Do you sometimes wonder if you have become a slave to your business? An employee to the worst kind of demanding tyrant boss? If you do, you are not alone. It happens (more often than you think).
Perhaps it’s because it happens s-l-o-w-l-y — one invasion into your personal life at a time. An after hours conference call here, a laptop joining the family vacation there, and before you know it, you can’t remember the last time you actually clocked out for some tech-free time!
This holiday season, give yourself (and your business) the gift of freedom by starting to build (or rebuild) a business that serves you (not the other way around) because isn’t that why we started down this crazy path to begin with? To gain freedom and flexibility?
How to Build (or Rebuild) a Business That Serves You:
Design Your Perfect Schedule — Think about what you actually want from your business in terms of lifestyle. Include details like how many days a week you’d like to be in work mode, what your office hours would be, and how many weeks holidays you’d like to take a year. Be honest! If you only want to work until noon everyday, now is the time to put it down on paper!
Figure Out What is Feasible — Take your perfect schedule and figure out if your current business model will work with that schedule. Don’t forget to factor in what you would make if you took all your days off as designed in your perfect schedule to see if you need to tweak your business to make it financially feasible. It may be the case that you need to work more efficiently and cut out the low profit activities that are cluttering up your time.
Work Backwards to Determine the Model — Combine your perfect schedule and your feasibility study to determine what needs to change about your current (or proposed) business model. Do you need to increase your charge out rates, dump those deadbeat clients, or ditch that dud of a product line? Don’t be afraid to charge more to work less!
Set Strict Boundaries — Don’t let your work activities leak into your personal time. It’s easy to say, “Oh yeah, I never take client meetings outside my office hours” but forget the number of times we sneak a little extra work in on our days off or even worse, during our holidays! Remember, your downtime is as much for your business as it is for you (and you both need lots of it)!