Abbi is a copywriter with 20 years of experience and a freelance writing coach for moms who want to earn great money from home, on their own terms.
Pomodoro – Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that can be used for any task.
The FREE Time Makeover – Ready to find an extra 7 – 10 hours in your week? Check out Abbi’s FREE time makeover!
3 Value Bombs
1) If you really believe in the mission you’re sharing with the world, then you need to realize you can only keep sharing that if you can keep your doors open.
2) The bulk of your time when you’re first getting started should be spent on getting clients.
3) Prioritize. Choose the things that matter most to you.
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**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Build Your Business in SHORT Blocks of Time with Abbi Perets
[01:06] – Abbi shares something about herself that most people don’t know
- Back in the day when she lived in the US she was an extreme coupon-er.
[02:41]- Abbi gives a little teaser about what she’ll be sharing today
- She has two businesses: she’s a freelance writing coach, where she teaches moms how to get started in freelance writing,and she also has clients who she writes email sequences and sales pages for.
- She has managed to build and maintain her business for over twenty years
[03:00] – Is it possible to build a business if you have a family?
- You absolutely can. I have 5 kids – and 1 has special needs – but I still find time to build, manage, and maintain my business.
[05:13] – Do you have any aspirations of retiring your husband?
- My husband has a job that he loves and it makes him very happy, and he is really good at it.
[07:00] – How do you break down big tasks in order to make them more manageable?
- I start by thinking about what can I do in 25 minutes. 25 minutes is a great block of time because I personally like to work with Pomodoro, where you’re working for 25 minutes of focus, and then you’re taking a 5 minute break.
- For each task on my list, I assign either one, two, or three 25 minute blocks of time, and if something’s going to take me longer than three 25 minutes blocks, then that’s how I know I need to break it down even more.
- It’s really about looking at that giant thing and thinking, “what can I do in a 25 minute block of time? Two 25 minute blocks of time? …and this is going to give me flexibility while building our my schedule?”
[12:26] – How do you judge, or estimate correctly, how long a task is going to take?
- You start by thinking about the things that you’ve done before that were similar, and how long those things have taken you.
[15:21] – How do you know when you’re focusing on the right thing, how do you break that down?
- You want to be focusing on things that are actually bringing in money – those revenue generating activities. So if you’re spending all of your time on things like making branding boards, then that’s probably not where you want to be focusing. That’s not going to be bringing you money.
- You want to focus on specific activities that you can directly tie back to bringing in money to your business. Ask yourself, “how will this get me in front of the right people? How will this help me to grow to where I want my business to be?”
[21:06] – What do you recommend someone focus the bulk of their time on who are just getting started?
- I absolutely believe that the bulk of your time in the beginning should be on getting clients.
- The very first thing is what do you offer, and who is it for?… and second, if you’re clear on that you need to start hanging out with people you can offer your services to.
[23:15] – Does work-life balance even exist when you’re building a business?
- It absolutely does. My family is Orthodox Jewish, and every single week they disconnect for 25 hours. Since it’s a non-negotiable thing, it makes other things negotiable.
- Prioritize. Choose the things that matter most to you.
[26:51] – What can you automate in a service-based business?
- With a service-based business you have to become intimately familiar with the service you’re offering – you have to figure out your processes, then delegate parts of the whole
[29:41] – How do you get people to open your emails?
- I look at email as an incredibly intimate relationship
- Treat email with intimacy, treat it with genuine care and love, and that will make a huge difference.
[34:05] – Parting piece of guidance
- You own your time and you get to decide what you spend it on. If you keep that at the forefront of your mind, then you’re going to be doing the things that you want to do.
- The FREE Time Makeover – Ready to find an extra 7 – 10 hours in your week? Check out Abbi’s FREE time makeover!
John Lee Dumas: What shaking, Fire Nation? JLD here with an audio masterclass you are going to want to dedicate some bandwidth and energy to because I am bringing Abbi Perets on the mic to talk about building your business in short blocks of time. Because not all of us have long blocks of time. In fact, most of us do not. So, we'll be talking about how to break down big tasks, how to know if you're focusing on the right things, does work-life balance even exist, and how do you get people to open your emails these days, and so much more.
And, who's Abbi? Well, she's a copywriter with 20 years of experience and is a freelance writing coach for moms who want to earn great money from home on their own terms. We're gonna dive in with Abbi when we get back from thanking our sponsor.
