Make Time for Building Bigger
So I wanna give you some, just, kind of, general guidelines, as we start to think about wrapping this segment up, and the first is, 40 hours worked equals about 20 hours billed. That's kind of a general freelancing way of thinking. If you are a freelancer, at most, if you expect to be working 40 hours a week, you can expect, to bill, at most, 20 hours per week. In your business, and here is making a distinction between being a business owner and being a freelancer, where you are, generally not being, where you're not billing for your time, on an hourly basis. You're doing other things. You are selling things; you are managing things. You will probably be able to bill much less than 20 hours a week. I have a lot of clients who are life coaches, for example, are, people who work with me, who are life coaches. And one of the first things we talk about when they start wanting to create more leveraged income, when they want to start raising their earning ceiling, their revenue ceiling, when...
they want to get out of that micro business earning plateau, is, I talk to them about how many clients they have. For a lot of them, seeing 15 or 20 clients in a week, is a good week for them, and I ask them, "Well, what more could you do with your business? What could you change if you're only seeing 10 clients a week, if the goal was to fill 5 clients a week? What would you need to change in your business to get there, yes, but what more could you do? What more could you do? What more could you create? Could you create that program that you've been thinking about for years? Could you write that book you've been thinking about for years? Could you do more speaking gigs? Could you do more consulting? Could you go and do lunch programs for corporations, and get paid many times more than what you're getting paid per hour? So think of, you know, really think about this for yourself. Not only is there, kind of, an earning ceiling, that we all have in our head, but there's also a lot of times, assumptions about what success really looks like, for our businesses. What does success really look like for our businesses? So for those life coaches, them booking out a week, with 15 or 20 clients, that looks like success to them. That means they're doing things right. What if we change that definition of success, to five or, excuse me, five or 10 clients? Same thing with, say, a jewelry business on Etsy. On Etsy it's all retail, and the number that matters the most to people, is the little sales number, the number of sales. If all you're ever doing is going for more and more and more and more and more sales on Etsy, that's one definition of success, but you'll always be working toward that, and you'll always be kind of, doing those same activities, and never really adjusting, or changing, or leveraging your business model. What if you change that so the success instead is, "I don't care how many sales I get on Etsy, my goal is to sell $20,000 merchandise at the next trade show. That suddenly becomes a different assumption about your business, and it allows you to think about things differently. And that all comes down to how much time you're really getting paid for. How many earning activities are you really doing in your business, on a weekly basis, and what are those activities? They're not always, delivering a one-to-one service. They're not always packaging and shipping out products. Right? There are other types of earning activities. So, keep in mind, this idea, that if you're gonna work 40 hours a week, you really need to be thinking more about only billing 20 hours a week, which means that, if in your old job you made 50 dollars an hour, working a 40 hour week, you need to make 100 dollars an hour billing, to make up for that difference. But it also might change the way you think about how you are earning, in your business.
I'm sorry, I have a question.
Just asking, when you are setting up your hourly wage, based off, well, do you start with where you are now, or do you really aim high, and start with where you want to be?
I would actually say somewhere in the middle. (laughs)
So, if you go back to what I mentioned earlier, about Alexis Neely's idea of these three different places, your "bare minimum to be happy," "where you'd like to be," and your "no limits." If you're just starting off in your business, or you're just recalculating your hourly wage, I would not start with your "no limits" lifestyle. I might not even start with your "ideally where you'd want to be." I'd think about what really would make me happy? And, you know, again, that's a question, we're not often asked in corporate jobs either, so what would make you happy? What's the lifestyle that would really make you happy? Not because it's a lifestyle that gives you all the material luxuries, but because it's a lifestyle, that really works for you. How much does that cost? That's the number you should use. It doesn't have to be a bare minimum. It doesn't have to make you a minimalist, but it should be, I hate to use the word realistic, I think I've used that a couple times today, which is a very weird thing for me, but it should be realistic. What is it that you're aiming for? A lot of times also, I recommend to people, who are wanting to make a big jump in their businesses, so that they've got this goal of how they want it to be, but they need it to be a certain way, to get by now, build out your business model both ways. Understand how your business would work, right, the way it is now, and how it would work, for that big, big goal in the future, and that way, you can start to see yourself move in that direction. You can set up goals; you can set up milestones. We're gonna do a lot of that on day three. We're gonna set some really good goals. So you can work through those milestones, to get you from where you are now, to where you really want to be. So, the answer is kind of in the middle and both. (laughs) So, I hate when I do things like that, but, you know, that's the way it is. So another thing to really think about when you're setting your hourly wage, is to think about the fact that when time is money, you won't find time for bigger things. This is something I struggled with, in my business, an awful lot. It kind of goes back to the beginning, when I was talking about building