How To Have Time To Work On Your Proofreading Business

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by elizabethjwiegner

Are you feeling stressed, overwhelmed and stuck in your proofreading business because you don’t have enough time to work on it?

It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started or if you’ve been working on your business for a decade. Life is crazy enough with things to do and finding time to work on a proofreading dream can seem impossible.

I hear you!

As good as I am — and as you are! — we only have 24 hours in a day to do everything. And if we have proofreading goals to make happen, that means rearranging our habits a little bit to make room for the proofreading business we’re growing.

But how to do that?

I’ll be stepping you through the simple but powerful steps you can do today to help you find time to make your proofreading business happen.

In fact, when I was working a [more than] full-time while trying to grow my proofreading business, this was the KEY to making my goals finally happen.

Watch the live here (or read the transcript below) so we can create a plan for you to find time to get your proofreading business where you want it.

Resources

Links mentioned in live:

How to have time to work on your proofreading business. Y’all, this is one of the biggest reasons why someone starts their proofreading business, gets excited, gets going on their business, and then just quits, or they don’t even get started. And the biggest reason is often that they just don’t have time to make their proofreading business happen.

So tonight, you and I are going to work on fixing that so that you don’t have to worry about, do I have enough time to work on my proofreading business because, if you have the time, you have the resources, you have the knowledge to work on your proofreading business. So there’s really no need why you can’t start your proofreading business and why you can’t grow your proofreading business and be successful.

So I am so excited to talk about this with you. This is going to be a very interactive Live where you’re going to take some time to think through things as I ask you some questions and as we dive in, and feel free to draw up your thoughts in the notes. Take note -- thoughts in the comments, take notes if you need to because this right here is your essential step to being successful as a proofreader.

And the technique that I’m going to talk about today I actually use myself, so I’m not just talking about this as something that I read and I was like, oh, that would be a really good idea. I want to share it with everybody.

This is something that I actually started using. I had a part-time proofreading business for well over a decade, and it worked great for me at the time where I was at. But then I was ready to take my business from part time to full time. So when I was working part time, I was making a few hundred dollars a month occasionally. It was great. It was exactly what I needed.

But this technique that I’m going to show you is the same step that I used to take my proofreading business from part time where I was making at the most a few hundred dollars a month to full time and making a few thousand a month as a proofreader. So -- and that was all while I was still working a full-time job and doing all my other normal adult responsibilities that we all have.

So this is not something that’s just some idea that’s floating out there that it might work; it might not. It really does. I’m speaking from experience, and I’ve seen it work for other proofreaders and other successful entrepreneurs too. So as we dive into this, you’re not going to be alone. It’s going to be something that’s worked, and I’m excited to share it with you because I know it can work for you too.

But, y’all, before we go any further, I have something I need to say to you, and I’m putting this up kind of as a joke because I use trigger warning kind of as a joke. But I’m being serious about this too. This -- I’m going to -- what I’m going to say in the next couple minutes is for the excuse-makers and the but-my-situation-is-super-unique-so-I-know-it-won’t-work-for-me people.

So if that’s something where you’re approaching this Live and this technique to help you grow your business, if this is something where you’re approaching it so that you’re going to be like, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s going to work for me. I’m extra special in what I’m dealing with, so I know it won’t work. Then you can just shut out the slide and go do something else with your life because you’re going to spend better time doing something else. This Live is not for you. So if you’re leaving now, that’s fine.

And if you’re staying, that’s awesome because here’s the thing. A lot of people approach working on their proofreading business. They get excited. They start working on it, or they get excited about thinking about starting working on it, and then as soon as the rubber meets the road and they have to start doing the work, they just fall apart, and they’re not there.

And the reason is they start saying I just don’t have enough time. Elizabeth, I have lots of kids. You don’t have kids, so you don’t know where I’m coming from, or I work a full-time job, and so I just don’t have time to work on my business, or I’m a pastor’s wife, and I have a million different responsibilities at church, or I have a loved one that I’m taking care of at home, and so I just -- I have so many unique responsibilities that I just do not have time to work on my business.

