Those of you who have done it, or are working on making it happen, can attest to this statement: there is a vital mindset shift when you leave corporate life (or any 9-5) and become an entrepreneur. What’s very important is to be aware of productivity tips for starting an online business… because they will help you achieve your goals.
After my Covid layoff in May of 2020, I had to embrace the mindset shift. I thought I did it immediately but looking back it was a process.
And as far as being productive? It’s a whole different ball game outside corporate life and while you’re building a business online. It is a life of imperfect action.
The FreeAt50 Backstory: Mindset Shift from Corporate to Not
Here’s some of my backstory, to provide perspective and assure you my tips, crafted through hands-on experience in my journey online, will get you in the mindset as you continue through this article.
I’m a GenX-er, significant because it is causal in my mindset and approach to productivity. Think about it:
- I was part of a generation filled with parental divorce (that’s a fact, the numbers show higher rates than all previous generational categories). And since it resulted in more single parents working, it created the phenomenon of the “latchkey” kids, locking themselves in after school and fending for themselves for a few hours.
- My formative years happened during the creation and evolution of the 24-hour news cycle.
- The space shuttle explosion was something we watched on live TV.
- I travelled by air before 9/11/2001 and watched from my office as two airplanes slammed into the World Trade Center.
- I was brought up knowing this was the checklist: go to college, get an internship (work for free!) to prove yourself, get a job, pay taxes, and always look forward to the next step, next raise, next title. Be the first in, last out; earn it. It was normal…I believed 9-5 life is THE normal.
I did that last thing for 30 years, aged 19-49.
Then the “Covid layoff” happened. To the surprise of some, I was actually excited when I disconnected off that Zoom call where I was told my job was being eliminated due to Covid budget constraints. I could go forward in a life of owning my time by becoming an entrepreneur.
And then I had to shift my mindset.
Productivity Tips For Starting An Online Business
In corporate life, productivity is often measured. I’m not saying you don’t include measurements in entrepreneur life, but to me, it’s different.
First off, you get the ability to determine what you measure. You have the flexibility to create or adopt systems that make sense for you and your business.
Whatever you decide, measuring the impact of your work, your processes, and your effort is important so do not ignore that.
However, know that there are definite steps I’ve followed on the process and continue to use as I work towards earning income as a blogger.
Here are my top five productivity tips for starting an online business:
1. Know Your Finances, Assess and Organize Them, End the Fear of Risk and Then Focus On Building Your Business
My first tip of the top five productivity tips for starting an online business is focused on money and personal finances.
Set money aside, if you haven’t started already, and do not touch it! This is to ensure you have an emergency fund.
Something I did immediately was to figure out how much money I actually had access to (I say this because I’m including investments and “retirement” accounts). Do this first.
Next, I got a true picture of my expenses. Do this as well! And be honest with yourself on your expenses. What are “wants” vs. “needs” and what can you live without to ensure you’re covered for at least a year without an income?
Make sure you work with someone well-versed in finance.
Having someone guide you through putting your finances together to meet your needs is priceless.
A financial advisor or even a CPA, (preferably both!) will be assets on your journey.
What does all of this have to do with productivity?
Simply put, not constantly worrying over money will increase your flow and productivity as it decreases your stress.
2. Work With A Coach For Whatever Stage Of Need You Are In With Your Business Or Mindset (or Both)
Next on my list of productivity tips for starting an online business is this: don’t be afraid to seek help!
One of my bad habits is interrupting myself. Shiny objects lure me away and then POOF! Idea, task, whatever… forgotten.
In corporate life, consultants were a thing. Executive coaches were people I’d heard of, but often they were only paid to support the C-suite, right?
Also pretty common in the 9-5 environment: saying yes and then figuring out how to get something done. Asking for help can sometimes be seen as a sign of weakness depending on the company and the people working there.
If you are going to be productive as an entrepreneur, you need to get rid of both of these things:
- Shiny objects
- Any hesitancy in asking for help
There may be a fear of investing in a coach, but budgeting for one (as well as technology, courses, and any other needs to help you grow your business) is important as you assess your finances.
