Managing Time – Moving from Hobbiest to Professional

It seems pretty easy when you first start a business, if that business is not your sole source of income. You have no particular need to develop intense efficiency, you can dabble at some things, network when you feel like it, and explore new avenues just because they are there.

Moving from hobbiest to professional though, means that certain things must change. You have to think about working in the most efficient and productive manner.

You have to consider which networking is effective, and which is just enjoyable, and sort between the two. There isn’t a lot of time for idle chatter anymore, yet there must also be casual conversation and not just business conversation if you are to build friendships around which network marketing thrives.

Productivity becomes a huge issue. If you move into working full time and living off your business income, the dynamics of productivity change. You end up analyzing on a regular basis, to see if the prices you are charging are sustaining the amount of work you are putting in. If they are not, you have only two choices:

  1. Raise prices. This is only possible if you have not reached the top of your value bracket. Eventually, there comes a point where you cannot raise prices any more without pricing yourself out of your target market, or pricing yourself beyond the value of your product or service.
  2. Become still more efficient. Find ways to reduce the time you put in, without reducing the value. This is hard, and every serious company goes through this pretty much constantly, assessing, reassessing, looking for ways to shave a little time here, a little cost there. This attitude is, in fact, more of a determiner of a true professional than just raising prices. It comes from an understanding of your clients, and caring for them, as well as a desire to survive in business.

In addition to this, you learn how to schedule, and how to organize task tracking. You may need good tools to do this. Notesbrowser (Google it) is a nifty tool to start out organizing information and tasks. But eventually you may need more. A full scale project manager may eventually be needed. If you work with others, they may need to learn to use a group project manager (these are available online, or a web professional can install one for you into your own hosting space).

Once you begin to make the transition, it will never end. You will, from then on, be engaged in regular adjusting to manage better, track better, get more done in less time, and re-evaluating your solutions to make sure they are keeping up with the ever changing needs of business.

Large corporations deal with these issues every day. Tiny startups don’t. And in between the two, there is a wide gulf where enterprise solutions just aren’t needed, but SOMETHING more than a pad and pencil is required. We transition step by step from one extreme to the other, and it is largely our ability to survive the middle stages that determines our ability to grow beyond a certain point. This is, indeed, why many sole proprietors choose not to grow beyond that point. If you intend to, you must survive those transitional years.

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