And here’s the thing. We all have 24 hours in a day. But not all of us have the same 24 hours in a day. It is very true. We all have very different responsibilities. My life is going to look a lot different than somebody’s life who has kids. It’s going to look different than somebody’s life who has to take -- be a caregiver for somebody.

But people often approach the excuse of I don’t have time to do something as a reason to appear like they’re extra busy to be better than somebody else or as kind of, if I can put that excuse out, then they’re going to get it. They’re going to understand it. They’re going to realize that my special situation is unique and more important than theirs if we’re going to be honest, if we’re going to use it. And so I’m just going to put that out there, and that’s going to be my reason for not working on what I know I need to be doing.

Everybody has their own time, how they have to spend their time, and that’s fine. And sometimes maybe you’re not going to have as much flexibility to spend your time doing something that you want as, say, somebody else is. But your time is not any more valuable or important or spent more wisely than someone else who is in a different position than you who is also busy. We’re all busy. We’re all adults. We all have a million things on our plate to do. I get that.

And I’m not approaching this Live as a reason for you to hustle super hard and not have time to do anything else in your life and to shut out everything else in your life so that you can focus on your proofreading business. That’s not the point of having a proofreading business to begin with, right?

The point of a proofreading business is so that you can have the freedom to do what you want with your life, to run your own schedule, be your own boss. But it does mean that, as you’re starting and growing your proofreading business, you’re going to have to kind of switch your priorities around during the week so that way you do have time because I guarantee you that you do -- if you have the desire to be a proofreader, you have the time to do it no matter what your situation.

You just have to make time for it, and I’m going to show you how to do that without driving yourself crazy, without stressing yourself out, without feeling like this is the only thing that I’m doing with my life because that’s not the purpose.

So now that I’ve said that, if you’re still with me, then let’s keep going on. This Live is for you. So here are some things to keep in mind before we dive in and figure out how you can make time even in the middle of your crazy schedule, make time for your proofreading business.

So what I’m going to step through first here is keep in mind that these things that we’re going to talk about -- they don’t have to be forever. These are steps to help you as you’re in a unique situation in your life of building and growing your business. These don’t have to be forever. They can be.

You may implement these things and be like, I love this Live so much. I’m going to keep it that way. And if it’s a struggle and if it’s like, this is just for a short term, then that’s fine too. This is just for the phase that you’re at in your life right now to help make it so it’s not so stressful with everything else.

And as you walk through these things, it’s going to seem weird, and it may seem even uncomfortable, especially if you’re like me, and I’ll explain as we go through, and that’s okay. It’s okay to feel a little weird or uncomfortable because you’re in a new stage of your life. You’re focusing on something that you haven’t done before, and it’s going to feel different. That’s the whole point of trying something different, right? And so if it’s feeling uncomfortable or weird, it’s okay. We’re going to work on it together. I’m here to help support you through that.

The other thing to keep in mind is, as we go through this, it’s okay to mix your days up. How I’m going to help you structure your day so that you can have more time to work on your proofreading business is not something where you have to plan to sit down and work on your business every single day. Now, if you have time to, that’s amazing.

But sometimes we only have maybe a couple three days in the week to actually sit down and work on our business, and that’s fine. And I’m going to help you be able to switch your days around so that you can work on it when it works best with your schedule because this is what we’re doing is we’re making it so that it fits in with your schedule and it’s not an additional burden or struggle to get your proofreading business built.

And then know that everything that we’re going to go through works if you apply it. So you can answer all these questions. You can think about it. You can watch the Live. You can even put plans into place, but unless you actually apply it, it’s not going to do anything. So make sure, as we go through this, that not only are you thinking about doing it, you’re planning it, but you actually put it into execution and follow through. That’s the only way that will make it happen.

All right, so with all that being said, let’s hop in. So here’s the question that you need to ask yourself, and you can answer it in the comments, and don’t feel like you have to answer it right away because I’m going to have several things that we’re going to go through to help you answer this question. But the question is one thing -- fill in the blank -- so one thing I can delegate or put on the back burner so I can focus on my proofreading business more is.

