I've spoken with many entrepreneurs who have so much client work on their plate they are unable to do anything for their business. And while it can be argued that doing things for your clients IS doing something for your business, it's only a small piece of the pie.
In a recent post – Most Of Your Business Won't Make Money – we looked at how 80% of what your business does doesn't directly earn you money, it enables you to earn it. It's that 80% that I'm referring to when I say you need to put yourself first. Why? Because if you don't do that 80% you're going to run into a brick wall. Here's a story on that.
The first business I started was an IT company. I quit my first ever IT job, thinking that I could run a company better than my boss. I started with a few clients, got more, and things were going well. Or so I thought.
I was driving around DC, Maryland and Virginia for 12 hours a day, fixing computers and setting up new networks. I had clients of my own, and was doing sub-contract work too.
After a 12 (or more) hour day I'd then go home. I was tired, and not in the mood to work on marketing and sales materials, call new prospects, manage the finances, or frankly do anything else.
When 9-11 happened, my business tanked. I had no strategy, no money saved, and began to scramble. I ended up $30,000 in debt, and had to get a job in Florida.
Today, things are very different.
I plan my weeks 2-3 weeks in advance. I first schedule time for my family, meditation, and reading or another form of education. After that, I schedule time for sales, marketing, and operations activities. Finally, I block out time for client work.
I've hired a bookkeeper, as frankly, I dislike having to keep track of the financials. Give me a report and I'll take action. Otherwise, I can (and did) hire that out.
Today, I ensure that I am getting personal time, and the time I need to build Dempsey Marketing to what I want it to be.
Don't Forget To Put Yourself First
When I first got sober more than 14 years ago, I started feeling much better. Commonly, when people are first getting sober they want to run out and help everyone they can. This is dangerous though, because though these people (like me) are feeling better, doesn't mean they are in a position to help. Their lives need to be cleaned up. They must first help themselves.
I also learned that, when helping others, you cannot help them to the detriment of yourself.
Applied to entrepreneurs and your business, this means that you need to always ensure that you have what you need, so that you can help others. What do you need? You need the time to do that 80% that doesn't directly earn you money.