As a business owner, time is the most valuable thing you have. I find that when business owners finally understand this, they actually start making some money. The reason is that they learn to set boundaries and command respect. You can do this too when you learn how to protect your time.
How People Waste Our Time
We’ve all been there. We’re in a meeting and we’re hopeful of the outcome. Before we know it, we’ve spent four hours there and this prospective client says they don’t want to hire us. Or, we’ve all been in a situation where we’re definitely not getting paid enough for the amount of work we’re putting in.
The truth is people will try to waste your time. It’s just the way it is. That being said, the onus is on you to learn how to protect your time as a business owner. Here are a few ways you can start.
Stop taking meetings in person.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. If you want people to stop wasting your time, you need to stop giving them the opportunity to do so. One way I see this happen all the time is when business owners who don’t need to take meetings in person do it anyway.
I learned early on that in-person meetings end up wasting more time than necessary because I don’t have as much control over the situation. I also do everything online so there isn’t even a need to meet in person. Because of this, I’m very strict about meetings. They are on the phone or no dice.
Be more assertive.
Another way you can protect your time as a business owner is to be more assertive. I often see this is lacking in beginning business owners and, as a result, it becomes easy for someone to waste their time.
For example, if you want something, ask for it. Otherwise, people aren’t going to know what it is you are looking for and may look you over for opportunities. In this case, it’s not that they are trying to waste your time on purpose, it’s just that you haven’t communicated what you need from them.
Create an application process for new prospects.
You can definitely protect your time with applications. Before I even consider getting on the phone with someone for a consultation, I make them fill out an application.
This is because of another lesson I learned the hard way: People who aren’t ready to buy from you are wasting your time. Again, they aren’t doing it on purpose, it’s just that you’ve given them the opportunity.
By creating an application process, you can weed these people out and save your time. You can also make sure you’re only giving your time to worthy prospects.
Block people who deserve it.
I recently had a situation where someone got through my application and booked a consult with me. About five minutes in, I realized they were using the opportunity to try to sell something to me. They are now blocked from my calendar.
There are several more strategies you can use to protect your time, but these are a good place to start. The most important thing to remember is that you have to respect your own time in order for others to respect it as well.
Amanda is a best-selling author of "Make Money Your Honey", a book that helps freelancers and business owners understand their relationship with money and how to make it more productive. She's driven by helping others live the most productive and fruitful way possible.