I read Stowe Boyd‘s post titled Going Solo: A Few Words Of Advice properly after yesterday’s post on work flows and I came away from that post with a greater sense of the importance of balance in a solo business. The balance Boyd spoke about in his post is the balance between doing the work, marketing and networking and then sourcing the work and chasing up payment. His suggestion is to spend 10 days on each aspect of your business and to be pretty disciplined about it.
When I think about only working (and billing) for 10 days in a month my first response is to gasp. Only work for 10 days? Then I realise that when he talks about working for 10 days, those 10 days are full days where you work from morning to night. This may seem pretty obvious but I have found that as my business grows, I often only work a couple hours a day, at most, and spend the rest of the day doing other things. Some of those other things include blogging and networking but there is little structure to it. For me, 10 days works out to roughly 70 to 80 hours worth of work and if I billed all that time then I would be doing far better than I am at the moment. Of course I don’t have that much work to do at the moment and this is where the other two aspects become important because they lead to more work to do in those 10 days.
As I type this I can see more and more how these three aspects of a solo business are intertwined and how a business won’t move beyond subsistence level if no balance is achieved between them. As Boyd puts it:
So balance is the most likely place for a prospective soloist to run aground. They do not allocate enough time to marketing, or they underestimate the level of effort involved in prospecting, or they hope that they will have 22 billable days a month and set their rates too low so that they starve to death while working five days a week.
Have you achieved a balance in your business? What is your balance? Do you split your time into three parts or have you found success with something different? Why not share your experiences and comment here?