Have you heard of Ali Brown? Maybe I'm the only one on the planet who had absolutely no idea of who she was until this weekend. I caught wind of a virtual conference where she was one of the keynote speakers. Inspiring is an understatement. She had so many nuggets, I kept hitting the rewind button. What was suppose to be only an hour took me several as I listened to her millionaire making advice that was as simple as going to the frig and getting some water.
What rang true for me was not to build your life around your business; but rather, to build your business around your life. As entrepreneurs our most precious commodity is time. Isn't that why we, as entrepreneurs went into business in the first place? We wanted say-so over our time: how we spent it and what we chose to spend it on.
I can't speak for you. But me? This notion that we have to work ourselves into exhaustion and sacrifice what's most important to us is more counterproductive than productive. I want to work smart, not hard. Working smart is how I choose to work.
What do you want?
In order to run your business, you have to be clear about what you want. It's only in the clarity of it that you will hold yourself and others accountable to it. If you are not clear, you'll choose frenzy over freedom. You'll see something as needing to be done right now even when it truly can wait. When you are clear, you figure out how your business can support you. This might require that you do business differently. For me, quality time with my new husband is valuable to me. I am clear about that. This has meant a shift in the way I do business. Wednesday is our together day. This means, I do no work on Wednesdays unless it is working towards a great relationship and marriage. Has it been challenged? Yes! There have been deadlines that have conflicted from time to time. However, the way I've retooled my business is remedying that. I'm proof positive that you can anticipate and organize your business in a way that serves you and boosts your productivity.
How can you use your business to support it?
Exit being the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) business owner. Enter hiring someone to help. One of the best decisions I made was to hire some help. When I heard Ali talk about how important that was, it was confirmation that I was on the right track for sure. Some folks might argue that they can't afford to get help. Ali argues--and I strongly concur-- you can't afford not to. In order to build a profitable business, you have to delegate. You have to outsource.
There are ways to make it happen that don't cost an arm, a leg and a kidney. Ali reasoned that her consulting rate of $100/hour would allow for her to pay someone $20/hour for a couple of hours. She didn't say this, but I took out my mental calculator to prove her right. If she had 3 clients who utilize her for a combined 18 hours per week. Her gross would be $1800. Securing part-time help at $20/hour (subcontracted so she wouldn't have to pay benefits or payroll taxes) for say 10-15 hours per week to do light bookkeeping, run errands and perform administrative clerical tasks would only cost her $200-$300 per week. That isn't but somewhere around 11-17%. The interest on credit cards is more than that!
The benefits far outweigh the costs. These rank high up there:
- Autonomy. More time to focus on what's meaningful.
- Peace of mind from knowing that, though a nuisance, the necessary things in life are getting taken care of
- Increased productivity. With more time to focus on marketing, she could strengthen her brand and attract more clients into her pipeline.
- Most of all, you are back to running your business. You're back where you belong - at the helm.
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