Abbi, say what's up to Fire Nation, and share something interesting about yourself that most people don't know.
Abbi Perets: Hey, everybody. It's, first of all, super great to be here. Very exciting. And, I had to think a lot about what's something that people don't know about me because if you know me at all, you know that I am a chronic over-sharer. I talk all the time about my kid with special needs, about the fact that I live in Israel, and all these like random weird things.
But then, I thought about it, and I thought – Okay, back in the day, when I lived in the US, I was an extreme couponer, you could say. I spent a lot of time every week planning out my shopping trips. Family of 7, so you gotta save somewhere. And, I was really really good at bringing home a full cart of groceries for like 50 bucks.
And then, we moved to Israel, and Israel doesn't do coupons. So, not only did I give up the couponing, but I went to the absolute other extreme. And, I decided I no longer look at prices in the grocery store. I figured we gotta eat, and I'm gonna buy what I want, and I'm gonna work hard to make good money so that I don't have to think about it anymore. So, there you go.
Love it all. I've, actually, personally, never been a couponer myself, but I've always admired those that are before me, taking your coupons out and just spreading them out on that counter and taking all the time. So, my ice cream's melting right next. Oh, it's just an amazing experience.
John Lee Dumas: But, Fire Nation, why are you here today? You're here because you want to build your business in short blocks of time. This is what Abbi's gonna breakdown for us. As she mentioned, she has a lot going on in her world. So, Abbi, give us a little teaser of a few things we're gonna chat about today.
Abbi Perets: Yeah, I'm gonna show you exactly how to figure out what you need to be focusing on, and how you're gonna break it down into these small blocks of time so that you can get the work done in the time that you have available to you, and build a business that works for you and your family and your situation.
John Lee Dumas: Abbi, a lot of our listeners, they have kids. They have full-time jobs. They have a lot going on in their lives. Sometimes, all 3 of those things. I mean, is it even possible to build a business if you're in that situation? Can one do that?
Abbi Perets: Definitely, absolutely can. So, I can tell you a tiny bit more about me and about some of the women who I work with, who are all moms. And then, we'll see how this applies very generally.
So, I have five kids. Like I mentioned, one of them has significant special needs. I have a different kid who has one ear. He was born with one ear and, in our family, that's not even considered special needs, to give you a little perspective.
So, we're busy here. I have a husband who travels 175 days a year.
John Lee Dumas: Woah.
Abbi Perets: Yeah. And so, I'm on my own with these kids a lot of the time. And, I have two businesses. I have Successful Freelance Mom where I teach moms how to get started in freelance writing. And then, I have the client side of my business where I write email sequences and sales pages for online entrepreneurs. So, there's a lot going on here, and I've managed to build and maintain businesses over 20 years.
And, the moms I work with often have jobs outside of the home and then come home and do that second shift that parents have to put in because the kids don't really care that you've just spent you know eight, nine, ten hours somewhere else. They're like, "Great. Now, we'd like attention and food and clean clothing," and, "Oh yeah, do all these things for us," and whatever. You can. It becomes about prioritizing what you want to do. It becomes about thinking and being very intentional with your time. And, it's really learning where you're spending your time so that you can then be more intentional about it.
So, it always starts with really tracking your time and seeing how you're spending your time in a given week. And, it also becomes thinking about your week differently. Thinking about your time differently rather. Thinking about your time over the course of an entire week, 168 hours. Because if I tell you to find two hours today to do something, it might be hard for you. But, if I tell you, "All right, find me 2 hours over the course of this week," and you've put all 168 hours into play, now, you can find that two hours even if you have to carve it out in smaller blocks of time.
John Lee Dumas: I'm not gonna lie, 175 travel days a year are just a lot of travel days. Do you have any aspirations of retiring your husband, having him, maybe, come in and just be support staff, answering emails for you, doing the things? I mean, is that even a goal, or is that just not something that's even on the table?
Abbi Perets: Not really. My husband has a job that he loves, and it makes him very happy, and he's really good at it. And, I actually reap the benefits of his travel. I have to say, too, my kids are now ages nine through 19. So, things are a lot easier for me now than they were when my kids were younger. And, he did not travel nearly as much when our kids were younger.
