One of the hardest things about working for yourself is working by yourself. There is no one there to tell you when to get started, and there is no one there to tell you what to do. Once you have one hundred or so deals under your belt and you get a little taste of some real money, I can’t tell you how easy it is to roll into the office around nine-thirty or so, turn on your computer, read the news, check your e-mail, and hell, by then it’s almost time for lunch. One of the most important things you have to do is focus on the task at hand, which is bringing in new clients. We bring in new clients by prospecting by phone or in person (that includes follow-ups) or by building referral sources. You need to spend the majority of your time focusing on activities that help you make money!

I have to admit that one of the toughest things about this business is just getting up and going to work. Sure, you set a schedule for yourself; sure, you have a list of things to do. But as you’re lying in bed or sitting in front of the TV, it can be tough to get going some days because, being the boss, you have the luxury of making your own hours. So when you get up in the morning, don’t go down and get a cup of coffee and start watching TV or have breakfast. I’ve found that I’m much more ready for the world when I a take shower first and dress for the day, just like you would if you had a job somewhere else (a fate worse than death).

Once you’re up and dressed for the occasion, you can grab a bite and some coffee, and then you’re ready to go. While you’re eating and maybe watching the news, remind yourself of your goals for the week and your schedule for the day. As you make and reach your goals, be sure to treat yourself for a job well done! Time management is crucial in this business. Having a schedule of things to do also helps you get up and get going.

The first thing you need to do is plan your day or week in advance. The last thing you want is to go into the office (home or elsewhere) and have to take time to try to think what to do. At the end of each day, you need to organize any new leads you have developed and organize any hot leads or follow-ups you have been working on. Double check any appointments you might have for the next day, and then decide how your day will go. Download any list you might be working with for calls, and then upload them to your dialer.

If you like to come in and read the news and check your e-mail with your coffee, then plan to come in at eight-thirty or nine, but be ready to start making calls from nine-thirty or ten until twelve or twelve-thirty. You can’t take any personal calls, and there can’t be any distractions. If there are, you need to find a way to avoid them or risk failure.

Go ahead and take a lunch, and eat something good. If you skip lunch, your blood sugar will be low, your stomach will start to growl for attention, and your energy level will fall through the floor. So eat lunch; it’s important. In the afternoon, get back to your calls, work an appointment, or just go prospecting. Mixing it up will help you get through the day, as suddenly time becomes your friend; but when you get busy (and you will), time becomes your enemy, and you really need to ration it proportionately!

The goal of time management is to make the time you have every day count for as much as possible. When you can concentrate on getting leads and taking the next step in the sales process, then you are well on your way to reaching your goals and achieving your dreams. As Mr. Miyagi said in The Karate Kid, “Must stay focus!”

You want to be a model prisoner. Oops, did I say prisoner? Well, it’s not far off. You need to be the employee you would want working for you. I mean, how will you ever be able to motivate an employee to work as hard as you have if you can’t say you’ve done it yourself? It’s also called paying your dues. One day you will be training a person on how to manage their time, and when they say, “It’s tough,” you can say, as Bill Clinton once did, “I feel your pain!”

While I ask you to focus on the task at hand, I’m also going to ask you to remember from a prospect who was ready to apply by phone. I actually told him I would have to call him back (because I was busy making calls); I never heard from him again. So if someone wants to sign up, there is no higher priority. Take the application and tell them how you will follow up to install the equipment, etc. (see Chapter 12: Equipment Installs and Customer Service). One of the benefits of reading this book and working with me in the future is your opportunity to learn from my mistakes.

Track your hours of telemarketing, your hours prospecting, and your time following up, and with this info you can find how your time is best spent. It’s different for everyone. For me, the most important part of the day is the planning phase. I usually do this at the end of the day or even after-hours. The key is to find out what it takes to get just one deal and then duplicate that process. Or better yet, write a book and tell the whole world how to do it. Oops, check that—that’s what I’m doing!