The biggest reason we decide to start a business is because we think that we will be able to do what we love, work on our terms and have more flexibility. Most of all, we think it's going to bring us more freedom... but it's not really what happens, is it?!
Most business owners are working too many hours, they're feeling more stressed and overwhelmed than when they were working for someone else and, while it's normal to be busier at times, feeling burned out all the time is not going to be sustainable in the long term.
If you start your own business, the goal is to eventually regain more freedom - create your dream lifestyle - as you start working smarter.
It means working on the tasks that will bring the most value to your company, the ones that are going to help you increase profits and help you grow your business as a result.
I've been going through this for the past year and a half and, today, I want to share my 3 secrets to working less and earning more.
Early on, most of what you do is going to be done manually; for example, every time, you need to send an email, even if it's the same email for every single client, you're most likely going to waste time writing the same email for each client. You want to move away from this because it's not only wasting a lot of your time but also a lot of mental bandwidth; when your head is so busy doing small, repetitive tasks, you're not going to have the energy to concentrate on what's really going to matter for your business.
It's important that you start thinking about your processes for everything that happens in your business early on; for example, all the steps that need to happen from emailing a prospect, the onboarding process all the way to project completion. Writing down everything will allow you to see what has the potential to be automated.
I will give you an example: on my website, I have a call-to-action button for people to book their free discovery call to see if we'd be a good fit. Upon filling out the form, they automatically get added to my email list. After 5 minutes, they receive an automated email asking them to share their availability to book a call with me; you can also use calendly or any scheduler if you want.
Imagine if I were still sending each email individually to each prospect filling out the form?! It simply is not sustainable because, as you grow, you won't have just one or two prospects a month but maybe one or twice a day. Automations allow you to give your prospects and clients a great customer experience, as you're not making them wait, without having to do all the work over and over again. I've just saved a lot of my time or the time of a VA to do write the emails. If the client is happy to move forward, another automation starts for the onboarding process on Dubsado.
Writing down everything that needs to happen in your business will give you more clarity as to how much you can automate because automating ultimately is either free or has a very low cost involved.
You have to delegate, delegate, delegate! Whatever can't be automated has to be either eliminated, because it's not important, or it has to be delegated. I'm not talking about the high value tasks you should be doing yourself because they're the ones that only YOU can do and they are part of your zone of genius. From your brain dump, circle the tasks that you don't know how to do, you could do but you know you're not great at doing so you're wasting more time than what an expert could be doing and the ones that you don't enjoy doing.
A few things you'll need to determine are:
- What tasks you will delegate
- Who you need/ what position you will be hiring for/ frequency (freelancer vs part-timer vs full-timer)
- How you will be delegating these tasks: being clear on your expectations, deliverables, process of sharing information, and so on.
It shouldn't come as a big surprise if you've been following my instagram page or Youtube channel. Mindset work should be done all the time as new mindset blocks will come up as you move through the different phases of growth in your business.
Bottom line is... You need to stop thinking as an employee/ freelancer and you need to start thinking like a CEO.
It's easy to start doing everything in your business and, initially, it's probably what's going to happen because you need to understand what needs to be done and you won't have the financial freedom to delegate anything so you will end up doing most of the work. However, if you keep doing everything in your business, you won't have time to think about strategy, how you can improve your services or how you can improve your customer service because you will lack the time. In order to create a sustainable, profitable and scalable business, and one that gives you the lifestyle you dream of, you need to slowly remove yourself from doing it all while increasing your profits.
Mindset blocks are a normal part of stepping outside your zone of comfort and moving into a new phase in your business. Understanding what they are and how you can work through them is fundamental; for example, one of the most common blocks that business owners have early on is "if I can do it myself, why would I delegate".
Remember that 'being busy' is not the same as being productive so you could be doing a lot but not doing the important stuff and the goal is to be working less while increasing profits. Setting up systems and processes first allows you to be more organized, in control of your projects' workflow and keep you ready should you need to delegate. They also prevent you from doing repetitive tasks because you can start automating some steps and free up time to work on the high-value tasks.
As you build your business, another key element in helping you scale your business and creating your dream lifestyle is delegating. Bringing experts to help you grow your business is fundamental: they will free up more of your time, do tasks better and faster than you and help you bring in 10x the revenue you'd make alone by focusing on key activities that will move the needle in your business. When we are working too much IN the business, we forget that the role of a CEO is to work ON the business.
I have a lot of videos on this topic on my Youtube channel so head over there if you are serious about building a sustainable business.
See you next time!
Kristell Valentina Mouries
Director, KVM Design