Secrets to Entrepreneurship #21 – Time Management
When you first start your journey into entrepreneurship you will seemingly have more time than when you worked a 9-5. As a result, you will want to meet up with people as often as possible as you will be curious about their business, and want to keep talking about your business to stay motivated. This is your time to explore and try on all kinds of new things. You will most likely know quickly if a new activity is something you want to keep learning about, or if you want to move on. Take this time to enjoy your freedom.
The best part about being an entrepreneur is you don’t need permission to try a new idea or have to wait to be chosen from a pool of employees. YOU are the boss – try it all!
In my first 6 months I networked constantly. I talked to and met with all kinds of business owners. Their energy was so motivating and inspiring that I couldn’t get enough (and really still can’t – I’m 110% hooked!). Even though the other entrepreneurs I met up with were not doing what I was doing it was helpful to know we all shared the same worries and challenges – and often, as I was so new, I would get great advice from those that had been in the game longer. I have found that I have been successful in learning something valuable from each entrepreneur that I encountered. We may be on different paths, or in different stages, but there is always a kernel of valuable knowledge to be had. ALWAYS!
Now, back to how this ties into time management….
Since you are experiencing everything for the first time the first few months may be hard to get a handle on time management. You don’t really know what to expect, or how long things will take to complete, or even what you will be doing day to day. This will require an immense amount of patience, and most of all, FLEXIBILITY. As you are getting more and more established, small routines will start to emerge and moments of intense panic will subside. Promise!
As you progress and become more focused you will have to regulate your time to be able to move your business forward. In order to do this, you will have to be more selective with who you meet and where. The brilliant part about living in the age of technology is there are so many ways to have meetings other than in person. I don’t recommend eliminated in-person meetings with contacts or clients that are vital to your business, however, if there are people that you aren’t sure you can work with, or are just curious about and are looking to explore opportunities with, using Skype or the good old phone is the best use of your time. Once you establish that you will be working together then it is worth taking the time to meet in person. Actually, it is a MUST. Trust me…if you are investing your precious dollars and/or time with someone at the very delicates first stages of your business then you should absolutely meet them in person.
I’m a very network focused person, and have no trouble talking to pretty much anyone for extended periods of time, therefore holding back on meeting people in person is actually tough for me. I want to meet with people, discover their passions and see the excitement in their eyes – for myself. However, as I move through my first year and get a little more comfortable with the path I want to explore I am learning that spending 3 – 4 hours traveling and meeting with someone that I am unsure about is not in my best interest. This is a learning curve for me …and I am taking it day by day.
As you start out here are some tips I have learned:
Book max 2 meetings a week (for networking purposes) – this will ensure you are not spending more than 2 days travelling and rearranging your schedule for potential leads.
Have an agenda for the meeting to ensure you get something out of it. It doesn’ have to be a sale necessarily but if you are spending your time meeting someone there should be a benefit to you.
Figure out when your most productive time of day is and don’t book meetings in those times. For ex, if you are a morning person use the morning to get your work done and book meetings in the afternoon.
Meet in locations that are in-between you and your networking contact. A good way to achieve this is to suggest a spot right off the top instead of leaving it up in the air
Organize a few meetings in one place – if you intend to meet 2 people one week that both live in a town an hour away from you schedule the meetings back to back so you only have to travel one time
People like doing business with busy people! Having boundaries is a GREAT thing. Prospective clients will respect your schedule and be happy to work with you to find a convenient time for the two of you.
Learning to manage your schedule and asking others to bend to you is a learned skill that will get easier with time. As a new entrepreneur your time is money so you have to be able to judge what is beneficial and what is exploratory. Take the time to recognize this and take care of yourself first!
Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.
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