It’s exciting to break out on your own and launch a business. It’s also scary, stressful and exhausting. The majority of small business owners work more than 40 hours per week, according to a survey by The Alternative Board, which found that 33% of business owners work 40 to 49 hours per week, 30% work 50 to 59 hours per week and 19% work more than 60 hours per week. One of the reasons entrepreneurs are working long hours is because most aren’t just running the business and focusing on strategic planning, they are also working in the business by answering emails, phone calls and performing administrative tasks.
Unfortunately, the stress of keeping your new business afloat while working extreme hours can lead to a number of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, depression, weight gain, substance abuse, as well as relationship problems. It can also be a contributing factor to a business failing because its difficult to be on you’re A-game when you are stressed out and tired. This is why it’s imperative for entrepreneurs to determine how to build their businesses by working smarter instead of running themselves into the ground.
Carolin Soldo understands what it takes to succeed in the entrepreneurial world. She built her own successful health coaching business and now is an online business and marketing coach, who helps entrepreneurs build their business, create a brand identity and capitalize on online marketing strategies. Below Soldo shares advice on how business owners can quickly grow their business, generate high income and achieve a work-life balance.
- People have limits—systems don’t. Most business owners struggle to find enough hours in the day to accomplish what they want, so they stay at work late or bring work home. Unfortunately, this results in not getting enough sleep, feeling groggy the next day and, as a result, not finishing their work again. This cycle is not only unhealthy; it’s difficult to break. Regardless of the type of business you own, its crucial to find systems that can help you work smarter not longer. For example, as a health coach, Soldo faced the frustration of not having enough hours in the day to grow her business. There are 24 hours in a day and she had a one-to-one coaching model, which meant that she was limited to a certain number of slots per day and an inherent income ceiling. To solve this problem, Soldo created a coaching program, where clients could enroll in an online membership site with access to on-demand training videos and workbooks. Clients are serviced in a group format, but they can still receive personalized services during live weekly group question-and-answer calls. They also have direct access to Soldo via email and can ask other members for support. Moving to a group model enabled Soldo to increase her monthly average income from $25,000 to $125,000 and reduce her coaching hours by 50%.
- Hire only A-players. Hiring people with the right skills, work ethic, and desire to support your business mission is vital not only to the success of your business, but also to helping you achieve a semblance of work-life balance. Soldo learned this lesson the hard way. In the beginning, she hired based on price and ended up with low quality work and, more often than not, had to re-do the projects. Team members who are not committed to the business can drop the ball, deliver projects late, fail to complete projects or simply do a low quality job—all of which means the business owner is working longer hours and piling up frustration. Today, Soldo hires based on quality not price, and operates under the motto of “Hire slow, fire fast.” She expects excellence from her team. Her staff also has the same goal: Creating a best in class client experience and increasing company revenues.
- Don’t prioritize your schedule; schedule your priorities. Finding a healthy balance between work and life is important to the long-term success of your business and your health. You should establish parameters so you don’t burn out and loose the connection to your target audience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail in their first year and 50% of small businesses fail in their fifth year. To maintain balance in her life, Soldo schedules family time and appointments with just as much attention as her client calls and team meetings. Soldo also implemented the following system to help prioritize work tasks.
- Delegate – Soldo used to spend every waking hour on her phone checking emails and social media. Now she has her assistant manage business emails so only the important ones come to her, and she makes a conscious effort to only check social media notifications once per day. Because of this strategy, she is 100% more present with her family and clients.
- Automate – Most new business owners use grassroots marketing, such as cold calling, emailing, writing blog posts as well as traditional radio, print, or TV ads to promote their business. All of which can be very time consuming. Soldo’s world changed when she discovered how to completely automate her lead generation by using online advertising tools including Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. It allowed her to streamline her lead generation process, so she can generate 200 to 300 high quality sales calls per month without lifting a finger.
- Reduce – Tasks that are not income generating or vital to the success of the business should be performed with less frequency.
- Eliminate – What tasks are you prioritizing that don’t pay off? Consider removing them altogether.
- Batch – Block the time and follow through with the task on the day and time allotted. You can reserve time for email, social media, creating content and meetings. This strategy allows you to concentrate on only one task at a time.
If you’re worried about starting a business, and struggling to find a work-life balance that suits you, you’re not alone. But you can achieve the lifestyle you want by installing commonsense and time-hacking systems that will help you grow your business and maximize profits without working extreme hours.
This article was originally published at Forbes.