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Ep. 75 Say “NO” More and Take Your Time Back

by | Smart AF Show

take your time back

Say “NO” More and Take Your Time Back

When you’re a small business owner your attention and time are stretched every day and it’s easy to waste your time if you’re not careful. From unnecessary phone and zoom calls to tire-kickers and brain-pickers, how do you keep your time from being wasted?

Torie Mathis and her cohost Sean discuss the biggest time sucks in their business, how you can avoid them, be more productive, and get yourself back on track. Learn how to say no more so you can be successful in your business.

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SAF 75

Sean: [00:00:00] And a lot of times you won’t even realize you’re wasting your time until you’ve wasted a shit load of time, which is that much more frustrating?


Torie: [00:00:14] Hey guys, what’s up. Welcome to the show. I’m your host, Torie Mathis. And I am here with the one and only Sean Mathis, founder of Miles Through Time Automotive Museum. 

Sean: [00:00:23] What’s going on guys. 

Torie: [00:00:24] And we’ve all been in business for a really long time. And one thing about having a small business, especially if you’re a solo preneur or a service-based business, where you’re the one actually doing the work.

One of the worst things for your business is wasting time. Sean, do you agree?

Sean: [00:00:41] Absolutely. And it’s super easy to wind up wasting your time. And a lot of times you won’t even realize you’re wasting your time until you’ve wasted a load of time, which is that much more frustrating. 

Torie: [00:00:51] I hate when I get to the end of the day and I feel like I was busy.

I was doing things all day, but I got nothing. Done. And, you put a couple of those days in a row and you’re not moving towards your goals. You’re not making more money. You’re not doing the things that are important to get your business to grow. You’re just being busy and nobody wants that.

Sean: [00:01:14] Yeah. And it really depends on what it is that you actually need to do. Because w when you’re self employed and you’ve, you’re the one that’s got certain things to do, and if you don’t do them, nobody else is going to be able to do them. You combine that with all the other distractions that may be there whether it’s just checking social media which has nothing, may or may not have anything to do with your business to things that really are important to your business, like checking your email just doing that could wind up.

Wasting your entire day like Torie, she, you can only check your emails so often because otherwise you’d never leave your email. Your whole day turns into email.

Torie: [00:01:52] It could very easily,

Sean: [00:01:53] which in retrospect, like with our business, we try to avoid phone calls because that’ll waste our time because just like your email, you can get stuck in email all day.

Just as easily get stuck on the phone all day long. And when that happens, it, it literally turns into a waste of the day because what are we getting done other than taking notes off of whatever the phone calls about, which then we have to then do something with. And, and a lot of times nobody wants to pick my brain, but they all want to pick your brain and getting nowhere from it.

And it’s that? That’s super frustrating. 

Torie: [00:02:31] One thing that allowed me to do a lot more. Just in general and take our business to different levels was to stop taking phone calls. Like I will not answer my phone because man, I love being chatty too. But during my Workday, like I am not like on somebody else’s dollar where I can just sit there and, do that water cooler banter.

Like I have a lot of things to do. I have a lot of people’s projects that I’m working on. I have our own projects that I’m working on and if I get chatty on a couple of phone calls, Not only does it stop my momentum, but it also just, it’s not moving me forward. And I don’t want to be a jerk and I, I want to be friendly or whatever.

But for me, like the best thing to do was to not take phone calls. And so if somebody wants to get me on the phone, they need to schedule it with me. And a lot of times even for, having you schedule them for me, that saves me even more time. That way. Because sometimes they don’t really need to talk to me, is the thing, a lot of times these phone calls are things that could really easily either be handled by you or be handled by a text or an email.

Like I said, I want to be friendly. I want to be nice. I love like the relationship that I have with clients, but I really can’t be on the phone all day with them being chatty. If I want to get ahead in my business 

Sean: [00:03:51] and there’s a time and a place for phone calls, there’s a time and place for video calls.

