Do you own your own business, or dream of owning one….. Here’s a tip for being the BEST YOU to keep you on top of your game.   Some of these tips you may think are common sense, but sometimes we just need to be reminded of these basic fundamentals.

I’m a furniture painter, but these tips apply to any craft or business you own or wish to own. I have a passion for what I do and sometimes I spread myself too thin. I have a habit of saying “yes” to everything if there is any opening at all on my calendar. I realize when we first get started in business that you jump in with both feet and start running…. but this can cause you to “burn out” quickly. When you experience “burn out”, you start to question yourself ….”Is this worth it?” “How can I keep this pace up?” “What can I give up to create more time for work?” ….. I’ve asked myself this all the time. Sometime I lay in bed trying to fall asleep but my mind keeps jumping around from ideas to “my to-do-list” for the upcoming days…. I lay awake and it takes hours to fall asleep even though I’m already exhausted. I’m writing this blog to let you know “this is normal” and “expected” …. but here are a few tips to remind you to focus on yourself at times so that you can be “The Best You”.

Tip 1: Set a schedule. You pick your work hours and write down your goals for that day that you want to achieve, or plan out your entire week ” writing on a calendar or planner” .    Be realistic…. you can’t build a mountain in a day. Then stick to that schedule. If you say Mon-Friday you will work 8:00 to 5:00 and you are going to get x,y,z accomplished during that time…. stick to it. Don’t add onto the day as you go….stick to your list. If you need to add something, then do so but you will also need to move something else from that day to another day.   You will find that if you don’t write it down and figure out the schedule, you will feel like your work is never ending.  Not setting a schedule and making a plan will lead you quickly down the path of “burn out”.

Tip 2:  Its OK to say NO :   You will find that as your business grows, you will get asked to “help out” or the “Would you be willing to…?”  for things that take time and will not benefit you and your business.  Its the nature of the beast ….. it happens to us all.   Don’t feel bad if you have to (or need to) say NO.  If it doesn’t fit into your “written down schedule or goals”, you need to say NO.   You want to make your business profitable, so unless that “would you be willing to…?”  will benefit your business in someway, you need to explain nicely that your schedule is too full right now but thank you for asking.     I do weekly Free LIVE painting tutorials….yes I said FREE !!  Now you may wonder “why would I do that for FREE?” ….. because it benefits my business so I write it into my schedule.  By doing the FREE tutorials, I gain followers (which drives my business) and I also gain affiliate sales from doing the LIVES so even though they are FREE….I do get compensated on the back end from my followers who appreciate me for doing the tutorials.  So its a win win for everyone.   If you say YES to  too much, it will lead you once again to “burn out”.   Here’s a trick:  track how many hours you are working (even if that includes posting on social media) and then divide that by how much money you bring in each month to see how much you are actually making an hour …. you will quickly see that saying YES to things that do not benefit your business quickly lowers your hourly wage….. so are you willing to lower your hourly wage to say YES to that one thing ?

Tip 3: Get Your Family Involved:  It really helps when you have the support of your family.   If you have children, let them see what you do and help out in some way.   I get my kids involved with the “treasure hunt” ….. what I mean by that is I have my kids go with me when I’m going to the thrift store or garage sales looking for furniture.  They get to see what I do, how I do it, and they learn from watching  and who knows….. they may develop the love for the craft and want to help in other ways as well.  If you have a store, then have them work as a “greeter”, welcoming customers to your store.  Everyone one loves to be greeted with a happy smile (this is for those kids old enough to take on this responsibility) .    You can teach them the value of a dollar if they earn a small wage working along side of you (like an allowance for helping out) . When family gets involved, they appreciate what you do and see that your work is a business and not a hobby.

Tip 4:  Take Time to Relax:  If you don’t take care of you and your health, what will happen to your business?  This isn’t a trick question.   You need to schedule some “me” time and don’t feel guilty for doing so.  Take a family vacation, or if you haven’t budgeted for that then take a “stay-cation”….. meaning plan a fun time at home for yourself or with your family to get a chance to unwind and refresh.   I just went on an Alaskan cruise with my family and I scheduled out all my social media posts in advance so I could “unplug” from business and give myself time to “reboot” and “regroup”.   If your family schedule doesn’t accommodate this (I know how it is to have kids with busy schedules and all) then schedule a day for yourself to get a message, get your nails done, or a day of fishing.   You need to schedule time for “you time” or “family time”.   If you don’t unwind…. you get worn out and your health will be put at risk.   So go celebrate “YOU” when you can !!!

Tip 5:  Keep on Learning:   No one ever knows everything about everything  !!  Keep looking for opportunities to grow and learn.  Take classes, watch youtube videos, pay attention to what works and try to make it better.    No matter what business you are in, there are always new ways, techniques, processes, or products that you can research and learn to make your business even better….. but schedule time on your calendar to do this.  The best way to do that is schedule 30 minutes each day to watch a video, look at others in your market to see what they are doing or using, brainstorm ideas…. anything to keep you on top of your game.

Tip 6:  Be Proud of What You Do:  In this day of social media, its easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others in your business or craft.  Not everyone creates the same…. if they did, we would all be producing the same stuff.   You have customers because they love what you do and what you produce.  Even when you work on your skills and improve your process….. its still you and your style and be proud of it. If you have excellent customer service and you produce a great product, that’s what bring customers back.   As a furniture painter, my customers come to me and keep coming to me because they know my style or the quality of my work.  There are a lot of furniture painters out there, but if you look at each artist’s furniture, you can tell who produced what because of their individual style.  I don’t get upset if someone buys a piece from someone else because that customer’s style might be more inline with another artists style.  What would the market look like if we all produced the same looks….pretty boring if you ask me 🙂   So I guess the point I’m trying to make is “Don’t compare your work or style to others, just learn from others on how others work their business and see if you can learn from that and don’t get hung up on their style…. you are an original  !” .     I almost forgot to warn you about TROLLS…. on social media, everyone experiences negative comments or what we call TROLLS….. I’ve been doing youtube along time now and I focus on the positive comments and ignore the nasty trolls who enjoy leaving drops of negativity no matter where they go.  Focus on the positive and disregard the negative.

Tip 7:  Have Fun :  You are in business for yourself because you love what you do…. don’t lose the fun.  If you love what you do and teach others to love it as well…. you will keep that passion !!!