Posts tagged Priorities
5 Strategies for Working On Your Business, Not Just In Your Business

Guest Post by: Samantha Siffring, Business Consultant & Coach with TBH Coach 

5 strategies for working ON your business, not just IN your business. Prepare your business with systems, processes, management and vision-casting so your business doesn't run out of income when your current clients dry up. 

I am in a pretty unique position in getting to see the insides of other people’s business before they are making money and after, since I have clients at both stages. Here’s something interesting I notice – when people are working to get that business going, they spend a lot of time working ON their business. Envisioning the future, creating programs, trying new things in their marketing – and trying new things in general.

Once people hit some success, I see many who get so focused on their client work that they literally don’t have time left over to work on their own businesses. They spent all their time working IN, none working ON.

I think this can come from a lot of causes: a mindset of not truly believing that they will have a full client load one day, a lack of setting up the business model with limits on time, poor time management, poor pricing so that you have to overcommit to make your income goal, and probably more.

The one thing that is always true is that it proves toxic and sometimes deadly for solopreneurs!

If you’ve spent a period of time only working in your business on client work and never on your business streamlining, scaling, and setting up systems, when those clients go away, you’ll be left with nothing. No income, no waiting list, no pipeline of leads. You’ll have to start over again completely from scratch.

Terrifying, right?

Here are a few strategies that will help you prevent this from happening to you…or recover after making this mistake!

Hire before you feel ready

Don't get stuck working IN your business, caught up with busywork and client projects, rather than setting yourself up for long-term success.

One of the messages I hear from every single internet millionaire is that they waited too long to bring someone onto their team. Growing a team, even hiring a virtual assistant for a couple hours a week at first, can free up your time to focus entirely on the income-producing activities while they do some of the behind-the-scenes work.

Tip: don’t just focus on the additional cost, think about the potential revenue increase you will see when you’ve freed up more time for your zone of genius.

Treat your business like another client on your roster

If you’re not yet at the stage of building a team, at the very least, add your own business to your list of clients. Seeing your business on the list will be a good reminder of where to focus your attention and to not let it slip by unnoticed.

Tip: flip this around and evaluate your performance as if you'd hired you to grow your own business. Would you be happy with what you have done?

Raise your rates

 When we get so many clients that we don’t have time for our own businesses, it can be a sign that our rates are too low. If you haven’t re-evaluated and raised your rates in awhile, it’s time.

Tip: there is no right or wrong way to raise rates when you currently have clients. You can keep your existing clients at their current rate, or let them know rates will be going up on a certain date. 

Own that CEO title

Do you have a lot of experience being an employee and very little as a CEO? Are you hesitant to own the fact that you are a CEO or an entrepreneur? Our self doubt in this area can be manifested in not showing up as the CEO in our business. Someone has to do it, and spoiler alert – no one else is going to show up to run your business. It has to be you.

Tip: sit down and write a job description and expectations you have for yourself as a CEO (from the employee perspective) and as an employee (from the CEO perspective). 

Schedule time for it

Let’s face it: things don’t happen unless we schedule them in. Schedule in specific time to work ON your business and really step into your role as the CEO. This can be one day a week, one hour a day, or something else.

Tip: treat this appointment in your calendar like any other. When we have appointments and commitments with ourselves, they seem optional or flexible. Treat your appointments with yourself like you would treat a doctor’s appointment — non-negotiable.


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Samantha Siffring owns tbhcoach.com where she is a business consultant and coach for moms with online businesses. She started as a coach after struggling to find her identity after becoming a mother and now is very passionate about helping other moms build businesses from home and balance entrepreneurship with motherhood. She is a mom of 3, an over-volunteer-er, and a travel lover – she and her husband met while studying abroad in college and are always taking their kids on epic adventures.

You can find her on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.

