You Get Out What You Put In
By: Kimberly Stevens
During a recent coaching session with Mark, I was briefly
reminded of how it feels to give your all to your business and
have it spit in your face.
ďI just donít get it! Iím putting all my time and energy into this
business, and Iím still scraping by. Iím so tired of fighting to
Ďjust to make ití but this is what I really want to do.Ē
ďTell me about whatís happening in your life,Ē I inquired.
ďMy wife says Iím spending too much time working, and I
know sheís right. But I also know that Iím the one who is
responsible for paying most of the bills. As it is, Iím probably
working 80 hours a week.Ē
ďI really want to spend more time with her and our son, but
if weíre barely making it now, I canít imagine what would
happen if I slowed down. Iíd lose the business for sure. What
I need is more time, not less.Ē
Oh, it was terrible to hear Mark experiencing such pain. It
brought back all of the feelings I had also experienced during
the first years of my business several years earlier.
He had fallen into the same trap that many of us do. He
believed that his degree of business success was directly
related to the number of hours he put in. And, I knew, that
until we altered that belief, he would never be free to achieve
great financial success and to enjoy the freedom that the
life of a business owner can provide.
Somewhere along the way, many of us pick up the perceived
connection between time and results. Yes, itís true that if
you spend 10 hours a day practicing piano that you will
likely be a better performer than if you spend 5 minutes a day.
And that same logic might apply to specific skills you use in
your business. If you spend 4 hours every day doing anything
(creating graphic designs, writing press releases, writing sales
letters), you will undoubtedly develop your skills.
But, in an endeavor like business, success is based on much
more than the total amount of time you put in. Itís based on
what you do during that time, what skills you have, what
customers want, how you present yourself, what you charge,
how you market your business, etc.
Some things in life are easy Ö
Staying Thin = Eating Well + Exercising
Baking Cookies = Measuring Ingredients + Following Directions
The stinker part about running a business is that you get out
what you put in. And, itís not easy to figure out what the
monster wants to eat Ė but thatís your job as a business owner.
If you spend countless hours networking at events that donít
yield results, you are adding time to your week. If you re-create
the wheel every time you have to put a proposal together,
you are taking up time that you could be spending on other
marketing activities, taking a lunch break, spending the
afternoon with your spouse and kids. If you are starting
numerous projects without bringing any of them to completion,
you are wasting time spinning your wheels rather than
profiting from one of those great ideas.
You see, itís important that you know where your time is
going, what results you are getting from how you spend it,
and what price you are paying (both professionally and
personally) for spending so much time in your business.
Please donít take years to learn this one. Itís a truth. If you
figure out what your monster wants to eat, and you feed it
to him on a regular basis, he will give you the key to the
Are you ready to find out what youíve been feeding your
monster (i.e. ďwhat youíre putting into your business)?
Donít hate me when I ask you to track your time. ĎHow
boringí you might say. Doesnít she understand that taking
the time to track my time just takes more time (you can
read that line again if you need to!)
Yes, it can be boring and it does take a little bit of time.
However, if you invest tiny little bits of time throughout the
day (adding up to only 10 minutes/day probably), you can
discover the keys to propelling your business forward.
Start today by tracking how you spend your time (track every
15 minute segment) for the next 5-7 days. Include all the time
you spend working, including evenings and weekends.
After the week is over, look back over the completed
worksheets and tell me what you see. Look for things
* breakdown the number of hours you are spending on:
- providing your services
- office work (invoicing, paying bills)
- other functions
* add up the number of hours it takes you to do certain
standard functions that are part of your business
- attending a meeting (driving to/from + meeting)
- writing a proposal
- adding a new client to your practice
- doing your accounting work
Too much time spent on office work could tell you that
you need to outsource some of your administrative work.
Too much time spent on email might tell you that you
need to stop reading so many ezines (except mine!),
only read/answer personal email during off hours, or
learn how to use the sorting function of your email program
so the most important emails are highlighted.
Too much time spent on marketing efforts that are not
yielding new customers could tell you that itís time to
quit that networking club or stop using direct mail, so
youíll have more time to invest in the types of marketing
that are working well for your business (where have your
current customers come from? Do more of that!)
Too much time spent attending prospect meetings might
tell you that you need to reduce the geographic area you
are targeting in order to decrease the time it takes to go
to/from prospect and client meetings.
Too much time spent writing a proposal might tell you
that you need to automate your process more so that
you only have to input a few items of data to create
each new proposal, contract, or spreadsheet.
There is so much to learn by tracking your time. Yes, it
might be boring, but itís an investment of 10 minutes
a day for a week that might just buy you the freedom
and financial success youíve been seeking.
Happy Time Tracking!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kimberly Stevens is a Business Life Coach who supports business owners and entrepreneurs in their pursuit of a fulfilling life and profitable business by offering individual and group coaching, ebooks, teleclasses, and live workshops. To learn more about creating a richly rewarding life as a business owner, visit www.askthebizcoach.com or send a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org for an automatic reply.