When you decided to branch out and start your own IT support business, one of the top benefits you were probably hoping to achieve was to gain more freedom.
How’s that working out for you?
If you’re like most computer consultants I know, you probably work harder, put in longer hours and have less personal time available than you ever had when you were working for someone else (when’s the last time you had a proper two week vacation?)
However, your dream lifestyle is absolutely achievable. To get there, it’s all about working SMARTER, not harder.
Here are three tips I believe can quickly put you on the path to shorter workdays and a more balanced lifestyle.
- Take Two Hours to Focus on Activities that Produce RESULTSAs the top dog in the company (perhaps the only dog), you’ve no doubt got a few dozen items on your to-do list every morning – and each of them is more important than the next.Customers to call, projects to plan, tech issues to fix, administration tasks to handle… there’s a lot of hats to wear when you run a company.However, if you want your business to grow, the most important tasks are the ones that either:
- Bring in new customers
- Sell more services to your existing customersIf the tasks you’re allowing to take up all your time aren’t specifically accomplishing one of the above two items, then you’re running in circles, not charging ahead.
Set aside at least two solid hours a day to focus on marketing that will grow your business. The results will compound quickly and you’ll soon see some remarkable results.
- Use a Timer –Sounds simple, but I’ve found that using a simple kitchen timer has become one of my most useful tools for increasing my productivity.When you sit down to work on a specific task, give yourself a hard estimate for how long you believe it should take.Set the clock and get started. Having the timer staring you in the face, ticking down constantly reminding you how much time you’ve burned so far and how much (or little) time you have left to accomplish your task is a remarkably effective way of keeping you focused and moving quickly.Try not to allow distractions, such as answering the phone or replying to text messages while you’re working to reach your time limit. Pausing the clock takes your focus from your task, and the goal of this exercise is to stay focused and get your important work completed quickly.
- Delegate! –Even if you’re working on your own, you don’t have to do everything on your own.Spend your time focused on your most important, most productive tasks – and delegate everything else you can to employees or outsourced service providers.Employees should be handling customer support and tech support issues. If you don’t have employees, consider outsourcing to a helpdesk service provider for first level support issues.Many administrative tasks can be affordably outsourced to bookkeeping and accounting services.
Many of your marketing activities can be outsourced to qualified providers. Graphic designers, article writers, copywriters, telemarketers… there are lots of tasks that would be achieved much faster and more effectively by a professional who is more experienced and better qualified than you to do the job.
If you feel you can’t afford to outsource, that might be part of the reason you’re stuck in place rather than moving forward. Your time is your most valuable commodity. And the time you’re spending on many of the items you insist on doing yourself are probably costing you a lot more than the money you’d spend to have someone else do it for you.
Spend your own valuable time on the high-level, result producing activities that will grow your business – and spend that time wisely by keeping yourself focused – and you’ll soon begin living the lifestyle you know you deserve.