When people make the leap from being employed to self-employed, they have two things in mind:
- gaining more time; and
- finding financial freedom.
If you’ve made the switch yourself, you’ll know that the reality is quite different.
The benefits of being self-employed are immediately apparent, yes. You can start work whenever you wish, nip out for a run without a cursory glance from your boss, and decide what you want to work on and when.
What ends up happening is that you seem to work every hour god sends.
The net result? LESS financial security and more uncertainty.
This wasn’t the plan, was it?
So, what can you do to improve your time management skills as a self-employed entrepreneur?
Why it’s hard to find time when self-employed
Let’s first have a think about why you seem to end up with less time when you’re self-employed.
The answer is actually pretty straightforward. When you work for a company, your paycheck reflects the hours you’ve worked. When you work for yourself, you typically end up charging for your time.
These are two very different things.
We only have a finite amount of time to play with, which means you can only sell so much of it before it runs dry.
Sure, you could raise your prices, but self-employed people are often reluctant to do so. After all, won’t that simply put people off buying your services in the first place?
Unfortunately, selling your time seems like the only option.
Swapping time for experience when self-employed
Let’s say you want to buy a new family portrait for your mum’s 80th birthday next week. You approach a photographer, but they tell you there’s a big waiting list and they can’t do it for another six weeks.
Only, you need it now. So, you ask for it quicker, and the photographer tells you that it’s possible, but that you’ll need to pay more for a fast turnaround.
You’d probably pay for it, wouldn’t you? The value in getting it quickly is evident, after all.
That photographer has adopted the right pricing model. They’ve priced their services from their perspective, with the customer benefit clearly in mind.
You can do the same with your clients. Why are you charging clients more for something that’s going to take you longer?
It all comes down to selling your experience. You have the experience to turn jobs around fast, and you can charge handsomely for the privilege. It’s your experience that’ll find faster solutions, more quickly.
Clients hire you because they want you to do a job. (If they know, like, and trust you, they’re more likely to choose you over your competitors.) The job in question is to offer them a solution to a problem, and solving it more quickly is better than taking longer.
How to complete jobs quicker as a self-employed worker
If you only had 20% of the time available to you, how would you use it?
You’d find a way to work differently, wouldn’t you? You’d probably ask the client more questions; what do they NEED, exactly? Why do they need it so fast? What will it take to solve the problem as quickly as possible?
Often, the answer lies right beneath your nose (or above it, if you will). That’s right - it’s your experience. If you call on it to help resolve problems quickly, you’ll claw back invaluable time and be able to charge more for what you do.
Sounds simple, right?
It really is. Work differently, not harder, and you’ll get things done in half the time.
Before you go: avoid this self-employed pricing mistake
If we haven’t made it obvious enough already, this isn’t about charging less because you can get something done quicker.
It’s quite the opposite.
Only, so many self-employed people fall into this trap.
“Ah, that’ll only take me an hour. It’s a quick job, so I’ll only charge you £XX for it.”
Ouch. That’s an opportunity missed. Because the client in question would almost certainly have paid MORE for the fast turnaround.
Think about it: they received a solution to their problem. But that wasn’t where the value was for them - the value came in the form of fast delivery.
Remember the family portrait? You’d pay more for it if it arrived quicker, wouldn’t you? Your mum’s worth it, after all.
If the outcome is the same (or better), why charge less? It makes NO sense. And if you’re feeling uncomfortable about this, bear in mind that you’re placing yourself in the “work more to earn more” camp.
If you want financial freedom, you need to change that way of thinking.