The #1 thing that enables me to take a lot of time away from my online business while still making money

So many people have asked me how I work less but make more, so I wanted to share with you the #1 thing that enables me to take a lot of time away from my online business while still making money.

When I first started my online coaching business in 2006, I had already been working for myself for about 5 years. In that time, I learned a lot about how I wanted to run my business and also how I didn’t.

That was before we had kids, so I had a lot more time availability and flexibility. But I also knew that once children came into the picture, that was going to change everything, and mostly it was going to shift the time and energy I had for my business to caring for a baby.

My goal was to create something that could run mostly without me. To offer something that only required me to show up in the tiny pockets of time I had to focus on my business and my students.

The first thing I created was my 21 Easy & Essential Steps to Online Success System, which was a digital course. Then I put together my very first recurring revenue stream, a monthly membership called the Client Abundance Coaching Cafe.

The digital course only required me to create the content and market it. The membership only required me to create the content and deliver it on a specific date and time once a month. Anything else I needed to do to generate sales or new members joining or answering questions in our community groups were things I could do during naptime or nightime.

And that’s what I did for the first three years in growing my business.

It’s also when I had my first 6-figure year.

The #1 thing that enabled me then – and today – to take as much as 16 weeks away from my business every year is having offers that don’t require me to show up live.

Offering products or programs where the content can be created in batches well before I take time off, or where there isn’t a promise of my teaching or coaching live, is how I’ve been able to work less but make more.

I’ve always approached my offers this way – to keep my Family First – and to build a profitable business around my Life first. And it’s worked out quite well over all these years – to the tune of over $2 million in sales.

And approaching your business this way isn’t just for vacation time. I’ve been especially grateful having created a business model like this when I’ve needed to focus my time and energy on personal situations even more so than for holidays.

And it’s why I always encourage my students to have at least one recurring revenue stream that’s set up in this way so that they have cash flow even when they need or want to step away from their business for a bit.

The peace of mind that brings is priceless.

So, if you want to generate income while you take time away from your business – to truly work less but make more – consider how you could create an offer and deliver it without require YOU to show up live, something that can be put pretty much on auto-pilot, a product or a program that leans more towards a do-it-yourself model, vs a done-with-you or done-for-you model.

It doesn’t have to be complex to make it successful either – in fact, the simpler you can make it – the better for you and for your perfect people.

This is how my Family First online business started…

It was our daughter’s 1st birthday.Family First online business

And I remember sitting in the truck with James outside the aquarium where we brought her to celebrate for the day. We were taking a break and she’d just nodded off for her mid-day nap.

Once she was asleep, I pulled out my Blackberry to check my email because I’d just opened registration for my very first digital course that morning – 21 Easy & Essential Steps to Online Success System.

(tip: don’t launch on a special day ;-))

To my delight and chagrin, there were loads of messages – many were orders being processed (yay!) and some were questions about the course while others were about issues with trying to purchase. But the bottom line was – people were saying YES to my offer.

It was January 31, 2006.

It was my very first offer online.

My email list was tiny (77).

My offer was just $47.

But I made $1447 that day – and that’s when I knew I had just changed my life, and life for my family.

Because my goal in going into business for myself a few years earlier was to be home to raise any children we were blessed with, and to contribute financially to my family.

One of my top values has always been Family First – and that hasn’t changed in the 20 years I’ve been operating and growing my own business.

That daughter is now 16, she’s about the enter her junior year in high school, and we are already deep into the college process (and what an eye-opening process it is!).

If you have kids who’ve gone the college route, then you know that it financially changes the game. Even though we’ve chosen to send both our kids to private school their entire school careers (at a current tuition rate which rivals college tuition), it is still a whole other level of financial contribution when it comes to college.

But as overwhelming and stressful as figuring out this next piece of the puzzle can be, I know we’ll be ok. Because I’m an Alchemist. For 20 years, I’ve turned straw into gold.

And I’m no one special. We can all do that – yes, even you. 😉

All you need is one idea, one person to offer it to, and a way to reach them.

What do you think? Are you an Alchemist too? Do you believe you are, but something is keeping you stuck? Is it the idea, the person, or the way?

Tell me here 🙂

Because of snow days…

Lights flashing through the bedroom windows, the scrape of the plow as it clears the snow from the driveway – ah, the sounds of a 4:30am wake-up call… 😉

As I write this, we’re in our first real snowstorm of the season, and while normally it would have been a snow day for the kids, they had to make a quick shift to remote learning this week due to their first positive case, so alas… no day off just yet.