Coaches can be vital for eliminating both. In fact, I believe in it so strongly, I’ve even created a whole category for it on my blog and highlighted it in my first-year blogger learnings for the Encouraging Blogger Award article published on the FreeA50 blog. Side note: I nominated Margaret for this award!
| RELATED: Top Reasons To Hire A Blog Coach
3. Build Your Community With People Who Can Foster Productivity
One of the most important productivity tips for online businesses and bloggers is this: community is extremely important!
My community comes two-fold:
- Individuals I can connect with by messaging, phone call, Zoom or live.
- Online in Facebook groups including Margaret’s The Blog it Better Society and my Ditching the 9-5 group.
Almost every post I write sharing resources identifies people as a resource.
Have you ever hung up a call and been excited to do something new? Left a seminar and were motivated to finish something you were stuck on? We all have.
There are people in your life (and you know who they are) who feed your creative energy, reel you in when necessary, and offer a new perspective.
When you are stuck, building your business alone, call that person in your life who can un-stick you.
Online there are all kinds of articles and resources, but do you use Facebook groups?
Actively joining groups that focus on productivity, accountability, and support for the aspects of your business you are learning or need to focus on will do wonders for your success.
Once you’re logged into Facebook, click on the “groups” icon, and start searching! Facebook will help you along.
As you are active in certain groups, like one focused on productivity, for example, it will recommend similar groups.
PRO TIP: Start building a network of blogger friends. Remember to make a great first impression by using proper business etiquette when working with them!
| READ MORE: How To Grow Your Blog Or Business Using Facebook Groups
4. Write Everything Down: Tracking, Brain-dumping And More
Probably one of the most important productivity tips for starting an online business is to write down ideas, plans and goals.
It doesn’t matter if you use pen and paper, a planner, or something online. When Margaret and I discussed goal setting in my Facebook group, she suggested printing off your goal[s] and even a timeline. This is not only important for setting goals (to actually achieve them!) but for productivity.
What types of things should you write down?
- Goals of course! (Tracking your progress can be a motivator!)
- Ideas (remember how hotels used to have a pen and paper next to the bed for business travelers? I suggest you do the same now! iPad, iPhone, paper- whatever works)
- Deadlines, account renewals, and important dates (Don’t miss anything by forgetting about it)
- Processes and plans (checklists are a great example of this)
- Dates that work with promoting your business or your niche (if you’re a food writer, plan recipes around holiday celebrations; if you’re a fashion blogger, be sure to have Fashion Week content organized and scheduled)
And of course, don’t forget to brain-dump if you start to feel overwhelmed.
It’s a tried-and-true strategy to improve productivity by getting everything out of your head and onto paper so you can organize, plan, and resolve questions and struggles.
| RELATED: How To Get Your Blog Or Business Organized And Productive
5. Find The Best Time And Space To Foster Your Productivity
For some being productive in the morning is the best. For others, it’s the afternoon.
Stop for a moment and think about where you’ve been most productive. And when.
Is it in the morning on your balcony when the sun is rising?
Is it in your home office after everyone is asleep, where you have pictures of your family on your desk and a lamp emanating soft yellow light?
Is it at your favorite coffee shop when the morning rush has slowed?
Run with that. Any and all of it.
For me, sometimes a change of scenery is necessary to get in the flow and other times, it could be as simple as diffusing oils or opening a window for fresh air. I started writing this post on a picnic bench near the river. The sound of the water in the wind got me started.
The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that not only do you own your time, but you can control your environment and get your productivity flowing!
| RELATED: 5 Work From Home Tips For Better Productivity And Getting Things Done
Productivity Tips For Online Businesses: Get Productive By Making It A Priority
You got this. Grab a piece of paper, screenshot these steps, and bookmark this article full of productivity tips for online businesses!
Being productive is attainable if you take the right steps to make it happen. It all comes down to you and your will to succeed.
| RELATED: How To Be Productive And Successful As a Mom And A Blogger
QUESTION: What are your productivity tips for starting an online business? What has worked for you to help you achieve your goals?