business limited time start-upI don’t know about you but I get SO frustrated when I hear business mentors and marketing strategists giving business advice online, who seem to assume that everyone has 12 hours a day, seven days a week that they can pour into their business. It doesn’t take into account anyone wanting to start a business with limited time.

At least I assume that that’s what they’re saying, because when they talk about all the things that you HAVE to be doing, otherwise you’re leaving money on the table and you’ll never be successful in business, there’s no way you can jam all of that in if you’ve got limited time.

In today’s episode, I’m going to talk to you about starting a business with limited time.

Whether that is because you’re starting it as a side hustle, you have household responsibilities, you are unwell, or some other reason, I want to help you create business growth and sustainable profitability as quickly as possible with that limited time.

I have a brand new course that you can grab for free for a limited number of people.

It’s my new Side-Hustle Success course!

There are limited free spaces available at this post: CLICK ME

(If you’ve missed out, still comment and we can let you know if free spaces are still available elsewhere, or send you a discount coupon.)

Let’s dive into this juicy practical episode about starting a business with limited time!

Tash Corbin business podcast limited time

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Side-Hustle Success: Limited free spaces available at this post: CLICK ME
(If you’ve missed out, still comment and we can let you know if free spaces are still available elsewhere, or send you a discount coupon)

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If you haven’t yet heard me speak about the hours that I work in my business, you may not realise that at this point, I am still working less than 20 hours a week in my business.

A big reason for that is because I had surgery in 2021 that was a result of some very terrible health issues, and my recovery from that surgery was terrible. For about eight weeks, I ended up unable to do more than half an hour a day. That was it.

Then for another eight months, I worked less than eight hours a week in my business.

I have absolutely been running my business on a very limited time.

Each year, my goal is actually to increase the hours a week that I’m putting into my business, because I want to work my way back up to it. But I’m being very mindful of the way that I do that because I don’t want to fill in the time with busy work that doesn’t actually contribute.

I want to be mindful and strategic in increasing my hours.

All of that being said, I have one thing that startups don’t have: an existing business.

It’s a very different proposition to say that I run my business eight hours a week right now, compared to if you were starting out.

If you’re just starting out a business, how on earth do you do that with limited time?

I find it very interesting that a lot of online marketers and business owners are spruiking this thing that they have a limited-hours business and that they run their business in under 10 hours a week. But they haven’t acknowledged that when they started their business, they worked much longer hours, or they started their business as a blog or podcast that wasn’t generating income for years before they ever decided to monetise.

There are a lot of strategies that can work when you’ve got very limited time… but you need an audience.

If you don’t have an audience and you’re just starting out, those strategies aren’t as effective for you.

The trajectory of making income when you’re time limited in what you can put into your business, is often a lot longer when using those strategies. But that’s not acknowledged strongly enough.

People go into it thinking that they’re going to be able to have $5,000 a month coming in from a business that they put seven hours a week into using low-ticket offers or blogging as their only audience growth strategy. And that’s just not the reality.

It’s the exception, not the rule.

It’s the exception that your blog will go viral or your product will sell itself and you won’t have to put any time and energy into it.

That’s not how business growth happens for most people, and it’s certainly not the way that fast business growth happens.

What I wanted to do with this podcast episode is talk about the actual startup process, what you need to be mindful of, and what strategies you can use to fast-track your business growth when you’ve got limited time… without making assumptions that you’re happy to wait ten years before you start monetising, or that you’re happy to sink $10,000 a month into ad spend to grow an audience because you’re giving your business limited time.

Let’s dive in and get started with some key principles…

Principle 1: The most time-intensive part of business growth is reach

Building an audience and getting in front of new people is the most time-intensive and expensive part of business marketing.

When starting a business (even a time-limited one), a lot of people spend most of their time trying to reach strangers on the internet.

They spend a lot of their time spreading themselves across multiple platforms, using multiple strategies, or following multiple marketing specialists’ advice on how to get in front of more people.

But for most businesses, you don’t NEED to get in front of that many people to have a scalable sustainable income.

Focusing on your reach strategies and getting in front of strangers as the primary goal of your marketing is actually setting you up to have to put a lot of time into your business, which nets very little reward.

Think about it: Does every business that you’ve ever come across on social media get money out of you? Who are you most likely to buy from right now?

It’s not random businesses that happen to pop into your feed.