Why You Should Place Family First & Business Second
Learning to choose family first and business second so you can have time for self-care, enjoy relationships, and have more of a work life balance. My dad always chose his kids over his career, and has worked hard to keep family a priority. My business may grow slower, but I'm putting my new baby first as I head into motherhood. Read the whole story at Bosscation.com

Life & Biz Lessons Learned from My Dad

Growing up, my dad was really into science and experimenting. He’d work for hours in his basement lab, conducting research and testing hypotheses. He once made a handmade radio that accidentally cut service to a section of Detroit’s TV, phone and radio signals. His science fair experiments — which he conducted for “fun” — would always place first and move him on to higher contests.

Family Man or Mad Scientist?

When it came time to study science in college, the forced classes and intense studying just weren’t his thing. He had to make a decision: become a mad scientist and live his life in a lab… or pursue friendships, fun and a potential family one day.  His decision led him to start his career teaching science, rather than conducting it, and he eventually became the family man he wanted to be… to 5 kids! My dad’s dedication to family was always his top priority. He hardly ever missed a soccer game, dance recital, or awards ceremony — even while working full-time, building our house, AND getting his Master's Degree (all at the same time)

Keeping His Priorities Straight

Learning to choose family first and business second so you can have time for self-care, enjoy relationships, and have more of a work life balance. My dad always chose his kids over his career, and has worked hard to keep family a priority. My business may grow slower, but I'm putting my new baby first as I head into motherhood. Read the whole story at Bosscation.com

In more recent years, my dad started a new side project building a lakeside vacation house for our family about an hour and a half away. His only time to work on it was really the weekends, but with his dad in his late 90’s, he made sure to spend every Sunday visiting his father and then spending time with his grandkids. It’s been 2.5 years since he started the lakehouse, and he could’ve finished it in half the time had he spent Sundays out there building. But he knew his priority was spending time with his dad. And when Grandpa passed in his sleep at age 97 with a perfectly healthy brain and just a few creaky bones, my dad had no regrets. Had he waited until Grandpa was in critical care to spend weekly visits with him, well, that moment would never have come. He would’ve missed out on all those lazy Sunday afternoons watching football and Nascar with his dad.

Learning to choose family first and business second so you can have time for self-care, enjoy relationships, and have more of a work life balance. My dad always chose his kids over his career, and has worked hard to keep family a priority. My business may grow slower, but I'm putting my new baby first as I head into motherhood. Read the whole story at Bosscation.com

It’s Your Choice

The point is, we all have choices as to who we WANT to be. Sometimes I feel in my bones that I was destined for so much more than what I’m turning out to be. My design skills could’ve led me to some hot shot job in New York City or a coveted position at IDEO. Or I could be a hot-shot business coach putting on big conferences and events. And while I often battle the urge to be more and do more, I know that’s not what will make me happy. I tried the whole “hustle” thing and it was wearing me out. I missed spending time with my family and having nights and weekends off. I missed having down time and relaxation. I missed doing service projects and acts of kindness towards others. I missed taking road trips or hanging out with my husband WITHOUT my laptop open.

My Preferred Path

It took a weekend away from clients and distractions — a Bosscation — to soul search and discover what I really wanted in life and business. The path I was on clashed with the destination I really wanted to aim for, and I had to make some changes! These changes included letting go of my workaholic tendencies that cared more about scaling my business than nurturing myself and my relationships. 

So yes, my business may never make a million dollars, or even make 6-figure years. But I’m OK with that. I love the path that I’m on, the freedom and flexibility I have, and the lack of stress in my life. And if you'd prefer the hustle, there's no shame in that! Just be clear on what you're aiming for so you can take the right action steps to get you there.

My Next Steps

As I go to start my own family, I know I need to follow my dad’s example of family first. One of my biggest fears is raising a child that doesn’t know or feel loved or that they’re a priority, because I’m too buried in my business. And while I want to provide my children with nice things, I know from experience that it’s better to have little possessions and lots of love than the opposite.

My dad is one of the hardest workers I know, because he doesn’t waste time on the non-essentials. That way, he can make the most of the hours he works and then stop and make time for his loved ones. I’ve been trying to follow his example in my own life and business.

