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Small Business Tips

How Self-Employed Workers Keep Up with the News

Dayna Steele
thoughtful businesswoman with laptop at desk

You can’t keep up with trends, opportunities, competition, even potential problems if you are not a frequent consumer of news. How regular? All day, every day.  

Life and success move at breakneck speed these days, and you can’t afford to miss a thing. It sounds a bit daunting and massively time-consuming, but with some organization and a few apps, you have got this news thing covered.

Starting your day

Things may have happened overnight that you need to know about before you do or say or post anything each morning. Before you start answering emails and calls or posting on social media, make it a daily habit of being as informed as possible.  

Whether it’s over a relaxed breakfast or while you are rushing to get ready or during your commute to work, make it a habit to watch or listen to a pass of a live unbiased newscast (not opinion) every single day before you start work. Sources I have found to be reliable include the Associated Press, Reuters, and The Wall Street Journal. Use this time to also do a pass of your company’s overnight social media activity.

News throughout the day

Keep an unbiased news app (again, not opinion) on your phone and set your notifications for breaking news. I keep the Associated Press on my phone just for this and the local ABC affiliate app as well for local breaking news (again not opinion but real news). And if there is a news source specifically for your industry, add that app and those notifications as well. Don’t wait to hear what is happening later from others – or – from your competitors.  

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Social media throughout the day

If there is an issue with something, odds are these days a customer or potential customer will post online before contacting your company. Problems and issues will pop up first on social media. And those aforementioned competitors? Follow their accounts, as well.

Set a schedule for you (or someone else or several others if you have the bodies) to periodically check your company’s social media accounts. Setting a routine or assigning a specific team to check social media will prevent you from being sucked into this time vampire and losing precious hours in the day.

End of day

KISS Rockstar Gene Simmons, investor guru Warren Buffett, and many other über-successful entrepreneurs often attribute their success to reading—reading everything they can get their hands on. These folks not only keep up with the news and social media, they voraciously read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, and every section of a newspaper—whether they are interested in the subject or not,

Okay, you get the idea. Make time at the end of each day, workday or end of the evening, to read for at least thirty minutes. It is fitting for your brain, it is relaxing, and you might have an “a-ha” moment from something you read.

Bonus tip – listen to a podcast

This medium is a new one for me, but I have started to make time each week to listen to at least one podcast. On Saturday or Sunday morning, I try to take a long walk (without the dogs, no distractions) and listen to something that educates or entertains me. The latest I have become addicted to is Invisibilia from NPR: Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.  

Not sure where to start? Ask your friends and social media network what they are listening to these days. I promise you will get lots of ideas.  

I don’t have time for all of this

Well, make time. Your success depends on it.

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