Are you spending enough time on your business? (Time requirements for an authentic business)
Time requirements for building an authentic business
If you don't create your own structure, someone else will create it for you, resulting in less autonomy and freedom. Here's the blog post I mentioned in the video -- https://www.georgekao.com/blog/businesstimePosted by George Kao, Authentic Business Coach on Friday, March 24, 2023
After coaching many people on how to grow their business, I find this recurring issue:
Many people are not spending enough time on the right actions... therefore it’s no wonder their business isn’t growing…
From my experience as a successful solopreneur and coaching hundreds of others, I’ve summarized the most productive actions as The 8 Practices of Authentic Business.
Yet, how much time to spend with each practice?
Let’s look at each one, and how much time to carve out.
If you add up all the actions below, it’ll take about 10 hours per week. Of course, you can spend less or more time, depending on your availability, tech savviness, and goals for your business growth.
1. Joyful Productivity
Effective time management begins with scheduling in enough self-care. Maintaining a healthy body and mind allows us to do everything else better.
If you looked at my calendar, you would find that my work periods are always between 1.5 - 2.5 hours. Between these work segments, there are long breaks, such as walking the dog, taking a nap, or having a meal. For example, work from 8 - 10:30am, then take a 1-hour break. Then work from 11:30am - 1pm, and then another 1 hour break. (I explain the details of my schedule in the Joyful Productivity course. I can also walk you through my current schedule if you ask me on a Q&A call.)
During each hour of work, I also do my energy reboot multiple times. It takes only 20 seconds each time.
Also, I spend 1.5 hours per workday clearing my emails and miscellaneous tasks. I recommend at least 1 hour per day, or 5 hours per week, which is about 22 hours per month of EOD (end of day clearing of inbox / misc. tasks).
2. Healthy Money Habits
I spend just 10 minutes a week to check my automated bookkeeping and make sure things are categorized properly.
I also spend an additional 15 minutes a month doing what I call “monthly transfers” (I teach this in the Conscious Money course) where I make sure each bank account has enough funds and I direct surplus funds (if any) to my investments.
Everyone should be planning ahead for their retirement, no matter how young or old. Good money practices help to create healthy financial independence.
Total time: Approximately 1 hour per month.
3. Consistent Content
I recommend at least 1 hour a week, preferably more, to create original content, or to repurpose (edit and re-share) previous content.
For more, read about The 3 Stages of Content Creation.
Content (such as writing and video) is so important to my business strategy that I spend 4 hours a week creating or repurposing content.
You don’t have to spend as much time, but the more time you’re able to spend creating content, the more you’ll improve your communication skills.
I take 1 week off of content creation every 4-5 weeks. This means each year, I take about 11 weeks of “content sabbaticals”.
For thoughtful support in becoming a consistent content creator, consider joining Soul Gym.
Total minimum time: Approximately 4 hours per month.
4. Paid Distribution
If you’re not running ads to distribute your content, you’re probably not reaching enough people to grow your business…
I recommend a minimum of $30 per month on Facebook and/or Instagram Ads.
You’ll probably need 30 minutes a week to create and manage your ads, and maybe 2-3 hours a week if you’re just learning how to do it now.
If you prefer to outsource it, contact me for some recommendations. Or to learn how to do it yourself, take my courses: Facebook Marketing Course for Self-Employed People and Instagram Marketing Course.
Total time: Approx 2 hours per month.
5. Netcaring & Collabs
Whether or not you run ads, I also recommend using simple collaborations to get the word out about your business.
I do not recommend co-creating products/events/programs with other people until you’re savvy with collaborations. Start simply: reach out to a colleague you trust and publicly interview each other (for example on an Instagram Live) for 30 minutes. Ask genuine and respectful questions to learn about each other’s work, which helps the audience learn as well.
I recommend doing at least 1 collaboration per month. I personally aim to do 2 monthly.
Each collaboration can take about 4 hours per month --
- 2 hours in research and outreach to 10 potential collaborators
- 1 hour in responding / back and forth to schedule and plan a collaboration
- 1 hour for the actual collaboration
To learn how to find collaborators and work with them, take my course: Simple Collaborations & Authentic JV’s.
How to keep in touch with your colleagues so that when you reach out to them, they are more likely to respond positively? Engage in what I call “netcaring”. Connect regularly (at least every 6 months) with each colleague that you’d like to grow a professional relationship with. Do it from a place of genuine enjoyment of who they are! In your netcaring, practice giving kindness (and helpful resources), and refrain from trying to get something from them. Yet, as I mention, once in a while, also suggest a win-win collaboration if appropriate.
6. Aligned Offers
There’s a good chance that, like most business owners, you don’t understand your potential clients well enough to provide aligned offers – services and products that they eagerly want.
By selling people what they already want, it makes your marketing so much easier :)
Most of us never learned how to conduct market research conversations, so it’s no surprise if your marketing and content isn’t anywhere near as aligned as it could be.
I recommend doing at least 1 audience research conversation per month. In the beginning of my business, I was doing one every week. It helped me to stay in touch more viscerally with the desires of my audience.
Each audience research conversation can take about 2 hours:
- 1 hour to thoughtfully reach out to at least 10 fans to get 1 “yes”.
- 30-60 minutes for the actual conversation.
- 30 minutes for you to process the notes/insights from the interview.
To learn more about how to do these, take my Offer Revision Workshop.
7. Authentic Outreach
Another missing piece is that you are probably not consistently announcing your products/services. I find that about 80% of the clients I work with aren’t doing this consistently enough.
If so, then no wonder people aren’t signing up to work with you, or aren’t referring enough clients to you.
Spend 1 hour every 2 weeks to write an announcement/invitation to your audience about one of your products or services. For in-depth guidance about this process, take the Authentic Outreach course.
Total time: Approximately 2 hours per month.
8. Mastery of Your Craft
Lastly, are you spending the time to gather and analyze the feedback from your clients? This is how you can keep improving your services and products.
I recommend 3 hours every 3 months:
- 1 hour to write and send out the request for feedback
- 2 hours to read and process the feedback and see what changes you want to make
Added together, the above actions are 38 hours per month, or approximately 10 hours per week if done efficiently. When learning how to do these things, you may want to budget at least 15-20 hours per week.
Besides the above practices, which are mostly about business development, you also need to add in time for client appointments, any product development (e.g. course creation), as well as other admin tasks that your business may need.
Too many business owners treat their business as a hobby, without using their time strategically. They may be spending many hours a week consuming content about business/marketing, but not spending enough time doing the recommended actions.
Have an honest audit of your schedule, the time you spend, and ask yourself: am I spending enough time doing the right things?
It may be helpful to have the handholding support of a coach to set a plan that matches your energy. Ask your own network for recommendation to a life or business coach, or get together with another self-employed friend to carefully work through this blog post!
(This post was originally written in 2019, updated in 2023.)