I’ve already done everything I’m asking my Assistant Events Coordinator to do so I’m cognizant of how feasible the tasks are and how thoroughly they should be done.
- Use What You Have BUT You Need To Invest In Your Brand: Selfies are cool but these days EVERYONE and their mamma has a DSLR camera. You can have a professional photo shoot for $100 an hour OR LESS. BARTER with people—Sometimes all friends need is a meal and gas money in exchange for providing you with high quality images. If you have a DSLR camera you can by a remote off Amazon for $9 so you can take better quality shots. Or you can have a friend with an iPhone7 take photos that are well lit and high quality, not “girl, take a picture of my outfit before the club” photos, y’all know what I’m talking about!
I once had someone prophesy to me that everyone I needed was in my phone. And if I think back over the number of people I’ve met in person and via email throughout my four years in L.A., it’s true. I recently stopped a girl in the grocery store because I liked her red hat, she was an up-and-coming actress, I mentioned I was a director and we exchanged numbers. Models, artists, authors, publicists, managers, event planners, makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, graphic designers, etc. are everywhere. It’s either someone’s full time job or their side hustle and they’re trying to get more experience in it. We take their numbers or their card in passing but if you’re trying to quit your job and be your own boss, you really need to be building your team. We all have to start somewhere but these days there’s no excuse for janky, low quality photos or videos. I went to the blog of an associate and by the quality of her videos and her cheetah backdrop…I wanted to ask if she shot it on a flip phone…I KNOW she has TO KNOW someone with a DSLR camera or an iPhone 7 who could have shot her video, helped her style her background as well as fixed her hair and makeup for a minimum cost. I’ve connected with girls at Sephora and MAC counters who’ve done my makeup in exchange for high quality photos or assistance with designing their website. Use what you have at your disposal but don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family or even strangers you follow on social media who are also on the come up if your vision aligns with their talents.
- Bonus: Prioritize Your Priorities Daily (Similar to #3 with some elaboration) I believe God blesses decisiveness. Meaning when you decide to write that book, shoot that film, launch that app, start that product line, etc. AND you’ve put a DATE on it (i.e NOT “Coming Soon” on your website but like….June 1) there will be no shortage of ideas from the heavens but WTF do you do first, then second, then third? I have a notebook, sticky notes, a Passion Planner, two white boards and the “Notes” app on my iPhone. Lawd knows my “To Do Lists” have “To Do Lists” which makes prioritizing very overwhelming because there are truly several projects that I’m passionate about executing this year from building my reel as a music video director, shooting a documentary, doing a multi-city panel series and telling dope stories as a journalist. That’s not a lot, right? In order to get all of these things done this year, I’m completing one task at a time with the intent of leveraging one thing to accomplish the next.
I’d love to know what the rest of your 2017 goals are and what steps you’re taking to be productive, not just busy! Please comment below!
Last modified: Jun 5, 2017