There’s a time for emails. But they’re not always interchangeable. Like you we’ve gotten, I personally have gotten emails that will say, Hey, I need to schedule a phone call or something to go over some changes. And to me, I’m like, you sent me the email, what are the changes? Like at the time I opened that email, I could have done it then, but now I’ve got to figure out well is it now?

Is it something that I can do? Or is it something I’ve got to get Torie involved? I’ve got a schedule the time our schedules have to match up so that both sides of the party can come. And then that goes back and forth on, okay, I’m available Wednesday at 11 and they’re like I’m only available Tuesday at two.

And I’m like I’m not available on that time. And it goes back when really tell me what you need, if I can take care of it via email and get it done. We’re done. If I can’t and then we can go from there. 

Torie: [00:04:55] Okay. But see, there are phone calls that have to be taken. For example, Miles Through Time calls have to be taken and they have to be taken.

Pretty much right now by you because of the connections that you have and because of the answers that you’re giving people. So no matter what, you’re able to jump on the phone and take the calls that are necessary. 

Sean: [00:05:15] It really does depend on how your business is set up. Like for ours, with Lake shark, media and everything that we do regarding smart AF and Tori Mathis and all that.

Phone calls are not what we want to do. But on the flip side, Miles  Through Time, like a lot of people like. On and off the phone within minutes, because especially right now during all this COVID they just want to know if I’m open and it w it’s it doesn’t make sense for them to send an email and then wait, because the other thing too is there’s not that I may be really responsive on the email and I know I’m more responsive than most people, especially when they come back and they’re like, wow.

They, thanks for answering my questions so quickly, but I don’t think it’s that common. When all they want to know is, Hey, are you open a quick phone call is definitely the right direction to go. 

Torie: [00:06:03] That’s the difference though, between like a service-based business also that like I’m very project based and I’m not doing a lot of little projects, but a lot of big projects where I need to be able to sit down for hours at a time without being interrupted.

Otherwise, like having to restart and get back to where I was. It’s just it definitely does not work. I think if you, do you have a business that you do need to take phone calls? I think one thing you can think of though is does it need to be you that takes the calls cause you at first, when you opened back up into the new location at Miles Through Time.

You actually have people that are taking the tickets and getting people into the museum. And they did take the Miles Through Time phone calls for a little while, but they were not the right people to be answering the phone. So you found that you had , like for right now it needs to be you, right?

Sean: [00:06:50] Yeah. And I didn’t even know if they were answering the phone calls. So now it was not the answer at the time. And I, it’s not like I get a whole lot of email or phone calls. So it’s really not that big of a deal and I get used to it, but it also it’s like me going physically going to the museum.

It’s completely different for visitors when. I don’t know when I’m there versus when nobody’s there. And I think it’s the same on the phone, because a lot of, other than, outside the, are you open? Chances are I’m the only one that’s going to be able to answer the other questions that they have.

So until I have somebody that’s onboarded, with everything that’s going on and wants to take phone calls, it’s going to be me. But again, I’m in no rush. So I’m perfectly okay with it. 

Torie: [00:07:39] I get a lot of people for me that want to, they email me and they say, Hey, let’s jump on a phone call so I can talk about a project that I have coming up.

And I’m like I, I do a lot of things and there are a lot of things that I’ve done in the past that maybe I’m not really doing right now. So I think that in that kind of case, I, and unfortunately I have to go back to them through email and be like why don’t you tell me a little bit more about what you got going on?

And then we can see if we need to jump on a phone call. I just did that recently. Just to make sure that’s even because if an email I need to be like I’m not the right person for that. Or, we’re not the right business for that. I can point them in the right direction without having to.

Stop everything I’m doing possibly jump on a phone call that would have been wouldn’t really got me anywhere again. I want to be friendly, but I’m only one person. And so I think you just really have to figure out where your lines are and be able to do what’s best for the business overall and not for, just trying to be really friendly.

Sean: [00:08:34] And again, if like our business was. Larger. And we wanted to hire somebody that their job was to be the gatekeeper, essentially. That would be one thing because that person would stay busy. Just giving people fake quotes. I believe like I don’t even think they’d be real quotes and estimates on various things.

Torie: [00:08:55] That’s another thing that’s big time waster. I will not give a quote to everybody. You come in private. 

Sean: [00:09:01] Most of them. I don’t think they’re real. I think, Hey, I’ve got I’ve got this business, like it’s literally this big, I’ve got this business in clothing. Can you do a website for me? Are you serious?

What’s the name of the business? What is the website like? 

Torie: [00:09:16] And I think there’s some companies that they have to get so many bids in order to pick the one they really want. And so I think they’re just trying to get design type bids. So not doing bids and not taking a lot of phone calls, man. Yeah.

Sean: [00:09:30] Nobody’s got time for that. 

Torie: [00:09:32] We don’t know. 

Sean: [00:09:33] The thing is like all of our clients are connected, like Kevin bacon. Like one client knows another client through the entire chain of our they all. They’ve been told about Torie at some point in time and have made the decision to, to actually want to work with Tori e  by no means.

We don’t want to go and just get a bunch of random people because some of those, like back in that episode where you talk about you purchasing a list when you first bought, not the road, we want to get down. 

Torie: [00:10:03] Seasons in your business though. And I think knowing what season you’re in, like I’m not in the season that I’m going to do, $50 logos for just anybody that comes around, I don’t really want to do projects that are less than, $10,000.

 I do better, like working really intensively with one client, getting a lot of stuff or big things set up rather than doing a lot of little things. And so for us to take on that many phone, random, small phone calls and things like that, it’s just not the season of our business right now. And so I think knowing what season your business’s in is really helpful to figuring out how you can use your time, the best another one.

And this is, the same type of thing, jumping on a phone call is that, Oh my gosh. And it’s even more than last year. Like people are like, can we jump on a zoom?

Sean: [00:10:53] Yeah. Why does it need to be in video? Like we don’t get dressed on a daily basis. 

Torie: [00:10:57] I probably comes straight from the gym to work however long, and then take my daughter to karate.

I’m not sure. I’m not going to do my hair and stuff for that. So I don’t really want to jump on a client zoom call necessarily. Every single time when it could be a phone call or even better, it could be an email and not, spend a lot of time for everybody. I know you had somebody recently.

Come to you about a big project that they wanted to start. And I could hear you talking on the phone and I almost died because they were like, why don’t we jump on a zoom call or why don’t we have a meeting, just about an hour and a half or so. And we could just talk about how we’re going to get the project started.

Like it’s not even a for sure thing. I think that’s a lot when you’re a business owner. Yes, you want to be nimble and yes, you want to be open to lots of opportunities, but you get too many of those people. How many people do we know that they’ve come to talk to us about some big project they want to do, and it never goes anywhere.

Like people will waste your time over and over again. So trying to fine tune when it is an opportunity that you do. Sorry. That you do want to jump on an actual phone call or meet them in person and have this really long meeting. You gotta be wary about that because your time is so important, 

Sean: [00:12:10] especially if you struggle with saying no, that they’re like when we first started out, there were some.

Crazy projects, especially through going to be an I and a chamber. You wind up meeting some people that they’re like, Oh, you do graphic design, marketing, all this kind of stuff. Can you design a board game? Or like all kinds of just crazy stuff. That’s not really an art. Could we do it? Yes, I would stand behind Torie’s design on it.

Like anything she could design anything. So could we do it? Yes. Should we probably not, especially because what happens if somebody’s got a great idea and they have done nothing other than reach out to us to want to do. Everything for them. And so there’s no skin in the game. So here we are, trying to bus to do all these things.

And we’ve, we’ve done this, we’ve gone down that road where we’ve done a bunch of stuff that somebody, it was somebody else’s idea. We’re like, great idea. Let’s do it. We go and do our part. They don’t do theirs. 

