One of the struggles I face with running my own business is enjoying it too much.
Yeah, first world probs, right?
Let me back it up a little. Not every single part of being my own boss is all peachy keen. There are definitely days that feel like work. And I spend plenty of days wondering where my next paycheck is coming from.
There are many times that I find myself enjoying what I am doing, and immediately feel like I am not doing enough or working hard enough. Because I enjoy it. Or when I am spending way too much time on one project and start to feel guilty, as if I am neglecting some other less exciting—and therefore, more important—task.
When I type it out, I know that’s crazy. I’ve been programmed to think that unenjoyable work and long hours equal “real” work.
I was chatting with a friend the other day about this feeling and she had the smartest suggestion: to give myself a Performance Review.
So I immediately started scouring google for employee review templates. There were SO MANY!
With that in mind, I’ve created a review checklist and template for giving yourself a performance review as a business owner. Whether you work on your business part-time or full-time, a performance review will help you measure the areas where you excel, and improve the areas that need work (and help you focus on what's important and not feel guilty for the fun things that are improving your business!). At the bottom of this post is a link to the performance review worksheet.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare your review:
1. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals for your business.
You’ve heard of this, right? Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound goals. Think specifically about where you want to take your business, as well as time frames within which to achieve the results you are looking for. Also, keep it within reach, but reach high!
Stating some vague, over-reaching goal without having a plan of action in mind for actually achieving it misses the point. For example, I want to be a millionaire is not a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Try something like this instead:
I want to triple my my quarterly sales compared to the same quarter the year before.
This is one of my goals. I have a snapshot of my sales from last year, broken into monthly figures (side note: hire a bookkeeper!). With that, I know how many customers and wholesale accounts I had and I know how many I want to push for this year and this quarter. It also gives me an idea of how much money I can potentially make if I reach those quarterly goals. And? It lets me know if I should raise my prices.
With that type of goal in mind, I can track and evaluate how much effort I am putting into sales outreach and marketing (and track which types of marketing and outreach efforts convert targets into customers). So one of my categories to evaluate myself on might be Generation of new business leads.
If you are just starting out, maybe your goals are more branding oriented, or product development oriented.
2. Be as objective as possible without beating yourself up for not hitting every mark.
The point of this exercise is to find areas that indicate room for improvement. If you are a solo-preneur, you probably wear a lot of hats. Sometimes things fall through the cracks.
Be professional with yourself. Don’t dwell on the areas that fall behind. Do what you can to improve.
3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses so you know what type of help to bring in when you are able to do so.
As you build your experience and grow your business, you will be able to bring in help for the things that you either can’t get to or really freaking hate doing (yes, there are those things even when you are doing what you love).
Every time you are working on your projects, practice being very present in your work and notice the times when you feel energized by it, and the times when you feel completely overwhelmed and not into it. It’s okay to not love every single aspect of running your own business. When you can pinpoint the things you can outsource, it will help propel your business forward because you will be focusing on the things that you do the very best.
Visit the Worksheets Library to download today’s worksheet and give yourself a performance review. I’ve provided a few standard categories for measuring your performance and also a few blank categories for you to fill in yourself. I recommend giving yourself a review every quarter.
At the beginning of each review, make a list of your S.M.A.R.T. goals from the previous quarter, evaluate yourself on those goals, and then revise your S.M.A.R.T. goals for the next quarter based on the information you discovered in your review.