FORBES Council Feature: 7 Habits That Can Help Digital Entrepreneurs Be More Productive
Whether you’re selling a product or creating a new platform, being a successful digital entrepreneur takes hard work and dedication for your vision to succeed. Here are seven habits that have helped me become a more productive leader.
Learn from failure.
You’re going to hit failure at some point in your journey. It might be a contract that goes under or a serious complaint you have to deal with. Failure is an inevitable part of doing business. Rather than let it drag you down, step back and look at what happened. What can you learn from the experience? What can you change? How can you improve your process?
While we like to talk about our successes, failure is a part of digital marketing. Early on, I made the mistake of rushing projects without testing just to see a campaign launch to virtual silence. I took the lesson of testing campaigns, but then underestimated the time I’d need for revisions, only for projects to go late. Each time I made a mistake, I learned something new and improved myself. If I’d let myself get caught up in the mistakes, I would never have gotten to where I am now. I focused on what I wanted—to be a successful digital marketer—and kept pushing.
Know when to outsource.
No entrepreneur is an island. Even if your business is a one-person show, you’re not an expert in everything your business needs.
I brought on an assistant who excels in handling the administrative details of the business. Even in synergistic services, I’ve learned where I need to outsource. Bring on experts who excel in the areas you need help with.
In business, innovation comes in many forms. Innovation can be new technology or the creation of a better, more efficient programming language. Innovation can also be about work systems, creating new ways to do work, and engaging your workforce and customers.
Chances are when you start your business venture, you’re going to do what you already know. Don’t be complacent with that. Look at your processes and ask how you can improve things. If you have teammates, ask them what would help them accomplish more or make their jobs easier; ease brings efficiency. Take those answers and create a new way to operate.
Identify what works and do more.
While finding new systems and innovating is important, that doesn’t mean you toss away every old thing. Innovation doesn’t mean that you must constantly change. If something works, whether it is a new process or something tried and true, keep doing it. More than that, though, look at why it works and ask yourself: Can I build on this? Can you bring that thing that works to another aspect of your business? Is it something small you’re doing that you can do more of? How can you make what works do more for your business?
Processes and procedures aren’t the only places to look at what works. You also have to look at your relationships with clients. One of the hardest lessons I learned as an entrepreneur was when to let a client go. Study the red flags to indicate when you should refer a client to someone else. Remember that it’s not about “bad clients.” It’s about how you work and their expectations. I worked with one client who was wonderful, except she expected me to answer emails at late hours because she ignored the vast time zone difference between us. Let clients go that don’t mesh with you and focus on the clients whose expectations match your work.
Networking is the key to any business growth. Whether you’re looking for clients, employees, services or vendors, you’ll save time, aggravation and money if you have a strong network. Modern networking, however, is not just about attending luncheons and trade shows to exchange business cards. Use LinkedIn to build your business profile and connect with the kinds of professionals that will help you build leads and solid relationships.
At the same time, don’t ignore other social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram and now TikTok are key to reaching consumers and building your brand. Create a solid social media image, create a posting schedule, and take time to respond to others’ posts. Don’t treat your social media accounts like an advertising platform. Engage people and use these sites as another networking platform.
Take breaks to avoid burnout.
No matter how much you love your job, you need time for yourself. Even if your job is making money from a beloved hobby, you’re still doing work. For your health and well-being, it’s crucial that you give yourself days where you ignore work (including social media) and focus on yourself, family and friends. You’ll notice your stress levels decrease and your productivity increase as you give your mind and body time to reset.
Stay current on industry news.
Being successful means staying current with industry news. Find a few reliable industry sites that report regularly on events and trends.
Find sites that cite experts in their news pieces and don’t just rely on a press release.
Find sites that utilize experts in the field to regularly share their knowledge and experience.
Look for sites with a good reputation for reporting in your industry.
It’s good to follow social media, but don’t rely on sites that use social media as a primary source for industry news.
I have found a few bloggers over the years whose expertise has helped me excel and whose opinions I trust. I follow digital influencers to stay on top of what’s trending in the industry and receive a daily newsletter in my inbox and browse it first thing in the morning (choose one that lets you select industries that interest you so the news is relevant as well as current).
You’re embarking on a wonderful career. The digital world is growing by leaps. In this space, you have your success in your hands. I took on these habits to help me succeed as a digital marketer. Where will you go from here?