Time management is a critical skill for any small business owner. As an entrepreneur, you wear multiple hats and juggle numerous responsibilities, making efficient time utilization essential for success. In this blog post, we will explore practical time management strategies and tools that can empower you to optimize your productivity, reduce stress, and achieve a healthy work-life balance.
“Time is not the enemy. Time is the most precious resource we have as human beings. It's how we use it that will either move us forward or hold us back.” – Marie Forleo
One of the most eye-opening books I’ve read on business around this topic of time management is Sell Like Crazy by Sabri Suby*. In this book, Suby emphasizes the importance of delegating and optimizing your time as an entrepreneur to achieve maximum productivity and success. He offers valuable insights on hourly tasks, rates, and strategies to focus on high-impact activities.
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Think about it!
The average cost for a Virtual Assistant, someone who answers emails, maybe uploads blog posts, you know, administrative tasks in the business is $18 – $35 / hour. Let’s just say $25 an hour for tasks like answering emails and such. If you’re a business owner and you’re still cleaning up your inbox and spending time on administrative tasks, well that time spent in that category is taking you away from the work that actually moves the needle in your business. Making sales calls, building your email list, creating the actual work, product, service, etc. that generates revenue.
When you think of your time as a resource for building your business and realize that when you delegate those administrative tasks so you can free up the time to make that money and then some back for the business, you begin to look at your time, hiring and delegating very differently.
Let's delve into some of the key thoughts from this book and on time management below to break this down even more:
Mastering Time Management: A Guide for Small Business Owners
Delegate to Elevate
As explained above, learning to be a leader and understanding the power of delegating as an entrepreneur is incredibly crucial to managing your time well and growth. Leaders like Sabri Suby, James Wedmore, Marie Forleo and more emphasize the importance that entrepreneurs should focus on their core strengths and delegate tasks that can be handled more efficiently by others. By outsourcing non-core activities to capable team members or freelancers, you can free up time to concentrate on high-impact tasks that directly contribute to business growth. AKA, you shouldn’t be spending your time on tasks that aren’t in the bucket of your hourly rate as the CEO. More on that in the next point.
Determine Your Hourly Rate
In Sell Like Crazy, Suby encourages entrepreneurs to calculate their hourly rate based on their business goals and desired income. Knowing your hourly rate helps you as the business owner evaluate the value of tasks that you perform. This perspective will allow you to delegate lower-value tasks that fall below their hourly rate, optimizing your time for more significant impact activities.
For example, let’s say my hourly rate for CEO tasks is $250/hour. This is for sharing my expertise in coaching let’s say…which is a pretty below average hourly rate for coaching, but it’s just an example. Well, let’s also say I’m still fulfilling tasks like emails, uploading blog posts, booking calls, etc. which would value my time at $25/hour. Hiring someone to free up that time for me to then focus on the tasks that help me earn $250/hour helps to not only move the business forward in terms of growth, but it frees up my time to only do things in my zone of genius, allowing me to avoid burnout and make more money for the business!
The 80/20 Rule in Time Management
Not all tasks contribute equally to business results. Similarly to what I outlined above on determining your hourly rate, it’s important to identify the 20% of tasks that generate 80% of the desired outcomes. This helps entrepreneurs prioritize their time effectively. By focusing on high-impact tasks, you can achieve exceptional results and growth. For me, that means focusing my time and efforts on creating and filming courses and creating content that generates leads to our courses.
Leverage Technology and Automation
NEVER underestimate the power of leveraging technology and automation to streamline repetitive processes. And I mean, like reeeally automate. There’s been times where I thought I was automating or streamlining everything I possibly could, but there is always something more you can be doing. Automation tools can handle tasks such as lead generation, email marketing, and social media scheduling, allow entrepreneurs to focus on business strategy and client relationships. Check out my CEO resources page with all the apps and platforms I recommend for things like email list, time tracking, automations and more!
The Power of Saying No
Be strategic in managing your time and avoid taking on projects or tasks that do not align with your business goals objectives. Learning to say no to distractions and low-value opportunities enables you as the business owner to stay focused on your core business and achieve greater success. Remember the 80/20 rule above? Write out what your core business and revenue generating tasks are. If you’re a business coach, then coaching sessions are at the top for you. If you’re an artist, making art is at the top, etc.
Setting Boundaries and Creating Systems
Another piece to the time-management puzzle that I overlooked soooo much in the early days is creating clear boundaries around work hours and personal time. This is crucial for entrepreneurs. In Suby’s book, he encourages the implementation of systems that help manage daily tasks efficiently. This includes setting specific work hours, creating to-do lists, and setting aside dedicated time for strategic planning and creativity, research and development and growth. One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite podcasters helped put this in perspective for me: “While working in your business is essential for keeping things moving, it's working on your business that allows you to grow, innovate, and lead it to greater heights.” – James Wedmore
Set aside time for learning and growth, taking courses, business coaching, and allowing yourself the time to live your life so that you can pour back into your business from a place of leadership and clarity.
The Impact of Consistency
At the end of the day, you can’t do everything perfectly as an entrepreneur. There’s going to be days where you just have to spend the time checking off the tasks that are more administrative, but by consistently prioritizing high-impact tasks, setting goals, and dedicating focused time to specific activities, you can achieve steady progress and build momentum in your businesses. And that’s the key: consistency. Create systems and processes that help you gradually implement these strategies above, get your mind clear on your goals, what the core of your business is, etc. and you’ll be on your way to mastering your time and growing your business!