It’s people that you already know – businesses that you are familiar with. It is people that you are connected with, or that you connect closely with very quickly.

That doesn’t happen with most of the cold audience reach growth strategies that are being taught by influencers on how to get 10,000 followers.

I know people who have over 100,000 followers on social media, who struggle to make $1,000 in sales each month.

Reach does not equal income. Audience size does not equal income.

The number one principle that I want you to remember is that reach is the most expensive and time-intensive part of your marketing process. That should not be taking up the majority of your time. That is not where focusing your energy and attention will get you the most return on investment.

If we were to break your marketing process down into the client attraction process, we’ve got:

  • Reach
  • Nurture
  • Invite
  • Convert

Most people focus on creating offers that they think people will buy at the drop of a hat (convert) and reaching more people (reach).

They’re focused on the two outer edges of the client attraction process.

They think that if they reach lots and lots of people and put offers in front of them that they want, then that’s a business.

But in most instances, the offer is not what people want – because you have no conversation with them and there’s no qualifying. It’s all just your theories about what they might want. The work that you put into growing an audience nets you very little audience growth, and you get very frustrated very quickly that reach is so hard to obtain.

You’re setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment and a lot of work if you’re just focused on reaching as many people as you can put your offers in front of.

Principle 2: One-to-one strategies can take you LESS time

We don’t want to assume that one-to-many strategies are better than high-connection one-to-one strategies.

This is often a fuzzy logic perspective that happens when we are time-limited in starting a business.

If I’ve got limited time, then I would believe that everything I do needs to reach as many people as possible in one go. That’s part of the problem of being time-limited… I need to be far more leveraged than other people.

I understand the logic behind that. But it’s actually the opposite.

The more people that you are reaching with a single piece of leveraged content, the less connection that you have with each of those individuals, therefore, the less likely they are to progress to the next step.

Let’s say that you help people rearrange their homes and offices to be aligned with productive energy and getting more done.

It’s a combination of decluttering, Feng Shui and home optimisation for people who are neurodivergent.

(If someone out there is not doing that and that’s something you want to do, you’re welcome to take that – I just totally made that up on the spot.)

Let’s consider that you’ve got 100 tips that you could give people to achieve that goal – to optimise their home so that they’re more productive, even when they’re neurodivergent.

You might assume that recording 100 podcast episodes with those 100 tips would be the best use of your time, because it’s the most leveraged, it’s got the most potential audience, and it’s going to develop a lot of relationships and give a lot of value to your audience… so therefore, isn’t that the best use of your time?

But in fact, it’s the worst use of your time in the early startup stages of your business when you are time-limited.

Why? Because think about how many podcast episodes you’ve consumed over the years, and not bought from the person whose podcast you consumed.

Seeing as there’s no connection in the delivery and you have no relationship with them on an individual level, they are the least likely to take the next step. The LEAST!

Rather than focusing all your strategies on trying to reach as many people as possible at once, I recommend the principle that I use to create business growth in a limited time, which is to see how many one-on-one conversations you can have where you are helping people, moving them forward, and qualifying them for the sale.

That is far more effective.

I had a client who averaged 15,000 downloads of every podcast episode they released. They created a course about the exact thing that their podcast was about, and they launched it through a series of five podcast episodes that went out over five days… They sold four spots in their first launch of that program. FOUR!

The assumption that reaching lots and lots of people with free content is somehow going to make them more likely to be a paying client is not correct. There’s a lot of nuance to it.

There are a lot of caveats to that assumption.

Instead of trying to grow a ginormous audience of people who are all listening to the exact same content, you would be better off having high-connection conversations with individuals who are potentially your ideal clients, understanding what they need, helping them to move forward, and getting some understanding of what their priorities are.

If you delivered those 100 tips in a one-to-one-on-one way, one at a time based on who wants them and who needs them, and then used that as an opportunity to develop a relationship one-on-one, you wouldn’t need a lot of those conversations in order to have some paying clients.

Where you might need to have 200 people listen to your podcast consistently to get a couple of clients in the door, you probably would need to have conversations with less than 10 people one-on-one.

What’s easier to achieve and takes less time? Getting 200 people listening to each podcast episode? Or having a one-on-one conversation with 10 people?

And yet, so many people who have limited time in their business try and make everything one-to-many.

