My employed friends think I hardly ever work.
I suspect that, at first blush, it would seem that way.
I am not sitting at my desk 9-5, 5 days per week, 50 weeks a year (with 2 weeks paid vacation in the summer.)
I don’t have to “book time off” with my boss for dental appointments, and somehow I manage to get my nails done on a regular basis.
To them, I suspect I have a pretty cushy gig.
And for awhile, I used to argue with them about it: “It’s not easy being self-employed, you know! It’s hard work! It’s not all it’s cracked up to be!”
It was as if I didn’t quite have the nerve to really call it like it is, as though I somehow felt guilty for having it “so good.”
But I am letting go of that, finally, after 15 years of self-employment, and I am accepting the fact that I really do have a “cushy gig” and instead of somehow feeling guilty about it, I am patting myself on the back.
Job. Well. Done.
One of the most important parts of creating my business to look and feel like it does was mastering my schedule, and making time work for me (instead of the other way around.)
Sometimes people find it a bit shocking when I tell them that I only book appointments with my clients (and prospective clients) 2.5 days per week, only 3 weeks of the month.
It seems, when you do the math, like not a ton of time to actually be working.
But just as we explored in my last blog the realities of the amount of money that it takes to build a business, it is important to consider the amount of TIME it takes as well.
Running a business is so much more than the time you are actually with your clients.
There’s the time to make sales calls, to write your blog, and to connect with referral partners, former clients, and “new-to-you” folks you’ve met while networking. There’s team meetings, and time to review social media posts, time to update and organize your systems and processes, and time to write that new e-book that you’re desperate to get out there.
There are a zillion moving parts in a business, and they all take time.
To ensure maximum efficiency, I really took time over the last 15 years to get a handle on my own rhythms and internal processes in order to put a schedule in place that works FOR me, and not against me. And while what I am about to present is certainly my own unique schedule, you may find some ideas within it that work for you!
Monday morning I am always revved and ready to go. So that’s the perfect time for a team meeting. We review everything — and I do mean everything — to ensure nothing has been missed and all is running smoothly. Monday afternoons are task-oriented. This is when I do most of my client fulfillment. Reviewing web copy, sending feedback to the design team on logos for a client, making suggestions on program components, and reading through clients’ presentations…this all happens on Monday afternoons.
Tuesdays and Thursdays alternate. One week I do client calls on Tuesday and “meet and greet” calls on Thursdays, and the following week it flips.
Wednesday mornings I write. Wednesday afternoons I work with clients.
Friday mornings I meet with my client concierge to make sure that everyone is well taken care of. And Friday afternoons are Mastermind calls with my colleagues and “Me Time.”
But this I do only 3 weeks out of 4. And making that decision some 6 or 7 years ago was the single best thing I have ever done for my self and my business.
We’ve now come to refer to this as my Week 4 (even though sometimes it is the third week of the actual calendar month, sometimes the fifth just depending on other factors like event dates and such.)
During Week 4, I book no client calls. No sales calls. No meet and greet calls. We still have team meetings, and I still write on Wednesday mornings (unless I am away.) This week is all about spaciousness — it is the space in which to create something new, or to travel, or to attend an event. When my kids were younger and I had to stay home if they were ever sick, this week also allowed me the space into which to move clients if I had had to miss some time at work. But most importantly, it is the space in which I can breathe. It has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself.
With regularly-slotted time to create and to breathe, to allow for the energy that I have so actively put OUT in the other 3 weeks of the month to return TO me, I am also able to serve with more grace and ease. I am able to be more present for my clients, and more engaged with my family. It’s a winning solution for us all.
Now, the truth is, building and growing a business really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be to those that don’t live it. It is hard work. And it occupies much of our energy and our thoughts even when we aren’t at the office. We invest our blood, sweat, tears, money, energy, love, passion…we invest our SELVES in the building of our companies. Our very SOULS are essentially in this “game.” And while that is true, it can also be true that we create a “cushy gig” for ourselves that works for us, and all those in our circle. And that’s what I hope to inspire you to do today.
What would your schedule look like if it were to feel as though it were spacious? What would it look like if it were to feel “cushy?” What small changes can you make that would open your calendar up for YOU, not just for your clients?
I’m excited to hear what changes you make — and most importantly, how they feel! So do please share your stories with me, for through sharing, we all learn.
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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit rebeccaliston.com to find out more.