When you’re self-employed or run a small business, it’s really easy to get into the ‘more work, more money’ mindset, as it does seem reasonable to assume that if you charge £25 per hour and want to make £100 more per week, that you need to work at least 4 more chargeable hours per week in order to achieve that.
Working more hours isn’t the only option you have to grow your business unless you’re working 10 hours a week (chargable and non chargable hours), then working a few more hours is a reasonable plan of action.
How many hours are you working already?
If you are already working a 50-hour week and consistently have to work evenings and weekends in order to keep up to date with the work you’ve already got, is it really a good idea to take on more work for you to cover yourself? Long working hours and non-existent ‘down-time’ can be sustained for a short time – we’ve all had the odd project that required burning the candle at both ends for a short period, but it is just not sustainable long term. Your physical and mental health need to be prioritised, if you run yourself into the ground and end up being unwell, which is, ironically, something you literally can’t afford to do because don’t have the safety net of sick pay to support you.
Let’s look at those hours you are working and are you charging a reasonable hourly rate, or could you move onto package rates for your services?
It’s worth considering whether it’s time to increase your hourly rate. Don’t be afraid to make a small rate increase, your customers will understand. If you are concerned about losing customers with a rate increase, you could always offer special ‘packages’ for existing clients that give them access to a lower hourly rate if they bulk purchase your hours (to help guarantee regular work from them, especially if they are ad-hoc customers), but it could also be time to let them go if they do kick up a fuss; it’s likely that you have outgrown them if they are unable or unwilling to pay a fair hourly rate for your skills and expertise. You can easily increase your rates for new customers, remember your time is precious, value it.
Could an associate or assistant help you grow your business without working additional hours?
Taking on someone to help you support you clients is a great way to be able to grow your business without having to spend every waking hour completing client work. By doing this you won’t receive the full hourly rate for tasks that someone helps you with but you will receive a portion without having to work too many additional hours. Once you have an assistant or associate who you know can carry out your client or admin work efficiently and effectively to your exacting standards, then this is a really good business growth option.
Do you actually want to grow your business?
We seem to be surrounded by people wanting to hit 6 figure incomes every month and to transform their small business into a global brand, not everyone wants this, and that’s ok. If you are working full or part-time but are happy with your income and relatively content with your work/life balance, don’t feel compelled to keep pushing to grow your business. Just make sure your are providing a high quality and standard service/product for your clients/customers.
If business growth is a realistic and desirable option for you, go for it! It’s great to aim for the stars, just make sure that you set yourself reasonable and attainable business goals as you grow your business over the coming months in order to reduce your risk of burnout.
Do leave it too late, start making time for you now, click to find out more.
Here’s a free business planner for 2020 to get you started..