So, these days, I reap the benefits of it because he has massive frequent flier miles, massive hotel points. So, whenever I want to go anywhere – you know, we go to Thailand, we go to Beijing, whatever. We fly business class, and we stay in amazing hotels, and we get to do great things. And, I'm totally cool with taking advantage of that.
And, I gotta say too, I'm married for 22 years. There's something to be said for having like – I get full control of the Netflix when he's not here.
John Lee Dumas: Pros and cons. Definite pros and cons. And, I hear you about the travel points. I've never been one that's been able to really travel enough to take advantage of those things.
But, a past guest of mine, Dan Clark, who rocked the mic, just a great dude. This guy is an ex-NFL first-round draft pick. This guy has been up in space. He got a standing ovation by Ronald Reagan at the White House. He's done so many things. And, he was just like, "John, I'm flying to Puerto Rico tomorrow just because I need 7001 miles to become Diamond Medallion status." So, he just came for two days, hung out with me in my place, and he flew back to Utah, and that was it. And, now he's Diamond Medallion for all of 2019, and that's important to him, and he made it happen.
So, anyways, Abbi, one thing I know for sure with Fire Nation, and happens to myself too, when I have really big tasks, these huge tasks that I'm just like, "This is so overwhelming. Where do I even start?" How do you break down these big tasks?
Abbi Perets: Yeah, I'm all about breaking down tasks because, like you, when I see a big thing on my to-do list, I'm like, "There's no way. I don't have time for that." So, I would never, for example, put on my to-do list something like write somebody's email sequence that's huge.
So, I start by thinking about, "What can I do in 25 minutes?" 25 minutes is a great block of time because – I, personally, like to work with pomodoros. I'm sure that everyone's familiar with these, where you're working for 25 minutes of focused work, and then you're taking a five-minute kind of break. And, you do a couple of these rounds of what are called pomodoros, and then you take a longer break.
So, I like to think in these 25-minute blocks. What can I do in 25 minutes? And then, for each task in my list, I assign it either one, two, or three 25-minute blocks of time. And, if something's gonna take me longer than three 25-minute blocks of time, that's how I know I need to break it down even more.
So, it's really about taking that whole, for example, write an email sequence. So, let's break that down. I want to outline the sequence. I want to know what's gonna be in it. And then, I wanna draft each email, and then I want to polish each one. So, I can think of each of those little pieces of the task and think about how long are each of those going to take me and assign those to the blocks that I need.
So, it's really about looking at that giant thing and thinking about, "All right, what can I do in a 25-minute block of time? What can I do in two 25-minute blocks of time?" And, this is gonna give you a lot more flexibility in building your schedule, too, because you can find that 25 minutes somewhere inside of your week.
John Lee Dumas: How do you break down these big tasks, Fire Nation? These 25-minute blocks can be unbelievably critical. And, you have absolutely heard me talk about the pomodoro method.
In fact, in 2017, I launched The Mastery Journal: Master Productivity, Discipline & Focus in 100 days. And, the entire journal is based around my success with the pomodoro method. And, that's why you have those four focus sessions every single day.
For me, sometimes I like those 25-minute blocks, sometimes I like 45-minute blocks depending on what mood I'm in or what task I'm about to take on.
But, there's one key, and I'd like your feedback on this, Abbi because I bet you're guilty of this as well. And, I know that I am occasionally, but very rarely now because I know what happens when I'm guilty of it. You have to, Fire Nation, set a timer, and you have to watch those first couple seconds tick off the timer. So, you go into your Google browser, just type in 25-minute timer. It will automatically start ticking down for you right there.
And, for me, seeing those first few seconds click down puts my mind and clicks my mind into that mode of, "Okay, this is real. I have 25 minutes. Focus. No distractions. No rabbit holes. Nada, nada, nada. There's gonna be a beep at 25 minutes, and I'm going to cut myself off." It's something I am absolutely positive is necessary, that most people who say, "Oh, the pomodoro method doesn't work for me." It doesn't work for you because you're not setting a timer, period. End of story. Abbi, what are your thoughts?
