When you are your business it’s incredibly hard to avoid trading time for money, especially when you're starting out. But if you want to start making faster progress you’ll want to read on and take action on this article.
Trading time for money means that your income is limited by your time available. Therefore building a successful business will take a lot longer. And if you want to do it slowly, by all means keep doing what you’re doing.
This is a very common problem that people who charge by the hour / project can face – like coaches, consultants, designers and creatives.
This is a challenge I personally suffered with, and it frustrated me a lot. Results by volume (when you run a service-based business) is the fast track to burnout. You can’t scale you and I learned this one the hard way.
In today’s blog I’m sharing my top strategies to overcome trading time for money by….
- Putting your prices up to increase profits
- Outsourcing to get back your time
- Systems to automate manual processes
- Ways to be more productive
- Turn your skills into digital products and make money while you sleep
Put your prices up
There can be a lot of fear around putting your prices up. But if you’re undercharging and trying to scale your business – you will not be successful if you don't!
So lets look at the great reasons why you should put your prices up…
More Profit =
Less hours required to work to make the same income
Better service to your clients (therefore better testimonials, more referrals, and you can put your prices up even more, and you’ll attract better clients!)
More time to work on your business & train a team
Invest into yourself / business (meaning better service to your clients)
You get the point. BIG ADVANTAGES.
And the fears…
That your customers might not be happy.
OK, so first up that’s not a valid reason when you think about it. Why would your customers ,who value you, be annoyed that you’re trying to grow your business so you can do an even better job for them?
You may (but probably not) lose customer along the way. But if they don’t value you and just see you as commodity that they can get a better price on elsewhere, then let them go my lovely – you’ll be much happier in the long run with clients who value you and you’ll value yourself more.
How do you put your prices up without annoying your customers?
Pitch the benefits of a better service to your existing clients when you’re talking about price increases – and DO NOT DO THIS VIA EMAIL! Always always talk money on the phone.
If this is way too scary, start with a small amount of 10% next time you get a new client. But if you want to take the biggest action and you’ve got a good conversation rate, the next time you pitch for a project – double your rates. Instead of thinking, what’s the worst that can happen think what’s the best that can happen and refer to the bullets above.
Outsource / Delegate
If you want to free up your time, then start getting things off your plate that you can pass onto other people – leaving you to focus on the things only you can do.
Do you ever say – “It’s quicker if I do it myself” (I was guilty of that one!). This is code for… “I haven’t taken the time to train / brief someone on exactly what you need.” Think of this task as an investment as the more time you invest, the more value you’re going to get long term.
That means planning, briefing, vetting, training and feedback not simply expecting someone to read your mind and then when they get it wrong saying “you might as well do it yourself.
Or maybe you say things like “I can’t find another me”. Yes I said that one too and you don’t need that either, because another you would be another person capable of growing a business like yours!
Steps to start delegating and outsourcing
What you need is someone who can take on the tasks you do, so start off by looking at what you do day to day and sort them into 2 groups
1 – Things only you can do
2 – Things someone else can do
And then your job is to start moving the things from list 2 over to other people.
Even if you are only getting 1 or 2 things off your plate a month, you’re going to start freeing up your time quicker than you think. This becomes a great habit and you’ll love doing it more and more over time.
You’re going to notice a pattern in this article – INVESTMENT. With the right systems in place you can easily claw back your time, and sometimes that might mean investing into tools and training to systemise your business.
And at some point, you’re going to have to spend more time on this – particularly if you’re outsourcing.
The first step is awareness of where you spend a lot of time on basic tasks. Do you still keep all your paper receipts and then manually enter them into your accounts? Perhaps you email people manually following a consultation? Do you schedule all your social media posts on the fly?
A quick search on Google will send you a gazillion blogs / tools that can automate all those processes. Google “automate uploading receipts” or “upload receipts tool” and you’ll find hundreds of different ways to automate the tasks.
Being more productive
If you’re time-short, one of the best areas to look at improving is your own personal performance. Are you really using your time efficiently or are you switching from one task to another to another?
I used to be the classic multi-tasker switching between too many tasks and feeling like I was never getting to the bottom of my to-do list, and it was really hindering my business growth. I worked with a performance coach to help me overcome this, and these are some of the ways I am now more productive…
- Planning my tasks the night before
- Creating my top 3 tasks for the day
- Don’t open emails / social media till my top 3 tasks are done
- Focusing on 1 task at a time – tasks on my list
- Limit facebook to 2 slots per day
- Use the Pomodoro technique to improve my work speed
- Meditation breaks to keep me focused
- Low GI foods to maintain my energy
- Tell clients I will respond to emails once per day unless urgent
How to become more productive
The key here is to try things out and see what works for you! I’ve been on a productivity journey for the past couple of years and I’m always trying new things out. It’s fun experiment, and one that you’ll find highly addictive once you see the benefits.
Monetise your skills and turn them into products
Of all the tips, this one is my favourite because its been core to my own success. In fact, it would be fair to say that turning my skills into digital products has changed my life because it’s given me back my time. At the end of last year I had to move away from my web & ecommerce agency because I had some health issues to overcome, and have since turned my skills into products that people want to buy.
Specifically turning my skills in marketing and business growth into video training.
And if you have a business that people pay you for your skills, then you also have the ability to turn those skills into products. You only have to look at the sites of udemy, Skillshare, Amazon and Etsy to see that you can just about learn anything now and people are willing to pay for it. If you’re struggling to get started
And what’s great about digital products, is that anyone can get started with them – you don’t have to be tech savvy as there are so many tools you can use to create them with ease.
Just replacing 10-25% of your current income with sales from digital products can be enough to ease significant time issues, allowing you more time to grow your business, outsource and automate… or perhaps like me, completely replace your income from private clients with digital products.
How are you going to move away from trading time for money?
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it gives you some ideas for how you can start to get back your time. This definitely isn’t a quick fix, but its not to say that these can’t help you make some significant changes in a short space of time!
One area that I’m focusing heavily on right now is encouraging other business owners to explore digital products. To get started, download my 9 page guide.