When you meet someone, usually in a work or networking situation, one of the first questions will be “have you been busy”. If you answer “yes, mowed, I haven’t had time to breathe” all is assumed to be well. If, on the other hand, you say “I had a couple of days to myself as I hadn’t got clients in”, the assumption will be made that you are struggling and unsuccessful. There will be a gentle “I’m sorry to hear that” and the conversation will move on.
We have a natural tendency to measure success by how busy we are and you are clearly successful if very busy as you are rated on a success level by the amount of busyness you’ve had within your business. This is utter madness!
Being busy may indeed mean you have lots of work on and are having a boom time. Being busy may also mean you are totally disorganised. Being busy may also mean you aren’t working as smartly as you could. Being busy may also mean you are struggling to cope and need assistance. Busyness is NOT a measurement of your business success or failure.
I have only worked for myself for eight months but I very quickly learnt that working a 40+ hour week and then weekends if clients needed me was a place I didn’t want to be. I left corporate to become my own boss, choose my own hours and have a better work life balance, so why oh why would I then go back to working ridiculous hours and killing myself and ruining relationships? I had to learn to work smarter and differently.
I quickly learnt my fee structure had to work for me. I had to have multiple income streams. I had to know my ideal client and definitely had to know my numbers. With little business experience it’s amazing how quickly you can learn! I can now work the hours I want or need to work. I can take time out for me and my family without worrying about losing work or clients and I am never so busy that I become disgruntled and lose sight of why I became self employed in the first place. I’m living my dream by working my business smartly.
So next time you ask me if I’ve had a busy week and I tell you I’ve had a couple of days of peace and quiet please don’t judge me, it means that I have had a very successful week thank you. If I ask you in return whether you’ve had a successful week and you tell me how busy you are and that you have had no time to get things done that you wanted, that you haven’t seen your significant other properly and you would really love a day off, don’t be surprised if I offer to help you see how to do it all differently.
It is possible to do less and achieve more. I promise you.