As every experienced business owner or online entrepreneur will tell you, TIME is the most important asset in your business (and personal life) that you need to safeguard, protect and intentionally create.
But how do you go about creating “free time” in your business?
Welp, in this podcast episode, I’m so excited to bring on the author of Free Time: Lose the Busywork, Love Your Business, Jenny Blake, who shares how to get “free time” back in both your personal and professional life while still growing a profitable online business.
In this episode:
00:00 – Introduction
02:56 – Welcome to Jenny
07:34 – Backstory with Pat Flynn
11:52 – Not about working less
13:50 – TIme becomes a verb
15:10 – Friction and flow
16:30 – Aligned, design, assign
18:21 – What gives you energy
19:20 – Copy should disgust people
23:33 – Changing habits
25:10 – Dissuading “tire kickers”
27:13 – Ideal outcome
28:36 – Assign on purpose
31:29 – Delegate low level tasks
33:23 – Prioritizing
35:46 – Are you the bottleneck
39:20 – Rejecting the hustle culture
42:05 – It’s harder to work less
44:17 – Toxic hard work
46:21 – Be self-aware
48:34 – Thought leader or negotiator
50:47 – Intentional scheduling
Connect with Jenny:
- Free Time with Jenny Blake — Book & Podcast for Heart-Based Business
- Jenny’s It’s Free Time Media Kit
- It’s Free Time Podcast
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #195 Full Transcription
Hey, friends, great to have you here for Episode 195, where I am so excited to bring on a three time author, a podcaster, a keynote speaker, a coach, an online entrepreneur, somebody who’s been doing online business for quite a while and has learned a lot about the idea of or the importance of free time. This is Jenny Blake and her brand new book, get this is called “Free Time, Lose the Busy Work, Love Your Business”. If you’re anything like me, I’m guessing that sounds awesome. And you are intrigued, just like I was when I first heard Jenny on a couple podcasts I listened to it got to know her brand a little more, I want you to lose the busy work of your business and love your business. And that really boils down to creating free time.
And in this episode, Jenny and I have a really interesting conversation about how to get free time back and not only your personal work life balance. So just working less and having more time for your family, friends, hobbies, whatever you want to do, but also this concept of freeing time up in your business so that you’re not just hustling and doing the busy work, but you’re actually you have a schedule in days and weeks and time that you can actually work on your business. Or I found just having a more sustainable pace and just not having to hustle, quote unquote, so much.
This idea of free time will filter in, I think in every aspect of your life, both professional and work and personal as well. So I’m really, really excited to hear, Jenny to hear how Jenny’s thoughts help you and your business. So we’re gonna dive into this topic of free time. I’m really excited for you. And I would love to hear your thoughts on this if you have any big takeaways from this episode. Or if you have any free time ideas of yourself that you’ve implemented in your business, let me know there’s a couple different ways you can do that.
I’m really active right now on Instagram, if you want to go follow me and connect with me on Insta, you can just go to Josh hall.co/instagram, which will zip you over there. And then if you want to go to the post, where this podcast is at Josh hall.co/ 195, you can leave a comment. I do read all those and more often than not, I get back to those as well. So I would love to hear your thoughts on free time how you’ve implemented it, and how this episode helps you out as well. So without further ado, here is Jenny Blake, author of free time, lose the busy work. Love your business. Be sure to go check her out after this episode at it’s free. time.com. And if you ever get in touch with her, just tell her Josh sent Ya, but for now, here’s Jenny. Let’s talk free time.
Jenny, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for taking some time to chat and I’m so pumped to chat with you for a little while here.
Likewise, thank you Josh. You have such explosive energy. I love it.
Explosive energy. I’ve never heard that before. But I’ll take it. I have learned to get a little more energetic with podcasts interviews, because I feel like no one wants to listen to a boring conversation.
Yeah. Yeah, like a classic almost radio. DJ. It’s awesome. It’s really refreshing. I don’t read explosive in a bad way. I mean, like, Yes, I feel like I just had a cup of coffee. This is awesome.
Oh, that’s so cool to hear. Well, what a segue to this topic of a very, very energetic idea for me, which is free time. I’m so excited to pick your brain about this idea of free time. You have a new book called Free Time. Lose the busy work, love your business, count me in. I’m so excited. I have not had a chance to read it yet. My family and I are actually at the time of recording this just a week out from moving into a new home. So this is the last call I’m doing for a couple of weeks a little chaotic. But once we get all settled in this is the top of my reading list. Because I love this idea. We all struggle with it as entrepreneurs. Before we dive in Jenny, I would love to know when somebody asks you what you do. Before we get into this topic of free time. What do you tell them? Just the average person? What do you tell them what you do?
I love that you’re asking this? I want to know your answer to I used to say author, just because everything in my life and business always stems from my books. Free time is my third book. Now though now I say I’m an author and podcaster because podcasting, as you probably know, takes so much more of my time in a day to day or week by week. It’s something that I really love and it’s something that I increasingly have noticed I want to double down on even though it’s the least direct line profitable part of my business. I have aspirations to get my two shows to sustain themselves and I don’t know I feel like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, where it’s like, oh, it’s nearly impossible to earn a living off your podcast. So you’re saying there’s a chance?
So are you saying there’s a chance.
Exactlly, so now I just say author and podcaster of pivot and free time it technically I have a third book life after college, but it doesn’t have a whole universe around it the way that pivot and free time do.
Yeah, and your podcast is free time as well. Right? And one of your podcast
Exactly Pivot with Jenny Blake, free time with Jenny Blake. And the thing is, I do a lot more I licensed IP to companies like Google, I do keynote speaking, I run a private community for heart based business owners. But I feel like none of that would be happening if it wasn’t for the book and other podcasts.