Giving Myself Grace

Prepping my business for the arrival of baby Carson! Photo by  Molliner Photography .

Prepping my business for the arrival of baby Carson! Photo by Molliner Photography.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I shared my pre-baby to-do list with my mastermind, and it was about a mile long. I had plans to prepare 6 months’ worth of blog, video and email content before the baby came. I wanted to create at least 2 new strategy guides and a shop full of digital downloads. I had intentions for adding partnerships and training programs. But between my insomnia and pregnancy fatigue, I was on the verge of depression and knew that my mental health and the health of my baby were my top priority. I accomplished what I could, and gave myself grace for the rest.

Do you give yourself grace when you need it?

If you need to give yourself grace or discover what your path should be, I suggest that you take a Bosscation — some time away from clients to work ON your business! Set yourself up for success and free up more time for family by discovering where you should be spending your time, what your true desires are, and how you can make your business more efficient. Grab our free solo business retreat planning guide to plan out your Bosscation solo business retreat.

7 Business Setbacks Keeping You From Success
 
Do you have great ideas, but never implement them? Do you find yourself "stuck" and aren't sure how to move forward? Here are 7 business setbacks that are keeping you from success. PLUS, take our free quiz to find out what YOUR biggest setback is, so you can learn how to break free and strive for success! Read more at www.Bosscation.com  Bosscation is a business retreat in a box for entrepreneurs to escape from their daily hustle to strategically plan for their business. Our secret sauce is in the strategic planning guides for launching a new offer, planning out your content, or finding your path to profit.
 

“Take the shortcut,” Tasha said. It sounded like a great idea at the time, since as typical teenagers, we were running late. But the shortcut wasn’t paved and my dad’s conversion van was no match for the mud. Perhaps we should’ve stuck to the long route (no pun intended). It took a knock on a stranger’s door, a diesel pickup truck, some hefty ropes, and wood under the tires to pull us out. So much for a shortcut, right?!

Psst! Looking for the quiz? Scroll down!

In business, whether we’re aiming for the fastest path, taking the long route, or something in between, we often find ourselves stuck. This can keep you from launching that course you’ve been dreaming of, prevent you from delivering content or hinder you from reaching your potential. Getting stuck, and especially staying stuck, can be detrimental to your growth if you don’t realize it’s happening or can’t figure out how to break free.

You know you’re stuck when you find yourself saying things like:

“I just don’t know what to do next...”

“It needs to be perfect before…”

“I can’t decide between…”

“I’m just not ready for…”

Don’t give up on yourself just yet. If you can pinpoint where you’re getting stuck, then you can find a solution. Imagine that you’ve been wanting to launch a YouTube channel, but you keep putting it off. You need to determine what’s holding you back. Are you afraid of being on camera, don’t know what equipment you should buy, not sure what topics to talk about, can’t think of a cool name for your channel, or feel you just don’t have time to plan it all out? These setbacks sound more like excuses (#sorrynotsorry).

Once you evaluate what’s hindering you — perhaps you’re not sure what topics to talk about — then ask yourself, “what are 10 ways I could overcome this?” For our YouTube example, you could ask your audience what they’re looking to learn, search for other YouTube channels that reach a similar market and get inspired by their topics, do a brain dump of everything you know about your field, etc.

If you’re not sure what your setback is, here are 7 of the most common among entrepreneurs:

 

1. Lack of Time

Usually this one comes down to a lack of prioritizing your time more than a lack of time in general. We all get 24-hours in a day… you need to use them wisely.

 

2. Indecision

Analysis paralysis and indecision have been some of my biggest hindrances. I tend to overthink and over evaluate every decision, often changing my mind every week. Being slow to make decisions, or lacking to make them at all, can keep you from moving forward at a good pace or at all. (And if you’re ever on Shark Tank, it can cost you a deal)!

 

3. Perfectionism

Ah, the good ole’ burden of being a perfectionist. You know that done is better than perfect, but you still can’t get yourself to put out anything slightly sub-par.

