Some people will tell you that New Year’s Resolutions never work, but you won’t hear that around here: first, because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life or in your business! Secondly, it’s just not true – sure, you probably won’t exercise EVERY weekday and you’re definitely not going to avoid sugar for the rest of your life, but when you resolve to make positive change and succeed (even some of the time), that makes the next change easier. Both at home and in the home office!
Just remember: keep it real. Keep moving. And apply New Year’s Resolutions to your small business too. January is a time of new beginnings, of striking out with new strategies to improve how our businesses function or increase our earnings. Read on for 8 resolutions that can help take your work-from-home business to the next level in 2018.
Learn to Delegate and Automate
When growing your business, it’s important to realize when it’s time to delegate. There will come a point where you simply can’t do everything by yourself, and where trying could actively hurt your health (just say no to stress!) and your business – whether it’s blogging or offering master classes in marketing. Find ways to change this and outsource tasks you don’t need to do yourself: if you’re writing a blog, do you really need to find an accompanying image, turn it into a pin, or even do the blog research yourself? No! You can outsource these sorts of tasks with assistance found on Fiverr, Upwork, and more – for more examples, read through my post on mastering blog outsourcing.
You should also consider automation while you’re at it. For example, take some social media work off your plate by using services like Buffer or plugins like Tweetily to queue and recycle content from your blog for your social media streams.
Get Social with Your Business
As a home-based business, you’re missing out on foot traffic. (Family members passing your office on the way to the fridge don’t count!) Social media is one way you can become more visible, approachable, and engage with your audience full of future customers. If it’s not already a significant part of your business, make 2018 the year you get involved on a social level in a deliberate way.
It’s not enough just to sign up for every social media service out there and just post links to your website content – most people won’t find that interesting or memorable. You need to learn which social media service works best for your industry – for recipe or craft bloggers, that’s probably Pinterest. For photographers or musicians, Instagram. For entertainment writers, Twitter. Then make sure you learn how to most productively use each service, and develop your social media strategy – don’t let your business social media become a time-suck!
Get Yourself a Mailing List
You have a mailing list, right? And an opt-in on your website to turn visitors into subscribers? If not, creating a mailing list should absolutely be at the top of your 2018 resolutions list! Mailing lists are one of the best ways to convert a stranger from a one-time visitor into someone who regularly comes back or even clicks on your affiliate links or purchases something from you. Even in the face of social media, the traditional mailing list is still the best way to actually reach your audience and grow the bottom line of your business.
Not sure what you’d put on it? You could do a once-weekly newsletter with a short personal note, any new material you’ve added to your blog, any product offers, or interesting links that you think might appeal to your audience. The possibilities are endless! Now, say it with me: set up a mailing list yesterday!
Make Yourself a Better You
This sounds like something you’d hear at your yoga session, but it absolutely has business applications as well! To keep our home-based businesses thriving, we should always be learning. Make sure the skills useful for your job are always kept up to date, whether that means learning new social media applications, or the updated MLA style, or the most useful web-coding languages (HTML, CSS). You can increase the value of your services by learning new skills and expanding your offerings – you could take any number of courses on Udemy, for example. Keeping your skills honed will also keep you sharp and your productivity tuned up for a successful 2018!
Don't Neglect Your Work-Life Balance
This one can be incredibly difficult for those of us who work from home – there just isn’t that well-defined separation between business-time and home-time that exists when you commute to an office. We save money on gas at least, but we also think about answering every business call or email that comes in during our off hours. This is something we must absolutely guard against, however, for both our health and the health of our businesses. Burnout is a serious problem, and it’s easier to get burned out if you let your work bleed over into every other aspect of your home life. Set a firm schedule and hold yourself to it in 2018 – enjoy your downtime! It rejuvenates you so that you can bring your best to your business.
Don't Fake It
Do yourself a favor and don’t pursue something in business that you’re not passionate about. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t do social media marketing if you don’t care for it or you shouldn’t regularly improve your website to maximise usability and attractiveness – even if you don’t enjoy those things, those are just part of building a business. But your industry, the thing your blog or services are about – that’s what you should be passionate about! Make a health food and fitness blog because you love to stay fit and enjoy fresh food, because you’re being authentic, not because you think it’s a lucrative topic. Your passion for a topic is what will keep you interested and building your business even through the boring stuff. And, besides, your audience will be able to tell if you’re not interested, whereas your passion can infect them with passion too. Don’t Fake It 2018: only go to work for what you believe in.
Dropkick the Sunk Cost Fallacy
This should apply to every part of your life, not just your business: don’t throw good money (or time) after bad. No matter how long you spent designing a new product or marketing campaign, you should drop it without a moment’s hesitation if it isn’t working for your business. I know it feels bad to work hard on something and have it not work out, but you’re not doing yourself or your business any good by being stubborn. By letting go and moving on, you can learn from what didn’t work and move on to something that will – making room for 2018 to be your most productive and successful year yet!
Don't Sell Yourself Short
Modesty is a virtue, but it doesn’t have anything to do with putting a value on the services you and your business offer. I know you might break into a cold sweat thinking about raising your rates (even to bring them in line with other professionals of your skill level) or putting a three-digit (or higher!) price tag on project or course. But keep your fear and modesty out of this decision, take an objective look at what you bring to the table, and charge accordingly. Pay yourself what you’re worth! This 2018 you deserve the best.
When it comes to resolutions, don’t trip yourself up by trying to do too much at once. Pick a couple of goals and pursue those, then move on to others as you go along. Every day is a new beginning when you can leave behind what’s not working and find a new path forward. Remember that! Now, what resolutions are you making for your business in 2018?