There are two types of people working to create an independent income:
The busy solopreneur, always busy yet struggling to make money
The productive solopreneur, strategic with their time, who focus on doing What's Important Now (W.I.N.) and who enjoy a successful business that makes them money.
Which are you?
Each of these has common characteristics or habits which can be simply overcome or changed with practice.
Let's start with the Busy Solopreneur...
The Busy Solopreneur
The busy creator has a tendency to become overwhelmed with too many priorities, which often leads to them multi-tasking (something that has been proven not to work). They are easily distracted by shiny objects and requests, viewing them as opportunities rather than seeing them for the hindrances that they really are. This leads to them saying yes far too often and to the wrong things because they then don't have the time or space for the things that they should be saying yes to.
The busy entrepreneur is not strategic - they will often act on impulse, they don't invest the time to think strategically and plan their day so that they do the most important things. This often leads to them getting lost in the details of something, and taking on responsibilities that they shouldn't.
When it comes to schedules and time management, the busy entrepreneur is usually one of two extremes - toiling all day without a minute to spare because their schedule is so full, or they have no schedule and jump about getting easily distracted, especially by their smart phone and social media.
They are also prone to self sabotage, procrastinating and avoiding doing the important things, telling themselves that they need to work on things like branding, or social media, or a new product, avoiding doing what brings in the revenue - selling.
This self-sabotage can be for many reasons - fear, lack of a long term strategy and vision, overwhelm, self-doubt, lack of clarity, not understanding the foundational principles of business and some basic numbers and KPIs.
The Productive Solopreneur
In contrast, the productive creator ensures that they have a good grasp of the fundamental principles of creating an independent income and running a business. They know what's important, they know and understand their numbers, and because of this they are able to recognise and create genuine opportunities, balancing the short term needs with mid to long term needs.
Further, they know how and when to say no so that they only have a few priorities. They make sure that the few things they do say yes to are aligned with their priorities.
To be able to do this, they ensure that they have thinking and planning time. They have a strategy, and they regularly review it to ensure that it is still taking them in the right direction, that it supports their reason Why. This ensures that they have a doable plan, with reasonable timelines, and the big goals broken down into smaller, achievable stair steps.
They don't get caught up in the myth of multi-tasking, instead focusing on one thing at a time, making a plan before starting work and eliminating all of the unnecessary tasks that don't support their goals or create leverage. To do this they focus on the big picture of where they want to be, using a tool like the Flourish GPS to keep them on track.
That means that they aren't bogged down with needless responsibilities that sap their energy and they are more easily able to say no to all distractions.
Most importantly, they grasp the importance of always creating value and making an offer.
How Do You Go From Busy To Productive?
First of all, it's important to recognise that you might have a mix of the traits - we all have different combinations of strengths and weaknesses. In some ways you behave productively and then in others you get lost in the busy work.
No matter where you fall on the scale of busy vs productive solopreneur, there are some very simple tools and techniques that you can use and practice.
You are not suddenly going to change overnight, but with diligence and using tools like the Flourish GPS then you will more easily stay on track, become more productive and ensure that you are always doing the most important, the What's Important Now (W.I.N.) things that add to your business whilst taking you towards achieving your goals and creating the life you desire.
This starts with knowing your Why and where you actually want to be, so that you have a North Star to guide and inspire you.
Then you get clear on your values set your Bright Lines. there is no point in doing all the hard work that it takes to create a sustainable and good independent income if you are creating a monster that you will eventually come to hate.
"If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster."
From here you can then develop your strategy which will guide you in what you say yes and no to, what you do each and every day.
When you work with a system of daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly checkins and reviews so that you don't lose sight of W.I.N., you can more easily stop yourself getting distracted and stick to the most highly leveraged things in your business, like making offers!
From here you can experiment and test the different productivity methods. They all work, but they won't all work for you, the constraints of your life and the way your brain is wired.