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Episode 49: From Job to Business: Managing Time Expectations

Have you ever wondered how to be more productive and calm in your business without burning out?

This episode is dedicated to that subject – because there is one important consideration you’ve probably forgotten.

This episode is dedicated to all of the coaches that I’ve been working with over the past few years who have really struggled to feel productive in their new coaching businesses.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. 

You wake up on a Monday morning and walk into your office and you wonder what you’re supposed to be doing. 

By Wednesday, something has happened with the family and you’ve lost focus. You feel like you’re just spinning your wheels and like you’re getting nothing done. 

You’re wondering why you’re not being productive enough, and how you can get back on track.

Let’s look at why this happens and how to fix it.

The e-Myth

Michael Gerber wrote a book that I love called the e-Myth

It describes three business personalities and how each brings a unique set of strengths and skills to the running of a business.

The personalities could be summarised as:

– The entrepreneur (the ideas person/people person)

– The manager (the organiser/systems person) 

– The technician (the worker/doing person)

I love the e-myth as a guide to understanding the three main business personalities and I use this when I teach business skills to coaches who are setting up their businesses. 

You’ll find out why this knowledge is so essential when you are working on your business and I’ll put a link to the quiz on my website in the show notes if you want to take the quiz.

Most people are dominant in one area. Some people have strengths in two areas. It is rare to find someone who has skills and a desire to work in all three areas.

Let’s take a little look at these types and see how they affect your ability to manage TIME.

When a technician leaves their job to start their own business, it’s often because they think they could do it better on their own.

Early Career: The Technician 

Most of us start our working lives as technicians. 

Technicians are the people who do all of the grunt work in a business. 

Some examples include being the coffee maker, the shoe salesperson, the builder, the tiler, the scientist, the teacher, the nurse, the piano player or the coach.

All of these are examples of people who have skill in a particular area.

In other words, technicians are the doers – they love their work and appreciate craftsmanship. 

They love getting the job done properly, to the best of their ability.

Technicians dislike the unknown because it is a distraction from getting the job done.

A lot of people in jobs – working for others – spend most of their lives fairly and squarely in the technician’s role.

And over a period of years they might get more experience and skills, and may be promoted to a more senior role where they are doing the same sorts of technical work but at a higher level. 

Some of them may go on to become team leaders or managers. 

But think about that role for a moment – probably at least 90% of your work as a technician, in a job, is doing the work itself.

The other 10% might be a bit of administration.

Someone has given you a project to manage or a series of tasks to complete, a job description – and you show up and do it.

Even if you are in a managerial role, you have probably evolved into that from a technical position, and now you are just managing the time and people and budget aspects of the position – that is how you spend your time.

So what happens when you transition to running your own business?

Transition: Your Own Business

When a technician leaves their job to start their own business, it’s often because they think they could do it better on their own. 

Perhaps they think they can make more money than they did in their job. 

Or perhaps they just don’t want to be bossed around anymore, and they want to do their work their way on their terms.

And this is where some self awareness is especially important.

Consider that you are no longer spending 90% of your time in a technical role. 

There are all of the other business areas that need to be attended to. And if you have never done any of those are the roles before you may have no idea of what’s involved or how much time to spend in each area.


If you want to transition successfully from a technical job based role into your own business, you will need to adjust your expectations and get clear on how and where people spend their time in their businesses.

Transition: Business Areas and Time Spent in Each

Let’s consider the main areas of a business that need to be attended to each week.

  1. Systems
  2. Administration
  3. Finance
  4. Marketing
  5. Advertising
  6. Sales
  7. Technical work – coaching or other service you offer

These are the 7 main areas of your business where you need to invest time – and we’re excluding other things like IT, safety and human resources for now. 

This is where the challenge lies, because a lot of people come out of jobs and their brains expect them to be coaching full time.

After all, that’s what work feels like to a Technician!

Doing anything but your craft can leave you feeling unproductive, stuck or fearful.

Or maybe you aren’t skilled at the other areas, or don’t like them, so you think desperately about how you can coach more people and avoid the other bits.

Sorry, but that won’t work.

What WILL work is developing a realistic plan for your time when you are starting up, and adjusting that plan as your business grows.

Which might lead you to ask – how much time should you spend in each?

