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Top 6 Time Management Tips for Creative Entrepreneurs

Wondering how I do it all?

I’ll be honest, sometimes I have too.

In the past five years as an entrepreneur — and particularly since scaling my business up over the past three years, I’ve learned a TON about time and energy management.

(Also a lot about money and money management — but that’s a whole other post for whole other day!)

To be honest, there are days when I feel MADLY busy and I wonder “HOW AM I GOING TO DO IT ALL?!”

But then there are also days where I spend three hours having a conversation with Erin, or a mastermind group, or taking a walk, or binging on Netflix and ordering donuts via Uber eats…

Lately, I’ve been looking back and thinking to myself: WOW. Look at how far I’ve come.

Because, in the grand scheme of TIME, it hasn’t been that long. And yet, I’ve accomplished a LOT. And, I somehow continue to accomplish a lot without putting my health in complete shambles, sabotaging my relationships, or disappointing clients. (OKAY. Over the years there have probably been like 3 disappointed clients out of about 500. It happens to everyone!)

But all-in-all, it’s kind of crazy to think about.

For a fun trip down memory lane (or for those who don’t know me too well just yet), I started my business in my childhood room at my mother’s house. For the record, my childhood room is about 10 feet by 10 feet in size. Back then, all I had was a laptop and a giant Queen-sized mattress that I had shipped back from L.A. in a dramatic turn of events (also known as: Hollywood had bled me dry on an emotional, spiritual, and financial level).

It’s funny to me, looking back, because there are so many authors, thought leaders, and marketers who touch on the question of whether or not earning money is a spiritual activity. (For many who are in the business of spirituality, it’s a hot button topic.) Meanwhile, I’m over here like OF COURSE money and spirituality are connected. Think about it: people always seem to hit some kind of rock bottom moment — that’s often financial (not always, sometimes it’s death or divorce) — when they have their big “awakening.”

So… yeah. My awakening was related to money and purpose and it wasn’t exactly rocket science. It was that bringing home $350 per week did not equal enough money to make my minimum student loan payments, and rent, and food, and car. My (terrible) psychiatrist (who I fired after getting an antidepressant prescription) tried to tell me that I had a bad attitude and should be willing to work harder and tolerate more. LOL. I was already working 70+ hour weeks…

Well, after I fired him and the drugs didn’t work, I threw that bottle of Lexapro in the trash and fled L.A. That’s how I found myself back in Queens, NY, where I’m from, just like LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Jay Z, and Edward Burns. YES QUEENS IS THE BIRTHPLACE OF MANY FAMOUSLY TALENTED PEOPLE. 😉

But back to the point — from hitting rock bottom to living my best life, I sure have gotten a lot done in the past 5 years…

Here’s a brief highlight reel —

  • Created two 12-module courses with rave reviews
  • Done 5+ launches of said courses
  • Sold multiple workshops
  • Created 5+ webinars that all converted well
  • Executed multiple JV Webinars
  • Promoted as an affiliate for over 4 (or so) other businesses
  • Ran 4 5-Day Challenges
  • Written or supervised copy for over 500 clients
  • Trained 20 copywriters
  • Hired and trained multiple other team members
  • Sold and led 4 retreats
  • Coached and mentored many other writers and creative entrepreneurs
  • Completed 5 drafts of my 9th screenplay
  • Wrote 2 made-for-TV movies
  • Grew a copywriting agency
  • Dismantled a copywriting agency
  • Spoke at multiple events
  • Moved TWICE
  • Moved cross-country ONCE
  • Built an evergreen webinar funnel that works
  • Put over 5 lead magnets out there (or more… to be honest I think it’s been more)
  • Made close to $1,000,000

And this year alone…

→ I shifted to offering more business coaching and strategy to clients,

→ I’m taking my 9th screenplay to market,

→ I’m launching a podcast and my first year-long mastermind, and

→ I’m writing my first non-fiction book.

I also had a very not-so-profitable launch earlier this year that put my business in the red pretty severely. Yet here I am, alive and kicking (and NEVER BETTER).

SO… HOW IS THIS ALL HAPPENING?

HOW IS THERE TIME FOR ALL OF THIS?

HOW HAVE I NOT PASSED OUT FROM EXHAUSTION/ADRENAL FATIGUE/ANXIETY?

For the record, this laundry list of accomplishments might make me sound like a totally douchetastic douche-face who only cares about accolades and accomplishments.

But honestly, I care more about feeling good.

So one would deduce that I must have hacked some magical time-management and productivity system. Right?!

