“Entrepreneurship is a personal growth engine disguised as a business pursuit.” ~ James Clear.
No words have rung more true since I made the choice to focus on my own businesses.
One of the most challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur is decision making and managing your time. Time management, in general, is hard but it is further complicated in the context of satisfying clients, working with a team and building products.
Working on client projects can be fulfilling and rewarding but it comes at a cost. The back and forth, feedback cycles, clashing schedules and so on can be super frustrating and time-consuming.
Not to mention, the time spent on one client reduces the time you have to spend on other lucrative projects, creative pursuits, hobbies or personal tings. The only way to reclaim your time is by building a time machine, cloning yourself or sleeping less. But since I won't do any of these, the question I ask myself constantly is;
What can I do today to manage my time better? — how can I reduce the time spent working on repetitive tasks but maintain the same standard of output for my client work?
The answer that I have come up with is "Invest the time to create reproducible units of work."
I have been following the work of @jackbutcher & @visualizevalue for the last few months and it is centred on the concept of "building once, selling twice". This statement is deceitfully simple but very impactful. The metaphor talks to building assets once that you can scale, reuse or re-bundle an infinite number of times.
There are no shortcuts, unfortunately. Investing the time in now buys you the autonomy to pursue more clients, personal projects and freedom. I will take you through a very simple example of how I have implemented this in my business.
A client reached out to my consultancy, Bora Growth Partners, recently looking to build out a direct to consumer strategy. For obvious reasons, this has become one of our most requested services these past few months. A part of this package is creating an online presence for these businesses.
Typically I would do this from scratch and hardly reuse any of our output. This means I start from zero every single time. I brainstormed ways of how I could leverage the principle of build once, sell twice in my process and came up with a few ideas. The one that stuck was creating a generic web template for small medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as this is the bulk of customers that Bora Growth services.
As a result, this past week, I spent a few days (roughly 3 days - which is a lot in consultancy time) learning and building a website template in GatsbyJS that I can reuse, repurpose, reskin for future clients that match the SMB criteria. I invested the time today, so I don't have to in the future.
Creating a template saves me and my team A LOT of time and effort. This means that for any customer that fits into the SMB criteria, all I have to do is collect brand assets and copy from my client, sprinkle gin & juice and that's done.
The value that I provide for my clients is greatly improved as I have a simple process, a quick turn around and they benefit from improvements that I continue to make.
The value to me is that I have more time to pursue other aspects of the business and I can increase my earnings. As an example since creating the template, I have so far created two websites with it in only 2 days versus two weeks (or more) that it used to take me to create one. Quicker delivery means more clients to serve and I can still charge more for anything above what the template currently has.
Build assets to save you time. Build once, sell twice.