June 27, 2019

Ep 218: How I Build Flexibility Into My Business With Tara McMullin

Ep 218: How I Build Flexibility Into My Business With Tara McMullin

As you’re listening to this, I’m somewhere between the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Acadia National Park in Maine. Sean and I are celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary in the only way we how: in a National Park!



That’s right, I’m on va









As you’re listening to this, I’m somewhere between the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Acadia National Park in Maine. Sean and I are celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary in the only way we how: in a National Park!



That’s right, I’m on vacation—but that doesn’t mean the business comes to a standstill.



We’ve worked hard to improve the operational efficiency and predictability of our business over the last few years and that means that I get to enjoy both my time off and the flexibility of my schedule on a daily basis.



Plus, it means that my team gets to do the same.



You’re listening to What Works, the show that gets candid about what’s really working to run and grow a small business today as told by small business owners themselves. I’m your host, Tara McMullin.



We’re spending the month of July exploring the theme “On The Road.” Our goal is to look at how small business owners plan for time off, work from anywhere, and manage teams that are remote, too. I’ll tell you more about what you’ll hear this month soon.



But first, I wanted to share what’s worked for me as I’ve endeavored to build a more flexible business that allows me and my team the time off we need, as well as the ability to work on our own terms.



First, I’ll mention that most of the team works a pretty typical schedule. I start work by 9am most days and wind it down by 4:30pm. That gives me time for my workout in the morning and my interests in the evening.



I work in my home office Monday through Thursday. On Friday, we have a team meeting with our local employee, Shannon. You can find us at a picnic table inside Whole Foods in Lancaster most Friday mornings! The rest of that day is a buffer. If I don’t need the work time or I’m craving some “me time,” I’ll be done for the week.



If I’m inspired to start something new or I’m on a deadline, I’ll do that. Regardless, I’m done by about 3pm so that I can either pick up my daughter or head to the climbing gym.



What I’ve found is that consistency, routine, and structure actually allow me the flexibility I crave from my business.



I don’t just do what I feel like when I feel like it. That’s not real flexibility because it means something is always getting left behind and I’m not mastering my own workload.



And that really is the string that ties the 4 ways I’ve built flexibility into my business together.



First up…



Embracing predictable cycles



Within the first few years I was designing websites and consulting on business strategy, I started to notice that clients would disappear during the summers. Their projects would stall out. Deadlines would come and go.



I can remember thinking that there was just no point in working during the summer.



And then it hit me: I didn’t have to.



Summer often feels like a time when we’re just punching the clock. Sure, we’ve got some passion project underway or maybe we’ve got a client or two who really wants to get moving during the summer. But lots of people want to travel, take it easy, and enjoy the weather.



So that’s what I did.



I decided I would wrap up any projects I could, put my calendar on hold, and just enjoy the flexibility of summer.



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