Are You Working Your Business Or Is Your Business Working You?


When you went into business you had certain things you envisioned happening. What your business would be, what it would encompass, how you would work your business, and what you wanted your business hours to be. This would be how you would work your business.

Maybe you wanted to only work 25-30 hours a week. Maybe you wanted to just work week days…no nights and no weekends or maybe you would work on weekends because you were still at a job.

Whatever you outlined, THIS was the way you wanted your business to go.

Enter the real world:

Do you find you are not working the way you wanted and it’s gotten out of hand? Maybe now instead of 25-30 hours it’s 40 – 50 hour weeks or even more! Or maybe now you find yourself working nights and weekends. There never seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

In fact, it’s not going like you thought and truth be known, you don’t like how it’ s going.  This wasn’t anything you had in mind for working your own business.

You have found that instead of you working your business, your business is working you!

So what can you do to turn that around?

Before I answer that question, let me ask you something:

  • When you go to the grocery store, if it’s not a 24 hour grocery, you have to go in at the hours they are “open”. Now you can go when they are closed…but you aren’t going to get in the door or do any business. So you make arrangements to go when they are “open”.
  • When you go to the doctor, yes you most likely have an appointment and you need to be there at that time, but….when you made that appointment there were specific times of the day that they were open for appointments to be given. that appointment time is within their hours of operation. Go after hours and you won’t be seen. So you make arrangements to go when they are “open”
  • How about going to a restaurant to eat? You have to be there within the hours they are open. Again, you can go after hours, but you aren’t going to be seen and you aren’t going to eat. So…you make arrangements to go when they are “open”.

Are you getting my message here? These businesses and most all businesses unless they are 24 hour businesses have specific hours you have to work within.

So what can you do to turn this around? You create the specific hours YOU want to work. The people who want to talk with you or work with you will arrange their schedule to work within the hours that you have specified.

For those you are already working with, you will need to do one of two things.  Send out an announcement to everyone stating there are changes coming and detail what they are.

  1.  In renewing their time with you they will need to choose a convenient time for working together.
  2. Some of your existing clients will be open to moving to a new date/time within your new hours of operations.

Possibly offer an incentive, maybe an extra session, to go ahead and change their times now.  The sooner you have everyone on board for the new times, the sooner you will begin having more flexibility with your business.

If your business is the kind of business you have to work nights or weekends and you want to work nights or you want to work weekends or both….that’s fine as long as there are other days or times you aren’t available so there is a balance.

The point is: Don’t let your prospects and clients dictate when you are going to work. This is your business and you run the show. You say what is and what isn’t.

Just with all the businesses mentioned above…you had to go within their hours of operation, if you wanted to do business with them.

The same will apply to your business. You have your hours of operation and they can choose a convenient time within those hours. This will also help weed out those possible clients you don’t want to work with, because you are working your business and not letting them work you!

If you would like to see how you can apply this to your business, I’d love to invite you to schedule a FREE Discovery Strategy Call. Just click the link and follow the prompts. It really is that simple!

About Livvie Matthews

Hi, I’m Livvie Matthews, an online marketing business coach and solutions provider who loves teaching and supporting passion driven, motivated, coaches, consultants, and other small service business professionals 50 and over in the next chapter of their lives, how to create marketing messages for helping their ideal clients recognize themselves and then pre-qualify themselves for taking the next step – working with you. This makes the closing conversations much simpler.

I invite you to schedule a complimentary Visibility Discovery Call to help move YOU forward. Schedule your Free Session today!

When I’m not online, you can find me spending time with my husband. We’re empty nesters, live in Charlotte, NC and have 3 grown daughters, 2 son-in-laws, 2 grand cats and 3 grand dogs.


  1. Eydie

    When I worked my Virtual Assistant/Online Marketing business full time – I found myself working 24/7. I was working in my business and on my business. I felt that I was always on call for my clients. I couldn’t even go grocery shopping without a client calling me and wanting something ASAP. That’s when I decided to change things up. I changed my business hours, and added a disclaimer that I required 24 hours notice on all work to be done. All last minute requests which needed to be done NOW would come at an extra cost. No longer would I work night and weekend. Plus, I deleted some services from my menu. Whew – my life changed!

  2. Karen

    I’ve definitely fallen into the ‘always available’ trap before with my business, but no more! I finally learned that it’s fine to say to a client, “I’m sorry but my schedule is full this week,” and surprisingly, if they’re someone I’ve worked with before, they’re usually happy to wait until next week. And like Eydie, I make it clear that a rush job comes with a rush fee, so on the rare occasions I do end up working outside of normal hours, I’m well compensated for it.

  3. Martha

    My hubby and I owned and operated an interior decorating and drapery workroom and it seemed like we were working 24/7. I loved our work and was hard to call it a job so we just kept agreeing to take on new clients. Last October we closed our retail location after 53 years and now just have the workroom but we have cut way down. It feels good to be able to have breathing room that we never realized we were missing.

    • Wow, Martha! You have really been on both sides of the coin. Congratulations on 53 years in retail and a new chapter now with having more flexibility in your business!! Thank you for sharing and commenting.

  4. Dee Coxon MA MD MCMI

    Hi Livvie, in my previous life I owned hairdressing and beauty salons and as such was at everyone’s beck and call making me classically “cash rich and very time poor”. Roll forward to what I do now and I made sure from day 1 that I would work with clients for 4 days tops giving me 3 free days per week. In the early days even on the weeks with no clients and no income I did not deviate form my 3 days off.

    That said when it comes to behind the scenes work including admin and marketing etc I am not strict at all with my timings so long as it gets done. As a creative I often pull a nightshift. I love the still of the night and get so much done. That might not work for everyone but it works for me and these days like Julia Roberts said in the movie Pretty Woman, ” I say where, I say when and I say how much.” 🙂

    • These are some powerful insights shared, Dee. We absolutely have to make those distinctions and as we draw the line, learn to not cross over. That’s a hard thing to do, but with any habit we form, the more we do it, the more automatic it becomes. I like your work 4 and off 3 schedule too. Having specific client days and specific marketing/business days also helps. That way on client day you stay in “client mode” without other interruptions. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Ilka Flood

    I tried setting regular hours. It’s not easy when you just love what you do. I know there has to be a balance between work and play but I can’t tell the difference. So I just keep going. Like I already said, I tried setting regular hours but if I’m not sticking to it, what’s the point? 🙂

    • Setting regular hours is probably the easy part, sticking to them can be the difficult part, or for me it is, Ilka.

      If you aren’t working to the point of overwhelm and frustration then what you are doing seems to be working for you and that is the desired end result. Wheither working set hours or randomly working as long as it’s working for you and you are not feeling pressured…that’s good. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Carla J Gardiner

    When I first started my auto transport business I was fearful of missing an order, not making enough to replace my paycheck that I had walked away from. Instead, that first year I nearly worked myself to death working 12-16 hour days. Looking back, I did what was necessary; but, it certainly wasn’t sustainable. Now, I have regular office hours and business days of the week.

    • When we first start out, the fear of missing clients or customers is a big concern and is the main reason for overwhelm and frustration. We don’t realize our business works and flows much more smoothly when we establish our hours and our guidelines for how we are going to do business. We may even have to tweak them to get them in place, but once we get them …and we stick to them…it’s well worth it. Congratulations for having your days and hours in place now, Carla!

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