Abbi Perets: One hundred percent, the timer is critical. So, I actually use a little chrome extension called Noisli. It's a little app that does background noise. Super super cool, and it has a timer built in. So, you can actually customize the noises that it'll play for you. I have, I call it, a productivity set. So, it's like train tracks and some water in there. It's a couple of things that I put together. And, I use noise-canceling headphones because, you know, five children. So, I put the headphones on, I start, I press play on the Noisli app, and it starts counting down my 25 minutes.
And so, then I have this audio cue that the noise stops when the 25 minutes ends. And, for me, the background noise really helps me get focused super-fast, and it keeps me in that zone while I'm working. And then, when the noise stops, it's a little less jarring than a timer going off. So, you don't necessarily lose a thought. You can finish the word you were writing or whatever. And then, it kind of forces you to take that break because then, I can also hear what's going on around me again.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. And, Fire Nation, literally, while Abbi was talking, I added Noisli to my chrome extension. It's spelled and N-O-I-S-L-I. One more time, N-O-I-S-L-I, Noisli. And, Abbi, you said you listen to water. You also said you listen to train tracks. For the audience here, what do train tracks sound like?
Abbi Perets: I suppose it's more of a--
John Lee Dumas: No, just go ahead. Chooga-chooga, chooga-chooga, chooga-chooga.
Abbi Perets: Yeah, exactly.
John Lee Dumas: Oh, are you trying to cop-out by making me do it now?
Abbi Perets: Yeah, I am totally making you do it.
John Lee Dumas: Oh, I love this. Okay, well listen, let's keep moving because, Fire Nation, we have so much to share. Noisli, I will get back to you how I, personally, like that extension. I did just add it, and I think it's super cool. I definitely love little hacks like this, for sure, just to make things easier and more effective and efficient.
But, there's sometimes, and this happens to me, Abbi, even though I've been doing this for years, while I look at a task, I'll be like, "I literally have no idea how long this is going to take." How do you know how to judge and how to estimate correctly, or at least closely, how long these tasks are going to take?
Abbi Perets: Right, so I get this question a lot when I'm working with the women whom I'm teaching how to get started in freelance writing. They're like, "I don't know. A client wants me to write his website, and I have no idea how long that's gonna take because I've never written a website before."
So, what I always suggest is that you start by thinking about two things:
Start by thinking about things that you have done before and how long those things have taken you that are similar. And, if you have nothing similar in your arsenal – So, okay, it's really hard to know how long is it going to take me to write a website because that's a really big thing. So, let's break it down. Let's think about, "All right, how many pages have we determined are going to be in this website?" And, there's a lot of thinking that goes into all of those things. But, let's say that you know that this is going to be a 15-page website, but you don't know how long that's going to take you to write.
So, think about how long it would take you to write one page of that website. So, you might want to allow, let's say, 90 minutes to draft that page, and then another hour to polish that page and make it perfect. And then, you can really multiply that by 15 because there are 15 of those pages. So, that's how you can start to get a sense of "I've never done this piece before, so I'm gonna break it down to a smaller part that I can imagine how long would take me to finish, and then I can do that."
Or, you can, like I said, think about things that you have done that might be similar. So, maybe you've never written website content before, but you've written blog posts. So, you might think, "Okay, well, how long does it normally take me to write a blog post?" And, you can kind of base it off of that sort of thing. So, there's really two ways that you can approach it. And, it's overwhelming at first to not have a clue.
One of the things that I actually say to my kids and I've started saying to my students too, if you did know the answer, what would the answer be? And, it makes your brain kind of reboot a little.
John Lee Dumas: Hmm.
Abbi Perets: Yeah, it just makes you think, "Well, okay. Well, I guess if I did know the answer, it would be whatever."
And, I'm telling you, I use this with my kids. For any of the parents out there, try it. It's amazing. When they say to me like, "Where are my socks?" And, I'm like, "If you knew where your socks were, where would they be?" And, they're like, "I guess I left them in the laundry basket." "Oh my god, go find them."
John Lee Dumas: I love it. I could totally see you using that tone of voice too. That's amazing. So, Fire Nation, all of what Abbi said plus, let me just add, just get started. Be somebody who is action-oriented. The best way to eat an elephant is literally a one bite at a time. So, take that first step. And, I love that Martin Luther King quote: "You don't always have to see the full staircase to take the first step." Get going.