Yeah. And, you know, you asked me what I say or my answer that question, it is really tough. It’s one reason I asked on this podcast, because I’m so curious about what people say when they say, What do you do? Because we all do, generally, so many different things. For me, I’ve learned it depends on the room I’m in. So if I’m talking with my family, who doesn’t even quite know what a website is, I’ll say I do online business. And sometimes I get a weird look, sometimes I like okay, that’s, that’s all I need to know. Let me move on. But if I’m talking with somebody who’s a little more in the know of like web design, then I can say like, Well, I’m a coach, I actually coach people how to build their web design business. I tend to say, like podcasts, or YouTube or one layer back, but maybe I’ll start shifting that around. You’ve encouraged me to maybe say podcaster first.
And then there are those people that say, Oh, you got to give your your sizzle, like your elevator pitch. So what do you do? I help people free their time. But that just sounds so lofty to me. I never Yeah, I know. That’s not really what they’re asking. Like, and I don’t know, it seems like some people have great success. And it’s like, what do you do? I help people present their best selves online. Okay, what do you really do? Oh, yeah, I’m a web does that developer or web designer, you know? And then there’s also the answer to that, if I’m not in the mood to talk. So recently, I said, Oh, I do corporate training stuff. And that was like, put them right to sleep. And
I got him out of there. That’ll clear the room. Well, so where did this idea start for you, Jamie? I don’t know. I mean, I’ve been more recently exposed to your stuff I actually heard you on my friend and colleague Pat Flynn’s podcast and I loved your interview. And I had heard your name previously. But where did this start for you? Can you just give us a snapshot of maybe your your backstory and what led you to this idea of free time being so important?
Well, that is very auspicious. Because the last time I was on Pats show, I now have a BFF, Leanne Hughes, who’s one of the founding members of the private community, she and I are in close contact with Voxer all the time. And that was thanks to Pat Flynn. So I’m really happy to know that you, you heard that interview. I love that and I love what he’s doing.
Free time for me, I mean, there’s so many factors that converged all at the same time. It really started because the person who had been the right hand and my business for five years, I got so lucky, I met her while she was still a junior in college, taught her everything helped her build out this book of business, and she didn’t even need to get a job. And when she was finally ready to move on, and she was just moving up in the world is now the co founder of her own branding agency. I needed to bring someone new in and I started getting everything out of my head like what do I want to teach this person about how we operate and I created a Google Doc, I thought it would just be a one pager, JB e operating principles.
Slowly but surely just creating the shell this document, I started adding more and more, I’d be showering, I’d be walking, I’d be on the subway and I would keep thinking more ways of how do I do business? How do I want other people on my team to think about the work and tackle the work and think about our time became seven or eight pages. Then I turned it into a one hour workshop for my private community. Then I created a mini course free up founder time. And a year later, I realized I finally got the courage basically to think to raise my hand and say, Yes, I have something to say about business, operational efficiency systems and time. And it’s kind of intimidating because time itself, who the heck am I that think I have anything to say on this topic that all the best thinkers have wrap their mind around.
But I did see a gap that a lot of business books are really boring. So I kind of wanted to democratize systems thinking and principles of agile development, which a lot of your community are probably familiar with just from being in the back end of web design and development. I think coding is so rewarding because you’re problem solving, and you’re trying to build things to be beautiful and efficient and communicate clearly. And ultimately, I wrote the book because I think that our time is so precious and I hate seeing especially fellow business owners mired in minutia. Who none of us want that.
Well, you hit an interesting point. there with the rewarding aspect of being a web designer. The challenge though, with my niche, and everyone listening primarily is most of us are kind of web printers. So we most of us here listening started out as web designers coding and designing, then we realized, like myself, Oh, I’m suddenly a freelancer. And now I have a business on my hands. And then we try to run the business and do the work. And then the idea of free time is like, Oh, that was when you were like, 12, right? Because I’m a business owner now.
This is why I’m so excited about diving into how to get this back. Because that’s the problem as entrepreneurs that we all face. And I think I found that it wasn’t intentional, it just kind of happened. And I’ve always been big on work life balance, and I’m a family man. Now I have a wife and two daughters a son on the way. So like, I’ve learned to get my time back. And I’m a very, you talked about, I think, on pots, Pat’s podcast, about having like a 20 to 25 30 hour approach. And I think that’s plenty as well. But if you don’t intentionally set that out, it’s it can just run your life, right? Like, it’s so hard to just turn it off.
I think it was in E-Myth Revisited but or somebody said it where you quit your job, and you don’t want to have one boss. So now you have 10 bosses, and those are your clients. client work, especially web design can be so detail oriented, labor intensive, there’s a lot of heavy customer service involved, because you’re dealing with somebody’s baby, like their online baby business, baby. And I know I married a designer, he doesn’t do that anymore. But I know how much work and let’s just say sweat equity goes into this type of service based business, what you’re describing, and I do think if you have kids, you’ve already gotten a blackbelts and time and energy management.
What I would say is that, if you love I really, to me free time, it’s not just about working less and then having all this time for leisure, it’s about how do we figure out the things that we actually enjoy that energizes that we’re uniquely good at. And then design smarter systems and automation and a tiny bit of team support? Not I don’t even I’m not someone who even wants a big team so that we can drop everything else that’s been my obsession is how do I get out of the way of being the bottleneck in my business? Because when I had a purely service based business, it terrified me that if I got sick, or I wanted a break, my creative process, sometimes I want months off to not interact with anybody, no clients, nobody, the whole business would grind to a halt.
So part of systems thinking is also how do you design some of your systems and some of your revenue streams to scale just a little bit or have subcontractors under you, people you trust referral partners? There are lots of ways to do this, where the pressure is not all on you all the time. 24/7 with no relief? That’s where the systems and that delightfully tiny team come in.
