Over at Business Jump headquarters (aka where ever my laptop is) we get asked a lot from new clients and our e-course students how many hours they need to put into running their business when they start.

The truth is, it is a really hard question to answer as there are so many variables.

And, I bet you’ve heard this before. It is about working smarter, not harder.

For example, if you outsource, your time input is way less than someone who doesn’t outsource.

If you do a task quickly and efficiently it requires less time than someone who gets interrupted by the kids 1000 times and isn’t quite sure how to do it.

If you do a task once and then learn how to automate it, your time is cut down again.

KEY TAKEAWAY: That spare time you’ve saved yourself either then gets reinvested into ‘freedom’ which means spending time with your family, or ‘profit’ which is reallocating that time to working on specific profit inducing tasks.

It also depends on how quickly you want to grow your business. Some of our clients sign up with us, knowing they can only spend 5 hours a week on their business, which is totally fine, they give it TLC and do little bit by little bit knowing there will be a day coming where they can increase their hours and when that time comes they will have a foundation to build on. Other clients want empires right now, and fair enough! So, they put in as many hours as possible knowing the reward comes at the end of hard work.

Since I have taken the time to outsource, systemize and automate my business, I would say, I have saved myself about 20-25 hours a week. I have taken that time and reinvested it into growing my business which is how I was able to scale it into a six-figure business in its first year of trading.

This week we asked 11 inspiring women of varying fields of expertise and experience how many hours per week they work in their business and if this was what they expected at the time.

Now, I will be honest, it was not the number of hours they said that shocked me, as I know all too well how many hours it takes to build a small business.

There is a myth from those who are looking from the outside in that when you run your own home-based business, you are barely working at all. You have all this free time up your sleeve and you just quickly jump on the computer for an hour a day to check your e-mails and process some orders. Job done.

To the outside world, running your own home based business around your family is a darn sight easier than working 9-5 and battling the rat race every day.

Myth: Busted.

It turns out that, of those we interviewed, more business owners than not, work in excess of 30 hours per week. That is almost a full-time job. That is not factoring in that some weeks, that would probably be doubled depending on deadlines and projects.

The reason is that your success lies solely on the time, effort and planning that you put into your business.

As Amber Grech of The Infant Boutique so honestly put it, “I am my business. If I want the money to keep coming in I need to put in the time and effort to keep it going.”

If you want your business to succeed, you need to be prepared to put in the hours to make it the success you dream of.

Because you know what, no one else can, or will, do it for you.

Running your own business almost becomes an addiction. You are constantly thinking about it and reworking it in order to keep it fresh and growing.

“Honestly the business and its success, its direction and planning is NEVER out of my mind. It’s more than I ever thought it would be in terms of time input.” Kate Boadu, creator of the personalised children’s artwork books, Jimmy HalfPenny.

It also seems that the dedication and hours worked by our Entrepreneurs isn’t specifically tied to one field with both retail and service based factoring in the 30 hours plus category.

Nicole Brady, founder of VA Australia works during school hours and late at night when the kids are in bed and isn’t a stranger to the odd 3am sign off! “I was quite naive when I started and thought working from home would mean less hours and easier money. Running my own business is a lot of hard work and a lot of hours.”

So, what is the secret to working less and earning more?

There isn’t one. It’s actually quite simple.

Basically, it is putting in the hard yards at the start and then building yourself up to a point where you can outsource and eventually allow your business to run itself.

Do your market research and look at what your competitors are doing and do it better. Find their faults and then make them your strengths.

Choose a business model that is going to work for you. You can still go down the retail eCommerce path without having to be picking and packing stock until midnight. Did you know Amazon is the largest online retail outlet in the world and they hold absolutely NO inventory!

If something isn’t working, don’t throw in the towel or beat your head against a brick wall. It won’t work! Take a step back, work out why it isn’t working and tweak it. Believe it or not, every Entrepreneur has had to make a change or ten from their original plan in order to succeed.

I loved the comments from Mother and Daughter team Jill Wagney and Emma Proud, who run their own business A Day To Remember Event Hire. They have been operating for just over a year and have managed to bring their working hours down to 10-15 hours per week by doing the long hours at the start and setting everything up to run itself.

Emma says, “At the time of creating the business we knew that we were going to have to put a lot of hours into it because there was so much involved e.g sourcing, making, photographing our props and decor. Then creating social media pages, the website, marketing the business etc. The hours we are doing now are less as we are just chipping away at different areas of the business that we think need improvement”.

The key is to automate your business. The freedom comes when your business is still making money literally while you sleep or holiday.

Try and have more than one source of income, this will help you weather the storms of retail slumps, a falling economy or just a bad month. You can learn more about multiple income streams that you can apply to your business in our new eBook.

Owning and running a small home-based business is not for everyone. As we have shown, it takes a lot of dedication and persistence to reach your pinnacle. But the reward you get from reaching your end goal is priceless.

If you take control and set your sights on what you want to achieve, you will get there and you can live the life you want.

I will leave you with this honest piece of advice from Linda Privitelli, founder of little wuppy®  “The time you put into your business is relative to how much it grows. The more time you put in, the more you get out of it.”

We are asking business owners the tough questions. In a series of blogs we interviewed 11 like-minded business women and asked them the taboo subjects that get brushed over or embellished. We want to find out what really happens behind the scenes of an Entrepreneur (and Mumpreneur) from the very business owners themselves. Stay tuned for our next installment.

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