By  , Digital Sales & Marketing Coach

I don’t have time to work ON the business. What should I do?

I don’t have time to work ON the business. What should I do?

If you’re doing the grunt work in your business, doing the actual work, you’re stuck in the weeds.

‘Stuck in the weeds’ – it happens to so many of us. It’s probably one of the key reasons you haven’t been able to move your business forward as much as you’d like.

Instead, you need to find time every week to get out of the weeds, this is a big factor in success – especially when working on your marketing.

For some time each week (eg. 90 minutes a day), you need to be a marketer of your thing, and not a doer of your thing.

None of the advice and help I give to my marketing coaching clients works if the business owner is stuck in the weeds.

Here are some examples of being stick in the weeds:

  • A dentist who owns her own dental practice will not move the business forward if they’re drilling all day, every day. They have to get out of the weeds.
  • An accountant just working for their clients will not grow their business. They need to spend some time each week working on the business and not in it.

Being able to spend time every day on moving your business forward is the difference between reaching your goals, or not.

And you’re more likely to spend time on the right tasks, if it’s part of a structure and habit.

A difficult but very powerful approach is to block out 90 minutes in your calendar every day.

During your 90 minutes, you must get rid of ALL distractions.

Nothing is allowed to disturb you.

If you can spend the right amount of time each week doing the right things, it’s life changing really.

Just imagine how much you could move your business forward.

When are you most productive?

The key is to find a time that works for you.

Some people work best in the morning and some are night owls.

Before my son was born, every morning at 7.30am I got my head down to work ON the business and not in it.

Once he came along, unsurprisingly it was a bit challenging to fit in 90 minutes before 9am.

Yes, you hear stories of people who get up at 5.30am, to do their 90 minutes, but for most people sustaining that for the rest of their working life can be tough.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, my son had grown up, was sleeping well and I switched my 90 minutes to 9pm, because it was easier to find uninterrupted time.

But now he’s started school, I get up to work at 6am to get a big chunk of working on the business done before he wakes up. I then start work at 9am.

What Should I Work on in My 90 Minutes?

90 minutes of working on the business every day will have a huge impact on your business…if you can crack it.

During this block of time you will work on the tasks that will push your business forward.

It’s critical that you prioritise these tasks in order of those that are more likely to move your business forward. It’s no good spending this time on the wrong marketing activity.

Whenever you’re working in this block of 90 minutes, think to yourself, will this specific task move my business forward?

If the task isn’t going to push your business forward, find a better task to work on.

As time goes on, you’ll get better at prioritising.

Here are some examples of work to do during your 90 minutes each day:

  • Get a full understanding of your ideal buyer – dive inside their mind and learn.
  • Work out your key marketing messages for your ideal buyer
  • Improve the copy/messaging on your website
  • Write your weekly/fortnightly email to send out to your email list.
  • Create a new lead magnet to put on your website.
  • Record a 1-2 minute video of you showing how you can solve your potential customer’s pain – convey your credibility to build trust.
  • Enhance your current lead magnet.
  • Create a list of current customers to call to see how they’re getting on and how you can be of help.
  • Look at your most popular website pages and improve the content, including text, images and video.
  • Enhance your LinkedIn profile.
  • Reach out, connect and engage with people on LinkedIn.
  • Write to people to ask for Google/Facebook/Trustpilot/Tripadvisor reviews and LinkedIn recommendations.

There’s a lot you can try in your 90 minutes (much more than the list above), but remember, many small business owners don’t get marketing results because they have a scattergun approach, with no strategy.

Progress is so much slower without a marketing plan and strategy.

That’s where my marketing consultancy and coaching could help – I’m like an independent unbiased virtual marketing director without the cost of hiring a senior member of your team.

It Takes A Lot To Form An Unbreakable ’90 Minute’ Habit

Many people, including myself, have struggled to make 90 minutes work.

The truth is, like going on a diet, or a jogging habit, it’s hard to stick to.

I often see friends on Facebook boast about doing a 5km run. Fitness is surely the best habit, hats off to them. But many times unfortunately they’re not doing it 12 months later.