It reminds me, though, of one of the very reasons I wanted to be my own boss…

and that was so I could skip the stress when the kids’ schools called a snow day (which happens quite frequently in the northeast).

I didn’t have to get permission from a boss to take the day off or use a personal or vacation day.

I’ve never had to have a discussion with my husband about who was going to stay home from work to be with the kids.

Plus, come on, snow days are just FUN. 😉

So, after the kids finish classes today, maybe we’ll go play in the snow, or (more likely ;-)), maybe we’ll light a fire and watch a movie – just because we can.

And I LOVE that about my business – the flexibility of it, the freedom of it… and that’s probably one of the reasons you’re your own boss too.

This year has likely been one when you’ve needed to have a lot of flexibility, especially if your kids have been remote learning, or if other members of your family needed care, or if your own business was forced to change due to the pandemic.

Wherever you are today, I firmly believe that our best times lay ahead.

I’ve been spending time, energy and money in preparing to both make that happen and enjoy it when it does.

I’ve simply refused to let this time in lockdown be in vain.

So while we may not be able to control what’s happening externally, we CAN control what happens in our business and our life.

I’d love to share more about this with you in my free mini-workshop that’s coming up soon.

I’m calling it the Online Business Reset – because I believe that’s exactly what we all need as we turn the calendar to a new year…

… a reset that includes more freedom and flexibility for you. 

Reserve your free spot here

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The snow as it piles up in our backyard this morning….

How to Take the Summers Off

One of the questions I get asked the most is how I take the summers off, so I thought I’d answer that a bit for you in this post.

The purpose of my sharing this is about much more than just taking the summer off – or any extended holiday.

It’s to help you, the Lifestyle Entrepreneur, to get really clear on your plan for the next 6-12 months and beyond, what it’s going to be about for you, both from a pragmatic view as well as from a big picture view.

Preparing to Take Time Off

You likely know that I take 12 weeks off (half of June, and all of July and August) as vacation to spend it with my family at the lake where I spent my summers growing up.

When I first decided that I wanted to be off for the entire summer, I had to figure out how to make that work and still run and grow my business.

In the beginning, it was a very slightly working vacation, maybe 10% of the time.

The first time I did this, I did certain things to prepare for it:

1. I decided on what main projects I was going to focus on, two in total.

2. I decided what my VA would focus on, all the admin details that I didn’t want to be troubled with, but that I had a hard time letting go of beforehand.

3. I went through all my paper files and only brought those with me that I had to have to work on those 2 main projects. (As a back-up, I used a remote access program in case I had to get something on my desktop).

4. I cleaned up my laptop so when I was online I could focus.

5. I let my clients and customers know (more than once) that I was on vacation, that I would respond to emails but that it might take a little longer than usual, but that I was also living this model.

Those were basically the things I did to get ready.

What happened?

Much to my surprise, because I think I was so busy-busy all the time that I wasn’t moving forward very quickly with anything and spent a lot of time putting out fires, I was actually MORE productive – and MORE profitable – during those summer weeks than I had been the previous 6 months working from my home office.

Here’s What Made the Difference

So what was different?

1. I chose two main projects to focus on that only I could do (writing my book and my membership program) and either let the rest go (absolutely nothing negative happened as a result) or delegated it.

So I was really focused on my ‘genius’ work, which is what will always bring you more money sooner than focusing on fixing your website or other admin tasks you shouldn’t be doing.

2. I had scheduled work time. This was a biggee for me. At home, I worked when the kids slept (naptime or nighttime) and then all kinds of in-between time when they were playing by themselves or when Daddy was taking care of them.

During those early summers of implementing this model, I only worked a total of about 2 hours a day, during pre-wake-up time and post-bedtime, 3-4 days a week. I’d get up at 5:30am and work for an hour or so before the kids woke up, but that was also my time to sit on the dock, watch the loons and write in my journal – and drink my coffee while it was still hot.

When I worked it was only on those one or two projects, and answering emails that were a priority, like those from private clients. Anything else I did was a bonus. I wasn’t stressed at all, and when I was with kids, I was completely focused on them, not on my business.

Since then, I’ve restructured my business so that I don’t offer anything ‘live’ with me while I’m off for the summer, my coaching and training programs end around Memorial Day weekend, and the only work I do over the summer is write the personal note in my online newsletter each week. Almost everything else is done and queued up before Memorial Day or is delegated to my team to take care of while I’m off.

There’s quite a bit more to it than this, of course, but if you’re seeking to take more time off, whatever time of year it is and for whatever reason, this should get you thinking about the first steps to take so you can do it too.

Want to know more details about how I’ve made this work since 2006 and how you can too? Just click the image to download my free guide!

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