I know that for some of us the lockdown has bought nothing positive and where that is the case it has highlighted some of the things that are important to us when they are allowed.
For others there have been some major positives to the period. Whether that is the lack of early starts, split shifts, commutes or other logistical benefits or extra time spent with loved ones, there are things we will be reluctant to lose as we take more steps towards normal life.
So how can we keep the good and minimise the bad?
Firstly, we should identify the different elements. Spend a bit of time thinking about what has been good about lockdown and what you have and haven’t missed about life before Covid 19. Consider how you spend your time in each scenario, both in terms of total amount of time spent on work vs other activities and the distribution of work during the day / week.
Then decide how you want your time to look. What would you like to happen? Do you want to be available more during the day to spend time with children or do you want to cut back on evenings to be able to spend time with your friends and family? Are you happy to go back to early mornings or would you prefer to start later?
Block out your ideal week, make sure you capture all the business tasks along with the other things in your life and see how it can all fit together. Identify what your goal is when it comes to using your time.
There will probably need to be compromises of some kind. Once identified, it can be useful to split them into longer term and shorter term categories. It might be that short term you need to put on more sessions in order to see people in small groups that comply with government guidelines but that longer term you will be able to cut back on the hours and keep the same number of clients and income because you will work in larger groups of some kind. Alternatively it may be that you need to work times that aren’t ideal because that’s the only time your existing clients can do but that longer term you work on replacing those clients with ones that work for you.
Accepting short term negatives in order to create foundations that allow you to move to where you want to be shouldn’t be an issue. The key is to avoid blindly making each decision you have to make without a reference to how it fits with your future goal. The pandemic has provided us all with a bit of a reset button and we can use that opportunity to ensure we rebuild our businesses (and lives) as we want them.
Although an element of compromise is necessary as we work within new guidelines it is useful to know where you aren’t willing to compromise. Whether that’s protecting a couple of evenings a week, an after school slot every day, any time before 10am or something else that is important to you, will vary based on your own circumstances and preferences but ringfence the important stuff so that you are clear when you aren’t available to work. If you don’t do this it can be too easy to slip into saying yes to things you don’t want to do.
Ultimately the number of hours you work and the amount of people you can train need to add up to an income that works for you. It needs to be realistic and achievable. For most people you will need a number of different clients and will need to have a reasonable number of working hours in order to bring in an income you can live on. Work out how many clients you need on what service / rate in order to meet your requirements. Decide when these would ideally fit within your week. Take into account how and where you are going to work with them and allow extra time for travel, prep, admin and any other work related tasks.
Make sure there is an audience for what you are offering and remember there is no magic option. Deciding you are going to work online doesn’t remove all areas of work or mean you will have a queue of people waiting to work with you any more than deciding you are going to work in any other format. Likewise most things are possible and by focusing on what you can do rather than what you can’t, you can come up with a plan that will get you where you want to go.
Who Are You Going To Work With?
The who, when and how questions are a bit like the chicken and the egg, in some ways they are fundamentally linked and there will need to be an element of considering all simultaneously in order to decide what you are going to do. If you know who you want to work with then you need to be available when they are available or you deliver your service in a way that the timing is less of an issue. If you know when you want to work but not who you can investigate who would be available at those times and build from there.
It makes sense to start by considering how you can get existing clients into the structure you want to have. Then you need to focus your efforts on attracting new people that fit. This will vary based on what you are aiming for but will involve a combination of marketing approaches that demonstrate social proof and proof of concept that is relatable to the audience you are aiming for. It’s also worth thinking about the language you use when you talk to people about availability, asking when they want may not result in fitting with your plans whereas giving a choice or providing parameters in the question will focus them on how things fit within your availability.
Hopefully this has helped you focus on what is important to you and how you can start to move in the direction you want to go in. Set out a plan that gets you there and then revisit it as circumstances change.
Realising you have a lot of control over the variables, and that it is the choices you have made that have lead you to where you are now, can make a massive difference in helping you see how you can change things to make this fantastic career fit around the life you want to live. Use this opportunity to make the changes you want to make and to start moving towards your goal of a rewarding and sustainable career you love.
As members of LTB you have access to resources that can help with any changes you want to make, please let Claire know if you aren’t sure what can help you. Non members can sign up to the 2 week free trial here and get recommendations on the best resources for what you want to achieve so you can jump straight into the most relevant courses, webinars and downloads.