Now, Fire Nation does know, Abbi, that one of my favorite words – Actually, let me scratch that. My favorite word is FOCUS, Follow One Course Until Success. That word, that acronym, it's really where I just hang my hat, and it's a big reason why I've achieved the success I have to this day. But, the question that I hear from a lot of people and that I find myself asking sometimes is "How do I know when I'm focusing on the right things?" How do you break that down?
Abbi Perets: That's a great great question. So, I don't wanna say I'm all about the money because there's definitely more to – you know, you gotta have a strong "why" in place, and there has to be something that's motivating you to do this work other than "I would like to make money." But, at the end of the day, if you're in business, you're in business to make money. So, you want to be focusing on things that are actually bringing in money: those revenue-generating activities.
So, if you're spending all of your time on things like making branding boards and choosing fonts, that's probably not where you want to be focusing. That's not going to be bringing you in money. You wanna focus on specific activities that you can tie back to "Well, how will this bring money into my business? How will this get me in front of the right people? How will this help me to grow to where I want my business to be?"
John Lee Dumas: So, Fire Nation, this brings me to the 80/20 rule where you need to focus on the 20 percent of activities that are resulting in 80 percent of your desired result. So, what are those 20 percent of things that actually do result in you, A, making money, B, getting more clients, C, making impacts in the world, those things. Because all the other stuff is fluff.
And, over my years with Entrepreneurs on Fire, I've done this 80/20 multiple times. So, I said, "Okay, what is that 20 percent?" I'm either going to find virtual assistance for the other 80 percent or just cut it off my plate. And then, the following year, "Okay, what's 20 percent of the 20 percent?" And, you continue to just niche down until you're really just doing the things that makes sense and that make the move.
And, what I really want to make sure that you get, Fire Nation, that Abbi's talking about, is you're obligated to generate revenue. Don't be scared to pitch something or to be focusing on something that's going to be bringing money into your doors because, guess what? If you really believe in your message, if you really believe in your mission that you're sharing with the world, that you're impacting people in a positive way, you want to keep doing that. And, you can only keep doing that if you can keep your doors open financially.
I've had so many companies and so many individuals and entrepreneurs with the best of intentions, with the best of business ideas, with the best of hearts. And, all those things have to go back to some cubicle and some job they hate, making zero impact in the world, just filling in an Excel spreadsheet day after day after day because they did not feel that obligation to actually generate revenue.
So, Abbi, maybe just one or two more things on that point. Because I know that a lot of people struggle with this.
Abbi Perets: A little bit of my personal story: My son who has special needs, a couple years ago, was diagnosed with leukemia. And then, he got better, and there were a million and one things that happened in between those two things. But, when he got better, when you have a kid who goes through something like that, it changes you, it affects you. And, for me, a big part of how it affected me was my son lived and, for a long time, it was hard for me to believe that I deserved anything else in the world.
And, I think that a lot of us in the entrepreneurial world, we're sensitive, we're creative, we're more prone to depression than other people. And, this is something that maybe not a lot of people talk about, but again, I'm an over-sharer, so I do. I was on anti-depressants for 12 and a half years, and there were hard times.
And, really, what I saw in myself is, after my son was better, it was hard for me to charge good money for the work that I was doing. It was hard for me to play big and to go after the things that I wanted to do. Because I did want to make an impact, but I couldn't figure out that it was – or I couldn't let myself believe that it was okay to take money for that.
So, there's a lot that has to happen. You've got to do the internal work, and you've gotta be open to doing the internal work. And, you've gotta be okay with, like you said, doing the things that bring money into your business and also charging appropriately for them.
I work with so many people who are like, "Well, this thing is easy for me to do, so I shouldn't charge that much for it." But, the point is it's easy for you, it's not easy for everyone else. You're offering this amazing service, whatever, this product. You can be charging money for that, and you do you need to charge money for it.
And, I really like how you phrased it, John, as having an obligation to have an impact on the world. I think it's so important. If you've got that skill and that gift in those things to share with other people, there are people out there who are waiting desperately for them, who need your message, who need your service, who need your product, really really need it in their lives. And, by withholding it from them, you're not only doing yourself a disservice, you're doing them a disservice. And, that's the last thing you want to be doing if you are a creative entrepreneur.
