Are you sitting there full of wonderful ideas for your creative business but have the overwhelming feeling of guilt or anxiety when it comes to making time to work on these? Don't worry, you are not alone. This is something I recently tackled myself and I wanted to share how I came up with a way to carve out time for my own business.
1. Why do you want this?
To make time for your creative business you have to have the understanding of why you are doing it. There's no way you're going to carve out time in the day for something you're not passionate about. Write down 5 reason why you have started your business and really connect with those points. Get back to the true core of why you have this business and then you'll be 1 step closer to allowing yourself to carve out that time.
2. What are your key goals for the next quarter and what do you need to do to achieve these?
Having an idea on what your goals are will allow you to really focus in on where you should be spending your time. It's easy to come up with all these ideas for your business but sometimes it's important to think "will they help me reach my goals?" because if not, they might not be worth pursuing yet. If you're not sure about what your goals are right now, I recommend you work through my free marketing series, Refresh. Within this series there's a specific section for goal setting which will help you understand how much time you need to carve out.
Once you have your key goals, you'll be able to note down next to each goal what exactly you need to do to achieve these. Maybe one goal is to work with a certain client, so to do this you need to follow them on social media, go and meet them, send them a proposal letter, ask everyone you know if they know this client, etc, etc. Having this written next to each of your goals, you're going to have a better idea of what time you need to carve out for your business.
3. Be honest with yourself, how much time do you actually have
You have to be brutal on this one, how many hours do you have in the day, the week, the month for your business. Be specific, this coming month note out each day and what hours you have to spend on your business. Start with this, even if it's just 5 hours in the week, starting somewhere will allow you to grow.
Answer these questions below you may find that there's something getting in the way of you creating more time for yourself, and this is something you can fix.
1. What days of the week do I want to work
Be realistic, if you want the weekends off, make sure you only write Mon - Fri
2. What hours in each of these days do I have time to work on your creative business
Mon 8am - 6pm, Tue 8am - 4pm, etc, etc
3. What is currently getting in the way of you making time for your business
It might be that you have a dog walking job, or the fact that you work from an office 30 mins away or maybe that you have a second job.
4. How are you going to reduce these barriers that are stopping you from working your my business
Write down all possible options such as quitting that second job, going to the gym at the weekend instead of during the week, finding a closer office to work from, etc, etc
4. Start to make a schedule
We all work differently but I feel to get a kick start with creating time for your business you want to begin with a schedule. This isn't something that's set in stone, this schedule will be flexible and something you can come back to as and when. I recommend you try work out what categories of your business you need to work on based on the answers from the goal setting section and then allocate this to the time you've worked out in the previous step.
I always recommend to have a section in your schedule (either every day or once a week) called "free for all" to allow you to work on tasks that have come in unexpectedly.
Create this schedule in a way that works for you, this may simply be writing out the days of the week and allocating tasks to these days or maybe it's creating a spreadsheet in google docs with the next quarter noted out.
Here's an example for a food photographer.
- Work with 6 new local clients this quarter
- Blog twice a month
- Get my photo in a food magazine every other month
- Earn an extra £600 a month
Monday 8am - 4pm (Finding new local clients to work with, scouting in real life, contacting food magazines with pitches)
Tuesday 7am - 5pm (Client work / photo editing)
Wednesday 8am - 3pm (Blog posts and social media)
Thursday 7am - 5pm (Client work / photo editing)
Friday 8am - 3pm (Free for all)
5. Get ready to being
I always recommend when you have a change in schedule you want to get ready for it. This may be working out where you work best, is that at the kitchen table or is that to create your own desk where you go and sit down to work. It might even be as simple as buying yourself a new notebook to get you started. Whatever it is, visualise what's going to make this new schedule work for you and then get it done. For me, mine was to have a desk with natural sunlight. Since moving into my new flat I've gained myself a mini office right next to a window with natural sunlight!
6. For 1 week, stick to this schedule religiously
Just try it, see how it goes, this will allow you time to work out what you need to change within your schedule and how to give certain categories (such as blog posts or client work) more time if they need it. This schedule needs to be flexible but until you give it the time to work, you won't know what you need from it or how it needs to change until you stick to it religiously.
I hope this was helpful, even if it motivated you to sit down and work out what time you actually have to spend on your business. It's surprising how giving yourself set days to work on things and piling things into categories can sometimes allow you to work more effectively. We're all different but give this a go and see how it works for you.