And immediately your mind might be going a million miles an hour thinking about all the different things, or it may be like everything that I do in my life is important and I don’t know how I can shift it around. We’re going to work on that. So keep that in the back of your mind. If you’re thinking of anything as we’re going through, put them in the comments so that we can brainstorm together, and then let’s talk about how we can fill in this blank to make time for your proofreading business.

So the first thing you need to ask yourself is what’s one thing that takes up a lot of my time that I myself don’t have to do? Now, if you’re like me, this probably gave you a little mini heart attack right here because I am the type of person that I like things done a very particular way. I’m usually the fastest and most efficient person at doing things, and I know that if I do something, I’m going to get it done right, and I won’t have to think about it anymore, right?

And so part of my problem why, when I was working on transitioning my business from part time to full time or if you’re even working on just starting your business is I have all these things I need to do. And if I let go of them, then how am I going to have time to do it? I can’t give up something on my list. Well, here’s something to think about before we dive into some ideas that you could potentially offload off your list.

So when you’re asking this question right here about what’s one thing that I can -- takes a lot of my time, unnecessary time, that I myself don’t have to do. Think about what you can delegate. Realize it’s not going to be done exactly how you like it, and that’s okay for right now. Remember at the beginning I said that these are things that you can implement that maybe it’s not going to be a long-term solution where you do it for the rest of your life this way. It may be where this is always uncomfortable for you to have somebody else do something.

But as soon as you start delegating and asking other people to do things that they should be doing, usually it’s things they should be doing anyway. Let’s be for real. You’re going to realize quickly it’s pretty nice to have that little bit of extra time that I don’t have to be focusing on something. You just have to realize it’s okay if something is not done exactly how you like it.

Let’s be honest. If the dishwasher isn’t loaded the way that you like it to be, is it going to make that big of a difference in the big scheme of things? If your laundry is not folded exactly how you like it, is it really honestly going to make that big a difference in the big scheme of things? Is it going to make more sense for you to spend time -- well, I’ve got to do the laundry because I like the way that I mix lights and the darks, and I like to do the laundry because I like -- I know how to fold it a certain way so it fits in my drawer. I get you. I’m the same way.

But what if -- what difference does it make if the laundry is folded correctly if you have time to go get a new proofreading client because you were able to make a really good social media post or write a really good cover letter? And instead you spent that time making sure that your laundry was folded perfectly to fit in your drawer.

I mean if you think about it, if you really actually think about it, which is more important for the stage that you’re at in your life right now? And I know this is a hard one because I’m the same way. I use that laundry example because, yes, I like my clothes folded a certain way. I do like my dishwasher loaded a certain way. Does it really matter? Does it really actually matter?

Would I rather have a few hundred dollars a month as a part-time proofreader or a few thousand dollars a month as a full-time proofreader and maybe not have my dishes exactly in the dishwasher the way that I like them? See what I mean? Think about it that way.

And then here are some things that you could potentially move off your list and have somebody else do. Now, these are just ideas, things that I thought of off the top of my head and also things I -- I asked this question over on my Instagram. I got some great responses from some people as they were thinking through things that they could do.

So some things that you could get off your list that you don’t have to do, it’s okay if somebody else does them are your dishes, your laundry. We talked about that, your vacuuming, your cooking, your yardwork. My husband and I -- we’re both business owners. We’re both busy.

We actually delegated our yard work to a little neighborhood boy that’s starting his own lawn care business. So not only are we supporting another entrepreneur, young entrepreneur starting, we also not having to worry about taking care of our yard. That was one thing that was easy.

Spring cleaning was an idea that was on -- someone posted on Instagram. She was like, I could actually be working on my business instead of doing my spring cleaning. Yes, spring cleaning is awesome. I love the house sparkling clean, love it. But I can spring clean in the summer or the fall. And I can work on my business now. So those are some ideas. You may have some others. If you have other ideas and things that you’re thinking I could delegate these things, put them in the comments. Let me know what you think.

You may be like, well, I can’t get my husband to do that or I can’t get my kids to do that, and the thing is have you asked them if they can do that? Have you just delegated it to your kids? Have you asked your significant other if they can do it for you?

A lot of times we presume a lot of things either based on past actions or just how you think they’re going to respond, whereas if you actually explain why you’re doing something, this is really important to me, this is a goal that I’m working on, and if you can help me with this right now, then this is the end outcome that we can look forward to together.

