Here’s a question that came in on the site about how to expand business according to available time:
I want to expand my business into senior fitness in-home, or at assisted living facilities, but can not seem to find the time to get it off the ground, because I am stuck at work training for 12 hours a day.
I really feel this is my next step to take and would be a good change for me as am feeling a little burned out, but I am not sure how to start without disrupting my current business. Any suggestions?
Thanks again, Andy
Andy, there’s no way you can do this and keep any remaining sanity you have. I love how much of a hard worker you are. And I would always tell you that you need to bust it early on so you don’t have to later.
However, if you’ve been consistently working 12 hour days, then there’s about to be a real problem when you expand. A friend of mine, Dave Ramsey, used to tell me,
“Tuck your cape back in your pants Superman, you can’t do it all.”
And he was absolutely correct. There was no way I could do it all by myself and without ending up a slobbering mess walking around in pajamas with one slipper on and holding my teddy. (Ok, no clue where that visual came from.)
You either have to hire someone to take over a bunch of the current training, so you can focus on the expansion. Or you have to hire someone to take over the expansion. Either way, get someone in there to take some of the load off of your plate.
I’m assuming that working 60 hours a weeks is paying you well enough to begin to staff. If not, you have a pricing issue. Or you could refocus a day of the training with the in-home or assisted living. Get that ball rolling so you can then hire someone in one of the roles.
I hope that answers your question Andy. I do know the Tribe will have some great info to add as well.
Question: How would you suggest Andy tackle this opportunity?
50 thoughts on “Where Do You Find The Time?”
I think you hit the nail on the head. We have to learn to prioritize and say no. What things matter the most? What things warrant our best attention? What things can be pruned from our schedule in order to give more time to the things that really matter?
As a business leader, church leader, husband, and father of two teenagers, I often feel like I’m running from one thing to the next. The discipline of saying “no” is something I have to come back to again and again.
Agreed! The funny thing is that saying no to myself is the hardest.
Sometimes it’s who you say “no” too. It can get easy to say “no” to the people you should say “yes” too (and vise versa).
So true, Joshua. My wife and kids deserve “yes” but get “no” sometimes.
Andy, I feel you brother! Been there, done that. Advice… you already know what you must do. I know you can do this, and the fact that you feel close to burn-out is proof that you must do this! Anyone that is capable of sustaining 60+ per week for a long time (like you) has the reserve strength to get this done. You may just need some inspiration. May I suggest 2 books? (you can audiobook them if time is an issue)
WHY Book “The E-Myth”
How Book “Entreleadership” but you already know that if you are asking Chris “EL”LoCurto for advice.
Andy, you’ve got it in you to let go to grow!
Amen on E-Myth. Changed the way I look at any new venture.
Haven’t read E-Myth (adding it to list), but definitely second EntreLeadership.
We got a terrific book list during the Ramsey counselor training. I can reproduce it for you, Joshua, or anyone else who would like it.
Cool, Kathy! We started a reading list here too… https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvTEDuvbYj4RdGxhRGM1R1RzVm5FOVZMMXR4MFY0V1E
Terrific list, Lily! Some of the items on my counselor list are there as well.
What’s the best way for the tribe to access my additions to the reading list? Should I / can I add my items to the list that already exists? Once I have the blessing of the regulars, I’ll add with gusto.
Definitely! Feel free to add to the list. It’s now editable. Thanks for that, we all love to spread the love. And you’ll find that the tribe is far from regular :0)
Hooray! I’ve always felt drawn to the Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
I shall post my list soonest. Thanks, Lily.
That’d be nice. Thanks!
Totally agree: The E-Myth changed my business vision COMPLETELY. (The entrepreneur’s job is to create meaningful work for others – not DO all the work him/herself. ) Wow. Working on the business vs working IN the business.
1. See if you can hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) to take off any of the admin type tasks. That doesn’t help the 12 hours training, but if you can eliminate 5 hours of data entry, etc. that will help some.
2. Hire a part-time trainer. Someone who can do it 15-20 hours per week. As the owner, take a percentage of the fee they charge. Cut back to 10 hours/day, take 25% of their fee, and use that money to either hire another part-time trainer or bump the current one up to full time. Have them take on a mix of new clients and your current clients.
3. Save, save, save. It’s a lot easier to expand when you have the money. Duh. But it’s also less stress if you need to train less to focus on expansion. Determine a dollar amount that you need. Let’s just say $100,000. Then work towards that goal every day.
Mentally, when you view your daily grind as a PART of expansion, it will seem more worthwhile.
Wow – great advice Matt – I like point 3 of saving and attacking a large dollar amount a little each day/week/month etc. And making the daily grind as PART of your expansion…..big LIKE.
Great advice, Matt. Have you been following these suggestions on your own road?
I am a big believer in #1. I am about to re-hire the VA that I have used for the past five years to free up some of my time.
I haven’t had to do #2 in a while, but look forward to doing it again.
I learned #3 the hard way. You have to view the saving as a part of the expansion. In the past, when I wanted to grow the business, I only saw two ways: don’t or borrow. Two bad choices.