smaller, cheaper things. Things that are easier to sell. Once I established a new baseline of earning for me, I had to think about how I was going to keep up that baseline. How I was going to keep going, and for a long time, it just felt like, "I'll just make more stuff." I'll just write more books. Ill just do more of this. And, then, I never had time to work on those projects that would revolutionize my business. That would allow me to work, only 20 hours a week. A not billable 20 hours a week, working 20 hours a week. So, like I said, this is a really common issue that I see, is that we're focused on "time for money," or we're focused on "pieces for money," "products for money," and we forget that we have bigger goals. We forget that we have ideals that we're working toward. And so, we don't make time for that stuff. So, if in your business right now, time is money, or volume is money, in terms of, you know, just the, the earrings you're turning out, or the pillows you're turning out, are you finding time for the bigger things you wanna create in your business? Are you finding time for that big, commissioned art piece? Are you finding time as a photographer, to take a gallery's worth of work, and actually show it? Are you finding time to shoot those images? If you're trying to book your schedule for a wedding every weekend, and engagement shoots every day, in between, you aren't finding time to do the work that could really change your life. So make sure, when you're setting your hourly wage, when you're thinking about how much you need to earn, when you're considering the growth activities you want to make, and the business expenses you want to invest in, consider the bigger things you want to be creating. Consider those stretch goals that will change your life, that will change your business, and make sure you are making time for those. It may be 10% of your week, to start, and then you might work towards 20% of your week, and then you might work towards 50% of your week. 'Til suddenly, big stuff is all you're doing. And your life is totally different. Your business is totally different. Alright. I think this is the last one. Oh, no it's not. You want to share what you do, so make time for it. You want to share what you do, so make time for it. You know, I hear a lot of makers say to me, and, you know, even service providers, really, I just want to have time, to make what I love, all the time. Why do I have to market so much? Why do I have to sell so much? Why do I have to promote so much? If only my website would just build itself. Here's the thing, if you're in business, it's gotta be because you love to share what it is that you make. It's not just enough to love what you make. It's not just enough to love delivering the service. You absolutely must share what you love, and you must love to share what you love. So you need to make time for it. It's not a burden on your business to have to spend 20 hours a week, doing marketing activities. Whether that's promotion, or whether it's working on your website, or writing new copy, it's not a burden on you to do those things. Reframe this for yourself. Put it in the frame of, "I am sharing what I love." Doing these things allows me to do more of what I love. Doing these things allows me to change other people's lives with what I do. Doing these things allows me to deliver those packages, and deliver that service, and answer those questions. So, make sure, that when you're considering your hourly wage, when you're considering how you're setting up your business, what you want to earn, that you're making time and joyfully making time for sharing that work with other people. The last one is: choose to invest in your business. And I think there was a question before, and I didn't exactly talk about this bullet point in the "Break it Down" slide." There are business expenses that you want to make. There are business expenses that you need to make. There are things you need to buy. Maybe it is a new website, you know, maybe it's the 10,000 dollar, e-commerce enabled website of your dreams. That's a business expense you need to invest in, and you need to budget for it. And if your current pricing scheme isn't allowing you to do that, it's causing you more stress, it's holding your business back, it's not doing the, it's not allowing you to do what it is that you need to do, to grow the business. So don't tell me you can't afford this, or you can't afford the trip where you get to meet the people who could change your life, or that you can't afford the coach that's going to make things happen, or the virtual assistant, that's going to mean, you don't need to spend four hours on email a day, thank you Meghan. (laughs) You need to make sure, that the pricing scheme that you're using, that the hourly wage you're charging for, that the way you're setting up your business, and the price that you're telling with your story, allows you to invest in your business. Allows you to invest in your business. What are some of you guys investing in right now? Yes?
I got one of your "Insight Intensives,"
Oh, yes, you did. Thank you.
And I just signed up for Erika Lyremark's "Business by Design" program.
Because I think it's gonna be totally worth the investment that I put in, and, like, spending a month, really, really focusing on, like, work.
Yeah, and you're spending three days with us, which is an investment of time, so that's huge too. If you don't have room for that in your budget, taking two days off of work, in this case, you know, that wouldn't have happened either, so that's huge. What else are you guys investing in?
I've delayed on hiring a graphic designer, and I've been sitting there and doing all my own web stuff, and I'm not great at it, and I don't have the equipment. And, so, I'm doing the rebranding, and I'm changing my name, and so I'm like, this is the time, I'm hiring somebody, give me an actual brand
with the name change, so.
I'm so glad to hear that.
Graphic design is one that so many people don't spend the time or money, or they don't spend the money on, and so what they end up spending is way more time. So how many hours have you sat in front of Photoshop or Pixelmator, or whatever, just trying to get the stuff right. When a graphic designer can do it better, do it faster, and in the end, do it more cheaply.
