Attitude: A settled way of thinking or feeling, typically reflected in a person’s behavior.
We all know the phrase, “He/she has an attitude!” But we usually think of it in a derogatory or sarcastic sense. We don’t think of attitude as something positive and necessary to be successful in business, and in life.
Many people enter in to the world of entrepreneurship, be it freelancing, virtual assistance, internet marketing, or sales, with the mindset that they will only work when they want to, that it takes little time or effort to be in business for yourself, and that they don’t have or need a boss. And let’s not forget the classic, ‘I will surely get rich quick’.
Attitudes like this, especially at the beginning of a business venture, are sure to destine the new entrepreneur to failure and disillusion pretty quickly.
Time for (what I call) some “attitude adjustments”:
“I will only work when I want to”
“I will have a schedule and routine that gives me flexibility”
While it is true when you are in business for yourself you can set your own schedule, you also need to keep that schedule steady and consistent. Your clients and customers need to know they can count on you and that you are available when you say you will be. If they can’t depend on you to complete the work and deliver on time, they aren’t going to stick around long and you won’t be in business very long either.
Set up your work day/week schedules to meet your preference when you start up your business and stick to it. If your chosen schedule has you working on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between the hours of 9AM and 4PM for example, then be in your workspace at those times prepared and available for business matters. Allow extra time outside of this schedule as well for projects that will take more time to complete, rush jobs, and the day-to-day administrative matters of running your business.
Of course you are entitled to days off and vacation, but these should be scheduled if at all possible, and relayed to your clients and customers in advance. They will also appreciate if you arrange for alternate coverage of their projects in your absence.
“I don’t have a boss”
“I am the boss”
Get it out of your mind from the get go that you don’t have a boss, because you do. Your boss is YOU. And what do bosses do? They ensure that the work at hand gets accomplished completely, accurately, and on time. They also coordinate new business, manage the finances, and settle disputes. Big shoes to fill.
No one said it was easy to be your own boss. It certainly isn’t. You have to constantly resist the temptation to slack off or cut corners because, after all, who is going come around behind you to catch this stuff. Well, you are. Or at least you should be.
Prepare a plan. Properly schedule the work. Follow through. Complete and deliver all projects to your client’s satisfaction. And audit yourself periodically to see that you are on track. Check that the systems and procedures you developed in your business plan are being met. Make changes where you need to in your business and in yourself. You deserve a good, reliable, and proactive boss.
“I will get rich quick”
“I will steadily grow my earnings”
Unless you win the lottery or have a rich uncle that leaves you a fortune, you are not going to get rich quick with any kind of business. Building a business and gaining a following takes a lot of time and effort.
Keep your financial expectations reasonable and in line with your business model and it’s earning potential. Continually look at ways to increase your business and its income, perhaps by offering new products and services from time to time, to help it grow. At the same time retire those products and services that aren’t generating any revenues.
Set goals and milestones for yourself and your business, and let it and your earnings grow progressively and naturally. Offer and deliver quality products and services to your customers and they will come back for more, and maybe even send a referral or two your way.
A good and positive attitude does not guarantee success, but a bad or negative attitude will almost certainly lead to failure. Do whatever you can to ensure your attitude is as good and positive as it can be. Take time here and there to step back and review how you feel about your business, the work, and your clients. Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. A slight “attitude adjustment” may be needed from time to time.
Remember too that word-of-mouth advertising is powerful, and your clients and customers will sing your faults just as easily as they will sing your praises. The more positivity you project, the more positivity that will come back to you.
And one more thing to keep in mind, when something goes wrong a positive attitude will help you more easily admit it, want to find out why and how it happened, and fix it.