• Writer for DDI on Medium

The #1 Basic Time-Wasting Activity For A Small Service Business

what are time wasting activities
If you died and someone did your eulogy, what would it say?

When delivering on your promise is a progressive experience, working with…

  • People who base your value on their budget.

  • People who openly trample your boundaries (encourage you to do things outside of what you’re known for.)

  • People who seek ways to disrupt the productivity of how you work. (eg. they can't or won't be put through your full process.)

  • People who can't pay your asking price (maybe the exchange rate is too steep, or they prefer to pay you on terms.)

  • People who aren't in the best position to work with you (maybe they need a credit card to sustain what they want to pay you for, maybe they need online banking to work with you, maybe they need to be in business a specific amount of time to justify working with you, or perhaps they need to be in a specific location.)

  • People with unrealistic expectations (like expecting an unfocused design to connect with someone.)

  • People who look down on your capabilities (maybe you work from home or you don’t operate like normal people in your industry.)

  • People who don't believe in your approach (these are people who are just stuck in their ways.)

…basically, the type of clients who can’t add merit to the work you do only causes you to waste a lot of time trying to conform them to your standards should be avoided. I’m sure if you took the time to revisit why you decided to challenge the odds of successful self-employment, you’d reconnect with what’s truly (well supposedly) at the centre of everything you do.

Fulfillment Has Another Aspect To It

One major motivation for me is security. I was sick and fed up with depending on the government or some company for permanent employment. No offense to education, but it only takes a time of great difficulty to realize just how fickle the education foundation is when you’re the employee. So to avoid being at the mercy of someone else deciding ‘what I’m worth’, or ‘if I’ll be able to eat next year’, I decided to push past my own personal issues with change, and allow myself to grow in other parts of my life (not work related that terrified me) by taking matters into my own hands.

But maybe, one of your motivators was spending time with your loved ones and you neglected it, or forgot about it because your time is being monopolized by the type of people who make projects a living hell:

  • They are always uncertain about what they need, and as a result, they’re always indecisive about everything.

  • They never show up for appointments.

  • You always have to chase them for payments, or chase them to sign a contract.

  • They always think they know your job better than you.

  • They don’t share similar principles with you.

  • They don’t ever follow instructions or ignore your warnings, and as a result, never benefit from working with you only to then publicly complain about it.

Perhaps you’ve put off working on your personal goals for so long that you’ve made yourself believe it’s such a thrill to be unable to do any of the things you previously set out to accomplish.

All that says is you've created an excuse for not being as fulfilled as you want to be, and your illusion of comfort and success is supported by a big fat lie. That’s because you’re not constructively (in a way that has or is intended to have a useful or beneficial purpose) thinking of ways you can eliminate squandering your time. But, you’ll never even see what those ways could look like if you’re not willing to observe working with less than ideal people as a time waster. I once made a client reroute specific questions they were getting (socially) through their One-Page to kill time answering them until they were ready to expand their website. At the end of the experience, they realized “how much money they were wasting spending time with people who weren’t serious”, and was relieved to stop doing the thing that trespassed against how they preferred to spend their time.

Here Is Some Needed Perspective

Serious is always defined as an ideal client for a service-based business owner because we spend a lot of time working very closely with our clients. In other words, we don’t want to be stuck with the type of person who doesn’t respect us or our time, or the type of person we can’t stand. So we owe it to ourselves to define the things that make someone a perfect fit and stick to it if we want to stop trading our time for experiences that only fracture our focus and steal moments we’ll never get back. I had a client once say “oh I'm open to working with clients any time”, only to backpedal under a deeper line of questioning to express, “oh yeah, my spouse will kill me if I take business calls after 8PM.” If you don’t want your loved ones to feel like they’re competing with your business for your time, these are the places you need to be thinking in when strategizing the design of your website: what are the characteristics of ‘the serious people’ I’m willing to spend my time with so I’ll have the time I need to do things that aren’t business related.

Neglect to honestly answer these questions and it's unlikely that you’ll have a business in the future. It happened to my dad. After all was said and done, he chose his family over continuing to build his business because we were what mattered to him the most. And more than likely, at the time, maybe it didn’t occur to him the ways he could add some constructive operations into his business, to be also able to have time for his family. Luckily being British Petroleum's head Electrician for their inland and offshore rigs, our family was never begging bread. But not everyone has the luxury of choice like my father, or want to give up their business even if they do. Unfortunately, what we want amounts to less than nothing in the wake of our own stubbornness sometimes.

What I learned About Writing My Own Eulogy

Since becoming self-employed, I’ve been hearing about this eulogy writing exercise, and despite its importance, I just couldn’t see the value in it until last night. Perhaps it's because I recently experienced the death of a loved one that the importance of eulogies were given perspective, but here's what I learned. A eulogy reflects how you are remembered after you’ve departed this life (all your impressionable qualities that have affected all you've come into direct and indirect contacts with). But the mystery hidden within the exercise for service-based business owners is to help us see how intentional we’re being (by our actions) about the things we want to be remembered for. This ah-ha moment made me create a little resource of my own for you to get started with writing your own eulogy. Basically, if you expect your friends and family to remember you as someone who was always there for them; present for the important moments; attentive to their needs, etcetera, but your business hinders that, then by virtue of what you want, you’re not intentionally putting things in place for those things to be realised.

The same is true for the professional success of your business, but for the purpose of this article, I want to spotlight the personal things we set out to accomplish at the beginning of this self-employed journey. When was the last time you thought about them? This is why you don’t have all the time in the world to devote to clients that aren’t a good fit because it costs you dearly.

I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB **Put what you do online in one day with a The One-Page **Do the research on your own with The One-Page Workbook**Sign up to receive these weekly articles in your inbox if you’re not quite ready to work with me yet.

And please share my article if you liked it