Which brings me to the whole damn point of this long-ass blog post…

HERE’S HOW I MANAGE MY TIME AS A MULTI-6-FIGURE CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR:

  • Before you can manage your time, you’ve gotta VALUE your time. This is a big one. Getting started as an entrepreneur of any kind presents many challenges. MANY, MANY CHALLENGES. And the first one is usually asking for money. I mean, I’m pretty sure I sold my very first sales page in 2013 for $97. Now, I charge a minimum of $10,000 to write for someone. But I’m not just talking about financially valuing your time. I’m talking about internally owning that shit. I’m talking about looking at your schedule and deciding what is worthy of your time and what is not. I’m talking about learning how to NOT say YES to every person, place, thing, opportunity, shiny object, idea. I’m talking about remembering that your time is one of the only resources in your life that you cannot replace. This becomes about more than trading hours for dollars, it becomes about deciding which projects and people are going to give back to you in ways that go beyond the financial. If you’re not good at saying NO to people, at honestly giving pushback, at holding space for the things that matter to you — then you’re always going to see your time slip away into nonsense. Something about being a bartender in New York City for over a decade, and having no problem cutting people off from drinking (even when they yelled and screamed) or walking away when they annoyed me, prepared me for the bullshit that constantly pops up when you’re running a successful business. Big or small, everyone will want a piece of you. And if you don’t learn how to not let everyone get a piece of you (for free or less than your market value), you’ll burn the fuck out.

Step one: GET GOOD AT VALUING YOUR TIME.

  • Remember that time expands or contracts with your energy and natural strengths. Using your time wisely isn’t about being productive with every minute of every day. It’s about knowing yourself, your rhythms, your energy, and getting support with the things you’re not-so-good at. Think about this. Why try to do a task that would cost you $100 to outsource if you can do your own $100 task in less than an hour? It’s 100% stupid to try to do everything yourself. So yes, this means it’s a great, productive, and efficient idea to hire out the things that you’re NOT good at — but there’s another thing I want you to remember here. Doing things you’re good at, when you’re in a flow state, and have high energy, happen QUICKLY. SO quickly. It can honestly be like lightning. This is why it’s so important to know YOURSELF. How do you work best? What gives you energy? What drains you? What time of day are you the most focused and efficient? Could I give you a behind-the-scenes look at my schedule? Of course. But would that help YOU? Probably not… because you’re a special snowflake! You have your own rhythms to discover that will serve you way better than trying to copy mine. And also, while you’re at it: try to give less fucks about what anyone else thinks about how you run your day. Want to start at 4am? Great! Want to start at 2pm? Great. Do great work for your clients. Make the world a better place. The rest? It really doesn’t matter that much.

Step two: BE A SCHEDULE SNOWFLAKE.

  • I stopped fucking people-pleasing. Period. I’ll be honest. Even though I came into business with a solid education, an entrepreneurial upbringing, and pretty tight boundaries – I still loved making other people happy. I mean shit, I have a background in comedy writing — you betta believe it was my life’s mission to bring more JOY to the world! And if that joy came in the form of doing people favors and helping them out for free, I was all for it. The great thing about being a helpful person is that it’s nice. People like you when you’re fun, optimistic, and helpful. The other great thing is that seeing what type of help people consistently show up for directs YOU to the areas you could monetize. After all, being in business is about solving problems for people. So when people show up with problems — you solve them! But, if you always forget to charge for it, you’re not in business. You’re running a charity. I don’t mean to sound callous — obviously I have friends and we help each other for free (within reason) but you don’t want to walk around constantly giving the milk away for free. You know the saying – if you do that all the time then no one’s gonna buy the damn cow! This specifically applies to services and private support and strategy. That shit has value. You simply can’t run your business always worried about what someone can afford and wanting to please them. That thought of “oh, I can’t charge him/her more because she can’t afford it.” Well, that may be true (or you may be making assumptions). Either way, there 1,006,789 clients who can afford it. So go sell your sweet, sweet services to them. Remember, you can solve some problems for your clients — you can’t solve all of them.

Step three: Solve just one problem really well for your clients at any given time.

And charge accordingly. (Ideally, per problem.)

  • Have a pressure valve. Without a support system (read: coaches, masterminds, relationships), I would NOT be able to do any of the things I do. My mental health 100% depends on having a community I can lean on with genuinely good vibes and a truly invested energy. For me, that means I need paid support and/or paid masterminds to succeed. Sometimes both at the same time. Sometime multiples of either. Why? Trying to do things alone isn’t just stupid, it’s impossible. I was reminded of this at the gym the other day while doing bench presses. My workout partner and I had to spot one another in order to safely execute the exercise. If my partner fatigued and couldn’t push the barbell back up, I’m there to help her get it back up and on the rack. Quite honestly, she could injure herself if I wasn’t there to help her complete her set. But, because I am there, she is able to push herself to a new level. Business is the same way. You need people in your corner who can push you to grow to your next level – even when it hurts – and pick up the bar when it gets too heavy. Now, I understand that everyone starts in a different place and we can’t all afford to hire expensive coaches because we don’t all have moms who’ll let us sleep in our 10-foot by 10-foot childhood room while we count the days until we can quit our other job and go full time in business. But quite honestly? I don’t know anyone who rises to their next level, and then again, and then again without support. So, whatever investment you CAN make to get help, MAKE IT. The weight of a business should not be carried alone.

