I work with a couple hundred clients a year on projects big and small, and manage a team of 20 on about five and a half hours a day. My “secret” is not a secret at all. My main trick is that I’ve been doing this for over a decade.
I would hope that after a decade, you’ll price your work reasonably, hire help when needed, keep to an enjoyable schedule, and be profitable! The key is noticing when you’ve hit points in your growth that allow you to make changes.
A creative business owner has so many hats to wear. Aside from making sure projects run smoothly, clients are happy, and that the Aeolidia team has what they need, I also need to be sure the bookkeeping is under control, keep an eye on the software we use to run our business, keep our website up to date, solve problems, improve processes, plan services, present proposals, analyze our stats, and do HR type tasks. Of course there is also outreach and marketing, which includes blogging, newsletter, social media, interviews, and speaking at events.
How do I decide what to do in any given five hours of time?
Luckily for you, I have been forced (by having children) to severely cut back on my available work hours, and in doing so, I had to figure out how to get everything done anyway. I want to share some of what I’ve learned with you.
I have always been the “jack of all trades” type that has a hard time requesting help. When I do ask for help, I then have difficulty stepping all the way back and letting other people own the job. I know more about it, I have a method, I can do it more quickly, etc. It seems like it would take longer to teach someone than to just do it myself. That ends up being shortsighted, though, and in the long run is harmful to myself and the hopes I have for my business.
I have achieved a schedule that works for me and that I feel good about. I take planned and unplanned days off, I don’t work at night or on Sundays, and I take vacations with my family where I can unplug nearly completely.
Let’s spend the summer working on our businesses
I don’t know about you, but summer is historically a less frantic time for Aeolidia. If your summer looks like it may have a slow moment or two, will you join me in shaping up our businesses before the holidays hit? I have some ideas, advice, and thoughts that should be helpful to a business at any stage of growth.
If you’re just starting out, I have some ideas about what you should be thinking of now to make a smooth and easy transition when your business grows. If you have a very busy business that is just you, and you feel like you’re losing it, this series will be perfect! If you already have employees, and know that you should be working at a higher level, I have some thoughts for you.
Even if you don’t plan to hire employees, you should be getting some kind of help. Being handy at a lot of things is nice, but if you want to make jewelry, you’ll find you have a hard time doing that if you’re also the bookkeeper, accountant, legal counsel, sales rep, marketer, order fulfiller, web developer, etc.
- You can get people to help you
- You can get software to help you
- You can even help yourself by becoming more focused
So let’s talk about how you can keep doing the work that you’re best at and that you enjoy doing without getting burnt out by all the rest.
6 steps to shaping up our businesses
Stay tuned over the summer, and I will cover:
- Finding time to get this work done.
- Determining what your personal responsibilities should be, as a first step in getting future help.
- Finding focus, so your efforts aren’t scattered over many things.
- The who, what, where, why, and how of getting help, whether it be through hiring or outsourcing.
- How to build solid systems so you can make more money doing less work.
- Wrapping up by considering whether you’re being a good boss and employee – and how to fix it if you’re not.
How do we get started?
What should you do to make sure that you’re prepared to do your best work? I think we can do this using one day each week. If you’d like to join me, make plans on your calendar now to set aside one day a week to spend a solid block of 2-4 hours on that week’s step. That means no emails, no social media, no other tasks. Just you and a notebook and a quiet place. I’ll be sharing these posts every Tuesday.
After you’ve gotten the work done during your time block, let’s celebrate and support each other in the Aeolidia Facebook group! I’m feeling great about the group of creative, product-based business owners that have come together – so un-Facebooky. We’ve been having a lot of smart and helpful conversations, and in the few weeks since starting the group we’ve seen nothing spammy or off-topic.
To make sure you don’t miss any steps, sign up for our newsletter, where I’ll be sending out each week’s thoughts (along with other insights, info, and resources to help your business be its best).
I’m excited! Let’s do this!
And here are the posts
Here are all the posts from the summer business shape up:
- This intro post
- How To Find Time By Cutting Back On Reactive Work
- Shift Into Ceo Mode And Get Help With The Rest
- Kill Your To-do List And Focus On One Thing
- What Happens When We Resist Delegating Business Tasks
- How To Make Time & Enjoy Your Work By Hiring Help
- Do You Have Solid Systems For Your Business?
- How To Be A Fantastic Boss To Yourself