If you are somebody who cares deeply about making an impact in the world, you want to get your stuff out there in front of the people who need it. So, don't be afraid of that. Really go for it and focus on those things and get your stuff out there to the people who desperately need it.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, ask yourself this question: If Abbi kept playing small-ball and she never played big, would you be hearing her voice right now? Of course not. She wouldn't be on Entrepreneurs on Fire.
Yet, here she is inspiring every single person who's absorbing this message that she sharing. Why? Because she played big. Now, she's playing on a big stage. Now, she's impacting thousands of tens of thousands, of hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of people around the world over the course of her entrepreneurial journey. And, that's what it's about with an obligation to play big.
So, Fire Nation, more value bombs coming when we get back from thanking our sponsor.
So, Abbi, we're back, and a lot of my audience is just a little stressed about what that first step is. I mean, we talked about that Martin Luther King quote, "You don't have to see the whole staircase. Take the first step." But, some people are like, "What is that first step though? I wanna see the second step, and I know I take the first step."
So, what do you recommend focusing the bulk of our time, by our I mean people that are looking to start when they're just getting started.
Abbi Perets: Sure. So, if you're in a service-based business, I absolutely believe that the bulk of your time, in the beginning, should be on getting clients. So, it's not building a website. It's not, like I said, the branding boards. I have a thing against branding boards. I really hate them.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, I get it.
Abbi Perets: So, it's getting clients. It's putting yourself in front of people that you can offer your service to.
With freelance writing students, I tell them, "You want to be on LinkedIn. You want to be in Facebook groups where your people, the people you want to write for, are hanging out."
So, I guess if we took this a step back, I'd say the very first thing is "What do you offer and who is it for?" And, at the second you're clear on that, is start hanging out with those people so that you can offer them at your service.
And, if you're looking to create more of a some sort of automated online business kind of thing, again, I still think it's about – it's not about building the website. It's not about writing the blog posts. It's about putting that valuable product in front of people. It's about creating that minimum viable product, really, and getting it out in front of the people who need to see it, to use it, to have it.
You don't have a business unless you have people who are paying you. I can't say that enough times. You literally don't have a business unless you have clients who will pay you money to do something. And, if clients are clients paying you to do a service, or if clients are people buying your course or whatever it is, you need money coming in the door in order to have a business. So, all of your focus, in the beginning, goes to getting those clients in the door.
John Lee Dumas: Quotable quote, tweetable tweet, Fire Nation. And, your focus needs to be on getting clients. What do you offer? Who is it for? Okay, now that you got that, start hanging out with those people. Start seeking them out. Start being a person of value to those people.
Now, Abbi, you have five kids. You have a husband that travels 175 days a year. Running a business multiple times, does work-life balance even exist?
Abbi Perets: It absolutely does. So, my family is Orthodox Jewish which means that every single week, we disconnect for 25 hours. Sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, I am offline. So, there's a lot of balance right there and because that's a non-negotiable thing, it makes other things easier to become non-negotiable. I don't think I phrased that in the most elegant way, but you get what I mean.
It makes it easier to set these other boundaries and to say to my clients – So, for example, my weekend is Friday and Saturday. So, I don't answer email from clients at all on Fridays. You can do things like that. You can set these rules for yourself, and you can decide "These things matter to me."
The other piece of that is, again, like I said before, it's about thinking of the week as 168 hours and understanding that even if you sleep – let's say, you sleep seven hours a night times – or eight hours a night, times seven days in a week. That's 56 hours. I don't do math in my head, but there's still a lot of hours left over even if you take away 56 hours for sleep and 56 hours for a day job and some hours for hanging out with family and kids. There are still hours left in the week for you to be building your business, but you have to choose how you spend the time in your week.
So, one of the phrases that I hate the most in the world is "I don't have time to X" because what you really mean is "X is not a priority for me." And, if you switch it around, and you phrase it that way out loud, if you say it out loud instead of "I don't have time to work on my business," or "I don't have time to sit and read books with my kids." If you say "Reading books with my kids isn't a priority to me," and that feels really weird in your mouth, in your brain, in your body, something's wrong with your priorities.
I used to do this. I'm totally guilty of it. I save a lot of time to chop up for my children and then I was like, "Wait, hold on. Really? That's not a priority for me? It's gonna take me 2 minutes to wash the apple and chop it up and stick it on a plate so that my kids will eat apple slices instead of Cheetos. So, yeah, I think I can make that a priority."