Definitely delegate anything you can, and maybe look at consolidating. Can you block out time on one day to do most of the admin type work for the week, instead of having to change gears every day?
I would look at hiring a part-time trainer now to help take part of the load off but also share the vision of where you are headed and train them toward that as well. Is all of the current training necessary, or could some of it be cut back, even just an hour a day? That hour could be spent working toward your future.
Good luck with what sounds like a promising future Andy!
I can totally identify with Andy on the whole trying to do so much thing.
I used to make such long lists of what I wanted to accomplish each day, and those lists would have been possible….if there weren’t any unexpecteds. But there are always unexpecteds. So it always resulted in me feeling like a failure or whatever negative label you want to use. I would have a tendency to overwork myself.
Here’s a visual for you, Chris:
At a previous job, I came out of the break room with one of my shoes in my hands, barely able to walk, looking very daze, and feeling like I was about ready to have a panic attack. Surprised my co-worker a bit 🙂 What happened? I had been so completely overworking myself, that when I went to take a break, I accidentally fell asleep. I woke up completely disillusioned, thinking it was several hours later. My leg had fallen asleep, thus the not being able to walk very well. Shoe in my hand because my foot hurt from the pins and needles from falling asleep, and too disillusioned to put it back on again. Moral of the story: Don’t overwork yourself. Weird things happen.
I’d love to hear how you got out of that cycle, Laura.
Fortunately, or unfortunately (however you want to look at it), I was not running my own business or attempting to start one, and my boss at the time was not requiring me to overwork. So overworking was completely my fault. It took a while for me to admit I needed to change something. Got horribly sick a few times from it all. Fortunately I have a very loving and honest husband. And I’m pretty good at self-discipline. So I just reevaluated my life, and made some changes. I no longer went into work as early, I didn’t allow myself to stay later than a certain time, I had “required” rest time at home. And I re prioritized other things in my life.
Occasionally I have to remind myself it’s okay to wait on something, do it later, or be okay with something not being accomplished or obtained. We weren’t created to “do it all” 🙂
I just learned a ton from how you got yourself re-focused, thanks! It looks like rest not only helped you re-focus, but made you more effective as well.
Glad you could learn something from my experiences 🙂 That’s one of the things I love about coming to Chris’s blog–what I learn from others who comment!
The rest part is definitely a factor! I can trudge through problems with the best of them, but if I allow myself to take a break, I can hit the problem later with greater force, focus, and ability to figure things out. Even in the middle of the day at work, if I’ve been plowing ahead for a few hours, I’ll take a break by doing something else requiring less brain work. For example, mindless data entry. Do that for twenty minutes and then back to the figuring-out project. Usually after a break like that, I quickly find the solution I had been looking for, or wake up to a new direction that takes me to the information I needed. It can be a pretty refreshing feeling 🙂
Wow… I’m sure that was an interesting visual. No job is worth losing your shoes for!
Wish I had a picture of my coworker’s face 🙂
Hey Andy, two words stand out from your question “stuck” and “burned out”. I would be too if I worked 60 hours a week trying to get the “dream” off the ground.
Aside of the great advice other tribers have given you, I’d say take a breath and take care of yourself. Pray about your dream, pray that the right steps will be revealed and the right doors will open. I’ll join you in that prayer :0)
take care of yourself!! very important. And easily overlooked when you’re working those types of hours
I’m getting burnt out just reading about that many hours. Wait a minute, I work that many hours! No wonder I’m tired. 😉
Lily, my heart leaped when I read “pray about your dream….” I get so pragmatic that I forget what the Source is, and the reason we work 60-hours a week. Thank you for re-setting the compass.
This is perfect advice Chris!
Also, we all have things that we are better and faster at than others; why not delegate the things we aren’t so hot at? This decreases the burden on you and increases opportunity for your staff.
Also, I’m wondering how much time is spent doing other business tasks that could be staffed for. The virtual assistant idea comes to mind…plug EA Help here. 😉
Bottom line is that the top guy needs to be doing top guy stuff as much as possible!
delegation. I like it. Too true, and often overlooked!
Agree! I’m getting better at delegating, but I still need to work on doing it consistently so I can focus on what I need to focus on. Thanks for the reminder!
That’s great advice Chris. I would start by saying you’re absolutely right, you can only work those hours for so long. As some of you know, I used to work at a job where I would consistently work 65-70 hours a week. It completely zaps all of the creative (and other) energy out of you. Bust it for a few weeks at that pace, but after that you’ve gotta look for a resolution of some kind.
I would definitely encourage you to take stock of where you are, and where you want to be in 5 years and start making weekly and monthly goals in that direction.
The great part is, you have a dream, that’s a good start, but don’t let that dream be strangled by 12 hours a day NOT in your dream!
Great advice Mark – you’re totally right – working insane hours sucks the creative life out of you. And taking stock of where you are, and where you want to be = and what you’re doing to get that happening is serious burnt rice. It’s so easy to let the action of working your butt off become your current and future reality. Can’t let that happen!!!!