Let’s talk about how your business can evolve in it’s first year, and some realistic idea of how you might spend your time and energy each week.

The most powerful work you can do is in the promotion and management of your business, because it’s these two things that allow you to DO the technical work in the first place.

In the Beginning

In the beginning you might have NO clients, or only one day of client work, so you will need to spend more time in other areas such as marketing, advertising and sales, before you can get the clients you need to pay the bills.

In your first three months, you might spend 

  • 3 days per week on marketing, advertising and sales type activities.
  • 1 day on technical work – coaching and administration 
  • 1 day on systems and finance.

This is a rough guide!

If you spend your time wisely, you’ll get clients through your marketing efforts and be able to spend money on systems that will automate many of the manual, unpaid tasks you are doing in the start up phase.

Establishment Phase

If you can build up to 2 days of client work in your first year, your week would need to be rearranged to accommodate that.

You would still be quite heavily invested in marketing to build your work pipeline, but you will also need to build and automate the systems that will drive your business while you work. Otherwise you can outsource this!

In your second three to six months, you might spend 

  • 1.5 – 2 days per week on marketing, advertising and sales type activities.
  • 2 days on technical work – coaching and administration 
  • 1 – 1.5 days on systems and finance.

There is a juggling act that happens here as you are growing and many weeks will be a rollercoaster of irregular hours and tasks. 

Hang on for the ride! Having processes in all areas of business will smooth out the bumps.

For example, having specific launch times in each quarter will help you to manage your shifting workload over each 90 day period so you can create a consistent income and keep on top of your tasks.

Operational Phase

In a coaching business that’s fully operational, you would probably want to be coaching for 10 – 20 hours per week, depending on your clientele, format and fees.

If you leave a half hour gap between sessions, you could feasibly coach or deliver a similar service over three full days.

That leaves you with two days per week to fit in the other six areas.

When your business is fully operational you might spend

  • 1 day per week on marketing, advertising and sales type activities.
  • 3 days per week on technical work – coaching and administration 
  • 1 day on systems and finance.

Growth Phase

After start up, establishment and operation, you may reach the stage of wanting to grow your business to the next level.

While that’s another topic for another time, you could say it’s a bit like going back to the establishment phase of your business as you adjust your strategy and implement the changes that will allow you to scale and make more money in less time.

In Summary

To sum it up, technicians are usually people who are skilled at an area. If this is you, then you might find it hard to transition from a job into your own business at first, if you keep thinking that ‘productive work’ equals doing your craft.

That’s simply untrue.

The most powerful work you can do is in the promotion and management of your business, because it’s these two things that allow you to DO the technical work in the first place.

Ready to start your own business?

If you’d like help to navigate the transition from job to coaching business, visit and learn how you can stop spinning your wheels and get there sooner. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 46: How to Make Time in Your Business

Let’s talk about how to make time each week in your business so that you can get more done and feel good about it.

Much like the money equation, time can be saved, but only to a certain point.

There are efficiencies that can be gained, but I want to propose that making more time is about something different.

This episode is as much a self reflection as an informational episode because I have battled with the idea of being productive and feeling like I’m achieving things and procrastinating as much as the next person.

And I finally think I have it solved.

The Time Creation Equation

A lot of entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to think they don’t have enough time in their business or that they’re not productive enough. 

That feeling you have is really just a function of two things:

  1. Firstly, your own expectations about what you can achieve, and 
  2. How much time you spend on focused, productive work.

That’s really all it is.

By being totally realistic in your expectations for what you can create and by finding out how to work in a focused and productive way you can create the time you need in your business to get done what you need to get done. 

So let’s talk about how to do that.

Your Expectations

Starting with your expectations, it’s important that you are very real and honest with yourself about how much time you actually have. 

Let’s say that you are working in your business part time and you have 15 hours available during the week.

The temptation is to think you can cram a whole bunch of things into those 15 hours.

Or maybe you expect yourself to be able to complete new or complex tasks in that time.

But there is another layer on top of that, that you need to consider.

For all of those hours that you have available you are going to have some downtime.

You aren’t always going to be feeling energized and clear-headed and decisive. 

Sometimes you’re going to be feeling distracted. 

Sometimes you’re going to be feeling flustered or confused. 

