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What’s your ideal day?

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Back in early December, when designer friend Dani Nordin from The Zen Kitchen was in Brooklyn, we sat down and thought about our marketing desires and goals for 2010. Our thoughts aligned also with trying to make our lives better in general and less stressed. From there we asked ourselves how we can organize our businesses and lives to be more symbiotic.

This hoity-toity coffee-shop introspection led to the following questions:

+ What would be my ideal day?

+ How much client work (with raised rates) do I have to do in order to fit in health balances?

+ How much marketing do I have to do support my business and where I want to be?

+ What would make me feel less stressed out and how can I build it into my day?

+ How do those goals line up with my natural body rhythm? 

After that, I thought about it and here’s my ideal day (for now)…

  • 7am — Wake up, shower, breakfast
  • 7:45-8:45am — Make a list of the day’s work, evaluate previous day, walk boyfriend to subway & take a walk around the neighbourhood
  • 9am — Email
  • 10-11:30am — Client work
  • 11:30am-12pm — Reading articles, Web, social networking, etc.
  • 12-12:30pm — Lunch
  • 12:30-2pm — Biz Dev / Marketing / Housekeeping (I’m usually sleepy after lunch and can work on more automated tasks)
  • 2-4pm — Client work
  • 4-4:30pm — Email
  • 4:30-5pm — Walk around/free thinking (my energy starts to flag then)
  • 5-6:30pm — Client work and evaluating tomorrow

Since I’m starting classes for my MFA this month, this schedule will also morph for classes and doing school projects. It’s not perfect, but it’s good start on a larger goal of having a clearer path to less stress, more success.

All of this leads to the basic concept of "Billing Based on Your Ideal Day." Reviewing that schedule, it looks like roughly 5 hours a day, or 25 hours a week, is dedicated to client work besides email. How many clients do I or you need to bring in each month or each quarter to fit an ideal day? How much marketing do we have to do to attract those clients?

As it stands with my current need to meet $5,000 a month, I would need to bring in roughly 2 projects a month. I reduced my monthly income goal from $7,000-$8,000 when I took into account I will not be able to work as much with school. Hence, the need to raise my rates and attract clients who can pay them. 

To get those projects and clients, Dani and I calculated: 2 projects/month = 10 proposals/month = talking to 60 people/month. This means I have to speak to or follow up with 2 new people per day to reach my goal. Yes, talking to new people/cold calling is scary but this could take the form of networking events, blog posts, or just talking to someone at the bookstore with a common interest. Planning marketing and networking into your work day can help conquer excuses to escape your marketing because you’ve deliberately set aside time just for you and your business. The 1.5 hours currently in my schedule should be enough to converse or write my way to a new client. 

So tell me, what about y’all? Please share your ideal days and any tips in the comments. We would love to see how other folks are incorporating two crucial components into their day: taking care of themselves and their businesses!

Tricia Okin runs papercut, a small design firm branding and designing for the mobile and food sectors while playing wingman to larger design firms.

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