And a lot of times if you approach it that way, you’ll have a lot more success than just hinting that you want it done or wanting them to read your mind, right? So just give it a shot, or you can always hire it out like I did yard work, hired a little boy in our neighborhood who is so excited to be doing our yard. I mean total win-win right there.

All right, so the next question to ask yourself is what’s one thing that I do now that, if I didn’t get it done, it wouldn’t be the end of the world? And I said the last one was hard for me. This one was really hard for me too. I feel like -- I’m so passionate about these because these are things that I’ve had to majorly work through myself to be able to get to this point where I can have the time to work on my proofreading business. It was a little bit of a struggle, so I hear you if right now you're like, I don’t know about this.

So I am -- for example, one thing that I have had to do that I’ve had to let go of and just I’m not even delegating it, I’m just not doing it anymore, and my example is I am a huge neat clean freak. I love everything to be in its perfect place. I love everything to be perfectly clean, and it’s usually to the extreme. I know it’s to the extreme. I know most people are not like the level of clean that I like it.

And my husband had to tell me multiple times when I was working on my business and trying to do everything all at once, he was like, Elizabeth, is it really that important that the house -- he was helping with things that he could do that were great. But the other unnecessary things like do I really need to vacuum twice a week, or do the dishes actually have to get done after every single meal? Do I have to wash my sheets twice a week? I mean it was things like that. Do I have to have the house picked up two, three times a day? Do I have to act like I’m living in a sparkling mansion?

And my husband had to be like, really, Elizabeth. Does it actually matter in the long run? Kind of like that same question that I asked about delegating. If your laundry doesn’t get folded exactly the way you want it, is it -- or even if it sits in the laundry basket all week and you live out of your laundry basket instead of actually folding it, is it really actually the end of the world? Now, there are things that are very important to do. There are things that you have to do. Like you’re the only person that can work out for yourself. You’re the only person who can brush your own teeth. You’re the only person who could give -- go to sleep for you, right?

So there are things that obviously you can’t push off your list to do, but there are some things, if you think about it, is the world really going to end if I don’t have this X, Y, and Z done? So you may be worried about delegating all the things that you’re doing over to somebody else. Well, if there’s something that you don’t need to worry about delegating and you just don’t need to be doing right now, then don’t do it.

And this is going to be so hard, and you’re going to feel like you’re not doing everything that you’re supposed to. But you are. You really are because you’re working on the bigger picture of getting your proofreading business to the point where you can set your own schedule, work on your own terms, and you can get back to doing those other things that you’re super particular about. Or maybe when you get back to them, you may realize maybe it wasn’t so important after all. But for right now, just focus on those things that it’s not the end of the world if it didn’t get done.

And I had a short list. Some things that kind of, for me, was hard. You don’t have to -- I did a Live on this about how to make good use of your time. Making your bed -- does it really matter if you make your bed in the morning? Your grocery shopping, do grocery pickup. Have Walmart pick up. Create a list. Send it to Alexa. Have your -- someone else put it into the Walmart shopping. Do your -- do pickup. So that makes it super easy.

Your dishes, do they really actually need to get done after every single meal, or can you batch them all together at the end of the night? Folding clothes, we talked about that. Picking up, do you just need to pick up at the end of the day or maybe on Saturday? Things -- and I’m talking about things that don’t necessarily take up a whole lot of time, but if you’re constantly working on them, your brain is constantly focused on something other than your business.

And so even if it’s just 30 minutes that you can sit down and work on your business in the evening instead of folding the clothes or doing grocery shopping, then that is 30 minutes of time that you can put together a cover letter and potentially land a proofreading job, right?

Another thing is consider the events, the groups, the activities that you’re involved in that you don’t actually have to be involved in, and this one I approach cautiously because those things are very important for you to stay connected with people. So consider your values. Consider what’s important to you. For instance, one thing that no matter how busy I get, I’m not going to skip out on going to church on Sunday morning. That is very important to me, and that’s something that I’m going to show up for. That’s a non-negotiable.