And often, you are going to be switching from one task to another. 

All of those things cost a percentage of the total working time you have available.

When you get very clear and specific about what is realistically possible to achieve each day or each week or each month, then you can cut yourself some slack. 

You’ll be totally clear on where you can spend time and you have enough room to allow the downtime or transition time that will invariably be required.

Here’s a six-step process to help you get started.

Step 1 – work out the total number of hours you have available at work each week. Only count blocks of time that are at least 45 minutes long; preferably whole days.

Step 2 – multiply the total number of hours by 80% – this is your new, realistic total hours that allow for time lost in transitions or distractions.

Step 3 – identify one major project that you will complete this week, and break it down into single, specific tasks.

Step 4 – schedule the tasks into time slots in your calendar. Put more creative tasks into spaces you will likely have more energy, and detailed or analytical tasks into spaces where you might likely be more focused. 

Step 5 – If there are any tasks that you have never done before, make some decisions in advance about how long you will try before you ask for help, or, when and who you will ask for help. For example, if you’ve never used Instagram before, you might decide to spend 2 hours trying to learn how to use it and depending on how that goes, you might schedule more learning time, get on with using it, or decide to outsource it.

Step 6 – record how you spend every 30 minute block of your working time in a work diary. This is SO important because you can only learn what works or doesn’t if you can see what you are doing right now.

Being productive requires discipline and honesty – it means saying no to yourself when things feel hard, or saying yes to yourself when you really do need a break or to revise your plan.

Being Focused and Productive

If you get the first bit right, and have clear, specific, scheduled tasks, then you should feel more focused and productive by default.

You’ll feel more focused because you know exactly what you’re doing and when. That removes any need to make decisions when you’re in the thick of work mode and your brain will love you for that. No more decision fatigue. 

You’ll also feel more focused because you have allowed for downtime, rather than cramming your calendar full of back-to-back things. Once again, your brain will love you because you’ve allowed time for it to switch from one mode to the next.

Aside from that there is one other skill you’ll need to use to be focused and productive. 

That is the skill of resisting urges

You will find that when things get difficult or confusing or if you’re feeling a little tired you will get the urge to procrastinate, do busy work that doesn’t really achieve anything or take multiple breaks in an attempt to get your motivation back. 

Sorry, but none of this will work. 

Being productive requires discipline and honesty – it means saying no to yourself when things feel hard, or saying yes to yourself when you really do need a break or to revise your plan.

Here’s what you can do instead. If you’re feeling tired it may be just the day or it might mean that you’re still expecting too much of yourself. 

Reflect on what’s really going on for you – whether you need a break right now or to re-work your scheduling in future.

If you give into the urge to procrastinate, it usually means that you don’t know what to do or are confused about something or that something is difficult, so you lack confidence in yourself or what you’re doing. 

All this means is that you need to get help or to accept and commit to some training which might set you back a little from your goal – which is totally ok.

If you start doing busy work it usually means that you’re avoiding something. Just like when you’re procrastinating, you might feel like you don’t know what you’re doing or perhaps the end might seem too big or too far away – or you’re frustrated at your lack of results – so you might just need to get some sense of achievement.

What I recommend you do in this case is to have some really clearly defined outcomes for each block of time that is a stepping stone to the bigger result that you seek to get. 

Let’s say that you’re frustrated by a lack of results generally in your business. 

What you can focus on instead is a result that you could create within an hour (the Pomodoro technique). 

Let’s say that might be developing an ad campaign, or writing the first two pages of an ebook. 

It’s not the final result, but it is a specific result that you can achieve, and, it will take you toward the bigger goal. Your brain will feel a sense of achievement around that. 

Or let’s say that you’re in that ‘I don’t know what to do’ mode or you’re lacking self confidence, and so you’re procrastinating or being busy.

What you could do instead is to make an appointment with someone who can help you – to write the email or make the call that will set the wheels in motion. 

Then you can move on to another task in your list. If you do this, then you have the benefit of finishing and other tasks ahead of time and feeling good about that achievement.

All of these strategies are designed to help you keep taking action so you can maintain momentum and feel good about what you’re doing even if things do get challenging or  frustrating or confusing.


Ready to make time in your business?

Do you need support to build realistic expectations and find your business truth? If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here: