In this episode of Entrepreneur Money Stories, we have a special guest, Amber De La Garza, a productivity specialist who focuses on helping small business owners achieve more joy in their lives and businesses. Amber understands the challenges entrepreneurs face, including burnout and the urge to step away from their businesses. She believes that by optimizing productivity, entrepreneurs can create a fulfilling and sustainable entrepreneurial journey.
Amber begins by emphasizing the importance of understanding where your time is being spent and how you are tracking it. Rather than striving for a perfectly structured schedule, she advises entrepreneurs to observe their time and identify patterns. This self-awareness enables quick adjustments and allows for the creation of an ideal schedule that aligns with personal goals.
What is Productivity?
Productivity, according to Amber, goes beyond mere busyness, organization, or color coding. It involves investing our best time in our most important activities—the tasks that propel us towards our goals. While organization can support productivity, it is not the sole determinant of success. A cluttered desk does not necessarily impede progress, just as a meticulously color-coded system does not guarantee achievement.
Amber emphasizes that the primary goal of any business should be profitability. By focusing on this overarching objective, entrepreneurs can alleviate stress and free themselves from concerns about keeping the business afloat. Often, entrepreneurs become overwhelmed by various goals, diverting their attention from the main objective. Reflecting on past patterns and behaviors can help identify areas for improvement and initiate positive change. Identifying one’s best activities—such as marketing, sales, servicing clients, and leadership—becomes crucial for productivity and profitability.
The Four Buckets of Productivity
Marketing and visibility play a pivotal role in every business. Whether it involves traditional methods like newspaper or Google ads, or modern strategies like podcasting and networking, the consistency of marketing efforts is paramount. Amber advises entrepreneurs to find marketing methods they enjoy, enabling them to show up consistently and improve over time. Distractions and fires can easily derail progress, but entrepreneurs can differentiate between genuine problems and self-inflicted disruptions by analyzing their own inaction in the past. Tracking time and identifying patterns can help pinpoint areas that require change.
Sales activities, which include discovery calls or initial consultations, are high-value tasks that contribute to business growth. Amber suggests batching such activities to optimize productivity, dedicating specific days to specific tasks.
Servicing clients is the third important bucket. For product-based businesses, this may involve customer service and product improvements, while service-based businesses focus on delivering their services. Entrepreneurs must strike a balance between dedicating time to clients and managing other aspects of their business.
Lastly, leadership is essential for achieving business goals and profitability. By investing time in training, coaching, and running team meetings, entrepreneurs can multiply their productivity by leveraging their team’s efforts.
Accidental Business Owners
Amber addresses the issue of “accidental” business owners—those who ventured into entrepreneurship due to their passion for a craft but feel unequipped to handle the business side. She assures listeners that running a business is a teachable skill, and formal business education is not a prerequisite for success. Ignoring the financial aspect of a business can hinder its smooth operation, so entrepreneurs should prioritize financial management.
In this episode, Amber LaGarza shares valuable insights and actionable strategies for becoming more productive and achieving business success. Whether you are an accidental business owner or a seasoned entrepreneur, this episode will help you develop the skills needed to optimize your time, focus on the right activities, and ultimately create a profitable and fulfilling business.
[02:04] What is productivity?
[06:32] Where do you start in becoming more productive?
[13:02] What is marketing and visibility?
[22:40] Servicing your clients
[27:17] Accidental business owners
[30:34] What does all this look like in practice?
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