So you -- if there’s an event, a group, or an activity that is not non-negotiable for you, then obviously don’t put that off your list. But if there’s other things that you’re like, eh, maybe I don’t need to go out with all the girls on a Friday evening, maybe I should stay home and spend those couple hours that I would have spent out working on my business, then do that. It doesn’t mean you need to just completely -- to be clear, I’m not telling you to disassociate yourself from everybody because that’s not healthy.

You’re not going to have the support and energy that you need to work on your business. I’m just saying if you have something that comes up regularly, that takes up a lot of time, then maybe you could do every other week instead of every week. Consider that. And if there’s not, if that’s a non-negotiable, then do that. Stick with what’s important to you. Just like Sunday morning church is important to me, if you have something that’s important to you, make sure you stay with it. That’s what I’m saying there. I want to put that, a caveat, that you’re not -- don’t distance yourself from everybody as you’re building your business. You need that support.

All right, and then the last question to ask yourself to help you fill in that blank that we’re going to revisit is what’s one thing that I can streamline so I don’t have to spend as much time on it as I do now? So this is something where it’s not something that you can delegate to somebody else. It’s not something that you can just completely disregard, but it’s something that you still have to show up and do. But you can work on streamlining it.

And just some random ideas I had here, and this -- actually this first one was one that somebody on Instagram had commented as well is they were talking about they spend a lot of time scrolling through social media. And social media is very important to help you grow your proofreading business, but is there a way you can streamline that so you’re not glued to your phone, and you’re accidentally switching to that fine line between working on your business to just aimlessly scrolling through social media?

The other thing is are you watching a lot of TV? Is there a way that you can maybe pare it down to one favorite TV show a week instead of one every single night?That’s like -- that’s about an hour of your night. If you’re watching a TV show at night, that’s about an hour every night that you could be spending on your proofreading business. Is there a way that you can streamline that so maybe you’re just watching one, or you’re doing a batch of them on Saturdays? Whatever it is, think about your priorities.

Childcare, if you have kids, I know kids are a big part of why people say they’re not going to work on their proofreading business, and that goes back to my beginning where your excuses about what you have for not working on your business, there are ways to work around it. So don’t use your kids as an excuse. Your kids -- you don’t want your kids using you as an excuse for a reason why they’re not successful, right?

So don’t use your kids as an excuse for not being successful, putting that out there, kind of a hobby horse because it’s used so much. So if you have kids, look into different programs for maybe you can -- is there a family member that can babysit them once or twice a week? Is there a mommy’s night out that -- or a -- I don’t have kids. I don’t know. What is that called? Mommy’s night out, or there’s some -- there’s -- I know there’s mini schools that you can send your kids to, to give moms time off.

So is there a place that you can send your child just -- and not full time, just maybe an afternoon or a morning a week so that you can have that breathing time to sit and work on your business? If there -- look online. Look on the Nextdoor app. Look on your Facebook groups.

If you homeschool, look in the homeschool group and see if there’s activities where your kid can go and be enriched and enjoy time with other children and you can have some down time as well. Just don’t use your kids as a reason for not being successful. There’s -- like I said, there’s ways to think outside the box on this.

And then the last idea I have is cooking. This is a big one for me that’s taken up a lot of my time. I love to cook if I have time, and then if I’m not, then I’m eating out a lot, and I love to eat out. But eating out also takes time. I have to go and pick up the food, or I have to go and eat out. It gets expensive.

And I’m actually going to drop this in here, and I’m thinking about doing a whole Live just on this right here -- I’m putting it in the comments -- because I love this, and this has been so life-changing on the amount of time that I have to spend in the kitchen cooking food, and it’s called Eat At Home. And they do this amazing menu planning service where they send you every week a grocery list. I can’t remember how many different meals they send. I want to say it’s 35 different meals if you have different eating preferences. And I do the crockpot one usually most of the time so that way I just put it in the morning, and then my husband and I can eat in the afternoon.

And it just makes it so much faster. I don’t have to sit and menu plan. I don’t have to sit and plan out a grocery list, and cooking time is super easy. I’m saving money. It’s -- I cannot talk enough good about it, and I’m not going to take up this whole Live talking about it. I could. It’s that good. But if you’re interested in a really easy, affordable, really, really good menu planning service, then Eat At Home, and I dropped my affiliate link in there for it. I cannot speak enough good about the company.