That’s such a great place to start. Which sidenote was systems thinking like the first title of the book, like draft version one because I could totally see that being a title of a book, but it sounds like a boring book. So I imagined free times like the the antithesis of systems thinking.
I know it’s funny, you mentioned that because I don’t know if it ever made it into the title. But as I was pivoting, you know, My Pivot came out in 2016. And as I was thinking, Well, what’s next for me? Because it’s the one thing I could guarantee was that I’ll be pivotal in my whole life, we all will be, I realized, like, I am obsessed with systems and software. It’s the thing that I’m always tinkering with. In my business. I actually don’t do coaching at all anymore, because I like being in the back end of everything. And so to answer your question, yes, I’m like, if I start talking about systems, people are going to fall asleep.
So why am I obsessed with smarter systems and operational efficiency? What Why do I love that stuff? Because it can create free time. And that free time becomes a skill, it becomes a verb, it’s an ongoing, we can always be getting better at freeing our time again, as a verb as a skill as a practice as a continual process. And that is so rewarding. Because the most rewarding thing is when you learn to think this way, you can take small steps today that will free your time, infinitely into the future. And that is what I’m obsessed with.
Yes. And can I just tell you personally, I love that the cover of your book doesn’t have like a Mai Tai on a beach kind of vibe. Clock because yes, it’s a celebration that you got confetti, for. Everyone wants him. It’s intentional. It’s like it is a celebration. And I encourage my students who are getting time back in their business to do whatever they want to do, whether it’s for personal or reinvest in the business or just enjoy life do what they want to do. That is something to celebrate. But to get there, we got to kind of cover a few steps and I’m sure we’re not going to go through the whole book, but I I think you’ve kind of already alluded to the best least to start in my mind, which would be would would you back me up and saying, you have to figure out what you’re doing in your business? And what you want to do? Is that kind of a good starting place for most people?
Yeah, the the first thing actually, I recommend the diagnostic is where are you in friction? Where are you in flow? Because sometimes we as the same goes, cannot read the label from inside the jar. Sometimes it’s hard to just straight away say, what are my unique talents and gifts to the world? It’s hard to answer that. So instead of you look for friction areas, what is causing the most friction for you right now in life and work sometimes it’s in life in running your household.
Friction is where you dread something you’re procrastinating. Something is draining you it’s dragging you down, it’s pulling your focus, your energy, your attention, it’s making you anxious, we know what friction feels like, you all know the feeling when you have a client that is joyful, useful, delightful and flowing. And we know and you have those nightmare clients that are full of friction, nothing’s ever, right. They don’t even pay on time. And the whole thing is they make a to z.
They make you sigh when they call, it’s like oh my god, yeah, you
Just want to silence their phone, when you see it, where you kind of see that you have a meeting with them and your stomach drops compared to the clients where you just actually can’t wait to get on the phone, because they’re so joyful. So first step is notice where you’re experiencing the most friction. And that’s one of the biggest opportunities, you have to apply the free time framework. So that’s the three step process to free your time in that area. Aligned design assign.
And I love that too. That’s a great challenge. I think for everyone listening is maybe like over the course of a week, just write out the tasks that are friction and write the ones that are flow, yes, then we can go from there. So I guess I didn’t really intentionally mean to take us down the exact framework. But yeah. Are you cool with diving into that? Like what’s in the three steps? And well, so once I guess the question would be once we figure that out, then what’s the next best step? Is it a hiring? Is it delegating?
You mentioned that sometimes it’s hard to know your superpowers, especially if you’re early on, like I’m still learning like I didn’t know I was going to enjoy and I think do an okay job at interviews and podcasts. But I love it. This is like my favorite thing to do. It’s probably pretty obvious. But I didn’t know that early on. So yeah, how do we start to kind of then know what we’re good at and what to do next.
It would be a pitfall to jump to hiring right away, because this area has friction for a reason. And if it were easy to solve, you all would have solved it by now. I love your idea Josh and I do to talk about this in the book, I even have a template for it in the toolkit, we can put that in the show notes that you should track it’s a great idea to track for two weeks, even even if you do analog style with a pen and paper by your desk. Just every time you notice things big or small that are friction, lukewarm. I love that you have your notebook. Yeah. And because it’s hard, even in the moment like this fast everybody listening. Okay, stop. And what are all the friction points your business?
I’m sure you’re gonna rattle off a couple, but you might not get everything. So yes. Do that exercise that Josh suggested. The first step is align. Should you be doing this at all? does it align with your energy, your strengths and your values? Josh, with your example of podcasting, you didn’t know you’re running an experiment. In the Allied stage, you can go Oh, yeah, this gives me so much energy. It aligns with who I am. I love making connections this way. You clearly have strengths and gifts in this area. The gift of connecting your voice alone is a gift and your values. This is building community and building thought leadership and building relationships.
So you could certifiably say this is aligned. We already knew that because this is not a friction area for you. It’s a joy area. For someone else they might need to think about. Okay, we can even look at your client roster and say, which ones are their friction around? And are they even align at all? Is it worth saving that business? Or do you actually want to re align how you talk about what you do so that you dissuade the wrong types of clients. When I used to run my community, the private community it used to be for side hustlers and solopreneurs.
Over time, I started to be much more forward about heart based business. And I read in a book that the right type of copywriting should disgust people. Some people that’s scary. That’s hard for me because I’m a people pleaser, I don’t really want to turn anyone off or disgust them. But I’m sure someone could get to my page and just say, heart based business, give me a freaking break like business is about metrics and the bottom line and then you can do good and ease and joy Get over yourself. It’s about hard work and hustle, you know, so I just imagined those type of people and I thought to myself, do I care if they’re turned off? No. Yeah, good riddance.
