Your coaching business will support you to pursue your true calling, but only if you keep it running smoothly. To do that, create business habits that work for you and are simple to maintain.
It helps to think in terms of processes and flows, rather than tasks. A business is more like a garden than a machine. Here are five mindsets that can help your garden produce a rich harvest.
1. Reduce obligations.
Weed out the low payoff tasks and obligations. Whenever an opportunity arises, consider the time it will take to realize, and value each hour as equivalent to one hour of your coaching fee. Will the payoff be worth the cost? Develop success criteria to help you assess the value of opportunities.
Under-promise. Stop to think before you agree to opportunities and time frames. Try this practice: Whenever someone asks for your time, don’t say yes or no. Say “I’ll get back to you,” giving yourself a chance to consider before committing.
To help keep yourself from over-promising, put everything on a calendar, and block out time for every task you are committed to. In addition to coaching time slots, plan in ample marketing time, writing time, and remember breaks, meals and exercise.
Many successful coaches schedule clients for three weeks of coaching each month, leaving one week for catch-up and projects. But don’t schedule the projects. Break them down into actionable tasks, and schedule those.
2. Do it now.
As much as possible, use the “one touch” approach. When you download your email, respond immediately. Act on whatever crosses your desk – respond, recycle, pay it, file it, delegate it, do it now.
Get everything out of your court and into someone else’s as soon as possible. Teach yourself to respond quickly. And respond thoroughly, so useful information is not left out.
Getting it into someone else’s court doesn’t mean forgetting it. Create ticklers to follow up on anything where you are waiting for response from someone else. If you turned over all your content to your web designer and haven’t heard from them in three weeks, you forgot to manage the project.
Reply to all phone calls as soon as possible, and no later than 24 hours. This will not only keep you organized, it will win you clients and other opportunities that slower responders don’t get. When you get a lead, follow through on it within 24 hours. If you forget to take the business card out of your pocket, you’ve lost the lead.
3. Keep a clean slate.
If your office looks like a cyclone hit it, your to-do list is long, and your email box isn’t cleaned out, block out a chunk of time to catch up. If you’re not getting it done, hire an office organizer to help.
Then keep it clean. Wherever you see an inflow that tends to get backed up, you’ll need to establish a system to keep your slate clean. For example, here’s my description of a system to keep your email inbox clean. If you can’t clear your slate every day, block out time each month to catch up.
Whatever systems you create, use them! Effective systems are also known as good habits. Keep this in mind when designing new systems. But also be willing to step outside your comfort zone, and stay there long enough to establish a new way of working.
4. Build your team.
Delegate whatever isn’t your strength to someone who can do it faster and better. This will give you more time to coach, create products and diversify your services, increasing your income rather than floundering on a slow learning curve. Resource yourself with professional services such as:
- A mentor and/or a mastermind group to help you think outside the box and hold you accountable.
- A Virtual Assistant to handle a myriad of administrative tasks more efficiently than you could.
- Bookkeeper and tax accountant.
- Web designer and Internet marketing or SEO consultant.
If you’re not accomplishing anything, it may be because you’ve been trying too hard for too long. Take a break and do something different.
If you’re stuck on a creative task like writing marketing copy, try catching up on your phone calls or cleaning off your desk – and schedule a dedicated time to complete the high payoff action soon.
If you’ve been hammering away at the computer, step away from the screen and take some deep breaths, take a walk, meditate. Your brain works best when you give it a varied diet.
Every productive garden is a constant learning process. Let your business teach you more effective habits, and it will reward you with less stress and more fun.