Let's find out.
Happy 2020 to you, darling reader.
You may recall that in my last letter to you, aptly titled The workaholic in you dies hard, I was in the middle of an existential panic about Not Working.
Well, I’m not officially back at work until next Monday, 20 January 2020.
I didn’t go anywhere during my holidays. There were no beachside sojourns, rural exhalations of stress, or international trips. I spent most of the time inside reading under an airconditioner, after having swum laps at sunrise, while my husband played his Playstation.
At one point I did attempt to go and visit family in Western Victoria, but by the time I got to Yumali, I decided that I didn’t actually want to spend four days in really bad air quality. So I bailed and came home.
During my leave, I have stayed active and excited. (What else would I do, eh?) I did all the things we organised types dream about when we’re busy: Clean out the pantry, clean out the linen press, tidy the shed, rebuild compost piles… that kind of thing.
After a few uncomfortable days, in which I was shredded by screen addiction withdrawals, I rediscovered my ease. Deleting the company’s Twitter account (which was the last Twitter account I owned) has been an enormous help in discovering that ease.
And now I don’t want to give it up.
As I said to my dad on the phone at lunchtime, I don’t wanna go back to work waaaaa.
Unlike in previous years, I didn’t spend my holidays planning strategy, making vision boards, designing goals, or doing any focused planning of any kind. I came to the conclusion that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. So instead, I have just two requirements:
Hit a specific revenue target
Do it while maintaining the (specifically designed) balance that I thrive within.
It’s not like getting to this point wasn’t difficult. I wrangled with it in my mind for almost a week. Until one day, over breakfast with a friend (who is a co-founder of this amazing business), it hit me.
The formula is really simple. It’s this:
Note down your revenue target.
Note down how many days your carefully designed balance allows you to work.
Calculate how much you must earn on the available working days in order to achieve said revenue target.
As a “creative” the maximal effective working time period is five hours. Once you hit five hours, you have to either sleep or work out (or both) in order to return to peak cognitive function. So, unless I wanted to work 12- or 13-hour days, which would give me 10 effective hours, five hours it is.
In thinking about this, I’ve also realised that capacity planning is a simple matter of assigning one chunk of five hours to one client a time. From there, it’s a simple case of seeing at a glance how much availability the business has before it creates a waiting list.
In pondering the past year, I realised that my wish not to have a waiting list has been hampering growth. (It’s like the very best social proof there is, right? What a crazy woman I am.) I also realised that Attempt 2 at delegating the “creative” work has been more successful, but still not ideal. This is how I arrived at the conclusion that I am giving up on building an agency of any kind. There are vaunted entrepreneurs surrounding me on all sides who have done so, but their karma is not mine, and the lessons that I’m here to learn are not theirs. Therefore, doing something different is on the cards.
That something different is this:
max out bookings based on the structure outlined above
employ (you read that right, boys and girls) an operations wizard.
Realistically, while I enjoy project management, and I have fun with the operations of the business, it’s not my core strength.
Therefore, I’m keeping my eyes out for a project management wizard who is as insanely obsessive about customer service as me, who can take over that part of the business for me. The hours will be low and casual to begin with, but they will grow. Think of the perfect side hustle for someone who eventually wants to move on; or a mum who only has a few hours during the day; or a freelance project manager with a designed lifestyle they don’t want to give up.
So, you know, if you ever think of, meet, or hear about anybody who fits that scope, please do let me know. All you have to do is hit reply. :)
Now, having come into my office to shred stuff, file things, and clean, and finishing that task by writing to you, I’m going to bail.
I’ll catch you next week. You know, when I’m actually back at work.
Lots of love
Leticia /Queen Pixie