And when I did this, when I changed the language on my site to be about generosity, heart based business, etc. I started attracting the coolest people by You can use it, it only got better. I also raise the prices, I think a lot of business owners charge too low. When I raise the price is actually more serious people showed up. People who are more committed who are more generous, who were more active, more present. So it’s often counterintuitive, this align stage of taking certain steps to realign. They seem scary in the moment, but they actually really serve you and the business best
Oh, my gosh, I’m starting to take notes. First off, I love that you said dissuade instead of because I always call it weed out. But it works. It’s what I do with clients, I would weed them out. But it does kind of have a negative connotation to it. I love the idea of like, the opposite of persuading, like I’m persuading you not to go with me this is these are my values. This is the kind of business I runs kind of clients I take care of. These are our price points start at totally agree, raise your rates, everybody we say it usually every week on the podcast, raise your rates.
But the other big thing here, my gosh, messaging and copy that is so so crucial nowadays, especially I think in the world where everyone’s online like you got, we all know you have a few seconds to grab somebody’s attention, you’ll also have that few seconds to dissuade people who are not right. So I love that you talked about that Jenny. And the results that you got from just making those subtle tweaks. And I’m sure it wasn’t a massive website redesign perhaps was probably just some copy differences and stuff I would imagine that made the big difference. I know it’s funny with my podcast here, I’m actually just about to rebrand it.
So by the time your episode comes out, I might have already rebranded it, but it’s going to be the Web Design Business Podcast with Josh Hall just to really clarify what we’re doing here. But the tagline will stay the same. And that is the result of getting freedom and a lifestyle you love. When I added those two words, well, whatever the those two phrases in the description, it really changed my brand. I’m getting people who want freedom, which I think was why everyone’s gonna be buying your book free time, because it aligns perfectly with what we’re all about. And then also a lifestyle you love. Like the cool thing about web design in particular is you can work when wherever you want with awesome clients, as long as you dissuade them. And then you can have that time to go to the next step. So a lot of great points there in that first alignment.
It’s not that money in time needs to be mutually exclusive. I’m all about envisioning how we can be abundant in both. But by emphasizing freedom in your tagline. You’re not just going to get people who have become angry if you don’t teach them how to have a seven figure web design business overnight. That actually you’re going to teach people how to experience freedom and the lifestyle that they want while earning abundantly. But don’t get it twisted, like you’re not here to just learn about how to make money at all costs at the expense of your health and time with your family.
You know what I found though, this is interesting, I love that you said the six or seven figure range like the reason I don’t specifically in most cases say I’ll teach you how to build a seven figure businesses because one idle, I didn’t do that I built a six figure business. So the most I can teach on is that, but also the people who tend to want free time, are generally already building that type of business. And now they’re trying to get their time back. So I think in a way of like positioning, in our case is freedom. And free time as a, you know, a value add that’s like attracting the people who are generally already making a certain amount of money or maybe in the six figure range and they want to get it back. Have you found Have you found that as well just would that?
I just never it. I say in the book, how we bake is as important as what we make. And so I really feel strongly about the process being joyful and delightful as much as possible knowing that business has so many challenges that are inherently built in. But I don’t believe in burning myself out or burning things to the ground just so that in five years, I have a business and then I free my time. I only want to get to seven figures because I’m not there either. I only want to get there if I meant to get there if it’s even if for the highest good of all involved, that I get there in a way that’s easeful and joyful. I don’t I don’t plan to just strive for that kind of deadline. Because I know I’ve talked to too many people who say it’s not about the money and you’ll get there and be just as miserable if you haven’t changed your habits.
And your Oh, yes, yes. And we all know the stories of people who get to seven figures and beyond. But suddenly they don’t have relationships with their kids and they’re divorced and
Regret and your Yeah, yeah.
And you’re just unhappy and unhealthy. All the things Yeah.
Jim Carrey I love that. He said I wish everybody could get everything they’ve ever wanted so that they realized it’s not it. It’s not where happiness comes from. I’m quoting Jim Carrey a lot today.
I you know what? I want to watch Dumb and Dumber tonight. No, this is getting you pumped up. So that that’s awesome. Great tips for aligning. Let’s glance me be the second phase. So we’re aligned with you know what we do our copies better, we’re attracting the right customers. But then comes the next challenge designing. Alright, let’s hit it.
I want to also give you a practical examples. So when we talk about the intake process for new clients, we found that with I don’t do one on one coaching anymore, but I have a coaching team for pivot and for free time. And we were noticing a lot of tire kickers people were getting that my team that no one works for me full time they run their own businesses, but they’re essentially subcontractors. But they were getting a lot of tire kickers like a lot of inter calls from people who would never have the budget to invest. So now in the interest form, if you want to do one on one coaching, you submitted interest form.
The last question asks, Are you prepared to invest 997 a month for coaching? Somewhere there abouts? And if they say yes, then they get to the next page of the survey, we use type form where they could schedule a 30 minute intro call with a coach. If they say no, we recommend either the group career Pathfinder program that’s for the pivot side or BFF, the private community for business owners on the free time side. So we’re already saving time in a way from people who may need to filter themselves out not just with the language of their psychographics. But like, what investment they’re willing to make, because we don’t want there to be surprises, either. And so something awful, yeah,
I love that too. For web design, instead of asking my client, what’s your budget? Say? Are you willing to see us this much, and it’s very intentional invest in.
Our packages are can range from X to Y. Are you prepared? But is this Are we in the same ballpark to even get on the phone? Because some people we know, they’re Oh, their idea of web design is like hiring on 99 designs. And then for other people, they’ll spend six figures on a website for their business. So that design is about being really intentional. Once you’re you’ve aligned or realigned design is about your ideal outcomes, impact and process before you ever delegate the work, or even design the systems around it. What is the ideal outcome of this business area or this project? What impact do you want it to have on your target audience or the whoever is going to be experiencing it? And then process is being really intentional about designing how the workflows for optimal ease joy and efficiency, then that they’re in stages assigned where you try to get as much as you can off your plate?
