Jul
15

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If you are a home-based business owner or freelance contractor, there may come a time that you find yourself with tons of work and little time to accomplish all of it. Don’t get me wrong, having a ton of work is actually a good problem. However, you can find yourself taking on obsessive-compulsive behaviors in an attempt to “get it all done” or to prevent running behind on your projects. And if you were to ask my wife, she would be the first one to tell you that I’m extremely guilty of this exact issue of “working too hard”. I’m am known to work late into most evenings in order to complete all of the work needed just to catch up. Do you have this problem too?

When you consider the nature of freelance work itself, it is not surprising that more work creates scarcity of time. Although freelance work is very enjoyable and I’m glad that I made the choice to do it full-time, there will always be a limited amount of hours in each day to complete an unlimited work load. Everyone has a maximum capacity at which they’re able to operate and once you attempt to go above and beyond that level, you can only go so far doing things on your own. I think that many of us agree that no matter who we are we can only achieve a limited amount of work by ourself.

With that being said, I would like to take a moment and discuss the idea of a freelance or home-based business versus other businesses structures that we have seen. I think it’s extremely important to compare the two because the structure of the business itself is directly related to the amount of work that can get accomplished in a day’s work.

Freelancing – Is It A Real Business?

There’s no doubt that the world of technology has changed how we work, not to mention that it has allowed many entrpreneurs to become extremely wealthy. And for those of us who have not experienced the highest level of success, technology has allowed us to explore our passions on a higher level compared to the old 9-to-5 work week that is now becoming a thing of the past.

However, if you were to ask me if I consider a sole proprietor home-based business an official “business”, I would say that it is not a true business in terms of the amount of work that can be accomplished in a single day. For some this may sound like I’m being negative or discouraging, but that is not my intention. My intention is to point out that a true “business” is based on systems, and due to those systems, it is able to provide an automated process by which work is accomplished. I think we can all agree that Wal-Mart is able to get more work done in 2 minutes than any single-owner home-based contractor can get accomplished in a week. This is the only point I am trying to make here.

Now that I’ve made the distinction between a freelance business and a business based on systems, I think it’s logical to take a look at how the business structure dictates our work lifestyle. Obviously, if you have not yet built your business around a system, you’re going to have to be that system – you will do all of the work to bring in clients and revenue, you will be responsible for all of the projects, you will do all of the marketing, among every other important aspect related to your business. And because a business takes a lot of time and effort to keep everything going smoothly, you will likely do one of 3 things:

1. You might close up shop after a few months of hard work and move on to something else because the work is too much.
2. You will become a workaholic that never sleeps because you don’t want to give up, but you also haven’t taken the time to create a business system that allows you to work smarter, not harder.
3. You take recognition that you need to work hard for as long as it takes to get your business system in place, and then make life easier for yourself while making it fun too.

Which of the above outcomes do you prefer? My personal choice is number 3 of course, and I believe that we all should strive to make life easier by creating simpler methods of doing work. Awareness is always the first step in making any type of change, so I urge you to step back and take a look at your business. Is there something that you can apply or change immediately to make your home-based business work harder for you, instead of you having to be the hero?

I Am Working Hard – So What Can I Do About It?

Most likely your decision to work long hours is a matter of bad habit, as it is for me. There is an immediate gratification of trying to get work finished! Think about the scenario of the donkey and the carrot, where the person riding the donkey dangles the carrot from a stick in front of the donkey’s eyes – the donkey never looks out any further than the carrot, so his only motivation for moving forward is to keep trying to move towards the carrot.

I believe that is the scenario for most of us – we are always trying to go after the carrot.

Here are some small things that I am trying in my own business to help make it easier for myself. Be aware that you will have to practice these strategies and try them out over the course of several months, instead of just expecting them all to work at once.

Charge An Up-Front Fee For Your Services

One thing that I never realized for years is the concept of taking money up front for your services. This easy-to-understand concept was brought to my attention in a real-estate course taught by John Burley, who at one time was a top financial advisor in the western United States (he is now considered an national expert in the owner-finance real estate niche). John taught me that all serious businesses always get money up front for their services – period. After hearing this, things began to make sense for me – on a couple of projects I charged $50 up front to my clients and then outsourced the preparation work to one of my friends to kick-off the project. The up-front fee covered the initial work plus some, so I made some money AND eliminated the setup work of my projects, which allowed me more time to focus on other things. This single strategy alone will change your entire business.

Work Less Time During The Weekdays, But Work Some On Weekends

Although I mentioned that I do work late into the evening, I do find less stress by spreading out my work periods over the entire 7-day week, instead of only during the weekdays. Although I believe taking a weekend off here and there is important to finding balance, the work still needs to get done. I usually find it easier to spread out my work so that I don’t have to work harder in a shorter period of time – instead I spread out my work over 7 days in order to reduce my stress level and my work load. Of course, this is all dependent upon your own individual work style and you should do what’s best for you, as long as your stress level is reduced that is the point here.

Take Many Mini-Breaks That Include Personal Time With Yourself And Family, And Exercise

This is a really important strategy that always makes me feel better after I do it. I’ve found that when I break up my day into several “pieces” I am always more productive, my stress is reduced and I truly feel great about myself. For example, after I wake up in the morning I will work for two or three hours and then go and workout for only 30 to 40 minutes, and then come back, clean up and begin work again. That workout period really allows me to regain consciousness of the present moment and not obsess over work. Or sometimes I’ll change it up and take a bike ride or go spend some quality time with my wife by taking a walk or going out to eat. Whatever you like to do is fine, although exercise is always one of the best ways to feel great and reduce your stress. I highly recommend exercise over sitting on the couach and playing video games or watching television.

Thank You For Reading

I really hope that these strategies help you at one point or another. If you want to share your personal work experience with me, I would like to hear it. Please leave a comment or send a message through our contact us page.

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