5 tips to get clients by “time blocking.”
Have you ever noticed that if you want something done, you often ask someone who is already really busy?
Not quite logical right?
The truth is, if someone is busy, they already know the value of their time and they have learned to prioritize and focus on their priorities.
As a matter of fact, today I had this exact conversation with a new client who wants to start her own holistic health practice.
She began by renting a space one day per week (nothing like commitment to hold your feet to the fire), then saw that she needed to know more about marketing.
After renting space for a couple of months, she realized that she didn’t know how to attract clients.
All of us came at this honestly, so nothing wrong with this picture. In fact, instead of wasting a lot of time on renting an empty space, she saw the need to learn about marketing very quickly.
It personally took me a bit more time to catch up on that principle, when I started my first business 20 years ago.
After, doing the initial intake, where we discussed what she wanted her business to look like and especially why she wanted to create it, the next step became to make time in her busy schedule to work on her business, not in her business.
For most people, that distinction is unknown, so for clarification purposes, working in your business as a service provider means the time you meet with clients, also called “billable time” and working on your business is when you do everything else to get clients.
Think of all the departments that are included in a larger company; marketing, operations, technology, accounting and finances, human resources, training, facilities management etc.. there is a lot to think about and quite frankly as a one person business, which is where most of us start, we can get quickly overwhelmed, hence the need to prioritize, focus and delegate.
If you add homeownership and family responsibilities, it is easy to see why very few people make the choice to start a business.
The second thing I do, after guiding my clients to clarify the “what” and “why” of their business is to focus on helping them create time to work on their business. Now mind you, we don’t really create time, we make time for what truly matters.
Creating Time to Work on Your Business
Years back, when I was the sole manager, front desk person, marketing,accounting,staff manager, and operations implementer (whew!) of my joint business with my husband, I worked 6 and 1/2 days a week. This resulted in burnout after three years.
I hired a coach to help me see the forest from the trees. I “knew” that there had to be a better way, yet I couldn’t find it.
I felt as though I had to be “all things to all people”. I felt responsible to hold all the roles, to be there all the time and to have my hands and feet in all the pots and pans.
In summary, the perfect recipe for burnout.
My coach was very clear that I had to focus on what I wanted to do- not what “had to be done”- for my own sanity, delegate/sub-contract/ hire people to take over the stuff that I didn’t want to do.
Because when you do what you love, you thrive!
Time blocking became the concept that I gained the most value from. Time blocking is literally about blocking time in your calendar to get things done.
In order to be successful at time blocking, you first have to know what to focus on- set goals, prioritize, chunk it down and put the tasks into your calendar the same way you would put a client’s appointment into your calendar, except that this time, the appointment is with a member of your “inner team”.
Then, you turn off everything, email, cell phone, business phone etc. and focus on getting the job done within a specific time frame and don’t get up until it is done.
Here are the steps to get you started.
Assuming that you already know what your vision is (if not, refer to the “vision” blog post and handout) and why you want it, then you have to set clear goals.
When you start a business, the goal is plain and simple- get clients!
- Set a specific goal.
Be specific, for example “get 5 new clients in the next three months.”
- Break down that goal into action steps.
Clarify the marketing action steps that you need to take to get those clients.
Refer to your marketing strategy (simpler than it sounds).
If you are new at business, you want to get the word out, choose the simplest 3 steps you can take to get the word out (my next blog post ☺)
- Choose one action step that you will implement per week.
The single most important to do again when you start a business is focus on marketing- getting the word out at the lowest cost possible, assuming that you are sole proprietor with a limited budget, which is what most of my clients are.
Simple marketing action steps can be; get a business card, create, print and post a flyer, send an email announcing to everyone that you are in business, network- make coffee dates with people you know to let them know that you are in business, you get the gist of this, I am certain.
- Assess how long each action step will take.
It is very important to be realistic here. In fact, I compared this step as keeping a “food journal”.
Often when I coach people on balancing their food intake, I tell them to keep track without changing anything for three days of what they eat, their feeding schedule, how they feel before and after they eat and why they eat if they were not hungry.
Being realistic means that you know that it will take you one hour, not 30 minutes to write a blog post.
- Block your calendar for periods of time when you work on your business.
For example, since I heard of that concept, I have kept Monday and Friday afternoons as my time to work on my business.
Within that timeframe, block the time needed for each task.
Give yourself a 10 min. break in between each task to check email, get tea, stretch and go back to work, shutting down everything again.
Once everything is done.. CELEBRATE!!
Let’s face it, when you work for yourself, aside from your clients thanking you and your satisfaction for a job well done, no one else but you will be there to acknowledge that you did the work!!
Take a deep breath and acknowledge yourself for doing it..
The path of entrepreneurship is a lonely path, and more often than not, we deal with frustrations, especially when we start so give yourself a break..