Self employment has a lot of juicy benefits, but billing hours for dollars has it’s drawbacks.
When you work for someone else, you turn up, do your work, and get paid..week in…week out. Yes even when you’re not being productive (I don’t think youtube and facebook are part of most peoples job descriptions).
There is no measure of financial reward against productivity or output in most employees lives.
Self employment. Ah now that’s a different kettle of fish.
We set our work calendar, define our hours. Suddenly you realize that all those hours don’t equate to money.
A good deal of time is swallowed up on the small stuff that goes unrecognized. Suddenly you’re 40 hour week has shrunk to 20, effectively halving your earnings capacity.
If you’re not earning what you would like, I suggest that you take a look at where your time is being eaten up to see if you can’t squeeze some more billable hours into your time schedule.
Here’s a shortlist of some areas that might be eating into your paid work time.
Poorly organized or piecemeal tasks may be causing you to spend more time in this area than needs be. Systems will streamline your ability to get things done, as well as setting time aside to tackle admin requirements in a block, rather than doing tasks here and there. You could also look at outsourcing your admin too.
Are they necessary. If they are can they be less frequent. Or perhaps shorter more on focused on a particular task, rather than trying to solve world issues in a single sitting.
Could you meet virtually instead of traveling, can you combine meetings with individuals to making them more collective. Can you be more selective with your meeting attendees, eliminate the ramblers if you will.
I mean, really… a lot of these “meetings” really turn out to be completely non productive time sucks. Be well guarded of your time on the meeting front.
This too could fall under the meeting scenario. Obviously time has to be allocated to this function of your business, without clients there’s no one to bill, right? But take a look at how your are doing things in this area. Are you minimizing the impact on your time, maybe by running your client meetings or calls in particular time blocks or are you “on call” which can be really disruptive to your productivity.
Do you have a system in place to lead the potential client efficiently through the process of becoming a client? Can you replicate all elements so that you’re not having to reinvent the wheel each time you take on a new client. Can you put in a filter process to take you out of the loop until a certain stage.
You may be fortunate enough to have built a team to support your business, in which case you should have more billable hours at your disposal. That is, unless the team is now taking as much time out of your day as it was to complete the tasks you’ve given them. I would hope not. But it does happen.
Assess the time you’re spending on team functions, meetings, project management, training etc. How can you streamline the time you spend on team management. Create evergreen trainings, work wiki’s, reference or swipe files for your team to fall back on rather than you.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how to make your business lean, and efficient, and optimize those billable hours. Hope you find them helpful.
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