When starting my own business a few years ago, my intent was to take hourly work to support me while I worked on long-term projects during the downtime between client work. I reasoned that It was obvious that the volume of work available e-commerce development world was going to be quite variable, so I would definitely have time. In that time, I could develop income streams which are not time-for-money.
This didn’t work out so well for me. In a nutshell, when I don’t have client work, I need to spend my time rounding up more client work, or else the dry spell will be unsustainable. Even more importantly, I need to be doing marketing activities all the time, trying to keep my pipeline full. I’ve learned to do that fairly well. In fact, I haven’t had a dry spell longer than a couple days in many months.
But, having gotten good at keeping the work flowing, how do I ever find time to fulfill my original intent?
My solution was to identify the time of the working day that is my “cream” time. The time I am the most productive, the most on-task, and the most creative. For me, that is the first couple hours of the morning.
I no longer give that time to clients. I dedicate it to my long term projects. That includes blogging, building speculative apps, and building sites like GoSatchmo.
My rules for this time are:
- No checking email until afterwards
- No phone calls
- No client work, period
- No scheduling meetings during this time
I’ve done this before, last year I did it for about three months. That was the single most productive period in the last few years! However, it was too much. I was dedicating up to 4 hours a day to these projects. As a result, I simply didn’t make enough bread-and-butter money. My new scheme is to just take the first hour. I can spare that, and it is sustainable.
Not only that, but I now wake up excited to get to work. After all, I get to do the most fun and interesting tasks straight off!
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