People often say to me, “I want a full practice. How much time do I REALLY need for marketing?”
Here’s the answer (that nobody wants to hear): a lot! Especially in the beginning. When you’re just starting out, it’s not unusual to spend 40-50% of your time marked out for your business on the marketing. In fact, some recommend 4 hours per day for that for the first 6 months to a year you’re in business full time.
Yes, I said “per day.” If you’re building your business part-time to start, I recommend spending at least 10 hours per week on attracting clients.
If that seems impossible, I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: You cannot change the laws of physics (as that guy from Star Trek used to say). The good news is, when you plant seeds, momentum builds – especially when you create simple marketing systems in this initial phase. Systems can cut the amount of time you spend marketing in half or more.
“That’s all well and good,” I hear you saying. “But where am I going to find that time right now?”
When you say you don’t have time, that means that there’s something taking up your time in your schedule already. Use my Time Discovery exercise to find the non-essentials that are eating up your time and eliminate them. Here’s how it works…
First, list all of the things that are taking up your time right now. Just jot down quickly whatever comes to mind. You might not account for everything, and that’s okay – you can finish later. You also might find it helpful to keep a record for a week or so. (This one exercise can be VERY illuminating.) If you’re still in your job, focus on the time outside of your job. If you’re working full-time in your practice now, concentrate on the time you’re working in your practice.
Next, take a look at the list you just made. What can you eliminate, or at least put on hold for 6 months while you’re focusing on building your business? If you’re having trouble, here are a few quick ideas:
Extra-curriculars that aren’t giving you much of a payoff. This is a biggie for me. As I’ve grown (both as The Marketing Goddess and as a fiction writer) I’ve said yes to a lot of little things under the guise of “getting my name out there” and “getting my foot in the door.” I’ve discovered that such commitments accomplish these goals far less often than I would like. I’ve got to really flex my tough love muscles here, but going forward, all “opportunities” will have to earn their keep. In dollars.
Drama. Super tough love time: Can you really afford to engage in drama, either yours or someone else’s? Whiners, complainers, and emotionally demanding people are stealing your life, second by second… with your consent. Harsh, but true. Successful people are ruthless about who they let into their circle. You should be, too.
Excessive television. ‘Nuff said!
Chores and errands. Batch them so you’re doing them once or twice a week, max. Better yet, hire someone to do them for you. (I’m about to start doing this and I cannot wait!)
If you’re still struggling to find the non-essentials, it’s time to look at your schedule again with one of my favorite clarifying questions in mind:
What do you have to say NO to, in order to say YES to the business you really want?
I love this question because it gets to the heart of the time issue: priorities. Building your business is either a priority for you or it isn’t. You’ll know very quickly where your TRUE priorities lie when you ask that question. Then you can make the choice to shift it if you would like a different result (more money, more clients, make a bigger impact).