And, when you focus on making things priorities and understanding where your priorities are and what you're choosing to spend your time on, work-life balance becomes much easier. If you decide, for example, that reading every day for pleasure is something that matters to you, you will find time for it.
Yeah, you might have to give up some Netflix, and I do love me some Netflix. But, in my day to day life, I really don't watch TV. I save TV for when I'm on vacation. When I'm on long flights, for example. Or, when I'm traveling, when I'm going somewhere, I'll binge watch all day long. Put me in a hotel room and just give me a Netflix connection and I'm happy.
But, the things that I do choose to do in my daily life are the things that really do matter to me. For example, I read for 15 minutes with my youngest. I spend time with my special needs kid on the things that he needs time and attention on. I have plenty of time for family and friends because I do have Shabbat every single week. So, there are definitely ways to create that work-life balance. And, it becomes about you setting those priorities and deciding that they matter to you.
John Lee Dumas: And, by the way, I just found out on the Netflix app, you can download any shows you want. I have a long flight coming up, so that's just a great way to – you wanna catch up on all those Netflix shows just like Abbi said, just download for times like plane rides and stuff like that. Because there's always other things you can be doing when you're not on a plane, 30,000 feet in the air.
Now, Abbi, one thing that most people do is they look at a service-based business, and they think they have to be on literally 24/7. So, what things can you actually automate with a service-based business and still be successful?
Abbi Perets: Sure. So, I think that with a service-based business, you first have to start doing the service, and you have to figure out your processes there.
So, for example, I know that when clients book calls with me, we're setting aside two hours for a kick-off call. I know the questions that I'm going to be asking. I know what I'm going to be doing with them. And then, I know how I'm gonna be scheduling out that work.
And, I didn't necessarily know all of that the first time I worked with a client. So, I did it once, I did it twice, and then I saw, "Okay, these are the things that are gonna be the same every single time." And, once you know that, then you can start to create the automations that are gonna help.
So, for example, if somebody wants to book me for an email sequence, they can go to the page on my site, and they can click to book your inquiry call. It goes through my calendar software, and they get the message, I get the message. They've booked the call, we didn't have 97 emails back and forth to figure out when can we talk, "how can I help you" kind of thing. I've got the set questions that I ask them prior to our call. I know exactly what I'm gonna be asking them on the call because I've created templates for all of those things.
So, it really becomes about going through the service, seeing what your process is, and then picking out the pieces that are super super easy to off-load so that they're not taking up space in your brain. All of my invoicing, all of my proposal sending, all of that is automated through different services. And, there are so many tools that are available that just make all of these things very easy. The moment you know what your process is, it becomes very easy to find a tool that will do exactly that in an automated way.
So, the bulk of my time then can be spent actually creating amazing content for my clients and not on all the mindless administrative stuff that's going to be, otherwise, taking up brain space.
John Lee Dumas: I'll tell you, Fire Nation, my scheduler is my life, literally. I mean, I use ScheduleOnce, there's Calendly, there's Acuity scheduler, there are some great ones that are out there.
And, you can kind of take it one step further, which I'm sure Abbi does as well, which is you can qualify people. So, you can even just make sure that the people that are booking these calls are actually people that you wanna be talking to in the first place. Like if, for instance, people get to a certain point in one of my schedulers, and it just says, "Hey, dadadadada." And, if they answer one certain way, it says, "Hey, if you are checking box B here, there's no need to finish the rest of this scheduler because you're just not fit for this."
So, then, people just don't even finish the rest of it. They never book time with me. We never get on a call, and we never find out that we're not right to work together because I pre-qualified them as either qualified or not qualified before that process. And, this can all add up to a massive massive time savings, Fire Nation.
And, Abbi, before we get to the grand finale here, let's talk about how to get people to open emails. I mean, in today's world, we have the promotions tab, we have spam left and right, we have this, we have that. How do we break through all this noise? How have you found how to do that and really get people to open your emails?
Abbi Perets: Sure. So, I have an interesting take on email. I think of email as an incredibly intimate relationship. And, when I say that, what I mean is I'll give anyone my Yahoo address. And, I've been married for 22 years, so I've been out of the dating scene for a very long time. But, I think of the Yahoo address as the equivalent of the fake number you give out in the bar. You don't care who has it because you're not checking it. So, my Yahoo address lives in Yahoo, right? It's not coming to my phone. I'm not downloading anything. I look at it when I want to. If something catches my eye, I might take a peek. But, I'll give that address to anybody.
But, if you get my real email address, you're coming to my phone. And, you know what else is in my phone? Pictures of my children, texts from my kids, email from my husband. You're with the people I care about now. That's a choice, and that's why I say it's a really intimate relationship.
If I'm carrying you around with me all day long, and you're sharing space, really, with my kids, with my family, that matters. So, the same way that you would treat your own family and friends, that same level of care and concern and intimacy. You would never email your mom or your friend or people you cared about and say, "Hey, buy my cool thing." But, people think nothing of sending email to a listing "Hey, buy my cool thing," without kind of doing the work that needs to come first.
If you treat email with intimacy, if you treat that relationship with your people with genuine genuine care, love, intimacy. If you don't genuinely care about the people you're connecting with, then you shouldn't be in business at all, number one. And, if you remember how much you care about them, and if you let how much you care about them and how much you want to help them guide you, that's gonna make a huge difference.
Now, I know a lot of people talk about subject lines. But, stop and think for a moment about how you look at your own email. So, for example, if I ever see email in my inbox from my mom, my brother, people I care about, I'm automatically gonna open it. I'm not looking at the subject line. You wanna be a person whose name is enough to spark the opening of the email. You don't want it to be about the subject line.
Yes, your subject lines matter. Yes, you can test them. Yes, you can tweak them. But, you don't want them to be clickbaity subject lines because you're not trying just for the open. You want the follow through too. You want people to read every email you send because they know that inside is something that matters. That's what's getting them to open it. And, what will get them to continue opening your emails consistently is if every single email you send has something useful and valuable for them inside.
You should never be sending email just to say, "Well, I always email on Mondays to my list." If you have nothing to say, don't send email. Always make sure you have something valuable and useful to be giving people. And, keep that intimacy and that special relationship in mind all the time.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you want people to feel intimate about your content. When I meet people at a conference or just out and about and they say, "John, I listen to Entrepreneurs on Fire every single morning in the shower," I say, "Woah, things just got intimate right there. That just got intimate."
But, Fire Nation, the key thing is, too, valuable and useful. You want those things to be equate – My goal for every single one of these audio masterclasses is that you're gonna know, Fire Nation, you're gonna get something incredibly valuable and incredibly useful in every single episode. This is my email to you. This is my email that I want you to open every single day and listen to and have that at the forefront.
So, Abbi, you've given us so many value bombs throughout. Give us just one key takeaway. What's the one thing? If we just remember one call to action from this entire interview, what is that?
Abbi Perets: You own your time and you get to decide what you spend it on. And, if you keep that at the forefront of your mind, you're gonna do the things that you want to do. Just remember, you own your time, you make those choices, own those choices and stand behind them and make sure that you're making the choices that you want to be making.
John Lee Dumas: Now, with all this value that you've been giving us today, I know that there are a lot of people in the Fire Nation who want to know more about you, connect more with you. Give us a call to action. How can we find more about you? What do you want our next step to be to connect with you deeper?
Abbi Perets: Sure. I'd love for you to come and visit SuccessfulFreelanceMom.com/fire. I've got a time make over for you. So, I'm gonna show you how to look at your week and find an extra 7 to 10 hours inside of your week. Time that you don't know is there, I'm gonna show you how to find it and have that time to spend on whatever you want. If that's building your business, if that spending more time with family, if that's indulging in a hobby, whatever it is, I'm gonna show you how to find that time and make the most of it.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you're the average. Of the five people you spend the most time with, you've been hanging out with AP and JLD today.
So, keep up the heat and head over to EoFire.com, type Abbi, that's A-B-B-I, in the search bar. The show notes page is gonna pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz. Timestamps, links to everything we've been talking about.
But, the direct call to action, Fire Nation, just head directly over to SuccessfulFreelanceMom.com/fire. And, besides all the awesomeness that's gonna to be there, you're gonna also get that 7 to 10 extra hours per week that Abbi's gonna help you free up. Key, critical, on the point. SuccessfulFreelanceMom.com/fire
Abbi, thank you for sharing your truth with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we'll catch you on the flip side.
Abbi Perets: Thanks so much. I loved being here.
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