Welcome to the first official episode of our Season of Abundance! Today I felt like it was important to talk about something that has actually come up a lot in my conversations with clients and conversations with the women that are in the mastermind that I am a part of.  We are going to talk about the opportunity cost of your time and how that influences not only your payment structure, but your cancelations and how you treat your time from the very first moment that you begin to work with somebody. I want to start with the concept of, you should never discount your time. Your time is not a renewable resource, it is not something that can be purchased back. You can’t buy more of it. You don’t have extra inventory in the back room instead. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Our time is our most valuable resource, and we need to start honoring that as entrepreneurs. Because I hope I’m not alone here. But I don’t want to work a 40 hour week. Gone are the weeks that I think success is having a full 40 hour week.  one of my friends is going to know exactly who they are when I say it also doesn’t mean. When you let yourself close business down at three o’clock on a Friday, it means really? Setting your hours from a place of abundance.  not just the abundance, that money will come in regardless of the hours, the work, but setting your business up so it complements and furthers that one of my core values this year is time freedom.  I need to make sure that I realize the opportunity cost of that time and that I am taking full advantage of every moment that I am spending when I’m in it. First rule, never discount your time. 

INITIAL CONSULTATIONS

Second thing I want to talk about is for those of you that may be like me who have consultations as those first introductory meetings with clients. Your time is precious, just because you want to win them over does not mean that they should get your time for free. Now, I’ll admit that I have not always done this right when I first started my law firm.  don’t laugh and I’ll try not to. I did free consultations for an hour. Yes, a whole hour, and that was pre covid, so I usually tried to meet them in person because I liked the connection. How wrong I was doing it, and mostly because I was attracting the wrong client. Did it serve its purpose? Absolutely. First of all, let me realize this was actually a problem and to understand that it didn’t have to be this way. But second off, I was just attracting the entirely wrong client, someone who wanted a free hour of my time.  you could always tell the client that had no intentions of ever hiring you. They just wanted free information, so then I thought I got smart and I went for 30 minutes. Of unpaid consultations. I then decided that twenty minutes sounded better.  one day I looked at Will and I said, why am I not charging for consultations? I don’t like showing up anymore. I never know who I’ve attracted, so I changed it.  

I want to let you know that you can change the way that you’re doing things, too. I want to challenge you for those of you that are in a business much like mine and my law firm, to attract the right clients, attract the clients that honor your time from the beginning and are willing to pay for your consultation. 

Now, you might be saying, but my time that I put into that initial meeting is, you know, built in to the back end. Well, what if they don’t hire you? What if they don’t choose someone else? What if you gave them some incredible feedback and inspiration during that first meeting and that’s all they needed? I’ll be honest, that happens in my consultations all the time, and I’m happy it does. I’m happy that I can provide enough information in a consultation that sometimes that’s all they need and that they walk away with the piece of knowledge and peace of mind that they were looking for.  I have no resentment because they honored my time, because my consultations are charged.  that’s not only. Because it benefits me financially and gets me one step closer to my financial goals, not only because it attracts clients that honor my time from the very beginning and dissuades clients that don’t. But also because it creates an energy shift within me. Because someone was willing to pay for 20 minutes of my time, I honor that I show up and I show up big. Because you have already exchanged energy with B when you have paid for your consultation to schedule time on my calendar, that was not only a financial exchange, but it was an energy exchange.  I want to make sure that you get every ounce of that back for me.  I showed up and I was telling a friend of mine that, to be honest, even though some of my consultations are 20 minutes, they end after 15 and they end with me asking if they feel complete, if they have what they need to either proceed with our services or maybe they just feel complete.  when they say yes and they’re happy to hop off the phone and they are fulfilled after 15 minutes. It’s because I really showed up during that 15 minutes, and you know what, so did they, because they valued the time and the investment that they were prepared for the conversation, that they knew what they wanted to ask, that they were authentic about their feelings or reservations so we could talk about all of it. 

CANCELLATIONS

Now, that leads me to talk about cancelations. Because a lot of you probably work in industries where people reserve your time, you may not be in an industry like mine, I’ll be honest, cancelations don’t affect me as much as they affect other businesses. Instead. There are businesses that aren’t truly affected by cancelations, I’m thinking of photographers, videographers, someone who reserved and held that time and that day for somebody for that client. When that client decides to cancel or reschedule, they may not be able to fill that time. With revenue, they may not be able to get that revenue back. That’s what I mean by the opportunity cost of your time. That because now there’s nothing on their schedule. They might have to add another day they intended to have off with their family, that they might just make less this year because they truly can’t get that time back.  if you are not that person who knows that feeling. Make sure that when you’re interacting with a business like that, that you respect their time because allowing you to reschedule or change is them being really gracious. But I also want to say, that if you’re the business that says you’re just being really gracious and that’s why you let people reschedule and cancel on you with no impact. I want you to advocate for yourself. Because this happened all too often in 2020, and I get it, we were living in a rough time and we were all trying to be human and understanding. But I want to remind you that you can be more human and more understanding than your contract. You can set a stricter baseline and be more flexible when you feel like it is appropriate.  

I want to challenge you. If you are, in fact, a business where there is an opportunity cost of your time, I want you to review your cancelation policy. I want you to consider realistically what it would take to fill that time.  Gone are the days of 48 hours notice, if you don’t think that you can actually fill your time with a paying customer in 48 hours. If it takes you 30 days out to probably book a client, that needs to be your cancelation policy and people need to understand that and you need to be up front with it. I said this before and I’ll say it again. Important things from your contract should be built into your onboarding process so that they are aware of every piece. You need them to know when you need them to know it.  remind them that before they make the investment that your time is precious, that you are holding space for them on the calendar, and that if they cancel with less than a certain amount notice that you may not be able to recoup that money back. We’re human, we need to start relating with our clients on a human level, we need to start working with clients that respect our time. Don’t work with clients that don’t attract your ideal client instead.  I’m going to give you homework today, I want you to take a step back, because sometimes we’re just a little too close to it and I want you to write out your payment structure. Is the way that you’re collecting payments, serving and honoring your time?  I don’t want you to start from just the big investment, I want you to start from the first interaction.