When we're all doing what we are really good at doing, it actually makes it much cheaper.
Yeah. (audience laughs)
Yeah, it's Susan, right?
So, I have a question about that. I'm, I am a graphic designer, in my day job, freelance, and, you know, I'm doing all my own graphic design, for my jewelry company, so it's really hard for me, it would be really hard for me to let go of that.
At what point should I, or, should I let go of graphic design?
I mean, obviously, if I, when I get busy enough in my jewelry business, I would be able to, but I feel like, now, I do have that skill to build a website, so is it okay that I'm doing it?
Yeah, so the way that I would think about this is, you're actually investing capital in your business by providing that service, for yourself. It is an investment from you.
Just like you would infuse $10,000 into your business, maybe you're infusing $10,000 worth of graphic design into your business. Now, in terms of long term, (sighs) I think it will depend a lot. Will you find that your time is better spent on other activities, or is it better spent on graphic design, later on? You might also find that you just enjoy it, and that there's something almost cathartic about it, for you. And that, in doing that graphic design work, on your jewelry business, you're providing something for yourself and for your business, that you couldn't get anywhere else. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But you may reach a point, where you're like, "No, there are other things I'd rather be doing. I'd rather be working on a media campaign. I'd rather be phoning up manufacturers." It'll depend a lot on what your working style is, as kind of, the, you know, as the founder and CEO of this company. So yeah, those are the kind of things that I would consider. Am I getting something out of doing this work, that I couldn't get from doing, having someone else do it? Is there something personal? Is there something professional? Is there something business wise that I'm getting out of this, but be realistic. Oh, gosh, why am I using that word so much? Be realistic about it; be honest with yourself. Don't just do it because you don't want to pay somebody else to do it, do it because there's a good reason.
I will say that I have a really hard time stepping back from the work when I'm designing for my jewelry company. I feel like I can't be, it's like I can't see it. Like, I'm staring at it, and, for anybody else, I, I'm,
You'd whip it out.
Yeah, but for some reason, I'm like, "I can't tell if it's good or bad."
Yes. I'm like, "Is it ugly? I have no idea," you know?
Yeah, and so that's something good to be really realistic and honest about, that, you know, I'm having trouble, taking distance from this. For some people that works really well. For some people that's really awful, and, so maybe it's something where you need to involve a brand strategist, and work with someone else who can help you get distance, or maybe you hire somebody. And you feel good about that, because it makes sense for you, where you're at right now, with the goals that you have.
That question's actually for our students, which Tara, I think you can address. Aleem is asking, following up on, doing jewelry and graphic design at the same time. They're curious about how you market yourself in doing both. Do you have to separate your website, separate business cards, etc,... I know we're gonna get more into this, but this is something that was curious about, people, you know, doing two different things.
Yeah, so this is really a question of positioning, for me. And, Susan, I don't know, yet, how it is in your business, but I'm assuming that you have two separate businesses. And, generally, that is what I would recommend, in terms of positioning. When you start saying, "Well, I do this, and I do this, and I do this, and I do this," your perceived quality goes way down. The story that you're telling is that you're a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none, and that's not a story that we want to tell, in business. I have lots of friends who are scanners, who do all sorts of different things, who are good at all sorts of different things, and I applaud that. I also like to do all sorts of different things. However, your business needs to be focused, and to tell the story that you really want to tell, it must be focused. There must be one story, not multiple stories. That might mean that you do run multiple businesses, or it might mean that you have some hobbies, and then you have a business, and, I think that, that's something that we don't do enough of, in the creative entrepreneurial world. Everyone wants to monetize. Everyone wants to make money from this. You don't need to do that. You can have a hobby and you can have a business. So there's lots of different ways to handle it, but going back to that idea of story, of perception, how will people perceive that story if you say, "I do this, and I do this, and I do this"? And, absolutely, that will affect your pricing as well, because the story that you're telling is that Jack-of-all-trades, master of none story.
I was having a really hard, it's hard to write my own bio. It's really hard to write my own bio. And that was an issue I was having, like, do I say that I also have a graphic design business? Or how do I word it so that people know that I have that experience, and it's reflected in my jewelry design?
That's exactly how you say it.
Is, I am also a graphic designer, and graphic design is important to me in the way I approach designing jewelry.
That sounds awesome.
