When most people launch their businesses, they don’t start it so they can work more. Yet, that’s exactly what they do. They move from their corporate jobs to their businesses with the hopes that they are going to have all of this time on their hands to do the things they enjoy.
Yet, they don’t find extra time in their schedules. They just find more things to do and end up working more hours. But that was never their initial intention.
Why does this happen?
It happens because, unfortunately, business owners and even sales professionals either don’t take the time or aren’t sure what to do to create the freedom in the business that they had hoped to enjoy. It seems as if we are trained to work eight hours at our desk every day whether those hours are productive or not. I heard a statistic once that most people in the corporate world only have two hours of productive work every day due to all of their interruptions.
So, if that theory is true, maybe we could only work two productive hours every day and get some pretty phenomenal results. Think about it! How many of your working hours are actually productive?
I have found in my own business that when I delegate more, lead more and work less hours, my company is actually more successful financially. In the beginning, it wasn’t that way for me, either. I worked more than I did when I was in the corporate world and I had zero boundaries around protecting my time. The big turning point for me was having our son, Lucca. He was the catalyst that forced me to look at how I was spending my time (not wisely), what was important to me, and what I needed to change.
Today, I feel in control of my schedule, my time and my destiny. Is it always perfect? No. There are still weeks that I work a little more than I want to, but I still feel that I have a choice in the matter. One of my clients once said that she noticed how many things I said no to and how tightly I kept my coaching schedule. I didn’t lengthen my appointments if someone was late. I held tight to the original appointment times. I rarely take coffee and lunch meetings because most of my appointments are by the telephone so I can manage my schedule.
At a minimum, I would encourage you to take the steps below, which should have you playing more and working less in no time! Also, if you’d like to pick up a great book on time management, I still love Tim Ferriss’s “The 4-Hour Workweek.” He will inspire you with some really creative ways to get things done faster.
Seven Steps to Create More Freedom
1. Stretch Goal: First and foremost, get clear on your sales stretch goal. Why is this important? It’s important because money leads to freedom. The more money you have in your bank account, the more people you can hire and the more support you can invest in for YOU. Most business owners and sales professionals keep struggling because they never create a sales stretch goal and therefore, they never bring in enough money to create the support they really desire.
2. Intentional Schedule: Second, create an intentional schedule that easily moves you toward your sales stretch goal. You’ve probably heard me harp on this before, but it’s essential to reaching your goals. I find that my clients who create and then follow an intentional schedule reach their sales goals much faster and with less stress and effort.
3. Dream Team: As I mentioned above, once you begin to reach your sales stretch goal, then you can afford to hire the support you really need. I was just talking with a client about this yesterday and we were debating who she should hire—the person who costs less but requires more training or the person who can hit the ground running? Always hire the person who can hit the ground running and then figure out how to pay them, even if you have to get a little creative in the beginning.
4. Delegate: Getting things off your plate is a major step in creating freedom for yourself. Keep a to-do list of all of the things that need to get completed and then figure out who you can delegate that task to. Then, also determine if it’s a task that needs to turn into a system, so you don’t have to keep delegating it. I heard someone once say, “Do it, delegate it or delete it,” and I follow that rule myself every day!
5. Say No: This seems self-explanatory, but it’s one of the major complaints I hear often from my clients: “I say yes to too many things.” Staying busy means you don’t see yourself and your business as a top priority. Shift that perspective. Put yourself and your business first and it will be much easier to say no. Plus, you could also ask yourself, “Does this request or task take me toward or away from my One Great Goal?” If the answer is away from, say no. (To be clear, I’m not saying don’t volunteer at your favorite non-profit or help people. I am saying that you can help a whole lot more people when you and your business are a success!)
6. Refine Your Packages and Pricing: How does this create freedom you ask? Well, most people who are in the service business arena are underpriced and they give too much away, which allows people to undervalue their services. They also get fewer clients because of the perceived value. Please charge what you are worth because you will get better clients and you will be a lot happier in your business!
7. Manage Your Email: You need to manage your email; don’t let your email manage YOU, which is often the case. Don’t leave your email open all day because the more emails you send, the more you will get back and the more you have to manage. Sometimes picking up the phone is easier than sending another email. Or, sometimes people need to pick up the phone and call YOU rather than you continuing to answer the emails. In other words, you might have to let go of the guilt and delete some of them that are unsolicited. I promise you that if it’s that important, they’ll call you. However, when it comes to your clients’ needs, handle those quickly or promptly (at least within 24 hours), or make sure that your team is equipped and trained to handle their needs.
Which steps will you commit to take to create more freedom in your business and in your life? And, by when will you take those steps? Before you do another thing, take a moment to add these dates to your intentional calendar. I promise you will be grateful you did.