Okay, that’s great. I look, I don’t think we need to talk too much more about design because you nailed it, Jenny, I all those things are key. And I’ve, we’ve talked a lot recently about some of my processes with onboarding. And more recently, we had a whole episode dedicated to web design, onboarding, that really is in alignment with this, which is basically, once you dissuade people like to funnel them somehow to make sure if we’re even going to take time to chat that you are, you know, a qualified lead versus somebody questionable like that tire kickers, let’s just, we probably are just not a good fit. So let’s just not even get on a call.
That was a killer for time for me early on. As a web designer, I was doing so many calls with people and I didn’t really understand my value. And then they were wanting a $250 website. And I just was like, Oh, it wasn’t wasn’t a good fit. And now we just wasted an hour and a half. And I gave you a bunch of free strategy and design tips and see you later. So a lot of that is crucial. And design. I love that. I have some other questions in and around this. But let’s let’s take let’s go to number three, and then maybe we can kind of go back around. So yeah,
Yeah, like is assign is on purpose, because a lot of business owners resist assigning. And so this is on purpose, that it’s part of the framework, it’s not an afterthought. How can you double how much you delegate, who will do what by when those are the three parts of assign, and I really encourage everybody to get creative. It doesn’t matter if you’re delegating stuff about running your household. It doesn’t matter. Maybe you’re delegating somebody who sends all the communications with your clients, like the invoices, scheduling, where you are in the process, but then you focus solely on the design elements.
You don’t have to do as much as you think you do. And in contrast to thinking that oh, your clients will be so disappointed if you have an assistant helping you schedule or send invoices or anything at all. It actually conveys more professionalism, they feel more taken care of. And that way it’s not not all on you to be the creative and as Gino Wickman calls it the integrator the one keeping the trains running on time, it’s hard to do everything and do it well. So I would really this is where assign get creative. How much can you possibly get off your plate so that you can do more and more and more of your best work.
And I think going through that like friction or flow list would help with this because you can decide what tasks do you want to do and what do you not want to do and I actually we talked about Pat Flynn earlier. So he’s a mentor of mine. I’ve had him on this podcast I’ve been on his and he was a key helper and me with getting podcast editing off of my plate. And it’s not because I was it was a friction item for me it didn’t it wasn’t a time perspective, because podcast editing is we’re doing video too. It’s It’s time consuming, but I liked it.
And he didn’t tell me like do you have to stop editing, but I just listened to him talk about his experience with getting his time back by hiring our editing. And that’s what hit me realize, it made me realize, this is one thing that even though I enjoy doing it, it’s not serving my audience, I can find somebody who can do it better. And I can hire this off and that as soon as I did, suddenly, my show really started to go to the next level. Because I could focus on talking and asking better questions and just honestly being more like energetic during calls, instead of being like, Oh, I gotta get this call wrapped up, I got a bunch of other stuff to do. So have you seen that too, like sometimes even though you enjoy work, you have to be careful on what you take on what you pass off.
I have the same thing as you I love audio editing, actually, I really enjoy it. It’s soothing. It’s a nice sense of accomplishment. My aha moment around that came when I was spent all day on a Saturday editing a couple episodes. And so I probably put in six hours that day. And I realized shoot like my book is launching in a month and a half. There’s so much of the business back end that I could be building. Right now the products that there’s a free time Operations Dashboard that hadn’t been built yet not to mention half the launch emails that would support the book launch.
So I realized, even though I enjoy this, when I was staying too involved with the editing, that’s all I did all day all week was conducted, prepare for interviews, conduct them, edit, prepare, show notes, and I had assistants along the way. But no one conceptually owned the podcast, it was still I was still the owner in my mind, like I was still the one that if I messed up, the show didn’t go out. Finally, when I hired a team, it was one of the best investments I’ve made. And it was scary for me because it was the most money I had ever paid somebody on a monthly retainer. But now, same as what Pat has talked about his journey, now I really do just show up and do the interview. And I can focus on the rest of my business.
And like you said, I’m more energized during the rest of the week. So even though I enjoy the skill of audio editing and getting better at it, I just I actually wasn’t getting anything else done in my in my business. So it it’s kind of bittersweet, but I will hang on to like notion. I geek out in notion. I love building things. And that is like Legos to me. So I won’t I don’t give that up.
No, I have learned because I’m I come from a graphic design background. And I still do a lot on my website. But I’ve learned that also dip my toe in design. But what I’ve learned to do is I’ll like for example, I just revise some of our social media graphics and templates in the YouTube thumbnails for a lot of stuff. I designed those. But then I make an SOP that Nathan my editor follows and my team can follow to kick those out and do them on the regular. So like, I still get my design needs met. But somebody can do it every week, I don’t have to do it every week. So it’s gonna one thing I learned,
That’s I’m doing an episode on that any day, now it comes out on train the system, then the person. So do one and a half times the work now first, as you get it set up, like you said, redesigning or designing something from scratch, and then create the process around it. And then the system itself gets smarter before you hand it off to the person.
That’s great. And I’ve realized over the years, there’s a term that I don’t think is important enough in business, or at least it’s not talked about enough. And and that is priority. I’ve really learned especially in this business, when it comes to all the different things I can do. I have to look at the priority items. Like I hate to say the typical corporate quarterback, what’s going to move the needle forward. But it’s true. There are certain things that a business just like they are more important tasks for moving the business, it doesn’t mean that some of the other tasks are not important. They’re just, they’re also things that only I could do like in my business right now. Who’s going to interview Jenny Blake? Me, Josh, I’m going to interview you. So this is what I need to focus on. And the editing can be done by somebody else. What are your thoughts on priority? And how old? And does it go back to what we’ve talked about so far with this whole framework? Will that help figuring out what those priority items are?
