How I run my business in just 20 hours/week
10 years ago, I was running a small music school in the Willamette Valley.
In a lot of ways, it was a great gig!
> I spent my time working with music & kids.
> It was easy and fairly enjoyable.
> I was even — kind of — my own boss.
But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows…
> Since most music students are school-age kids, most music lessons happen between 3pm and 9pm. That meant I had to work every evening (plus most Saturdays) in order to get in enough hours to support myself.
> Despite working as many hours as I could, I was still only able to bring in ~$20,000 per year.
After several years of running the music school (and letting my life be run my music lesson schedules), I decided I needed to find something that gave me a bit more flexibility. Starting an online business sounded like a great opportunity!
12 months later, I was “working on my blog” for 30+ hours/week, but not really earning any money from it at all. So, of course, I was still teaching music lessons to pay the bills.
At this point, I was working 50+ hours every week, yet still earning only ~$20,000 a year.
I felt like this math didn’t make a lot of sense.
After all, shouldn’t I be earning more for the hours + effort I was putting in?
Apparently, that’s not how things work.
Fast forward four years. Today, my online business earns ~$20,000 per MONTH. And we’re on target to reach $500,000 in revenue this year.
I’m earning 12 times as much as I was earning four years ago.
Am I working 12 times harder?
12 times as many hours?
I think you know the answer.
Yeah, no. There aren’t enough hours in a day.
So, then… what’s going on? Where is this money coming from, how much am I working, and what am I DOING?
Here’s exactly how my business currently generates revenue:
- Membership site: $16,500/month
(500 members x $33/month)
- Courses: $6,000/month
(15 sales/month x $400)
- YouTube ad revenue: $4,100/month
- Affiliate revenue: $1,600/month
Total income: $28,200/month
- Independent contractors: ~$7,000/month
- Software: $800/month
- Office expenses: $300/month
Total expenses: $8,100/month
In the interest of full disclosure, please note that both my income and expenses vary a fair amount from one month to the next.
Schedule and Time Allocation
I currently work about 20 hours/week in order to generate that roughly $20K monthly profit. How? What am I spending my time on? Here’s a breakdown of what I do each month:
- Planning: 4 hours
- Managing projects: 6 hours
- Writing free content (like this): 10 hours
- Producing YouTube videos: 18 hours
- Reviewing content created by my team: 5 hours
- Membership site content creation: 8 hours
- Membership site management: 6 hours
- Improving marketing/sales systems: 6 hours
- Engaging with audience: 6 hours
- Email: 6 hours
- Managing finances: 1 hour
- Miscellaneous: 5 – 15 hours
Total working time: 75 – 85 hours/month
This works out to about 20 hours/week. My work time does, however, vary somewhat from one month to the next, depending on whether we’re running a live event or major marketing campaign. When nothing exciting is happening, my working time can drop as low as ~10 hours/week, whereas when we take on big projects I sometimes work ~30 hours/week.
As you can see, a lot has changed. I went from working 60 hours/week and earning $20K/year (which works out to ~$6.40/hour) to working 20 hours/week and earning $20K/MONTH (about $230.00/hour).
It’s been a dramatic shift… even more so because it happened over just four short years.
Here’s what I DON’T want your takeaway from this to be: “Wow, Gillian is so amazing — she earns $230 per hour!”
‘Cause, guess what? I’m the same girl who — not very long ago — was earning $6.40/hour.
So, what I hope you take away from all this is that WHAT spend your time on matters a lot more than the number of hours you work or how “hard” you work.
Four years ago, I was working my tail off, but barely keeping the lights on.
Today, I’m working waaaay less and, when I am working, I’m doing things that really light me up.
That’s the power of building a business strategically; the power of working smarter, not just harder.
I want this for YOU.
(And I’m betting that you might want it for you, too.)
If I had to guess, I’d say that, right now, you’re probably in one of two situations, either:
A) You run an online business (or blog, or YouTube channel), but you’re working WAY too many hours for the amount of money you’re bringing in.
B) You’re currently trading hours for dollars, working a 9-5… and you’re really ready to move on to the next thing and gain more control over your schedule + income.
If that first situation (A) sounds like you, and you want to shift things in a better direction, then I’d recommend you start by creating a clear plan — a plan for running your business in a way that will produce a lot more revenue with a lots fewer working hours. You can click HERE to download my Easiest Business Plan Ever and design a more organized + strategic business.
On the other hand, if you’re working a day job (situation B), and just trying to figure out what your best options are, then you’ll appreciate my free guide Eight Ways to Make Money Online EXPLAINED.
Whatever your current situation, I want to walk with you on your journey towards working more strategically and intentionally. Because, the truth is, I haven’t “arrived.” We ALL have room for improvement!