Starting a business can be exciting. Work doesn’t feel like work. It’s easy to put in long hours with the prospects of turning a dream of being a successful entrepreneur into reality.
But once the excitement wanes, business ownership can become a grind — especially if the revenue isn’t flowing like you want. And sometimes even when it is, it leaves you with even less time to do the things you love. Creative christian entrepreneurs start looking for the magic bullet that will help them not only have the business they want, but more importantly the life they want, too.
This search for more explains the popularity of Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four-Hour Workweek, smashing contemporary thinking about success and hard, time-consuming work.
But many people like to work, like myself, and aren’t striving to accomplish it all in one work hour each weekday.
When I started my second coaching business I was a busy mother of three, working part-time in my therapy practice. I told myself I would add 20 hours per week of the coaching business temporarily, maybe a year, until I could transition out of the dollar-per-hour clinical work and work part-time again in my new leveraged business. I had to maintain good boundaries to stick with my work time. I even had a coach who lamented that I wasn’t able to put more than 20 hours into my coaching business.
Three-and-a-half years later with a more difficult transition to the new business model than expected and dealing with upheaval in my therapy practice with the unexpected death of my office colleague and father, I was still working 40-plus hours per week. And it was starting to take its toll.
When having a conversation with God, my inner child and upstairs committee, I had a mutiny inside. Working full time wasn’t part of the deal, so they weren’t going to play anymore.
I heard myself tell my current coach, “I want to work no more than 30 hours per week.” I could see how working those extra 10+ hours per week was interfering with my health and me spending time with the people and doing the things I valued most.
So the committee said, “Then why don’t you”.
From that day forward I decided I would work no more than 30 hours per week with six weeks of vacation each year. Here are the steps to follow in order to take control of the hours you want to work:
Figure Out Your “Work Hour Why”
My coaching business demanded me to become more visible, work on my inner game, and have necessary downtime for self-care, relationships, and fun that gave me the creativity boost necessary to attract and produce what I wanted. I was clearly able to see and feel the frustration every time my current schedule won’t allow me to do everything. Just the switch from getting seven hours of sleep per night to eight eats up seven of those new hours.
Without understanding why I needed to work less, I was not motivated to do what I needed to work less for more.
Make Sure You Have the Right Business Model
Every kind of business is not amendable to just announcing your reduction in hours and then letting the good times flow. In many businesses that’s the road to bankruptcy. You have to make sure the possible revenue coming in will give you the profitability you desire to fund your vision after you pay your expenses. This is a critical step and does take some additional work time in the beginning.
Realize there are business models that can deliver, but others can’t; the numbers have to work.
Make Sure All the Parts Are Moving
The goal is to have a clear idea of what activities you need to do each day, week, month, year to deliver the results you want. But if any of the assumptions you have made are incorrect or if you have personal baggage getting in the way, the effort won’t lead to profitability. Franchises or Multi-level Marketing can be an excellent option here because they have discovered and tested what works; you just step into it.
Creating a new business model is much more difficult than following a proven, successful blueprint already created.
Know And Refine Your Work Systems
When the office manager in my therapy practice resigned, I had her train me on what she did. For a period of time I assumed responsibilities for her tasks. It showed me how little I knew about how my business was being run. It also helped me see how to make process improvements and what tasks I should be doing and which ones I could farm out.
You create additional time by improving your systems.
Don’t Just Look at Sales and Clients
Focusing exclusively on marketing activities and cramming your schedule with client appointments can put you on a treadmill of unawareness of your business and possible business opportunities. There are many ways to increase your revenues. Extra clients and extra marketing activities cost time and additional staff support.
Make sure you have time to step back and look at the bigger picture in terms of the best way to fund your financial freedom plan.
Be Yourself and Have Fun
You can have a proven model and all your ducks in a row, but if you don’t like to do the activities necessary for success in that business or if it really isn’t a good fit with your personality and mission, you’ll find yourself surfing on Facebook, taking extended naps, and coming up with other reasons not to work.
Honor yourself by knowing yourself first and doing something that turns you on.
I’ve reconciled that my three-and-a-half years of unwanted 40 hours per week work allowed me to clumsily sort through the foundations I’ve discussed here. But with a little guidance, your journey doesn’t need to take that long.
Christian Women Entrepreneurs Biz and Life Tips: Ask yourself if you’ve done your homework on the kind of business you want and have. If not and you are serious about the lifestyle you want, invest in expert advice.