Are you finding it tough to keep yourself accountable?

Written by Lifestyle Tradie, Trade Business Coach, Alex Henderson.

Hey there tradies and partners; I wanted to take the time to address a problem I see creeping up time and time again: accountability. 

As business owners, we’re good at managing other people — we set them tasks with deadlines, budgets, and expectations of the final product. We do this across our entire team to keep our businesses operating at a high level. And we’re great at putting our customers first and delivering a solid service.

Yet, in our lives, when we put essential business development tasks on the to-do list, they are often left uncompleted.

I often use the gym metaphor; “you can buy a gym membership, but that doesn’t get you ripped.  You have to show up consistently and put in the effort to get fit.” 

I meet so many tradies with the very best intentions of growing their business, yet they find themselves stuck in the day-to-day doing the trade, and their business goes unloved.

So here are my TOP 3 ways to hold yourself accountable and get yourself back on track.

1. Goals 

You need to have clear goals so that you know what you should be spending your time on. If it’s a big goal, break it down into smaller ones. And be specific. “Work on Marketing” is not a clear goal.  ‘Get 20 new customers by the end of the quarter’ is much better.

Then dig deeper, and break it down into bite-sized tasks and how you will achieve this.   E.g. define your Avatar, research lead generation strategies, survey clients that have purchased from us before, decide on the platform(s), create content/copy, etc..

Having a specific desired outcome (20 new customers) and a time limit (end of the quarter) helps make the goal specific and measurable.

2. Schedule it! 

Lock it in, Eddie. Now that you’ve identified your goal/s, you need to manage your time. Working “on” the business is essential but often not urgent.  Without it being scheduled, it often falls into the “I’ll do it when I have spare time” category… And then the days become weeks, and the weeks become months, and you still haven’t achieved your goals. You need to make it a priority. 

If accountability is something that you’re struggling with, I suggest that you start by booking two hours a week into your calendar to achieve your business goals. This is even more important if you’re still on the tools full time and not often in the office. Maybe you start late on a Tuesday from now on?  Or if you have an apprentice who goes to TAFE, pick that day. Just like having a regular appointment with a Personal Trainer, regular, consistent action will get you the results that you want.

It’s time to put yourself first and make your business the priority. Be as rigid as possible and stick to the new schedule. And turn your phone off, no emails or Facebook or distractions!  Head down tail up!

3. Dress for the job you want

This one may seem funny, but I swear it works! 

I found that if I was in my KingGee’s and work boots, I was too easily tempted to get on the tools and lend a hand. “Oh, I’ll just do it myself”. It solves the small immediate problem in the short term but is not a sustainable long term solution.  

On the flip side, if I dressed more white-collar and arrived to work with the business owner’s mindset, it removed the temptation to get my hands dirty and kept me focused on the business tasks. 

Do you see yourself as a tradesman who’s in business or a business owner who runs a company? Once I acknowledged that I was a business owner in the cabinet-making industry (and not the other way around), my mindset shifted, and I was better at focusing my effort and attention on where it should be as a business owner. If you see yourself as a tradesman first, naturally, that’s where you’ll focus your attention.

Changing my mindset changed my approach and my ability to keep myself accountable. Small tweaks like this can make a real difference to your business and your life. 

It’s time to move tasks from the important but not urgent segment and make them a priority or they’ll be left uncompleted forever…


Written by Alex Henderson
Lifestyle Tradie, Trade Business Coach