A Safety Net For Your Independent Consulting BusinessFeb 18, 2022
A Big Mistake I Made Running My Business
A few weeks ago, I realized I had made several BIG mistakes running my business.
They were mistakes I made back around the holidays and early Jan.
And, I was just realizing I'd made the mistakes a month+ later.
I was horrified.
I had ignored two separate emails from people asking me to set up time so we could discuss working together.
I hadn't responded.
For 6 weeks in one case.
And 4 weeks in another.
I was so embarrassed.
The Unproductive Questions I Asked Myself About The Mistake
I started criticizing myself, asking "how could I have dropped the ball during the holidays and in the weeks after returning to work?"
I asked, "how could I have made that mistake and let them down at a time they were reaching out for help?"
But, these questions weren't useful.
They led me to a lot of answers about how I was doing everything "wrong."
The Productive Question I Then Asked Myself Instead
I shifted this to ask myself "what can I do to give myself a safety net to avoid these types of mistakes going forward?"
This higher-quality question unlocked a powerful answer.
So, What Is the Safety Net For Your Independent Consulting Business?
I needed to refresh my business operating policies.
You're probably asking - what are business operating policies? They're the standard operating procedures, safety nets and guardrails that you use to run your business.
Why Are the Safety Nets Necessary?
And, why are they necessary?
- They help you avoid mistakes (like I made).
- They help you avoid having to decide what to do every time a recurring situation comes up.
- They'll help you avoid the mental drain and time-suck of deciding, re-deciding and then re-deciding again that is so common for us as business owners.
Example Consulting Business Operating Policies
Here are some examples of operating policies for you to define:
- When I’m on vacation, my communication policy is to ___________
- I set an out-of-office reply when ________________ (as a side note, I realized I haven't set an out-of-office response up in the almost 10 years after I left corporate. I've since added this as a step in my operating policies.)
- When I return from vacation, my process is to ________________
- My follow-up process after a networking conversation is _____________
- I let myself feel disappointment/regret for _________ and then I agree to acknowledge I'm a business owner who makes mistakes and to move past this one.
- I begin discussions with my clients about follow-on work when I'm ___% completed with the current engagement
To Put This Into Practice In Your Consulting Business
Go put these processes in place for you and your business so you can avoid making the easy-to-avoid mistakes in running your business and also protect your mental energy.
Write out your business operating handbook.
Start with answering the questions I shared with you above.
Then, listen to Episode 049 of the podcast where I share more on Establishing Your Consulting Guardrails.
And to take this to a deeper level
Let's work together 1:1 to transform you from a contractor-consultant into a consulting business owner so that you make more money, make more impact and have more flexibility and freedom for yourself.
To determine if that's a mutual good fit, book a call with me by clicking here.