My 4 secret tips to help you work less and have more time (yet stay visible)
Imagine you were the tortoise who is ‘racing’ the hare. You know you are being slow. But being ‘slow and steady’ can actually help you win the race.
It’s a little how I have been feeling since some health issues started to slow me down. I’ve been in business long enough to know that speed is not a surefire route to success. And that slowing down – whether intentionally or not – can be a good thing!
Also, progress in business (or other areas of our lives) is rarely linear. We are all human, we all have dreams and we all face obstacles. Health is only one of them.
So when something takes you off course that deserves your time and attention you may need to find ways to reduce your workload.
Even if only temporarily.
But is there anything you shouldn’t pull back from?
Depending on your particular issue I know that sometimes the easiest
option is to reduce your client work.
But if you don’t want to risk losing your good clients how about using a freelancer to stand in for you?
Subcontracting has worked really well for me at different times. It feels great to be able to keep your clients and have more time too.
Some people I know make time by ‘parking’ their marketing activities like networking or social media. It can be tempting when your marketing efforts haven’t led to reliable results or when reaching out and putting on a brave face isn’t easy.
But putting it on hold isn’t the answer.
Your focus may be changing but you don’t want anyone to think that your business is closed whilst you’re figuring things out.
Some people would love to let go of their niggling admin or finance related jobs. But it’s so easy to get in a muddle and have all these tasks backing up on you.
Outsourcing isn’t the only option here.
You can usually simplify a lot by introducing better processes, clever software or online apps. All these could help you manage your back-office tasks in much less time. (I’ll cover more of that in a future post!)
How the right clients help you work less and have more time
Over the years I have seen far too many stressed women put up with demanding clients or time consuming projects that don’t pay reasonable rates.
When you worry about money working with the wrong clients or projects is not the best solution. You will not get a good return on the time and energy you invest in them.
(Here is more about how to avoid difficult clients)
I love seeing the relief on a client’s face when she’s stopped working with such a client. It’s so great to know you are making space for better ones. Like those who pay better because they value you.
Financially it makes so much sense.
And luckily good clients often take up less of your precious time too.
How do you find your ideal clients?
I believe the easiest and quickest way is to enlist your network of existing clients, joint venture partners and colleagues.
For example, many women forget to ask for testimonials especially when they’re busy.
But if you want to work less and need the right kind of business, good testimonials can open the door to the right clients.
They can capture the essence of your service and speak for you everywhere. Your social media, website, newsletter, business cards, even in your email signature!
Perhaps your clients or partners you have worked with have already given you a testimonial. Could you ask them to pass on your details?
In theory you shouldn’t have to ask when you’ve looked after your best contacts in the right way. You CAN get automatic referrals – although in practice this may take some time.
Asking someone for a referral shouldn’t be too hard if you know them well. Especially when you consider that people would probably refer you if they weren’t so busy with their own priorities.
How much networking is necessary when you want to work less?
Now might be the time to consider whether you need to go networking as much. Especially when you already have an existing network of people you know well. You can always stay in touch with them in less time-consuming ways.
I had built up a good network by the time I cancelled my local group memberships and moved my business online. This freed up loads of time!
I make a point to stay in touch with the people who really matter. And to attend the occasional conference or independent event if I want to get out and feel inspired.
But you don’t need to go as far as I did and drop out of every group you belong to!
You could just reduce the number of meetings you attend. Or remain in the group that gives you the best results.
You need an online presence – especially when you work less
The following tasks may not seem a high priority when you want to work less. But they are vital if you want to stay visible and get found easily!
Do your website, social media bios and blog posts include important keywords and phrases? And have you recently checked that your sites are up to date?
Also think about your social media presence.
We all know that social media can be a huge time drain. So remember you won’t need to be on every social media platform. You just want to be visible where your clients spend most of their time! The last thing you want to do is apply a scattergun approach online.
A thought… you probably don’t want to stop your Facebook activities. As of this year 60% of the UK population is on Facebook! It’s the one network that many working people use every day no matter how busy they are.
So building connections here and engaging in relevant groups will be worth it. It can certainly help keep your name fresh in people’s minds!
Simple automation tips for when you want more time
If you’re not yet using scheduling programs like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, I would urge you to give them a try. Imagine being able to ‘feed’ your social media accounts just once a week or even less.
What a time saver!
And on your blog you could write and schedule several posts ahead to cover you whilst you’re busy focusing on other things.
But I particularly like two automation tools that work like magic:
‘Social Jukebox’ is great for promoting webpages, offers, blog posts and free downloads.
And the ‘Revive old posts’ plugin is a life saver for bloggers. Once you have set up tools like this they promote your content for you – without any further input from you.
They could save you a LOT of time and are a real winner in my book!
But you don’t want to rely on automation all the time. It can make your account seem impersonal which is not ideal – your followers might start to ignore you!
So you still want to reply to messages, comments and retweets and help others to promote their content too.
A final thought…
Working less, having more time whilst still maintaining your visibility may involve some planning ahead. Especially when can’t really afford to reduce your income. (Now could be the time to revisit your business or marketing plan!)
Introducing new processes and strategies always takes a bit of time too.
But working smarter and being more effective in how you both run and market your business could be by far the best investment in your business in the long run.
It prepares you and your business for change too. Because even if you don’t face any major obstacles now you never know what’s around the corner.
I may have only touched on some of the strategies that work for me and some of my clients but perhaps they have sparked a few ideas of your own?
Just imagine simplifying so you can spend more time on what matters to you!