Making your time more profitable is about smarter work, not harder work
The phrase ‘work hard; play hard’ encourages us to put in a good shift each day in return for income that allows us to live life to the max! It’s a positive phrase, but one I take issue with. I believe that the quickest, easier and best way to succeed is to work smart rather than hard. If work is ‘hard’, then perhaps you’re in the wrong job, not being rewarded enough for your efforts or you’re not using your time efficiently to get the job done. So the phase should really be ‘Work smart; play lots!’.
How do you use your time? Time is the most important commodity you have, and how you use it has a direct impact on how much money you earn. After all, ‘time is money’. It’s a limited resource, and you only have a certain amount of it that you can dedicate to your business, so you need to focus on how you spend it. As you get paid to teach, by far the most lucrative use of your time is to be doing just that. Start by increasing the length of your lessons to 1.5 or 2 hours; meaning fewer journeys between bookings, fewer students to manage each day and less admin to complete. Next, ensure you’re not tempted to leave too long between bookings for distractions like extended coffee breaks. Pack your lessons in nice and tight and get your target hours for the day completed as early as possible. This either leaves another slot in which to teach, or an earlier home time. When it comes to payment, go electronic and avoid trips to the bank. And while you’re avoiding unnecessary journeys, try to organise subsequent lessons in the same neighbourhood to avoid travel times and costs. All this helps, but the single biggest saving to your time and boost to your business efficiency and profitability is likely to come from outsourcing.
This can be a big psychological challenge for the self-employed. Perhaps it’s about relinquishing control. But doing more of the thing that earns income, and less of the things that don’t, is the smart way.
Hard Candy Coating
The subject of outsourcing is covered in this month’s main feature, but I’m so passionate about its benefits and importance to better business management, that I wanted to press it home. All successful businesses know when it’s appropriate to keep a job in-house, and when to outsource it. It’s super simple and centres on ‘time’. So, look at all of the jobs you do when running your driving school, and ask yourself the following questions:
CAN I do this task myself and if so, can I do it well? If not, outsource it to someone who can. Sure, you could learn how to do it, but how long would it take? How many lessons could you have delivered instead? Would your results be equal to or better than those generated by an expert in their specialist field? Probably not, without years of training…
SHOULD I do this myself? Sure, you can spend time sending a text message, completing your own tax return, dealing with enquiries and creating an email campaign, but how long did it take? Was the time you spent doing it worth the money you could’ve been making, or the downtime you could’ve done with? If the answers are negative, then outsource!
Why do parents spend £1,000 outsourcing the task of teaching little Johnny to drive when they could save the money and teach him themselves? The answer is as simple for them as it should be for you: because the benefits (saved time, preserved sanity and a better driver) far outweigh the costs. It’s an obvious choice, which is lucky for you otherwise you’d be out of a job!
It’s not about ‘cost’; it’s about ‘value’. If you spend £9 per month on a service, but it saves you 10 hours of time and hassle, leaving you to deliver six additional hours of tuition earning you £150, the £9 per month cost actually has a net benefit to you of £141! Now that’s good value and smarter thinking.
Respect the value of your own time, and the quality of those who can help you save it. Speak to the service providers out there and decide whether the value you’ll receive is worth the cost. Work smarter, not harder, for the sake of your business, wealth and sanity.
MyDriveTime is the must-have driving instructor app that helps you manage your diary, students and money, so you spend less time on admin and more time teaching.