Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Serenity Tip: Patience

First, an expansion on yesterday's post on income goals:

Erik Sherman has a great post on when not to focus on monthly goals. His basic advice for finding serenity with your income is to look at the long haul:

Ultimately, the important thing is what you average over a quarter and, then, the year, and not every single month taken absolutely on its own. One reason is that it's difficult to turn around a significant amount that drops out of a month, as by the time you make the sale and start work, generally you will find your deadline into at least the next month. And if the amount is small, it's probably not worth diverting your attention from where your business is going overall.

What I love about Erik's suggestion here is that you need to have a balance between short-term cash flow and long-term goals.

This is where vision comes in. As you're growing your business, I've found it helpful to be mindful of both--but to focus on the latter. My mantra starting in about February of last year was "Focus on November."

What that meant was--sure, I could worry about my income this month. But if I wanted to really change my income picture in the long run, I needed to focus on increasing my income significantly in the next nine months. That meant changing my whole approach to work. I needed to privilege time working on marketing over some of my quick-paying but low-income assignments, and I needed to just hold tight and stomach the slow months.

And guess what happened? In November, my income doubled.

It was a gift. And I continue to be grateful for it. I show that gratitude by being a good steward of my cashflow by continuing that focus.

So if you're stressed about your income, and not meeting your income goals, try to practice patience. Income changes can come with glacial speed--and it may seem that way especially because your electric bill is due, like, today. But they will come, if you continue to do the work.

How do you practice patience? My best attempts include calling my fellow self-employed friends, being honest, meditating and exercising. You know, do the work and then practice the 1 percent rule.

No comments: