One of the questions I get asked the most by my clients who are considering setting up their new business online is “How much time will I have to spend on it?“.
I always have difficult in answering this, as within reason, the more time you devote to your online business, the more successful it will be.
However, I have plenty of clients who have made the decision to grow their business on a part-time basis, while they maintain their existing job, rather than handing in their notice to be a full-time online business owner.
The truth is, there is no set time which you should allocate for your business to be assured of its success.
Some people may spend hours every day blogging, responding to customers or furthering their SEO, only to find that this effort gets them nowhere and they aren’t turning a revenue even after years of effort. Similarly, some people seem to be able to sit down for just an hour or two each week and manage to develop a profitable part-time business that has the potential to support them financially full-time when they decide to leave their job and dedicate every day to their enterprise.
Working out the hours you need to run your business
That said, it is possible to put timescales to some of the key activities you will need to do each day to make your business thrive. For example, it usually takes around an hour to update a blog with an informative and original article. It can take around five to ten minutes to respond to a client enquiry, depending upon its complexity. Updating your social network with business news can take another half an hour a day. And on it goes. Factor in accounting, invoicing, despatching products or providing services, and you can come up with a model for how long the basics will take.
Buying yourself more time
Depending upon the nature of your products or services, you can outsource aspects of the business such as blogging, accounts and invoicing, or online marketing. You can get hold of software to do key aspects of your day to day tasks, and use virtual resource like writers or PAs for some jobs. By automating certain elements of your site and programming it to do updates while you are busy elsewhere, you can give your site the attention it needs without having to devote yourself to it, full time. Many successful entrepreneurs have a number of businesses on the go at any one time, and have learned to juggle the tasks needed to keep them afloat without dedicating full-time resources to each one.
Making the decision to give more time
When your business really needs you to be more present, you’ll know. This could be when client enquiries are taking up more time, when your product or service offering takes off and demand goes through the roof, or your SEO is managed so well that you find yourself gradually becoming the first port of call for anyone in your sector looking for those services. It’s at points such as this that you have to make the decision to give your business more attention, or see if there is any aspect of it that you could outsource to maintain business at the current level, or expand it to new heights.
Listen to your business carefully – by reading customer demand and understanding where your business wants to take you, you’ll be able to work out whether it’s time to go full-time on it, hand it over to someone else, or take steps to manage it more effectively.
How many hours a week do you spend on your online business? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.