 

4. Planning

Planning… tweaking… planning… tweaking… you’ll never finish if you don’t start taking action! I think this one is a compilation of the others. You spend all of your time planning, but then get stuck on a decision or don’t feel it’s perfect, so you do more planning.

 

5. Research

Rather than actually writing that blog post, creating that course, or recording that video, you feel you need to research your topic a little more. Just one more book… one more webinar… one more podcast, then you’ll feel knowledgeable enough to get started.

 

6. Confidence

You feel you aren’t smart enough, good enough, experienced enough to be doing what you’re doing, so you play it small and safe or never get started at all. Maybe in a few years, or after I’ve accomplished X, you say. Imposter syndrome can really keep you from reaching your potential and going for your dreams.

 

7. Money

If only money grew on trees, then we could hire an amazing team, attend every conference, and buy every time-saving software. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and we’ve all got bills to pay. Like time, this one often comes down to prioritizing it wisely, not just finding more of it (though that definitely helps).

 

There's Always a Solution

When I worked in marketing at ION Television, our department joke was, “there’s always a solutION" — that phrase has stuck with me ever since. With that said, over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing solutions for overcoming some of these setbacks.

How to Plan Out and Schedule Your Launch To-Do List
 
How to plan out and schedule your launch to-do list so you actually know WHAT to work on, and how to prioritize each task! 
 

So you've got this awesome new course or program you want to launch — yay! You came up with a name, created a logo, bought the domain and told all of your friends about it. But then what?

Rather watch this on video than read? Scroll down to get the video!

It's hard to know what to work on first when you're not even sure what you should work on at all! Do you start with creating the course materials, or write a marketing plan? What about setting up a website and social media handles?

Step One — Brain Dump it All Out

The first thing is to write down every detail of what this project will involve. How much time and money will it cost you to create? You want to make sure it's even feasible considering your budget and schedule! We typically do the "fun" things first — design the Instagram graphics and outline the course — but procrastinate on the no-so-fun tasks like creating a sales plan, writing email sequences, researching payment platforms and creating a strategic marketing plan.

Here are some general categories and tasks to help you determine what steps you need to take:

  • Website — Sales page, online shop, design/development
  • Graphics — Social media graphics, workbooks, webinar slides, Facebook ads
  • Photography — Branded photos, stock images, product photos, headshots
  • Software — Email service provider, payment processor, teaching platform, call scheduler
  • Audio/visual — Video/sound editor, lighting, microphone, camera, music license, filming 
  • Copywriting — Email sequences, opt-in page, sales page, video scripts, blog posts, ad copy
  • Legal — Contracts/agreements, terms & conditions, trademark, patent
  • PR — Research platforms to pitch to, press kit,  pitch template
  • Marketing — Webinar, challenge, giveaway, joint ventures, email funnels, opt-in
  • Sales — Affiliate program, sales emails, 1:1 calls, tripwire
  • Planning — Market research, surveys, discovery calls, coaching, content execution
  • Physical — Gifts, swag, meeting space, travel, printed materials, packaging, print promos
  • Team — Anyone who can help with the above!

Psst! I also have a free checklist of 80 business tasks you should be working on throughout the year. Get it here:

Step Two — Prioritize the Essentials and Time-Sensitive Items

From here, go through your list and highlight or mark all of the tasks that must happen before you launch and the things that are the most urgent. If you only got around to a few things, what would need to happen? Then do a second round with the next priority — what else is pretty important to complete or next up time-wise? Do this again for a total of 3-5 levels of priority (less if you're launching sooner, more if you have a little more time). Your lowest level should be things that are a bonus if they actually get done, so don't leave any essentials in that tier.

Step Three — Break Down Each Top Priority Task

From there, take your top-priority and most urgent tasks and write them on a sheet of paper, leaving space above each one. Then ask yourself what milestones do you need to achieve first in order to complete this task? If you need to set up your sales page, what do you need to go on that sales page? Copy, graphics, photos, pricing, refund policy, etc. Now work backwards again — what goes into each of those? Hire a copywriter and a photographer, calculate overhead costs to determine pricing, pick out fonts and colors before designing graphics, etc. You should be working your way from the main task up. 

