How to Work on Your Business After 12 Hours at the Day Gig!

One of the bigger challenges my part time solopreneur clients experience is making the time for their business “passion.” It’s no secret that these days that the workplace almost doubles as your home. The hours are becoming, and often feel, brutal. Some business meetings can start as early as 6:30 or 7am and the departure time can vary from 6-8pm!

If your obligations involve children or family to care for after work that means your “work day” can extend well into the evening! And so clients will say, “How can I begin to do something on or in my business at 9 or 10pm and make an impact?” They’re tired and burned, out both physically and mentally.

I understand because I’ve been there! I had to find time after a 12 to 14 hour work day to do “something” to move my business forward. It could be very frustrating. Sometimes I didn’t know what to do, sometimes I’d do the less important stuff, or I’d just plain run out of time! So since this is about truth and I believe in “full disclosure”, I won’t kid you or my clients. I won’t say it’s ok, we’ll figure out how to write a web page, newsletter, tweet, blog post or article in 10 minutes or less and you’ll attract an amazing number of clients – just like that! Sorry, it just doesn’t happen like that! It will take some creative planning and unique approaches.

Let’s begin with three strategies for how you can maximize the minimal time you have as a part-time (or full-time) solopreneur!

Strategy #1: Make a plan for the week…

What are the few, but important things you need to get done this week? Perhaps you want to “tweet” a tip or new program or service you have. Prepare seven short, high content messages or tweets to share with your followers. Once you’ve prepared these short messages, you can either post one daily or use http://www.socialoomph.com/ to set them up to be delivered automatically. You can reuse these messages as valuable information you provide to your online networks so that they’re learning more about who you are and what you offer!

Strategy #2: Use your calendar effectively

At the start of the month, identify the key marketing activities you want to accomplish. This could include your newsletter, email campaign, teleseminar, webinar, direct mail or a list building activity. Decide on 2 or 3 max that you want to accomplish within the month. Then begin to line up the daily activities on your calendar. Again focus on 1 – 2 per day that you can easily accomplish. By scheduling your action this way, you feel good that you’re accomplishing something and you don’t overwhelm yourself or lose your sanity!

Strategy #3: Got a timer?

Remember the old egg timers your parents may have used to boil eggs? Well, believe it or not, they’re back! Well, for your business, not breakfast! Yes, you can actually use a timer to help you manage your time, effectively. Let me give you an example of how this could work for you.

Say you want to do some research about what your client’s wants and needs are. You’ve found a group where they post questions, share experiences and participate as a community. Great find, right? (They do exist by the way!) So you want to spend time reading, absorbing and even responding in the groups’ forum. But you don’t have all night to do so.

Solution? Set the timer! Commit to 30 or 45 minutes of focused activity in the forum. Using the timer helps to keep you on your time track and psychologically helps you to zero in on the valuable vs. the trivial.

My coach’s request is that you take one of these tips and implement it before the end of this week. I know that given the time challenges you’re likely experiencing, using just one of these strategies can give you great results!

I’d really enjoy hearing how these strategies have helped, so tell me about your success, ok?

Knock, Knock! Know Who is There at Networking Events – Business After Hours (BAH)

Perhaps the one event that has done more to ease people into networking is the business after hours.  A staple of chambers of commerce and associations, the business after hours usually attracts the largest crowds and the most diverse audience.  Knowing what to expect is crucial to success at a business after hours (BAH for short).

The major difference between a BAH and all other networking events is alcohol.  Most BAHs will have at least beer and wine and many will have mixed drinks as well.  This creates a more relaxed atmosphere where people will let their guard down and be more social.  Work is over, the drinks are flowing, and people loosen up quite a bit.  BAHs can be very powerful opportunities.

However BAHs can create the biggest risk as well.  Most BAHs will be held immediately following work.  Intoxication happens more quickly when you drink on an empty stomach.  While it is rare that anyone gets really drunk at BAHs, many will have their judgment impaired by alcohol.  So a word of caution:  Drink with care and beware of those who have been drinking.

Of course there will usually be food available at a BAH.  The trick is to manage food and drink all while standing since most BAHs are held in a cocktail-party atmosphere.  It is equally important not to appear gluttonous by remaining near the buffet for too long.  Since this is a social event, more focus will be put on your social skills.  You must be aware that, like it or not, people do watch and people do talk.  Everything is amplified when you add alcohol to the mix.

Do not be mistaken.  This article is not intended to discourage you from attending BAHs.  Quite the contrary.  BAHs will attract attendees that you cannot reach at any other function.  All the high profile executives will attend as will the busy entrepreneurs and solo practitioners.  The BAH is the one event where you truly can meet most anyone you wish. 

Knowing how to meet people, what to say when you meet them, and how to meet the right people at an event will be critical skills necessary for success when attending BAHs.  Remember that you should focus on others not yourself and that the conversations you hold should be designed to determine if you are meeting someone that you should get to know better.  Be social, meet several people, and then determine the three to five folks that you can help and that can help you.  Talk with them a bit longer and be sure to get their business card to follow up.

Remember these general rules about business after hours events:  Most are powerful opportunities.  The smaller the event the more likely you are to make a great connection.  The more focused you are the more likely you are to meet the right person. Therefore, eat before you arrive, skip the alcohol, and be clear who you are looking for.  By following these rules you will always leave the event with connections that count and a clear head.

Plan Ahead And Build Your Own Business After Retirement

Starting a Business after retirement requires you to plan ahead and build a good foundation. You need to face a number of issues and questions such as:

” What is a good business for you to undertake?

” How much time and effort are you willing to devote?

” Does this match with the time and effort demanded by the business you want to start?

” What are the key processes involved in starting a new business?

” What are the skills that are necessary for business success?

” How much should you invest in a new business?

” How do you go about developing an action plan for the business of your choice?

The process of starting a business can be a challenging, and an exciting experience. It can also be frightening, exhausting, and frustrating. The key to a minimum stress start-up is to plan ahead and build your own business after retirement, in a planned and rational way. Understanding, and planning out, the entire process of start-up makes a huge difference to the end result. There are, some basic steps that are common in planning and starting any business:

Assess your areas of strength. Are you a person who can easily take risks with money? If the idea is scary, it may be better to think twice before considering a business. No matter how you look at it, and how well you play it, being an entrepreneur involves risk. You must be willing to lose money if it comes to that. You must also have the ability and the will to work hard, be able to handle uncertainty well, and possess self-discipline.

Pick the right business. There are generally has two kinds of people. One kind consists of people who love something to the level of passion and are driven to make a career of it. If you belong in this category, make sure you conduct research to check that a market exists for the business. The other kind of person is one who is fascinated by the idea of being an entrepreneur, rather than a particular idea. In this case, pick a business that has instant demand and potential for future growth.

Come up with a solid business plan. Think of it as a map that tells you the direction you should be heading in and helps you to identify important markers you may see on the way. Before you open your doors to clients, think and plan out exactly what you want your business to be. Figure out what makes your product or service different or special, how you plan to attract customers, how you intend to beat competition, and other such essentials.

A major part of the business plan consists of a financial analysis, including:

” The amount of money needed

” How it should be spent

” Amount of profit expected etc.

Figure out where you will get the funding needed to start. Explore options like:

” Your own savings

” Your credit cards

” Your retirement accounts

” Second mortgage

” Advance on inheritance

” Loans from friends or family members