Torie: [00:13:16] And then they’re like I got a lot going on right now. So I’m not going to do this now.

Sean: [00:13:19] Like seriously, like we don’t have time to just. Play around with this stuff. W you want to do, we’re going all in like Miles Through Time We’re going to do it. We’re going to do it. There was no we’ll think of a name and maybe we’ll play around with it. Now that it’s a legitimate thing that’s been going for four years now.

There’s no playing around. I wouldn’t want to do it with, with no intention of continuing to do it. Cause it would wind up being a waste of time. 

Torie: [00:13:43] I think some of that comes with being in business longer. And like you said, knowing We don’t want to design board games. That’s just not the direction that we’re going.

So being able to be in business long enough, to know where you want to be nimble and move into and where you know that, let’s not go there because this is the direction that we’re going. And again, is that the season of your business where. No, you’ll do just about everything because in the beginning I would have designed anything, and I did, I had to design some weird ass shit and I, in that I learned I do want to do this.

And man, I never want to do that. And I don’t want to have that kind of client. And you know what I’m talking about, buying the list and things like that when I actually advertised and had just anybody coming to me for business. When it was just me or even me, and like a part-time assistant, like I can’t handle the amount of proposals and phone calls and I have an idea and, I’m trying to be nice to everybody and it just, it was not possible.

So knowing where you are in that definitely is going to help you steer your business and get your business to grow rather than getting stuck on the phone or in meetings. 

Sean: [00:14:53] And I think a lot of businesses too, that they get stuck on this piecemeal thing. And it really depends on where you are in your business.

Even if you’re a pizza joint do you want to sell individual pizzas or individual slices or do you want to have people, buy one or two pizzas, a couple of drinks and breadsticks and salads, that’s where we are now is it’s we don’t want to just do your business cards. It’s our clients where we’re doing everything for them.

And so it makes it a little bit easier for that one-off person that comes to us and says, I just want a flyer. Especially if it’s I just want something printed. Like we’re at that point Torie is not even designing it, like we’re not the right customer or client. Customer. We’re not the right person for you, right?

It’s real important. As a business owner, you start to understand where it is you are in that kind of stuff, because that is one of the under the radar places that you’ll waste a ton of time, just not doing stuff that you even want to do, or, if you’re so busy, someone that one slice of pizza at a time.

Torie: [00:15:55] You’re never going to get the catering job, 

Sean: [00:15:56] Never. And that’s in that. And if that’s what you want the catering job. You want those, tons of pizza sold at one time, someone wants a slice at a time. Isn’t going to do it because it’s going to take all your time away from being able to do that.

Oh, I can’t cater that, thousand pizza order because I got to sell 10 slices over here to 10 people. 

Torie: [00:16:12] And I think when you’re selling individual small items, like you, you really have to have a team like you will run yourself into the ground trying to do. Really small stuff. And you know what, sometimes in the beginning of business, you have to do that to, get that running start, but man, you can’t continue to do that forever.

Sean: [00:16:30] No there’s definitely some sort of, I don’t know what it would be called, like Caterpillar effect or something. Like you start out. You’re going to, you’ve got to start out somewhere at the very beginning. You’re going to do whatever it needs to be done to get your feet wet. Like you, you gotta do something, but somewhere along the line, you’re going to figure out what it is you want to do.

And you’re going to have to morph into that thing. There’s going to be a transition point there where you’re not quite there yet, but you want to be, so you’ve got to you’ve. Got to progress and get to that point. Or you’re always going to stay that tiny Caterpillar. And eventually you’re going to stress yourself out.

You’re going to be miserable. You’re going to quit. You don’t want that. Yeah. 

Torie: [00:17:12] I think that’s where a lot of people do end up quitting and going back to working for somebody else because they can’t get past that. And it’s a hard point to get past, you don’t want to take on a whole bunch of.