That sounds like, "Man, this woman's mind is on design, 24/7" but "I do this, and I do this, and I do this, and I do that," isn't helpful, so bringing that together, so that you are telling that one story, that's it. And it makes it sound richer, and, absolutely, that reflects on pricing, yeah. So, we've got more time to share, but first, I want to give everybody something to share. So, throughout the three days, I'm gonna be asking you guys, in the audience, but you guys, online, to share with me, whether in the chat rooms, or on Twitter, or on Facebook, wherever you feel comfortable sharing. You can use the #taraLIVE if you're on Twitter. You can also tag @taragentile or @creativeLIVE. We'll be watching those, but for this segment, what I'd really love for you to share with me, is to tell me one thing you want to make time for, in your business. Maybe it's a growth activity; maybe it's like that PR campaign we were talking about earlier. Maybe it's building, writing the book. Maybe it's building the program. Maybe it's, you wanna make time for having one client that pays all your bills for the year. Whatever it is, tell me that one thing you wanna make time for in your business, in the chat rooms, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, tell us. First we're gonna go to the audience and then we'll go online, so what do you guys, what's one thing you wanna make time for in your business? Yeah.
I want to write a book. and just more writing in general. Fantastic, so blogging, emailing, and booking. Excellent, writing. Robin.
I wanna do more live gatherings.
So, really, to meet the designers we're working with, and, cause I think, to me, that's a big connection.
Yeah, and that's a huge time investment too, absolutely.
Community outreach? And that could be done in program design, new programs, just being out there, so people know, who I am and what I'm doing, and also sharing that online too, using different marketing techniques.
Fantastic, excellent. Anybody else? Things you wanna make time for. Sasha.
I would like to go back to my to-do list work and create an offering for companies.
Oh! Fantastic, oh, I love that. So, Sasha's wrote a book called, "Quirkyalone," and then she also wrote a book on to-do lists, and going, I think that's a great idea, going back to that, and bringing that back into the story of what you're doing, right now too, I love that. What do people wanna make time for online?
I'm gonna throw this out there. A girl named Michael says, "training on better graphic design and web design," which is interesting.
Carla Canow, building my Etsy shop, to reflect my personality.
Cool, so maybe some branding work in there, that we need to make time for, awesome.
And Jesse R. was saying, additional time for story telling and engaging with our prospects and customers.
And Jesse R.'s saying, additional time, oh no, same one, I'm sorry, about that, Oldie Aquin says, "Make time for networking. It's not my favorite marketing activity." Now, everybody always says that one.
I know and it's not my favorite marketing activity either, but it has been one of the absolute, most effective things I have made time in my business for, you know, for me, I hate networking events, like, the idea of going to a Meetup, makes me literally want to puke, so I do not go to Meetups very often, but what I do do, is go to conferences. And, I will travel, pretty much anywhere, to go to a conference. I love going to a conference, whether I'm speaking or not. I'm available for speaking. (laughs) So I'll travel to, I'll make the time to get on the plane to go to the conference, to spend time there, maybe to spend an extra day or two, and organize a Meetup, or to meet up with individual people. For me, networking is about, not meeting a room full of people, but meeting one or two people I really click with. So, absolutely, I think that's a fantastic activity, to be making time for. And you need both the money, to be able to do it. You need to buy the airplane ticket. You need to buy the super hot outfit, or the super excellent outfit, to feel good about yourself in these things. And you need to be able to take the time away from your business to be able to do it. So it's a great example, great way to start wrapping up. This idea of what we need to make time for, what we need to make money for, in our business, to grow those businesses. So, that's gonna be it for this segment. In the next segment we're gonna talk about what your prices really mean to your customers, and how to start thinking about your prices from your customers' perspective. When they look at your price what do they see, and how does that affect the way you price your products and services? So that's what we're gonna do after the break?
I have some questions as well, just before we go to the break.
Wouldn't you say, when it comes to networking, that it's about meeting the right people?
Can you expand on that just a little bit?
Yeah, I mean, it's about meeting the right people in that, you know, you need to be able to meet people, who are both, you are both able to do things for them, and they're able to do things for you. It has to be a reciprocal relationship, and it has to make sense. So there are different kinds of categories of people you want to go out and meet. You want to meet influencers. You might want to meet, so those are people, who if they give you the seal of approval, your reputation suddenly goes way up. You might want to meet colleagues who you can share information with, pricing information is a really good thing to share, between colleagues. And then, you might also meet potential clients. You know, a lot of the times when I go to a conference, I'm actually meeting with potential clients. My goal is never to sell to people. My goal is always to gather information. What I can do for them is answer a question that's been nagging at them for awhile, and I love doing that. Buy me a beer, I will answer your question. (laughs) Oh gosh, I think I just totally ruined my next few months. (laughs) But, I, in getting those questions, I am talking to you. I get so much information, that inspires me, that informs the work that I do, that really changes the way I perceive my business, and the way I'm able to communicate, so that's what I get out of meeting potential clients, much more so, than actual new clients. So, yeah, so that's, I totally agree.