Do you struggle with making time to work ON your business? As entrepreneurs, we wear so many hats; there are always too many tasks required of us to keep the business afloat.
In my first years as a solopreneur, I did everything. From sales to marketing to delivering my service, to admin and bookkeeping. Did I leave anything out? It’s a relentless job to keep balancing all the plates at once.
I love planning though. I constantly seek out time to work on my business, making new plans, how to grow, how to become more efficient, how to make more money. I sometimes will get extremely frustrated when I don’t feel I have time to work ON my business.
Before we go any further, let’s be sure we are on the same page concerning the difference between working IN your business and ON your business.
Working IN Your Business (WIB)
Working IN your business takes up most of the day both for you and if you have any, your employees. IN your business tasks are needed to keep the business moving forward, getting customers or clients, delivering your services or products, keeping clients satisfied, keeping track of the millions of details of running a business.
Examples of IN Your Business Tasks
- Delivering your service or product
- Creating the product
- Answering questions
- Paying bills
- Sending invoices
- Putting out fires
As a startup or solopreneur business owner, we do wear all the hats. If you are not able to outsource any of these regular tasks, time to work ON the business becomes more difficult – although not impossible.
The BIG Picture
Working ON Your Business (WOB)
WOB is the big picture stuff, the growth efforts, making significant changes to your business model and its growth. To me, working ON my business is the fun part. Yes, I love working with clients, but as I said before, I love to plan and see what happens when I implement my ideas.
Examples of Working ON your Business:
- Setting goals
- Creating systems and processes
- Writing marketing content
- Making sure things happen
Our businesses are not a J.O.B. They are part of us. Our dreams come true, our passion.
It is imperative to make the time to think and plan beyond this moment a priority. What part will the business play in your future? How will it help your dreams come true?
Create your WOB Time
We can’t wave a magic wand and make time for working ON your business appear. Even when we say, I will do this WOB task today; other tasks will intervene. The squeaky wheel, you know?
Schedule WOB Time on Your Calendar
The same way we commit to a client appointment, we must schedule time on our calendar and commit to it. I was working with one of my coaching groups recently, and we decided that the value of an hour for WOB is $500.
Would you throw away an opportunity to make $500? My clients wholeheartedly agreed assigning the value of $500 to each WOB hour would help them commit.
We also talked about large chunks of time versus short bites of 10-30 minutes. If we divide our tasks into small bites versus larger projects, each one will fit into an opening we schedule on the calendar.
If you commit to just one thing each day, the bites will get done, and the projects will become more manageable. By doing this, we develop a sustainable daily habit of working ON our business.
Making a Shift from WIB to WOB
Some of my clients find they need time to shift their mindset from their client sessions to a very tactical, strategic way of thinking. Therefore, they prefer to schedule longer WOB productivity sessions and book either a half or full day to work on their businesses.
As long as they schedule it.
Others are more successful in chunking down their tasks and fitting them in smaller blocks of time on their calendars. Many (with my urging) complete these projects at the beginning of the day. I have found if I don’t complete scheduled WOB work first thing in the morning, it usually is pushed aside.
The important thing is to plan the time for the $500 WOB task and put it on your calendar. Once you are in the groove, maintain your focus to complete the task started.
Make the Best Use of your WOB Time
Do you ever sit down to work on a project and find yourself wasting the first 30 minutes trying to figure out what you should be doing? Those hours add up.
Your first task each year, quarter or month is to plan your goals for the upcoming period. I advise people to create their Vision, 3 Year and Annual, Quarterly and Monthly goals. I know this seems like a lot of work, but it is worth it.
From these goals, you will quickly know what your next WOB priority is, and you will be able to begin as soon as you sit down.
A Shift in Lifestyle
Moving into a semiretired lifestyle, my love for planning has paid off.
If I hadn’t thought about the future of my first business (The Contained Gardener) early on, I would not have built this small company into a $1/2M company that became attractive to buyers. After 15 years, the company sold to another local business (for more of my story, visit my About Me page. Put aside some time though as it’s a long one!
Without that sale, I would still be working IN my business full time+ and probably not very happy with it. Living in the desert for 20 years had become wearing on me, especially with the possibility of a future home on Kauai dangling like a carrot in front of me.
Now my challenge is to maintain a plan that works with fewer hours a week, generates income and meets my professional goal;
To build and support a community of mature women professional service business owners who desire a semiretired lifestyle and are frustrated with being shy of reaching their financial goals.
Summary of Your WOB Action Steps
Make Sure You Commit to the Time
- Use your annual plan as a guide to know what your next project is.
- Schedule time on your calendar and commit to it the same way you commit to a client appointment.
It’s that important.
Options for Scheduling Your Time:
- Use large chunks of time so you can shift your mindset to a very tactical, strategic way of thinking. Book a few hours each week to work on your business.
- Chunk down your tasks and fit them in smaller blocks of time on your calendar every day. Complete each mini-project at the beginning of the day.
- Hold yourself accountable. Find a reward that works. Don’t have your second cup of coffee until you finish. Or put off a favorite activity until you complete your task at hand.
Working on your business should not be a chore. I look forward to my WOB time as it is a fun part of my day.
Don’t get lost in putting out fires 🔥.
Have fun doing the things that were part of the reason you started your own business.
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It’s all about growing your business. From Start-ups to Semiretired – It works.