Inexpensive small projects or small clients, because you need to be able to save time for bigger ones. I talked to several clients about this, that do, coaching and things like that. Like they can’t keep taking on all the little teeny clients when they need, just a couple more that are bigger clients, but making that transition.

It’s hard, but you can do it. Like you said, you do, you just have to push through until you can make it to that next part. But if you don’t figure this kind of stuff out and figure out how you can be more productive, I don’t even want to say productive. Cause that makes sound sound you should be busy, don’t just do yeah.

Stuff. It’s not about doing stuff. It’s about doing the specific things that are going to get you to break through that. And if you’re always wasting time, I talk about like email could waste my whole entire day. If I spent all my time on my email trying to respond to every single email and do all these things that I don’t want to say, they don’t matter.

It’s just that I would be better to get in my email three or four times a day and get as many things out as I can. And some days I only get to my email twice because. I need that time to be able to do these bigger things. 

Sean: [00:18:33] Don’t do shit that doesn’t need to be done. It, if you want to save time, stop doing that stupid shit.

Torie: [00:18:39] And you had to got to decide what that stupid shit is. And again, season of your business that’s, that was important before it might not be important. Now, you could watch the episode about cloning yourself, and I talk a lot in there about going over everything that you do and everything that needs to be done.

And then really going through that and figuring out what doesn’t need to be you, because once I stopped wasting my time and I, it’s not, it has to be done. So wasting sounds like a, such a bad, dirty word, but once I stopped wasting my time doing it, and Sean took it over, like Sean’s going to do it just as well, if not better than me, because that’s not where my time needs to be.

And once I was able to free up a lot of that stuff, It was amazing that I could take on bigger projects and I could do bigger things and dream of bigger things that we could be doing rather than doing, a hundred dollars logos or $500 websites or these smaller things that were great. 15 years ago that just we would die.

Now. We were just like chugging along, trying to do those because it’s a different season. 

Sean: [00:19:44] I think it really comes down to what your role is in your business.  What do you want your role to be? Are you the person, do you, the salesperson that’s in your business, you’re the one that needs to be making the phone calls and all that kind of stuff?

Or are you the creator like Torie is the creator. Are you the one that’s actually making whatever it is that you’re selling, because if that’s your role, stay off the damn phone, like the source that gets somebody to do that part of your business, you cannot continue to do every aspect of your business and expect to do it for any amount of time.

That’s going to make you successful on the off chance you do more power to you. Chances are you. Probably don’t have much of a family life you’re might be miserable. I’m making assumptions here based off of how I would feel like I don’t want to do it all. And you shouldn’t have to. 

Torie: [00:20:39] Yeah, it’s very true.

We talk about a lot of things. We’re like, wow, that would be really awesome to do if we were single and didn’t have kids because there really is. There’s a difference in, in what your goals are outside of your work time and what you actually want to do in your business and the direction you want your business to go.

Sean: [00:21:00] Yeah. There’s, there’s so many different ways to run your business. Then, if you don’t have a clear path, you’re just wasting time until you Peter out. 

Torie: [00:21:10] And we don’t want anybody to Peter out. Like you got big goals, you gotta go for them. And wasting time is definitely not going to get you there so you can figure this out.

We did. 

Sean: [00:21:20] So there’s obvious ways the time’s wasted and then some of the less obvious ways are the ones that you really need to be aware of. And the only way you can do that is to sit back and look at the whole picture and where do you fit in all this? And if you, once you do that, then you’ll realize where those hidden time-wasting things are that they’re going to bite you in the ass at some point.

Torie: [00:21:45] But you can do it. So if you liked this episode, we would love it. If you would leave a review and we’ll see you on the next one. Thanks. You want to get smart tools to build your business go to  getsmartaf.com

About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis

Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity.  She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.

Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.

hi im torie
I help entrepreneurs  learn digital marketing.
And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

Is YOUR marketing SMART?

Find out here.

Hi! I'm Torie!

Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + to make more money. And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.


from your Digital Marketing Coach Torie Mathis!

Let's get SMART!

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