Five Deadly Time Management Mistakes
How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Q. I am starting a new business as a web designer. Recently
a client paid me less than $500 for a website. I spent hours
and hours creating a magnificent, eye-popping site that would
cost $1500 at market value. My client just thanked me she
didn't even offer a bonus! I'm too busy with these low-paying
jobs to go after the bigger assignments.
A. Whether you're a business owner, corporate executive or
independent professional, success means putting a value on your
time even when you feel, "I've got all the time in
Mistake #1: Confusing down time with extra time.
The Fix: You finish a project early. Or business is lighter
than usual this week. Spend the extra time to market yourself
for new projects, not tinker with current clients. If you're
working for someone else, use the time to make yourself more
Mistake #2: Donating time to people who can pay.
The Fix: Donate time to nonprofit organizations who can't
afford your fees. Before beginning get agreement that you may
use this project in your portfolio, along with a signed testimonial
on your website.
Occasionally you can offer a deal to a high profile client
who will publicize your efforts. Submit an invoice with the full
price and mark your deduction as a discount. Make sure you'll
get more than a vague promise to "drop your name everywhere."
Mistake #3: Assuming clients understand your business.
The Fix: Communicate options. "Here's what a $250 website
looks like. Here's what a $2500 website looks like." When
clients are new to your service, they rarely know the going rates.
And they may not realize you'll accept a bonus and rejoice in
Mistake #4: Forgetting to set boundaries.
The Fix: Explain exactly what's included in your basic fees.
Changes? Questions? Setting up the web hosting and domain name?
Scanning and uploading photos? Fixing a spelling error?
Mistake #5: Thinking small.
The Fix: Learn what would it take to move from $250 to $2500
jobs. Maybe your own website screams, "I'm cheap!"
Maybe you need to pitch larger accounts with bigger budgets.
Practice saying aloud, "That will cost $500." Then
work your way up to saying, "nine hundred dollars"
without choking on your own words.
Bottom Line: Alan Lakein wrote How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life,
the first (and some say best) time management book. He encouraged
readers to ask Lakein's Question: Is this the best use of my
time right now? Tape the question to your computer and ask it