I had been working with a web designer on and off for the last few years. I found her on Rent-a-Coder when she was willing to do a lot and accept a little.
Alas, I’m not the only one who finds hidden treasure. Now this web designer is juggling more clients than she can handle. And she wants a life, too.
Clients who are corporate executives find similar patterns. “When you’re known as a competent, dedicated professional, you’re on a lot of teams,” one executive said to me.
Being busy comes from adding more projects or committing more time for networking, marketing, and career management.
Many of my clients say, “I don’t know what happened! I used to have time to do everything.”
Well, what happened? Their businesses grew. Their priorities shifted.
But their time management system hasn’t changed since they were still starting out.
When they get snowed under, they consider taking a step back. I’ve had corporate clients ask wistfully, “Can’t I get a lower level, lower stress job?”
Alas, you can’t. Stepping back will add even more stress.
Cutting back on your business often means you slide rapidly into a LOT less business or even NO business.
(1) Recognize that everything takes more time when you get bigger.
Recently I asked “Michelle” to redesign my business card for what seems like the millionth time. “Sure,” she said, “I can do this. Give me a day or two.”
Days passed. No card.
Michelle forgot the rule: as you get busier, you need more time. I’m not her only client this week. She could say, “I need 3 days notice to start a card, 7 business days to schedule a website.”
When you’re busier, you get more queries from prospective clients. You get interruptions from clients with questions. You get invited to be interviewed for talk shows and media programs.
(2) Your time becomes more valuable as your business grows.
I once knew an executive who earned $200,000 a year plus bonuses. One day I asked him, “How was your weekend?”
“I painted my garage door,” he said. “And I mowed the lawn.”
I asked him, “Why don’t you hire a lawn service? Or hire a college kid to mow your lawn for a few bucks?”
He said, “I feel like it’s something I should be doing.”
This “I-can-do-it-all” mentality can kill your revenue growth.
Many people don’t realize how much help CEOs and other top executives get in their everyday life. When Martha Stewart was on trial, journalists raised eyebrows when witnesses revealed her housekeeper, assistants, and others.
But Martha Stewart was doing nothing unusual. Read Claudia Kennedy’s book, Generally Speaking. When she held a top 3-star general post in Washington, the Army assigned a sergeant to cook her meals and care for her home.
Increasingly businesses have begun using Virtual Assistants to take up the workload. Get started with Upwork or Fiverr if you’re new. If you can pay $50 and up, get recommendations from experienced business owners.
(3) Guard your time.
Everybody gets asked to give away the store.
Coaches and consultants often give away half an hour (sometimes a full hour) as a sample for new clients.
But as you get busy, even a get-acquainted call represents an investment of time – an opportunity cost, as accountants say. Often you can offer a paid small sample of your work, such as a single hour or a mini-project.
My system allows clients to deduct the cost of the initial call if they move on to a bigger project. We both win if we achieve the client’s goals in an hour or two.
Don’t want to charge for the first call? Give prospects a task — a series of questions, a mini-project or a special assignment – to complete ahead of time.
Additionally, your website also helps you screen prospective clients. When you invest in creating content for a compelling website, you save hours of your own time down the road.
You can let visitors know who you work with and what you need to get started. My best clients sign me up without a preliminary or “discovery” call.
One option is the “Showcase Interview.” You create a recording of a series of questions designed to help your prospects make an informed decision. They hear your voice and learn your style and philosophy.
“Bigger is busier”
When you grow, your biggest change will be your mindset. Increasing your revenue 10X doesn’t mean keeping the same business model and growing it year by year. As you reach a certain critical growth level, you’re running a whole different type of business.
If you’d like to talk about growth strategies, let’s set up a call. My 90-minute Marketing Action Advantage Program can help you be more productive in your marketing, without sacrificing creativity and free time.