Step four: Hire some support STAT.

If you’re seeking a safe, strategic space to receive amazing support, I’m currently enrolling a badass mastermind this year that will be the best-ever pressure valve for business acceleration. There are also tons of other options for support out there if I’m not your cup of tea. Either way, get some solid support in your corner!

  • Do regular time assessments, and especially do them before you say YES to things. I like to ask my clients to give me a run down of everything they’re committed to at any given time. How many hours have they already “sold” or promised to clients? How much time are they already committed to launching, or marketing, or course or content creation? How many hours does their business need from them just to do the bare minimum? Here’s why I ask for this: MOST of my clients under-assess what their business needs from them just to keep the oils greased and running. Every business requires admin, operations, and CEO time. Even freelance businesses. Even contractors. Even work-for-hire. Even coaches, and healers, and mediums. Everyone needs to do more than deliver the service and receive the money. In other words, there are areas to organize. Because do you know what the biggest time suck of all is? IT’S NOT BEING ORGANIZED. Think about it: It’s way faster to find what you’re looking for when you know where to find it. It’s way faster to pay your bills when you know which accounts have enough money to cover the expense. It’s way faster to get dressed when you know where your pants are. (Am I right?!) I’d highly recommend working with someone who can help you organize your business and systems in a streamlined way, automate the areas that can be automated, productize the services that can be productized, and set regular dates with yourself to check-in and manage your books, your schedule, your inbox, your projects, and your marketing content (to name a few of the top, top areas). Carve this time out BEFORE you promise your time to a million and one other things. Block it on your calendar. And build these hours into your pricing. I guarantee that they will be the reason you’ll need to work late or on the weekends if you don’t build them in FIRST. I also recommended building FUN and PLAY in first as well. Because you didn’t decide to be an entrepreneur just to do the “work” stuff.

Step five: Carve out those CEO hours FIRST.

  • Slow down when you need to, without guilt, shame, or any other bullshit feelings. This is another big one. Sometimes things just creep up on you. Mercury goes retrograde, plans change, clients push projects back, your bestie moves her birthday party to a new date, the technology isn’t behaving, you have to spend four hours on the phone with Paypal asking them why Mass Pay is such a pain in the ass to set up (is that just me?), etc. It’s ALWAYS smart to build in a 10% contingency or buffer. I like to leave one day per week totally clear and unscheduled just because last minute shit happens! Literally. And particularly with creative work, it can be hard to predict precisely how things will go from a time-management perspective. But the most important point here isn’t that you should build in a time buffer (although, I do recommend it highly). The most important point is that when you forget to build that buffer in (sometimes you will), accidentally fill it with something else (these things happen), or things just take way longer than you expected and you’re suddenly overwhelmed (also pretty much guaranteed)… it’s OK to slow down. It’s OK to ask your clients for a pause. It’s cool to be like “listen, self, I need some more time.” It’s OK to take a little longer for a better result, more sanity, and hopefully greater enjoyment of the process. No one ever died from pushing their launch back a few weeks, delaying it indefinitely, or asking for an extension on their project. And while I highly value being a creative entrepreneur, we’re not saving lives here. This isn’t open-heart surgery. It’s not that fucking serious. So remember to put your own health and well-being above killing yourself for someone else’s deadline (or your own self-imposed bullshit deadline). You’re better than that. And the world will be a better place if you’re not stressed out and treating your online business like it’s the next cure for cancer. Said with love. 🙂

Step six: Build in a buffer in advance, or create one (if you need to) by choosing to slow down.

  • Listen, I do this regularly, and I still move at the speed of light. It’s all about knowing and trusting yourself and the pace that best serves YOU. 

    Remember, you get to be the boss of YOU! That’s the whole point of having your own business, isn’t it?

And if you need more customized support to help you fix some of your sticky time issues, I’ve got a couple of spaces opening up for private clients in September, as well as a very special mastermind for those of you who know your business could use a big, fat reinvention.

So… which of these tips are YOU going to implement first?

Hop into my Creatives Making Money Facebook Group, and let me know!