Having launched and grown a successful photography business of his own, Michael Christman later served as vice president of sales at the national photography company Lifetouch. Today, he uses his experience to counsel entrepreneurs on performance and business management.
Here are eight of Christman’s lessons for growing a business that doesn’t take over your life. Because there’s no point in finding entrepreneurial success if you have to sacrifice everything else.
1. Don’t feed the monkeys. Self-doubt is like a drunken monkey sitting on your shoulder, telling you all the things that could go wrong every time you venture out of your comfort zone. Don’t indulge those feelings.
2. See with your eyes closed. Close your eyes and picture your ideal future. Feel the joy and satisfaction. Taste it. Soak it up. Now open your eyes and get back to work. This vision will fuel your motivation to reach the next milestone.
3. Get back to simple. Concentrate intently on one thing at a time. This is difficult in a society where we’re constantly bombarded with information. But focus and simplicity are what keep us on course.
4. Deal with the right now. Ask yourself, What are most important things I need to do right now to make my dreams come to fruition? Then spend your energy on those things.
5. Put your time in a lockbox. Block some time that is untouchable, and use it to focus on the things that make the most relevant progress toward your mission. Everything else on your to-do list gets processed outside of that time.
6. Work on one thing at a time. What is the one thing you can do to make everything easier? Answer that question, and work on that one thing.
7. Play dominos. One domino will knock down another domino that is 50 percent larger than itself, and that one will knock down another domino 50 percent larger, and so on. If you can identify your next domino, and you can accomplish your tasks in sequence based on priority, then you’ll find yourself knocking down bigger and bigger tasks as you proceed.
8. Be specific. Be focused about where you’re heading and what’s going to take you there. Be honest about what’s holding you back. If you can identify these elements, then you’re already on your way.
Jeff Kent is editor-at-large of Professional Photographer.