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Five tips for increasing productivity in your new business

Working from home

Wendy Bowers, founder of Role, shares her five top tips for creating a productive working environment in your home. 

Sometimes, even if you’ve got your vision and values in place and you’ve got a superb action plan for the next 12 months, it’s hard to move forward because it can feel overwhelming and like no-one is holding you accountable.

This is often the case if you are working on your own at home, whether that is because you are getting the business off the ground or you work in a freelance capacity. I have worked in many different ways, but almost always in external office, with a personal assistant and employees. However, last year, I changed my business model and now I work from home, employing virtual staff and sub-contracting work to a team of coaches and trainers.

While this brings me superb flexibility and means that I can structure my week to set off on long walks or write my book, it also means that I must be incredibly disciplined. So, if you are in the same situation, here are some tips to keep you on target and to help keep the home and work life balance.

  1. Create a work space

Try to make space in your home for a dedicated office area, a room that you can close the door on. When you go in there you are in work mode, don’t sit there in your dressing gown. Get showered, dressed, have your breakfast and then go in there to work.

Ensure family members know that when you are in your office, you are only to be disturbed if there is an emergency and this does not mean, “Where are those new chocolate biscuits?”

  1. Keep set hours

Set your work hours around your commitments and stick to them. If you have core free time 9:30am and 3:00pm, ensure that you work those hours whenever possible. If you have a partner or family, keep evening and weekend work to a minimum.

If your charge out rate is correct, you should not need to be working 60 to 70 hours a week. If you are regularly working these kinds of hours, do you need a virtual PA? Paying someone half your hourly charge out rate to do your admin and accounts, so you can get out there and deliver or sell, is a good move. Are you in fact ready to take on your first employee and does this mean a move to serviced office space or could someone work virtually for you using the cloud?

  1. Planning is key

If there is just you in the business you will need to keep approximately one third of your available hours to do back office work such as business development, social media, admin, accounts and marketing. Plan your week so that you spend 1.5 days doing this type of work, 1 day selling and 2.5 days delivering. This takes discipline, but my clients understand that I spend Mondays in the office, I deliver on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and (hopefully) I have Fridays off. Plan your time off, at the start of a year, block out all the time in your diary that you want for holidays and hobbies etc.

Next, work out how much money you need to earn in the year, discount weekends and the 1.5 days a week you need for back office work. From this you can work out how much per hour you need to charge to give yourself that income. You can then use this figure to set weekly and monthly sales targets.

  1. Use the 1:3 rule

This is a gem! You probably have lists where you prioritise daily tasks and as the day unfolds, hardly any of them get ticked off and then more get added the next day. Sound familiar? Each week commit to completing one large task, it could be finishing a proposal, completing a project or getting 100 contacts onto your CRM.

Daily, commit to three small tasks. Make that call you’ve been putting off, file those invoices or write a short blog. It really does move you along and is far less overwhelming than that list.

  1. Build your support network

If you work on your own, your support network is critical. This includes support to keep your home and family functioning and support to keep your business moving forward. Role can’t help you when your ironing needs doing, or when your mum is poorly, but we can help to move your business forwards, providing you with one to one mentoring and group mentoring where you share and support individuals in the same position as you.

Role run a six-month programme called Women on the Up, offering direction, purpose and support. For more information please click here or email Wendy@role.uk.com.

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