Wow! Not much new advice to add, but maybe an encouragement. I’ve been working an insane number of hours for a while (about 50 at my full-time factory job and then another 15-20 teaching). I was wanting to transition into web design full-time, but didn’t have the time. I had to re-evaluate my priorities. Even though I loved teaching, I was able to cut back to about 3 hours a week (1 class on M-W-F). My job also switched the hours of my shift from 5 10-hour shifts (or more) to 4 12-hour shifts. I’ve been having 3-day weekends most weeks now. Altogether, I am able to get a little more sleep (vital for functioning and mental clarity) and have time to focus on my business. I’ve seen a lot of progress the past six weeks, and it’s looking very promising. Be intentional and keep at it!
Nice Joshua – so you are transitioning towards your web design business in your down time?
I think it’s more “down time”, with capital “
Yes. I have one client already, an interview on Friday, and the possibility of another. And I’m not “going live” until March 1st 🙂
That’s awesome man! Glad you’ve got a flow of prospects/clients already! That’s a huge start…
LOVE this post.
– The teddy bear image made me laugh out loud while on a crowded bus this morning. (That was embarrassing.)
– Loved the superman quote. Sums it all up, doesn’t it?
This post is perfect timing for me. 2012 was one of our hardest years EVER as a business. We’ve been operating for a little more than 6 years, but last year….rough in a million ways all at once. Our biggest issues were financial ones 1.Dumb debt 2. Constricting local economy 3. Clients slamming their breaks on all things training related.
I had to take on a gazillion different projects at once just to make ends sorta meet.
But now, things are warming up. This month is the first time in a year that we’ve been able to make all our payments on time (Feels amazing!!!)
Business is starting to grow – but I’m still working like mad. What I’ve noticed: as others have pointed out, I don’t have room to lead, or be creative, or be strategic. The business will suffer if I don’t make changes.
My frantic pace has even led to health issues – my body forced me to stop. Pulled the plug on me completely for about a week. (Fainted. High temperature, and SICK with a capital S.)
This plug pulling forced me to see that Superman needs to tuck his cape in. And fast.
I’m hiring people to take a few of my classes so I can focus on admin and leading. I’m also hiring a person to help me deal with data entry and reporting (stuff I hate to do.) And we’re also shopping for an online course/student management package to automate much of what we do now manually.
I think the hardest thing for me was coming to the realization that I need to throttle back and change direction, and that ‘crisis’ time has passed, and if I stay in crisis mode longer, my body simply won’t be able to take it. That’s a difficult transition to see sometimes.
Aaron, so sorry to hear that you were that sick!! When we say pour yourself into your business, we don’t mean it literally! Take care friend and let others be superheroes too!!
Wurd! Doin that my friend. Well…moving towards that direction. Hehe. Goal: March 31. 😉
Let me add my voice to Lily’s, man, take care of yourself! Plus, others will get the opportunity to do more as you scale back and re-focus.
Thanks Kathy – I am working hard to take much better care of myself. I had a good wakeup call for that! 🙂
We’ll hold you to that, Aaron.
If he’s only working 12 hrs a day what’s he doing with the other 12? They say if you own your own business you only have to work half of the day, you only have to decide which 12 you want to work!
Seriously, if he’s doing that 5 days a week I would try the senior thing on the weekends to get it going and if it proved profitable I would start transitioning more of my week towards that side of the business. If like Chris suggested you are able to hire some help I would only do that after I did a test run to be sure it’s going to work like I thought. Really only 12 hrs a day! I’m not sure what I would do with all that time!
I think you need to find clients that energize you, not drain you.
For example, as an introvert, forcibly conversing with others often drains my energy. But conversing with others about marketing, cooking, or University of Tennessee athletics fills me with energy.
It sounds like you are forcing time with clients.
Which would lead me to suggest creating a policy others have referred to as the “velvet rope” policy. The idea is to limit the people you let enter your business as clients to only those that give you the most energy. The others you keep behind the rope and out of your party.
If you continue to work for clients that drain you, at some point the quality of your work will suffer. Your clients won’t like the quality of your work, won’t recommend you to others, and will likely find an alternative. Suddenly you’ll have more free time. But I doubt you’ll be happy about it.
Conversely, if you limit your work to the clients that give you the most energy, you will excel at what you do, be motivated by your clients to do more, and have your clients likely refer more individuals to your business — helping it grow. And you likely won’t suffer such an energy drain, regardless of the hours.
I mean, they say time flies when you’re having fun, right? So make your business fun.
Great advice Jon! The 20/80 rule – 20 percent of your work should produce 80% of your results. (Or as close to that as you can get it.) I totally agree – we’ve taken on very picky clients in the past that have made doing business with them a royal pain in the bottom.
After saying goodbye to the business, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. (Even the people who lost teaching hours as a result.)
Simon Sinek: don’t do business with everyone, do business with people who believe what you believe.
Love the clear and simple advice, CLo! Love reading all the comments. Wish I had something of value to add. . . wonder how far I could go if I could work 12 hours a day! (it would be bad for my marriage and my health, both of which are more important to me than my business. . . I think. . . STOP IT!)