Do you dream about making money from home but don’t have enough time? If you’re a full-time mom (like I am) or taking care of a sick or elderly relative, then you don’t have the luxury of spare hours in the day. You have no choice – you need to learn how to be more productive.
Most people you follow online don’t have the responsibilities you have. They don’t have kids. Or if they do, there’s someone else taking care of them on a day-to-day basis. They can spend 40+ hours on their business each week.
And most of them do. They have the time to experiment with new tactics, send out hundreds of sales emails, or play around with the latest technology.
But you can’t spend hours building a business and trying new ideas. You have a family and other responsibilities. You need results fast. You need a blueprint to follow and a system that shows you how to be more productive.
If this is you, then here’s what I want you to know…
… you CAN build a successful business without missing out on family time.
Eight years ago, I was fed up. I’d had enough of the corporate grind. I wanted to stay home and be a full-time mom to my one-year old daughter.
I’d waited long enough to have kids – I was about to turn 40. And I wanted to enjoy my time with them.
But there was a problem. I was locked into a high paying corporate job. Giving up work meant dropping half our family income. That’s not easy to do when you have a mortgage, a growing family, and a crazy high cost of living (yup – we live in California).
But I was determined. And after talking it through with my husband we decided we could manage without my salary. Especially if I started a side business. Something I could run from home and fit around family.
And so, my mission to make money from home began.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. I’ve had my share of failed businesses. And the learning curve has been steep.
I’ve tried a little of just about everything – running a local kids consignment business, building niche websites, Airbnb hosting, freelance writing, coaching, writing books, creating courses, and more!
Some of these efforts made a few hundred, others have netted me tens of thousands of dollars.
But one thing has remained consistent. I’ve stuck to the same work schedule throughout. I only work on my business 10 – 15 hours a week.
Here’s what my typical day (Monday to Friday) looks like…
I wake up at around 6am – usually because our youngest (who is now three) has clambered into bed with us.
We cuddle in bed for an hour or so. At some point I’ll get up to make a cup of coffee (for me) and milk (for my 3-year old).
We like to take our drinks back to bed with dad. Read. Talk. Relax a little. Enjoy the morning before our day starts.
Then, at about 7am, our oldest wakes up. And I get the kids breakfast.
On a good day – I also head out for a run. I don’t run every day, but I aim for three times a week. I get my exercise in early while my husband is home to watch the kids.
At 8:30 I drop my oldest at school. Then head home to work.
My littlest goes to preschool two mornings a week. On those days I schedule meetings or client calls. When I first started out, I had a baby with me full-time. In those days, I fitted all my work into nap times.
Most days my 3-year old is still home with me. And so, when we get home, I set him up with some toys. And start work.
I typically get about 2 hours of work in (with a few interruptions). Before my boy has had enough and demands I give him my full attention.
And the rest of the day? I spend it with my family, doing fun things, hanging out, and getting chores done.
I may fit some email or research into the afternoon. But I have a firm boundary – no more work after 3pm when my daughter gets home from school.
How To Be More Productive
So how do I fit all my important business activities into just 2 hours each day?
But there’s one thing that has had the greatest impact of all on my productivity.
I’m deliberate about what I do. I have one main goal and focus only on the tasks that bring me closest to my goal.
Sure – this isn’t a new concept. Gary Keller discussed focusing on your greatest priority in his bestselling book The ONE Thing.
Yet I don’t see many people practicing deliberate focus.
Instead, I see struggling business owners chasing trends. Experts urging you to jump on the latest new thing. Chatter about non-stop hustle and throwing spaghetti at the wall.
It’s exhausting. And confusing. And – in my opinion – not the fastest path to success.
How To Be More Deliberate
Ok – this all sounds good. You’re on board with the idea of being more deliberate about what you do.
So, how do you do it? It sounds easy. But as with anything worthwhile it’s not so straight forward to put into practice. You need a process.
I’m a big fan of leveraging systems so that you don’t have to rely on a constant stream of willpower. Creating systems is one of the three habits of successful people.
So, here’s the process I use to run my business in 10-15 hours a week:
- Start by picking one big goal. The best goals have meaning – they are linked to your purpose in life. However, your goal doesn’t have to be time-bound. Just make sure you can measure it. For example, my big goal is to sell 100,000 books. I no longer have a deadline for this goal. But it’s the one thing I’m working towards. Your big goal acts as your North Star. It’s going to help you decide what to focus on and what to ignore.
- Next, set up a tracking system to measure your progress towards your goal. I have a spreadsheet where I track my book sales and other key metrics, including income, new subscribers, website visitors, etc.
- Put a recurring meeting on your calendar so you remember to update your progress every week or month. Tracking your progress towards your goal is important. It gives you a warning when you’re off track. And motivation when you’re moving in the right direction.
- Now, write your big goal somewhere you’ll see every day you’re working. I write my goal in the front of my journal and on my weekly planner.
- Every time you plan your day, week, or month (you are planning your time I hope!) look at your big goal. Only commit to tasks that move you closer to that goal. If a new opportunity tempts you but you know it won’t impact your progress. Then don’t do it.
Most people struggle with this last step. Instinctively, you understand that you need to focus on the important stuff. But life is full of interesting distractions. So, I have one final tip for you.
How To Avoid Shiny Objects
I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to wanting to chase shiny objects. And this is why I do my important work in the morning.
Then, if I want to mess around and try new things. Or spend an hour or two on the internet reading about the latest idea. That’s okay. I go ahead and do it.
After all, to be successful in business you also need to keep innovating and exploring new possibilities.
Just be aware that most ideas won’t help you build your dream business any faster. In fact, they’ll distract you from getting the important work done.
By all means “play around” in your free time. But make sure you get the real work done first.
Build Your Business Without Missing Out On Family Time
What do you think? Do you have one big goal you’re working towards? Do you know which tasks you should be focusing on to move closer to your goal?
If you want to build a profitable home business without missing out on family time, follow the steps above. And practice being more deliberate about what you work on.
If you can stick with it, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you start seeing bigger and better results.
And if you’d like more systems and guidance on how to build a profitable business then check out Home Business School. You can expect step-by-step courses, expert feedback, a community of fellow home business owners and much, much more. Click below to find out more.