When you run your own business or are self-employed, one of the most challenging aspects of your day will be the balancing act between short term and long term activities. Focusing solely on one will be at the detriment of the other, and you need to think about your needs, goals and desires along the way to ensure you make the right choices.
Short term activities are those that you receive a direct and immediate profit from. For example, as an SEO web content writer, completing a deadline project for a client would lead immediately to receiving a payment for that job. It might have indirect long term benefits, such as keeping a happy client coming back for more, or bringing in referrals through that client, but by and large, it’s a direct, one-time payoff.
Long term activities are those that you complete in order to further your positioning and standing. It could be anything from building a website to give yourself an online presence, to marketing that website through social networking, attending tradeshows or conferences, or anything else. You aren’t “getting paid” for anything you’re doing, but you’re investing time and energy into future gain.
Of course, all businesses invest energy into establishing position, promoting and marketing themselves, and more. When you’re self-employed though, or run your own small business, it’s a harder commitment to make.
It’s not as easy as dedicating a few employees, their salaries and the financial resources they need to a long term goal. When you’re on your own, you have bills to pay and expenses to meet, and you need to stay afloat. In these circumstances, it can be easy to completely put those long term goals and aspirations aside and focus on what you can do right now to help the bottom line.
It’s a fine line to walk, and in order to be as successful as possible, in every measureable way, a delicate balance needs to be reached. It’s not as easy as saying you’ll put half your time into long term activities, or 10 hours per week, for example.
Specifically, you have to focus on satisfying your immediate needs, in terms of bringing in revenue and paying jobs in the short term. Once you do that, you can shift your focus outward and upward, and plan for the future, and go back and forth from there. Just be sure not to get stuck in the present alone, and find a way to keep striving for grander and loftier goals and accomplishments.
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