The framework I love is from Todd Herman. He calls it the entrepreneur scorecard. You look at what are your $10 tasks, $100 tasks, $1,000 tasks and $10,000 tasks. And try every day that the first thing you tackle when you have your best energy is a $10,000 task. So I remember one day I was in a coffee shop and I had a couple of hours to work. I could either answer email, or in that moment I in Canva designed a pivot programs PDF that could be a tool to sell licensing to companies which is a six figure contract. And I feel so happy because I picked a $10,000 task. I got it done in one working session and got it live on my website and it felt so good to do that.
So I I think priority can be kind of ambiguous. And certainly you’ve learned to prioritize the two kids and one on the way. But I like to think about what what is the highest possible ROI, the $10,000 tasks that if I did this one thing, like, I just wrote to the podcast team today, and I said, moving forward, I’d like to make room for six ad spots instead of four. To me, that’s a $10,000 test. Because if my show that audience grows, as I hope to do, and I can increase the ads, like it’s just has an maybe it’s not exponential, but it has a snowball effect that will support everything else. So that’s that’s how I tried to think about what to work on. Like, what are the biggest leverage points, that as you said, if I got this done, and this is where the book, The One Thing is so good to like, what is the one thing that if you tackle it today, it would make the biggest impact on your business? Or would make the biggest impact and getting you out of the way as the bottleneck?
Yeah, ah, gosh, absolute gold, Jenny, I love it. I feel like I’ve just so aligned with you with where we’re at in business and in our lives. And listen, I usually ask, I usually ask them well, I guess where they’re based out of you’re in New York City, because subway, this kind of leads to something I wanted to ask you about. New Yorkers are hard workers. I have family who live in Jersey. So it’s like a whole different type of person. I’m in Columbus, Ohio, right now. So we’re Midwestern, like, we work hard. But we like some time off, we’ll take you know, we chill. And it’s a more moderate approach to life day to day, New York is often very different. Did Have you always lived in New York or here? And the reason I’m asking about this is because of work ethic and hustle, which I want to get into. But yeah, what are
Those Midwestern values, the work ethic is so strong and as are my vibe, I have one great friend who lives in New Jersey. And she’s also an amazing like corporate attorney by day estate sales by weekend. The funny thing about New York, yes, it’s the city that never sleeps. But in order just to live here at all, I find that like, it’s been so important for me these last 11 years to create a really quiet home peaceful home. Not to work too much like the city itself is already so charged and electric, it can be tiring, just to walk the dog, I mean, just to just to take little rider out for a walk is means having 10 conversations, possibly, and walking over some crazy stuff in the street and having some wild interactions.
And it’s like, it is not calming the way that my friend, she would say, Gosh, I take my dog for a walk, and we don’t see a single person. And it’s peaceful and I connect to nature. So I have not, I actually find that I personally have developed a lot more spaciousness in order to live in New York. But I love being in New York, because I love the collision of people and ideas. And you just get smashed into the subway cars with everybody. And I just love who you can bump into walking down the street. And conferences, restaurants, culture, like I just thrive with.
That’s awesome. I guess I should say to to clarify my statement. I you know, being in Columbus, it’s Midwestern. Yes, we do work very hard. But we we turn it off at night. And I think when you’re in the city that never sleeps. I think that probably breeds in this idea of just you work just nonstop
Like my grandma. I think if you come visit New York, a lot of people get exhausted just coming for a week because you’re like out all day, you’re walking 10,000 miles a day, you’re trying to get in all the stuff. But then living here, it’s it. There’s ways to make it more sustained.
I could see that. My wife and I visited our my family out in in Jersey, and then we went into the city for a day and my hips have never hurt so bad. I had no money back then. So we didn’t take a cab. We just walked everywhere. Same thing, though. It was awesome. But it was definitely exhausting. So it makes sense as a visitor to be like that. But this does lead to this idea of like hustle and hard work. I’m all about hard work. I have some different thoughts about hustle. What are your thoughts on hustle culture? And have you seen a change in the landscape with how that how hustle was viewed in entrepreneurship.
I’ve been rejecting hustle culture for 11 years. That’s as long as I’ve been in business. I worked at Google, I worked at a startup before that I burned out so many times just again, it’s no one’s fault that those companies like no one usually usually there’s not some evil overlord who says like, Let’s burn everybody out to the ground. But the pace is just so fast. And again, like, I think a 40 or 50 Hour Work Week is pretty grueling on our bodies, and especially if that’s five days a week, so no, I’m long Passholder has no culture it just simply doesn’t work for me. I actually will get sick. I hate the phrase. I’ll sleep But I’m dead. That’s so stupid like I sorry,
You’ll die a lot sooner
I don’t like to call anybody’s stupid. I just mean that list. I think there’s like 5% Studies show that of people who actually need less than eight hours of sleep. And that small 5% I think my mom might be one of them. And I met someone at a party the other day who said she works 12 hour days. And he said, Listen, are you one of those people that actually feels energized after just four or five hours sleep? And she goes, Yeah, that’s me. I have so much energy. I don’t know what to do with it. And so
Me either. I need I need eight solid hours, sometimes nine, I never got nine. But that’s what it would be amazing. And if I don’t get that I’m cranky. I’m not as creative. I forget my words, I don’t do anywhere near my best work. So I think if you’re a business owner, your body is your business. Your body is your best vehicle. We’re we all should pretend we’re driving Maseratis around here. Because that is our moneymaker is our health and our ability to think strategically and creatively.
