A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.
For many people, entrepreneurship doesn't mean building the next billion-dollar company; it means independence, the freedom to chart their own course. Nina Interlandi Bell quit her job as creative director of a packaging company in order to run Tweedle Press, a custom letterpress print business in Chicago, and make her own schedule.
She soon realized that running the company with her husband as a two-person operation created more balance in her life than when she let part-timers pitch in to grow the business. "Those employees provided lots of great help, but we like the flexibility that comes with having to answer only to ourselves," Bell says. "We can make changes to our schedules and for the most part do what we want to do without having to notify anyone as things come up. It's easier to keep control of your schedule and your life if you just stay small." More: 7 Reasons Why Bigger Isn't Always Better for Your Startup
Don't break the productivity chain.
In terms of both financial success and critical acclaim, Jerry Seinfeld is one the most successful comedians, writers and actors ever. One of his simple tips for success as a comic is to hang up a wall calendar that displays an entire year on one page and then to cross off each day that you do some writing. That, as Seinfeld explained it, creates a "chain" of productivity as you cross of a bunch of days in a row, and your job is not to break the chain, says James Clear, an entrepreneur, weightlifter and photographer who writes about how to improve your work and health. While writing might be the crucial daily task of a comic, business owners have similar tasks of their own. Just don't set an unsustainable daily goal for yourself, says Clear. "You need to pick a task that is meaningful enough to make a difference, but simple enough that you can get it done." More: How the 'Seinfeld Strategy' Can Help You Stop Procrastinating
To boost your creativity, step away from the office.
It's a mug's game to try to be creative day in and day out while chained to a desk in a structured office environment. "Creativity is not found in the organized and logical part of your left-brain," says Lindsay Broder, a professional coach in New York City. "While it's instinctive for the driven professional to look for ingenuity there, creativity actually lives in the chaotic, messy and unorganized side of your right-brain. And so does inspiration." When you notice your ideas running out, that is when you should take some time off from organized work and structure and see what comes of a little chaos. More: 5 Reasons to Make Time for Yourself Right Now
Don't let your staff download from unknown sites.
Downloading from websites you don't know and trust is a good way to allow hackers into your system. But while you might know enough not to do it, your staff could be another story, says Matthew Toren, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. Create a downloading policy for your company and make sure employees follow it. "People are more apt to take chances on your equipment than their own," Toren says. "Consider investing in network software that won’t allow them the admin permissions to do it." After all, it won't be as costly as trying to recover from a hack attack. More: 5 No-Brainer Tips to Avoid Getting Hacked
If you must call a client, call -- no matter how late at night.
Even in a day and age when the line between personal life and professional life has grown blurry for many people, it's still considered bad form to call a client after working hours. However, " in which a customer would prefer, or expect, you to call -- even if it’s midnight," says Jacqueline Whitemore, an etiquette coach and the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011). " In these cases, in order to avoid a catastrophe, pick up the phone." Similarly, if not calling would mean missing a deadline, then call. But don't abuse the privilege, even if you have a client's cell phone number. Otherwise you may endanger your business relationship. More: After-Hour Client Calls: How Late Is Too Late?