Repost of 7/21/2019 former podcast.
A habit that plagues many business meetings is talking without action. What happens when we want to talk it out, but no one acts. I have attended many meetings that quite frankly went in circles, and when I did take action, many were surprised because apparently, we were supposed to talk it out for at least two more meetings. Although I know talking is important and I enjoy talking, I also understand we have to watch how much we are talking instead of completing the goal.
There are talkers and doers.
I talk long enough so I can do it. I am primary a doer, and too much talk frustrates me as we have work to complete. I often summarize the meeting and provide notes, and I also provide the actions that I will take, and I take action. I can tell when we talk too much because we seem to run out of time on a project.
In my business, meetings are called consultations. Consultations are paid meetings because I am working. A “get to know you” needs to be separate, and both parties understand the clock is not running. I normally allow the first meeting to cover the get to know you and I do not charge for this meeting. However, each meeting after that is a paid consultation because working in a meeting is still work.
Time Tracking IS Important
Time tracking is important because often we work longer than we think. Time flies even faster if you enjoy what you are doing. Stop thinking you can’t charge if you enjoy what you do. You can enjoy what you do as well as earn income. An old mindset is work has to be hard and something you hate for it to count as hard work. Also, note that if you don’t believe you should charge; people will look for you to waive your fees and give free services.
Time Tracking Creates Accurate Labor Cost and Billing
Many business owners include labor in their pricing. If you don’t know how long, it should take to complete a task; you will find yourself overworked and underpaid. Or your clients will feel like they can’t trust the number of hours it takes. I have two favorite time tracking tools.
Your labor rate is what you will pay yourself and others. Remember because time is money you need a time tracker always available and use that tracker. Find ways to complete more work in less time or efficiency. I can serve more clients and still take time off without worry.
Time Tracking Tips:
- Travel is a two-part process. We track mileage, the appointment date, time, and purpose next we track our time spent traveling because you are working. Start your timer from the time you leave your home, or if you are running errands, it is the location you are at before you intend to go to this appointment. You must go directly to the meeting. Do not charge your client for personal stops or other stops in between.
- Track your time for phone calls. My phone system tracks the length of a phone call. I can then plug this into my timesheet as the phone system tracks the person I spoke to the date, time, and length of the call. Very handy when charging for consultations.
- Start a timer for video calls — you are on the clock. Stop the timer after you have completed all follow-up tasks. If you go into another call before completing the follow-up, then you will need to stop the timer for that particular client before you begin a new session with the next client. Don’t bill one client for another client's services.
- Start your timer when you begin a billable task. Billable tasks mean you will charge your client for your time to complete the service or the product.
If you have clients prepay for appointments you will need to keep the meeting within the paid time, for example, my clients have to pay for an hour appointment as they schedule. I keep the call in an hour, or less so I can also deliver the follow-up without having to charge the client more money.