Password Protect Your Time
I want to talk about the idea of password protecting your time.
If you are with me for the long haul you are going to hear me bleat on about time a lot, I’ll say it again, but a solopreneur has limited time, use it well and guard it from time bandits (completely unrelated link to the Time Bandits film), people who will steal your time and give nothing in return.
One thing I do is password protect my time, you need a user ID and password to get access to my time.
What’s The Password
Kerching, money, only give away your time to your clients in exchange for cold hard cash. Think about your time as you do your computer, create logical/financial access controls to your time.
As a solopreneur you will always be battling competing priorities marketing, finances, service or product delivery, the list goes on and one. Getting access to you on a one to one basis is something you should charge for.
Guard Access To Your Time Jealously
Orders are nobody can see the Great Oz! Not nobody, not nohow! –The Wizard Of Oz
I’m not saying you should shut yourself off from your clients or customers like the Wizard of Oz , rather getting access to your time on a one to one basis should be considered a premium offering not something your customers can grab on demand for free.
Let your clients or customers know that you have resources and offerings that can be accesses at any time for free from your website an FAQ for example, publish your expertise in blog posts people can refer to create videos etc., but if someone wants one to one time from you they have to pay for it.
Give Access On Your Schedule
If you are happy to give away access, don’t give away access on demand, don’t let people call you at any time during the day which will break your flow and stop your productivity, disconnect and create a firewall to your time and give access when you want, not when the demanding customers want you.
Give Away Smart Time Not 1-1 Time
If you really have to give away free time for marketing purposes for example, use smart tools to do this. If you need to give product demonstrations, give a webinar for a dozen clients rather than doing it one to one. Record the webinar and use it over and over again.
You can also create a product of your access, this may sound a little weird, but if people ask you the same question time and time again, why not create a short video as an answer and point people to that. They get your access and your attention but in a productised manner.
Examples Of Guarding Your Access.
If potential clients want to get on the phone with you to “pick your brains” before signing up, that sounds more like a free consulting session to me. I’ve been guilty of this in the past, getting on the phone, giving people an hour of my time in the chance I might get a gig, only to find they exhaust my expertise and waltz off into the night. Politely tell them you are fully booked and can you write up their queries in an email that I can answer at a later date.
Instant messaging requests, the old “Can we have a quick Skype chat” usually degenerates into a 30 minute back and forth session, the instant nature of chat software is a huge distraction, once they have you, they have 100% of your attention, log out of AIM sessions.
Being reactive in your inbox is anther way people (sometimes unintentionally) get instant access to your time. Once an email lands it becomes your problem and we are conditioned to respond.
Techniques To Guard Your Access
I don’t publish a telephone number any more, and the one I have is a Skype in number that goes to my skype account. Using this technique I can block out calls or simply mark myself as offline. I don’t answer my mobile phone unless I know who it is.
Disable chat utilities. I always log out of Google chat and Skype to stop people IMing me.
Something I don’t do well but am desperately trying to get to and that is checking email once or twice a day. Once you get into your inbox, other people’s problems suddenly become yours and they get access to your time via email replies. Email is a terrible time suck.
If you get hundreds of comments on your blog posts, disable comments.
Don’t get me started on the black hole of time that is social media that’s a horse of another colour (two wizard of Oz references in one post, not many people can say they get to do that for a living).
Want My Password?
I may come over as cold and calculating in this post, but you will find giving away your time for free builds resentment in you, devalues your time in the eyes of your clients and it not great long term. 1-1 access should be premium. not something clients and customers have for free.
Are People Hacking Your Time?
How are people hacking into your time? Emails, phone call, IM, Text messages, social media pokes, it’s time to change your password and setup the firewall.
Okay class, I’d like you to read chapter II – E is For Elimination from the The 4-Hour Workweek before next weeks lesson please.
Image by 33909700@N02