If you’re an entrepreneur (or wantrepreneur) your Facebook news feed is no-doubt full of ads by self-called gurus, offering you the dream. You know the one…
“Work 4 hours a week from a beach in paradise… you’ll be rich, buff, popular and you’ll be so awesome you won’t even get sand in your laptop!”
These people sell the dream that you can create a cookie cutter program, build a funnel and *BAM*, you’re raking in the cash …
“6 figures in 6 weeks, anyone?”
As someone who’s been trying to build an online coaching business for 18 months now…
I call bullshit!
Now I’ll admit, I’ve made more than a few mistakes — you can read about my top 3 here. But I’ve learnt from those mistakes… and I’ve also learnt that you have to do the work. I shouldn’t even have to point this out, but just to make it clear…
As a solopreneur, if you don’t do the work, it simply doesn’t get done!
If you’re not doing the work, you’re not a ‘preneur’ … you’re a pretender!
So if you’re thinking about starting a business to create more ‘freedom’, let me tell you what ‘freedom’ really looks like.
I’m currently sitting on the Eurostar on my way to Paris. I’m really excited to show my partner around Paris because she hasn’t been before (this is my 3rd visit). A couple of weeks ago she was asked to take a few days leave before the end of the financial year (end of March in the UK)… so we figured, what a great opportunity to take a short trip. From my perspective, it was a no-brainer. Business wise my only thought was ‘I’ll make it work’.
So once we arrive in Paris, I’ll turn off ‘business mode’ and become the quintessential tourist. Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Arc De Triomph, Moulin Rouge… we’ll see the works. I won’t check my phone every few minutes because I’m on holidays… but I will check it probably twice a day, morning and night, to ensure my clients are all ok. I’ll spend about an hour on work each day.
SOUNDS LIKE FREEDOM TO ME!!!
It sounds like a great setup, hey?
Honestly, it is. I love that I have the freedom to spend a long weekend in Paris, where I’ll only work, at most, an hour a day.
But it doesn’t work like that all the time.
Let’s talk about yesterday, and the day before that, and the weeks and months since my last break (which was over New Years by the way).
I know I’m more productive at the start of the week, so I try to stack my workload around my periods of peak concentration. Monday starts at around 7am with coffee — all days start with coffee — then I sit down to write. On Monday I write until 8.30, then setup for my weekly live stream which begins at 9am. Post live stream, I eat breakfast while completing daily tasks — checking email, social media, admin system & coaching system.
From about 10am to 1pm I focus on larger tasks like landing pages, lead magnets, email sequences and social media scheduling.
I start to tire around 1pm so I take a break for lunch. I know I’m not very productive after lunch so I often schedule easier tasks around this time — like making graphics on Canva.
Generally, 4pm goes one of two ways; I get a burst of energy or I crash and burn. I listen to this — and if I’m feeling flames of glory, it’s time to pack up. I close my laptop, do my workout, then it’s shower, dinner, relax and bed.
If, on the other hand, 4pm brings energy like I’ve drank a carton of Red Bull, I use it, and often work until 6.30–7pm. I’ve found this is another great time to write, and I often pre-write blogs, emails or social media posts for times when I’m not feeling so energetic
I work through this routine almost every Monday to Friday, reducing my hours slightly towards the end of the week. I work harder now than I ever did at my previous role in welfare — both in terms of hours worked and workload.
On weeks like this one where I won’t be working 5 days, I raise my expectations of myself — like writing 2 blog posts a day instead of one, because I don’t want to feel like I have to write when I’m in Paris.
You might be thinking…
“Work smarter, not harder”
And I believe I do this. I certainly work a lot smarter than when I moved my business online 18 months ago. But this was, and still is, a work in progress; I’ve had to learn what ‘working smarter’ looks like. I may have had it down pat in my previous job, but entrepreneurship is a whole new world for me.
I also have to do the work and there is simply no way around this!
Content creation takes time;
Building systems takes time;
Earning an audience takes time;
And until you do the work, freedom will be out of your reach.
Originally published at theascent.pub