Repeat this phase for each priority level of tasks from exercise two. 

Step Four — Plug These Into Your Timeline

Now that you have each priority broken down (or should I say up?), they're already pretty much in order of what needs to be done first. From here, you just need to schedule tasks out for each week leading up to your launch date. You do have a launch date, right? If not, you can use this time to determine when you'll be ready to launch.

Add a 1, 2 or 3 next to each item on your first priority list. All of the 1's are now your first week's to-do list. The 2's are your second week, etc. Keep working through your other priority sheets until you have a full schedule of tasks from your current date through launch. Breaking it down like this allows you to work on little pieces of each bigger task, so you don't spend all of your time building your course content and completely neglect your marketing plan. 

Suddenly your overwhelming to-do list is a little more manageable. You'll be sure to prioritize the right tasks, so you don't get caught up spending all of your time on Instagram rather than building out a solid marketing plan. 

I'm sure there are a lot of other ways to break down your to-do list and prioritize tasks. Let me know what YOU do in the comments.

How to Schedule Your Week as a Solopreneur
 
How to schedule your week as a solopreneur to make time for working ON your business, not just IN your business. Organize your calendar to prioritize your business.
 

Raise your hand if you've ever made it to Friday and thought, "what did I even get done this week?" You're so busy, but are you being productive? 

Without being intentional with your time, it's hard to conquer your to-do list and prioritize your tasks. 

Here are some tips on how to schedule your time as a solopreneur (or scroll down for the notes).

Step 1: Evaluation

You need to know exactly where your time is going before you can create a working schedule. Find a time-tracking app like Toggl to document what you're working on every day for a week or two. That will not only keep you accountable, but will also give you a better picture on what tasks are sucking up all of your time, and which ones are providing a return on your [time] investment. 

Step 2: 4D Strategy

Take your list of everything you work on throughout the week, and complete a 4D evaluation: Delete, Defer, Delegate, Do.

Delete — what can you cut out or cut in half? What tasks aren't providing a return on investment?

Defer — what could you put off until next week, month, quarter, or year? 

Delegate — what do you dread doing, aren't good at, or are slow at that someone else could do instead? Think of tasks that cause a bottleneck in your business or those that just aren't working.

Do — the things that are left can now be scheduled.

Step 3: Schedule it in

If it's not on your calendar, it doesn't get done. Making time for your business tasks is so critical, so you must pencil it in. Trying to squeeze in your marketing, finances and business planning between client projects often means you'll never get around to them. 

Here are a few suggestions as to how you could schedule your time:

  • A/B Schedule: Do only client work on your A weeks, and only business work on your B weeks
  • 1 Day a Week: Pick one day a week (preferably the same day each week) to work on your business. Let your clients and customers know that you won't be available to them on that day
  • Time Each Morning: Start your day with 30-90 minutes of business work before getting into emails or client projects

One other suggestion, to keep your business ahead of the game, is to schedule at least 30-minutes a day dedicated to a project that's at least 30-days away. That way, you won't find yourself procrastinating or rushing to finish things at the last minute, and can break it up into manageable pieces.

Step 4: Take a Bosscation

Finding time to step away from the computer, client work, social media and emails can open your mind to plan ahead and refresh. On the computer, your mind goes into "edit" mode since you can write, read, erase over and over again. You interrupt your own thinking. With pen and paper, your mind goes into "create" mode — especially when you're away from your normal work environment — so you can freely brainstorm and let your thoughts flow. Getting away from your daily grind can help you to see the big picture, and plan things out strategically, rather than on a whim.

So tell me, how do YOU schedule your week and make time for working on your business?

Need some help knowing what to work on during your "business" hours? Grab my free checklist of 80 tasks you should be working on throughout the year to ensure success.

Business Task Checklist

80 tasks you shouldn't neglect to ensure long-term success!