Does the New Economy Require New Work Habits for Entrepreneurs?

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As I’ve watched business owners coping with the changes the “New Economy” (I like this phrase SO much better than recession!) has brought to their personal and business lives, I’ve become aware that many self employed people have gotten very sloppy – dare I even say lazy? – with their work habits over the past few years.

When it seemed like all you had to do was send an email and sell an information product or put a sign in a yard and sell a house, many people forgot that there’s more to selling than that! In fact some business owners started their business during a boom time where they never had to learn anything about sales! These people were really just “order takers” and now that the New Economy requires some skills in sales, they realize they’ve never developed them!

Times have changed and unfortunately, many self employed people have not kept pace with what’s different now. Over and over again, entrepreneurs come to me saying “Believe it or not, I’m doing everything I did last year (when I made a lot of money!) and I’m just not getting the same result…what’s wrong?”

What’s wrong?? You’re kidding, right?? I’m all for not watching or listening to the news…but you must have been living under a rock for the past year if you haven’t heard one expert after another (including me) tell you that you MUST do things differently if you want to make as much money as last year. Last year’s strategies will not bring you last year’s income this year or next.

Not where you want to be this year? First take a look at where you are right now compared to where you wanted to be at this time. Be honest. Are you 50% down? 80%? Just be honest here. Now take a look at your work habits. Do you have the work habits of someone who’s making 100% or 150% of their goal?

Do a time study on yourself. From the time you get up to the time you go to bed, write down everything you do. Personal care, family time, “me” time, business. In the business category, record the amount of time you spend prospecting – actually asking for new business, taking care of current business, following up with past clients (and asking for new business or referrals), networking, strategizing, and whatever other category you think is meaningful in your particular business.

Do this for one week. Look at the number of waking hours you had for the week and calculate what percentage you spent in each category. I’ve had so many under-producing business owners complain to me about their 16 hour work days…until they do this time study! There’s hidden gold in this time study – just do it and you’ll see where your work habits aren’t what they need to be. It’s different for everyone – but it always comes down to one thing. Not asking enough of the right people enough different ways for their business…and offering them a solution to some pain or discomfort they feel.

After you’ve done the time study, plan out a 40 hour work week and, if you don’t have enough business, spend about 80% of your time prospecting. Then see what new work habits emerge after you try that for one week!

I believe in you. Whether you consider yourself an entrepreneur, an independent contractor or a small business owner, own a home based business or go to a brick and mortar business every day…if you don’t have enough business, you must do this time study to find out what to do next!


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