People ask me all the time how I’ve managed to create a 6-figure+ business while only working about 15 hours a week. First, I had to build a solid foundation and set up systems that would support the business as it grew, systems that were either automated or delegated or easily repeatable.

Once I had the foundation and the beginning systems in place, I was constantly looking for ways to leverage my time and talent, and I still do. I could write a book on the many ways we do this in my business (and maybe I will someday) but in this 4-part series, I’m going to share with you some of the most effective ones that you can apply to your business today.

1. Use volunteers

Using volunteers, apprentices or interns in your business is a great way to work smarter. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish by using a volunteer, looking at it from the place what tasks can they perform that will free you up so you can focus on creating the things that create income. Also consider what regular tasks they can help you with in your business that will allow you to save money while they get the benefit of learning from you by being part on your team.

2. “Please clarify…”

As someone who has a tendency to over-explain, the ‘please clarify’ idea is one of my favorite ways to leverage my time.

This is how is works: When someone sends you a communication whether by e-mail or voicemail and you’re confused by it, don’t try to figure it out. Just send an e-mail back or a quick call asking for clarity or have your assistant call if you have one. You can say, “I didn’t understand what you meant in your message. Can you clarify?”

Don’t spend time trying to figure out or interpret what it means. That’s a waste of time. We can make up all kinds of things. Let the other person be responsible for being clearer.

3. Turn off the chatter

Turn off your e-mail and your social media chatter.

If you’re in your inbox or on social media all day, turn it off. I give you permission not to answer your email the second it comes in as well as not worrying about what you may ‘miss’ if you log out of social media.

I know this might be hard for you, but what I don’t want you to do is work from a place of reaction. You want to respond in a timely manner when it’s called for but you’re not reacting.

Here’s my mantra – both personally and professionally:

Just because someone e-mails you doesn’t mean that you have to answer it. Just because the phone rings doesn’t mean you have to answer it.

Record a message on your phone and set up an autoresponder that basically says, “We got your message. This is when we’ll get back to you.” You are managing expectations. You’re setting the tone. You’re asking people to respect your time. And you’re deciding how your time is spent in any given moment.

4. Choose simple

When in doubt try to create simple products and services. I know as entrepreneurs we have these great ideas. We are creative people. We have a lot of ideas and you’re always wondering, “What should I do next?”

The easiest way for you to create the next thing, whatever format it is, is to keep it simple.
You will get it to market faster. That’s a way to leverage your time. You’ll have more of the simple things to offer and it’s a lot less work for you if you keep things simple.

And know that those simpler ones can be bundled together down the road if they follow along the same theme, giving you another product to offer.

5. Choose an audience for your message

I know you’re probably tired of hearing this one, but it’s a fundamental truth when building a successful and sustainable business, not matter what businesses you’re in.

You must have a target market to share your message with. Even if you’re not sure who you are most meant to serve or who your message is specifically for just yet, that’s ok. But do pick one even if it’s broad to start with. It makes your marketing so much easier. That will leverage your time.

And if you already have a target market, and you have a successful product for that target market, how might you slant it to offer to a second market with little additional effort on your part?

(Watch for Part 4 in this series next week…)

I’d love to know which one of these leveraging tips resonates the most with you – share with me below…