Okay, so those are ideas of ways that -- they may not be things that you can offload off your plate. Obviously you have to eat. You have -- if you have kids, you obviously have to take care of them. If you have social -- TV could have definitely been put on the -- this one right here where, if you don’t get it done, it’s not the end of the world, but sometimes our TV is important, right? So these are things that you can streamline to -- if you can’t -- we’ve gone through the first two questions is what’s something you can delegate? What’s something that you can put off your plate completely? If you honestly answered those two questions and you’re still down to needing more time, then focus on what you can streamline.

And then if you can answer all those questions, then by this point we’ve circled back to how I began is what is one thing that I can delegate, you can delegate, or put on the back burner or streamline so you can focus on your business more? And remember that doesn’t mean that this is something that you have to do for the rest of your life because it may be uncomfortable delegating a lot of things out for you. It may be uncomfortable completely offloading some things off your plate.

But if you take it from the focus of let’s just say you’re going to work on your business Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, then on Tuesday -- the other days of the week you can do the other things that you need to do. Do the things that you streamlined. Do the things that you’ve taken off your plate. Do the things that you’ve delegated.

If there are three days of the week that you can delegate, take off your plate, or streamline, and it gives yourself 30 minutes, an hour to sit down and work on your proofreading business, then do it. Don’t make excuses. Don’t talk about how it’s really awkward or it’s going to feel weird. Just do it.

So think about those things that I talked about. It may take some time. What you may need to do is, as you go through the week, start thinking about it with this question in mind. There we go. If you’ve been with me at any time on my Lives, you know I can never get the pointing right. I’d be a terrible weather woman.

If you cannot answer this question right away, that’s fine because it’s a big question to ask. It’s a big -- it’s a change. It is a change. So go through your week, and as every single thing that you do, think about it. Think about is this something that I actually need to be doing? Is this something I could delegate? Is this something I can streamline?

And whatever that thing is, come in and fill it in the blank here. And you may find several things that open up time that you didn’t even realize that you had because we just mindlessly go through the motions of doing things, right? But if you come up and you find those things, then write them down. And then at the end of the week, come fill in this blank. And you may need multiple blanks, and if you do, that is awesome because that means you are streamlining your time so well so that you can work on your proofreading business.

And it may be that you only find a thing or two, and that’s fine too. Do what you can. The only thing that you shouldn’t be doing is making excuses because you cannot take excuses and deposit them at the bank and expect to make money from them or be successful with them, right? So I know we’re all busy. I know what it’s like to be stressed and overworked and like, what the heck am I doing? But this -- answering this one question right here is honestly what made the difference between part time and a few hundred a month to full time and a few thousand a month.

That’s a big difference because I was able to implement this right here, and I went through the exact same questions that I asked myself. If you do that too, my situation is not unique to me. My situation, even though I may be in a different stage of my life than you are, I still am busy in my own ways that I’m busy. You’re busy in the ways that you’re busy, and you can still find time by asking yourself those three questions to come back and fill in this blank so that you have time to work on your proofreading business.

So I encourage you this week. Go through, think about everything that you’re doing, figure out what you can delegate, take off your list completely, or streamline, come back, fill in this blank. Let me know what it is so that way it has a little bit of accountability sharing it here, and I’d love to hear what ideas you have. What are things that you found that you’re like, yes, now I have a 30-minute time block to work on my business? Now I have an hour time block. Let me know because I’d love to hear that.

And then if you haven’t started on your business yet, then head over to theproofreadingbusinesscoach.com where I make it super simple and easy for you. I have streamlined starting your proofreading business for you, so you take care of streamlining your life. href="https://theproofreadingbusinesscoach.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">I’ll take care of streamlining your business for you over at theproofreadingbusinesscoach.com, and I have resources available for you whether you’re just thinking about getting started or you’ve been at it for awhile, and you’re ready to take your business to the next level. So head over to theproofreadingbusinesscoach.com. Otherwise, I will see you guys, same time, same place next week.

Thank you for watching!

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