Shannon Fable by Shannon Fable

Your work as a health and exercise professional is essential. You provide valuable services that get people of all ages, stages, shapes and sizes moving. Your clients achieve their diverse goals and desires, in large part, due to your dedication and hard work. The world needs more of this and more of YOU! 

While you know there is an unlimited supply of potential clients, expanding your reach can often feel much more challenging than you would like it to be. Finding time to dream big, plan, create new products or services, or otherwise expand your business can feel elusive. You keep waiting to “find” the time, but it never seems to happen. You trade time for money (i.e., sessions and classes), fill up the space between these contact hours with preparation, administration, and a bit of proactive sales and marketing (hopefully!). Next thing you know, the workweek is over and you are recharging for another. 

And yet you know that others have found a way to expand their businesses. Do they have a secret you don’t know about? In fact, they do: They set aside time to work on their businesses versus in their businesses. 

Surely you’ve heard this advice? It really is as simple as that—dedicating time to working on your business is the secret to increasing your impact. It’s true whether you are looking to scale your current business, build something new or get your side hustle off the ground. Intentionally setting aside time to take a step back from the face-to-face work you enjoy so much to do the big-picture thinking is essential.

Believing that finding time to work on your business is necessary will get you moving in the right direction. Still, understanding and implementing this concept is often the tricky follow-up steps that separates the good from the great. Let’s take a closer look. 

What does Working on your Business Entail?

Working on your business is anything surrounding the designing, planning or refining of your business. The work you do during these sessions does not directly produce revenue, but it will in the future.

Think about the things a CEO would do: business strategy, marketing strategy, sales strategy, product development, research, development, system creation, alliances and partnerships, and overall vision. 

You are carving out time to navigate and steer the ship, not just row the boat.

Why Should I do it?

As someone who teaches, trains or coaches for a living, chances are most of your income and job satisfaction comes from the face-to-face interactions you have with clients or participants. You facilitate a class or a session, client(s) show up and you are rewarded for the time spent delivering the goods. In this scenario, the only way to increase your impact or earnings is to find more clients or classes, find more hours in the day or increase your hourly rate. At some point, there is a ceiling. 

Taking time to consider ways to make money in the “in between” is imperative should you wish to continue your career long-term or make the jump from a side hustle to a full-time gig. Strategy and innovation sessions cannot happen between classes, sessions, on the drive home or while you’re running errands. While you may have a spark of inspiration at these times, it is more beneficial to set time aside to consider diversification options, alternative products or services you could provide, and projects that would make a difference. 

How Should I do it?

Here’s a quick rundown of how to set aside the time: 

  • Start by determining the total number of hours you want to work (on average) per week.
  • Multiply the total hours by 15% (the minimum amount of time you should plan to work on your business each week)
  • Divide the hours from above into 90-minute blocks. 
  • Then, find time for the 90-minute blocks on your schedule and hold them sacred.

Of course, this is just a very top-level suggestion meant to get you in the habit of proactively setting aside time for deep work. Deciding what to do with that time, however, is a lengthier conversation. As you get started, reserve this time for dreaming big, brainstorming ideas for career or business development, education and reading to support this growth, and creating ideas, products or programs to serve your clients. You will soon discover that dedicating this tiny portion of your working time to “big brain” activities is a game-changer.