Treat your own business as you would treat a client
About a year ago I decided I wanted to redo my website. Give it a fresher look. Move it over to the WordPress platform. Add some back-end functionality to make my updating life a little easier.
You’d think since I was taking on the roles as both designer and client in this scenario, things would have moved really quickly. At first, they did. I whipped up the design and coded the mock-ups in the first week or two after I came up with the idea for this whole endeavor during a prenatal yoga class. I instantly approved the very first concept I presented to myself. (“Well done!” said LBK, the client. “Really? You like it?” said LBK, the designer.)
And then, I did nothing. Well, not nothing. I worked on client projects (you gotta get paid, right?). I had a baby. I had surgery on my ankle. Those things will keep a person pretty busy, actually. LBK, the client wasn’t nagging LBK, the designer to move forward. And LBK, the designer wasn’t following up with LBK, the client to see what black hole she had fallen into.
It wasn’t until I contacted the web developer who was going to integrate the new design into the new content management system, and she gave me a deadline to give her the files, that I got back on track. It turns out I thrive on schedules and deadlines; they just have to be imposed by someone else.
This may explain why I never straighten my house unless the cleaning lady is coming the next day (and since my husband decided we didn’t need a cleaning lady anymore about three months ago, why my house looks like Hurricane Irene happened inside of it).
But alas, Project LBK Website Redesign is now complete! So what has this experience taught me?
- Make myself accountable for every project I begin as soon as possible. For non-client work, this step can be achieved by making a date with another freelancer to critique the work, or by getting on my developer’s calendar sooner (for projects that require her assistance).
- Pretend the fake deadlines I assign in my Outlook task list are real.
- Stop pushing back the deadlines for all items I don’t feel like doing (see #2!).
- Give myself treats for reaching certain milestones (treats can be a 5-minute break to shop online, a Starbucks run, a nap, whatever).
- Basically, treat myself like I would treat a client. I would NEVER ignore a client or her project for as long as I pushed my own to the bottom of my to-do list. And my business should be at least important to me as theirs are.