That’s a great point, I think that’s often overlooked with the idea of working hard and hustling is that you can only do that so long before burning on everyone is gonna burn out. If you’re hustling nonstop, it is just a matter of time. Some people can tend to go a little longer than others. But I’ve found in different industries that I was a part of, like, I had a friend, I used to be a cabinet maker for a tour, bus customizing shop. And I had this friend who worked all day, and then worked at night, and then worked all day and then worked at night, and then worked on the weekends. And I’m like, how I felt like a lazy piece of crap.
Because I was not working literally 24/7. But then it dawned on me years later, like, how long can he do this? He might die at 40. Also smoking 8 packs a day, like he might literally die at 40. So that that term like I’ll sleep when I’m dead, I’ve always felt like yeah, you’re gonna die pretty quick. If you kill yourself hustling so much. So
Right, or you won’t have relationships, you won’t have other things that are energizing, rewarding. I also, when you’re a business owner, What’s hard is to work less. It’s easy to just put in brute strength and sweat equity, it’s actually harder to work less to have the time that you spend at your desk or at your laptop. That’s harder. So I guess my how I even define hard work. I don’t believe in hard work for the sake of it. Even if you’re a business owner, I want my work to feel easeful, joyful, flowing fun. And if it’s not, there’s something wrong, and I look to fix it.
I love it. Yeah, I think being intentional, too, about hard work. And because, look, there are seasons, like I’m sure when you’re writing the book and the book launch, I would imagine that was a season of maybe either a little more work than usual or some hardware. But for me, I’ve learned it’s not ongoing. Like if I do a course or a big thing I I let my family and I let my wife know, I’m hustling a little bit right now. This is you know, it’s it’s hard work time, or a little more work than usual. But a few weeks after that is very different. Normal, slower pace. What are your thoughts on hustling in spurts? Like, oh, yeah, and to your question, like, do you still hustle for a short amount of times, but then cut it off if you learn to just, you know, cut that off?
Yeah, I think it’s true, because I did an episode on this too, where it’s like, it says, if you’re running a marathon, I’ve only run one marathon in my life, like probably slower than a grandma can run it. But I ran I ran, I didn’t walk any there are moments where you hit the wall and you’re exhausted and but you see the finish line and you just know it’s gonna be worth it. And even you get to the final mile, and you want to like sprint through the finish. And I did feel that with this, even though it was my third book launch. I always try not to complain, and I try not to burn out.
But you’re right, the nature of the beast sometimes is you also want to sprint through the finish. And like, I found myself I was tired, I did come down with an ear infection. And I knew that I was like ready to rest soon. But I also wanted to, to get through the stuff that I had and just give it everything I had to get over that finish line and know that I had really given it my best shot. So I’m with you, I do have that relationship to work as well, where, again, I don’t ever want it to be like sort of toxic hard work where I’m just I’m such a martyr like, Oh, I’ve toiled for this book for all of you know, and I will still stretch myself, pass on my edges sometimes just to know that I gave it everything I had.
And I always found as a course creator. I’ve created 10 courses in my span so far. And I’ve realized, oh, looking back, I there was always like a drop off after a launch. Because typically you would think like you’ve done all this work over the, you know, several weeks or a couple of months you launched this course students are coming in, you’re getting paid well. If it goes really well. It’s like this. This would be the moment where you’re like I’m on cloud nine. For me. It was the opposite for me after every Course launch. I was like, Ah, I got nothing. Have you experienced that as well. And maybe that was because of that season of hustle. It’s like and now I’ve learned to plan like the week after a course launch. Let’s chill, you know, maybe a couple calls light schedule, but it’s, you know, easy week.
I’m a big fan of that too. Even knowing a lunch is coming block off two weeks later, right from the get go knowing that your future self is gonna thank you for it. And yes, I call it like the fairy rest monster starts to back in from the couch, like the kind from Monsters Inc, the Big Blue Fairy friendly one. So it’s friendly, but it’s like, you will come to me to the couch. And I like cannot resist, I call it I feel glued to the couch. And that does definitely happen after lunch. Especially for me too. I love doing stuff like this.
I genuinely love it. And I’m super introverted. So most of the time I’m reading and quiet. I’m behind the scenes, even writing the book was super joyful. Because I could just be this hermit is like antisocial hermit. And then the lodge was all this external energy, all this like talking and conversations and events, conferences. And again, all that stuff was really fun. It’s just not my natural default mode. I also found myself at the end of the day is like, okay, now I gotta really recharge.
That’s good to know, I think it’s good to be self aware about that. My wife and I were just talking about this last night because we defer to where people tend to energize me. And she while she loves hosting and doing parties and stuff, it wipes her out. Like if we do a party on a Saturday night, Sunday is nothing and there better be nothing I learned early on do not plan anything after a party night. Because the next day needs to be nothing. She needs that time to re Energize. That’s just the way she’s wired. So I think being self aware about that. But like practically just planning your weeks in your projects. I think it’s really important. And then like we were just talking about when in regards to free time. You have to plan it right. I know, we’re getting close on time here. So we can wrap this up, Jamie, but you have to plan it like this has to be intentional, right? Otherwise, you could work 24/7 on your laptop.
Yeah, definitely. And then I think what are the trade offs you’re willing to make? So I when I’m working on a really big project or a big launch? I’m not the most responsive with the email, let’s say. So I think it’s also just, you don’t have to do everything. And you don’t have to do everything well. So what are the things that you really care about? And then what are the things you’re willing to drop? Or delegate, even if it’s not going to be done perfectly by someone else, that you’re willing to get some help on? For the sake of the bigger picture?
I love that. What’s personally What’s something that you delegated? And I’m just asking you this purely as a like a almost like a little free coaching time with Jenny, what’s something that you delegated? That really just made a difference in your business?
