Do you find that you are working late hours throughout the week & even some weekends? Is this the way you envisioned how you would run your own business? My guess is no and that you were probably dreaming of a lot more FREEDOM!
It’s hard to cut off your working hours when you own a business, especially when you work out of your home. BUT isn’t ironic that one of the very reasons you got into business for yourself was to be able to set your own schedule AND work the hours you want? I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I started my own business was so I could spend more time with my family AND be SUCCESSFUL!!
A big part of this involves setting up the “rules” & “boundaries” for your business. What I mean is, are you running your business or are your clients? Do they determine your office hours or do you? Now you might say that your business is different and you have to be available around the clock, but I don’t buy it! You can structure your business any way you like, and it takes making the decision to do this AND communicating it in a respectful way to your clients. The following tips will help you to do this more effectively.
What Do You Want? First, think about how often you want to work. Don’t think about what you think you “should” be doing. What does your ideal work week look like? What does the business of your dreams look like? How many days and how many hours per day? Do some of your clients need you during evening hours? If so, try to choose one or two evenings a week AND a set amount of time dedicated to these types of clients.
Make the Decision. Now, make the decision to work towards having this schedule until it is fully in place. You deserve to have the freedom to do what you want. Think about how much more productive you will be when you do work if you take time to do what you love. It’s all about the balance 🙂
Brainstorm. How can you make the most of your time? Try batching your tasks, i.e. doing all of the similar tasks the same day. For example, client calls one day, client meetings another, business development another, etc. What amount of time will you allot to each task? What day(s) will you do them on? Schedule in some time this week to map out your ideal schedule.
Implement & Communicate. If a doctor can book appointments that fit their schedule, why can’t you? If someone really wants to work with you, they will make the time in their schedule to do so. When I first started out, I let my clients dictate when they could make the appointments. This meant I had appointments almost every day of the week at odd times, instead of batching them all together. I found it hard to get into the groove this way too. After a few months of sorting things out on my end, I had one of my very first clients return for coaching. This time I let her know the days and times I had available and she ended up making it work! I was super nervous when I told her about my new “office” hours, but stuck to my ground. During our next call, she mentioned how she thought it was great that I had specific office hours and was going to try it with her own clients! So as hard as may be upfront to stick to your guns, clients will respect you more if you have your own boundaries in place. This also seems to set the tone for your working relationship, i.e. you’re not one to be taken advantage of, etc.
Of course you have to have some flexibility, BUT it’s better that you decide first what your office hours are and then give your clients the choice within those hours.
How can you start changing your schedule over to your ideal one? Can you rearrange appointments with existing clients or will you implement it with new ones only? The sooner you can do this with existing clients the better…especially with that one we all know and love who seems to take up ALL of our time!! What wording will you use? Maybe the phrase “restructuring my business” will help you??
Also, remember to let your family know your plans. That way if you do have to work an evening everyone is aware of it. This will help you to work guilt free and plan family activities around it.
Good Luck and enjoy your “free” time!