But there are people who do carry on the habit, and that could be you when it comes to making the ’90 minute’ habit stick.

If you choose to start your own 90 minutes, don’t be pleased with yourself until you’ve been doing it for 12 months.

And then a 12 further months.

90 minutes will not change your life until it’s ingrained.

Too many times people fail at this, and after 3 months, they’re back to their previous habits.

Considering how much impact working 90 minutes on your business every day will have, not doing it is a strange decision isn’t it.

Could you do it every day until you’ve reached all of your goals?

Sticking to 90 minutes every day is actually harder than the gym or a diet, but if you want to do it, you’re capable, and this will be huge for you and your small business.

Remember that to get a consistent and predictable flow of customers, you must always precede it with the right rhythmic marketing activity.

Organised Effort

What I’m talking about above is ORGANISED EFFORT.

Most people’s effort is not organised around any strict governance, philosophy or plan.

Most effort is reactive and random.

People do what’s urgent today. They – and their business – easily lose their way.

Super successful – professional – entrepreneurs are consistent, others are inconsistent.

During the time that I work with my marketing/sales coaching clients, it’s important they develop a system for ‘organised effort’ that stays consistent – with a set of guiding principles.

This system is what says YES or NO to the constant stream of questions, strategic decisions, problems, solutions, opportunities, everything that the entrepreneur has to manage.

Effective management of time is a BIG enabler.

Going back to the 90 minutes, find somewhere you can go with your PHONE TURNED OFF.

No distractions – not from email, or people.

No one.

You must have the right environment for your 90 minutes.

Then work on those tasks that will move your business forward – starting with the most difficult horrible tasks first.

Where could you do your 90 minutes that you won’t get interrupted?

Also, when would be the best time of day to do it?

The key is to choose a time that works best for you, when you won’t let anything interrupt you.

Then make sure it’s a time you will stick to.

“I’ll open my emails first, and then do my 90 minutes”

When I first mentioned the ’90 Minutes’ concept to one of my favourite marketing coaching clients, she said the perfect time for her 90 Minutes was from 9am.

The reason was that she wasn’t going to interrupted. Fair point.

She told me her plan was that she would open her emails at maybe 7.30am to get them out of the way and then do the 90 minutes at 9am.

But if you read your emails before 9am, there’s a high chance that at some point, one email will need further attention and before you know it, your 90 minutes has not started at 9am…it starts at 10am.

Then the next day…..the 90 Minutes doesn’t happen at all.

Sometimes it’s as easy as that to break the habit.

Feel free to start at 9am, but it will be difficult to stop emails eating into that 90 minutes if you open emails before it.

I’d recommend if possible you start with your 90 minutes first before checking any emails.

Once you prioritise your 90 Minutes over emails, it’s a breath of fresh air.

It really is.

Don’t let others (people in your emails) dictate your schedule.

How Do I Stop Interruptions?

Whether you’re in the office or working from home, interruptions are the arch enemy of your 90 minutes working on your small business.

You will have to train others not to interupt you.

I’ve done that successfulIy over the years.

For example, ideally you’d be able to find a room with a door, where you tell people only to disturb you if the building’s on fire(!)

Be serious and stick to it.

Let them know you’re not impressed if they disturb you.

You must protect your time and mind.

“When the door’s closed, don’t come in.”

If you only have access to a communal room, try putting on some obvious headphones and educate people.

“When I’m wearing these headphones, do not disturb me.”

To be honest, there’s a higher chance that you will be disturbed by your emails and other Internet distractions rather than people.

It’s you who will probably be your own worst enemy.

Have a think.


You can always change your approach.

The most important thing is that you work on your business uninterrupted for 90 minutes a day., but to being with while you’re learning the habit, it could be 30 minutes or 60 minutes. Whatever it is, stick to it.

Nothing should interrupt it.

No emails.

No websites.

No mobile. No alerts.

No people.

Over to you.

Can you change your business and life by forming your “90 Minute” habit?

If you don’t put the right kind of hard work in now, you’ll miss out and it won’t surprise you if competitors take charge.

Over to you.

If you need help getting a consistent flow of higher paying customers, my marketing consultancy and coaching could be for you. 

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