Oh, let’s see in my business, yes, yes, yes. Well, I used to think that I had to be the one to have the exploratory calls with big corporate clients, like whether they wanted me to come in for a keynote speech or even licensing, I thought I should be the one to respond to their email inquiry and set up time with them and talk to them about what I do. And that was the last thing I was willing to give up. Until I realized that I was really conveying that I’m a one woman shop like, and people were negotiating with me in ways that made me uncomfortable and almost angry, like, Who do these people think they are just negotiating every price I would set.
And then I realized, and someone gave me this advice, as well as saying, if you’re the thought leader, it’s really hard to just be this like tough Bulldog negotiator. It’s actually very beneficial to have someone else in between. So now someone on my team is the first person to respond to an inquiry doesn’t matter if it’s coming from Google. She’ll be the one to respond. She’s the one that coordinate scheduling. And in fact, for a lot of keynote speaking, now, I don’t get on the phone until you’ve paid an invoice like, you know, there’s enough of me out there now in the world that I don’t, it’s not like I get on the phone, willy nilly. Sometimes I would have clients that say like, Great, let’s do a weekly sync between now in the event.
So I got really clear that if you hire me for a speaking event, there’s a 30 minute pre event strategy session and a 30 minute post event strategy session that removes any confusion about how many times we’re going to be in for how long and then by the way, because I haven’t gotten on the phone with them. During the let’s call it the sales process. It’s actually really special when we’re on the phone together. We get so much done during that time. They feel special like oh, yes Jenny’s here because I haven’t been so ever present with every other tiny detail throughout the process.
That’s a good point. It makes it look like a rockstar. It’s like I’ve been talking to Jenny’s assistant. Now, Jenny’s here talking.
It just shows that I value my time and that I am actually only showing up once you’re committed.
Oh Your look in web design, this is a massive point that you’re hitting on. And that is you got to set boundaries and communication constraints from the get go otherwise, to no fault of their own clients will dictate it. And they will run the show. Like I learned this early on, I became a essentially a 24/7 support person, for all my clients until I just found myself answering calls all day and I couldn’t get my stuff done. And I couldn’t mark it. I couldn’t go to networking events and stuff. So I learned I had to set those boundaries. And I did tell clients like, here’s the days I do calls, here’s when I do calls, if there’s an emergency, let me know, of course, but I have these time segments, and you can book a call, or they’re going to be much Yeah, and it adds more like, instead of just kind of just chatting for 45 minutes, it’s like we got half an hour, let’s go what do we need to get done? I love that approach.
I even it got to the point when I was doing coaching that I only took calls on Thursdays. And as it currently stands, I have a Do Not schedule recurring block the fourth week of every year, it just is always blocked off do not schedule. So the fourth week of every year, August and mid December to mid January. It’s recurring, so I don’t even have to think about it next year blocking it off. It’s already blocked Mondays and Fridays as well. So the only times that are available are between 11 and three, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but not even Wednesday, because that’s for podcasting. So nice. Yeah, I think it is getting really clear with all that stuff lets people know great. You can just where they slot in No, most people it’s not that urgent that they need the call to be on a Monday true.
So true. And you practice what you preach. It was interesting when I reached out to through your website to your team. First of all, I was a team member who got back with me and set it up. And then I when I went to book through your link, you only had a couple slots available and I believe the next month was like completely clear. So I was like, okay, Jenny isn’t messing around. So he really does not take calls all day Monday through Fridays as he practices what she preaches. So
And we got we had a lot of team turnover, ironically enough during the entire time that the lunch. It was interesting what you just said about scheduling this interview. Because some people there might be a temptation. Well cram as many in as possible right around the book launch. But I knew I was gonna get tired. And then what happens is, I’m not as excited to show up. So I appreciate your patience. And here we are. We’re recording this month and a half after the launch. But there’s part of me that I just kind of remind myself, there’s no rush. Yes, sure. Let’s have some episodes go live right when the book launches, but it’s okay. If not everything is happening at the exact same time and things slowly roll out. It’s always perfect timing.
Here’s my new strategy. I’m gonna just pull the curtain up. I like the idea of like coming in on the second wave for interviews, because you’re not burned out. Like I’m sure you get tired of talking about the same framework over and over and over if you’re doing eight, you know, eight interviews a day, which I’m not sure I’m sure you did that many. But there is that and even though you love the topics, I know this you just get a little tired of talking about the same thing over and over. So I kind of liked this idea. I think we just came up with something here, Jamie, I’m gonna be like the second wave of podcasts interviews. Intentionally. I like that.
I love it. Well, then you have the benefit of asking, What has surprised you about the launch? Why do most podcasters not think to ask you about your book, you can really like work that second wave?
Of interesting questions. Because like, what do people miss that you wish they would ask you about?
Some side hustle I got going on now the second wave podcaster. So yeah, you don’t just screw my free time. I’m gonna start thinking about this. Well, Jamie, this has been awesome. I want to be respectful of your time. This has been a very quick hour.
I agree. Thank you. Again, anytime.
Oh, I would love to do a round two for sure. To wrap this up, where would you like people to go? I mean, obviously, you got the free time book that we’re going to be linked in the show notes, your podcast, is there a certain place that you’d like people to go to connect with you? And
I was gonna say after you’ve actually read the book, we’ll do round two. And you can tell me what I would love. Yeah, I would love to do that. Listeners, you can look for free time with Jenny Blake, wherever you’re listening to this show. And it’s free time.com/toolkit is where you’ll get a bunch of free resources that go with a lot of the concepts we’ve talked about. If you’re interested in the private community that’s at its free time.com/bff
Awesome. Yeah, we’ll have those links, particularly the toolkit. That sounds awesome. Yeah, so we’ll have those links. Jenny, thank you so much for your time. Again, I want to be respectful your time thank you for joining and I’m looking forward to round two.
Thank you so much, Josh. And big thanks, everybody who’s here listening and watching.