What you’re actually doing is slowing down the insight that you are getting as to what people need. You’re slowing down the connection, therefore you’re slowing down the conversion.

You’re slowing down your path to profitability.

What also happens is that when people have very time-limited businesses, they then believe that everything that they sell needs to also be one-to-many.

Instead of offering a VIP package of six sessions over three months and being able to charge a lovely, generous price for that per client, they put together a six-module self-study course that they charge $50 for.

If your goal is to make $1,000 a week, is it easier to sell one package of six sessions to one person? Or is it easier to sell twenty courses every week?

To sell twenty courses a week, you would need to grow your mailing list by at least 1,000 people a week. And that’s being pretty generous.

Which one is easier: Growing your list by 1,000 people a week, or having three conversations each week to try and get one VIP client?

People often then bring up the six hours of delivery that they need to do for that VIP package. But it’s important to consider that there are a LOT of components to creating and selling a leveraged product, which take up a LOT of time:

  • Recording the course
  • Creating the email sequences
  • Free resources
  • Sales page
  • Workbooks
  • Facebook group or some kind of Q&A platform
  • Follow-up emails to make sure people are doing the course

That is a 70-100 hour workload to even be able to make one $50 sale.

What is the workload required for you to be ready to sell a six-session package?

You need to:

  • Have a way they can pay you
  • Create a Zoom account
  • Have a rough structure of what you might cover (but you’d probably do it far more bespoke because it’s done on a one-to-one basis)

You could sell a six-session package this week. But you can’t sell a six-module self-study course this week if you’ve got limited time.

Even being able to get to the point where you can take the money for it is going to take far more time than if you were invoicing someone one-on-one. That’s not even including being ready to actually deliver it.

All these coaches say to just sell it first, and then you can create it later. But if you’re time-limited AND you’ve got the pressure of all these people waiting for that course, what’s going to happen?

Are you going to feel like you are at your best and delivering well? Or are you going to be burnt out, stressed out, freaked out, and second-guessing… and probably refund everyone and start over again?

Don’t assume that one-to-many is always better than one-to-one.

I fell for that… hard.

In my seventh month of business, I went to a webinar that told me that trading my time for dollars was capped… that my income was limited. But I hadn’t ever increased the price of my one-on-one package at that point. And I took that hook, line and sinker.

Whereas if I had just continued to sell one-on-one packages and slowly raised the price, I could have gone from the $15k months I was having then, to $30k months without changing my model, without changing my sales structure, and without taking on any more clients per week than I was already taking on.

I never had more than twelve clients a week in my business. And I had capacity for more of them. But I got so freaked out and scared by this fear-based marketing telling me that I was going to burn out, I was going to have too many clients, and my income was capped and didn’t count because it wasn’t passive.

I completely derailed my business.

I’m definitely all about screaming from the rooftops: Just because it’s one-to-many doesn’t mean it’s more profitable or that it’s a better use of your time when your time is limited.

That’s a really important one.

Those are two really important principles:

1. Reach is the most expensive and time-intensive part of your client attraction process, so we don’t want to just focus on reach and conversion. We want to include more nurture and invite than reach at this point.

2. One-to-one doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to take more time – one-to-one may actually be a better option for you.

That brings me to my third principle for time-limited businesses…

Principle 3: Build your client attraction process based on one-to-one strategies first

By building it on one-to-one strategies, you will ensure that you’re having lots of two-way conversations with people who are in your ideal client bracket.

You will also have the highest chance of conversion, you’ll be able to charge the highest ticket prices, you’ll have the fastest improvement in your messaging, you’ll get the most referrals, and you will have the most growth… because you are focused on high connection.

You are going to build relationships with every single person that you’re connecting with, instead of just being a passing article that someone read once and can’t remember who the author was.

Building your client attraction process on a one-to-one basis is often the fastest way to create that early growth and profitability in your business, especially if you have limited time (about eight hours a week).

If you had eight hours a week to start a business, I would recommend that you look for four one-to-one clients a week.

That’s 50% of your time. The other 50% of your time is focused on a one-to-one client attraction process. That’s it.

Keep it nice and simple, and get those clients coming in consistently.

The more consistently they’re coming in, the more you can increase the prices, and the more you can nail your messaging. That’s something that’s going to work at scale.

The more consistently you get that nailed, the more you can systemise it start to looking for opportunities to automate, outsource, and streamline that process far more effectively.

And you only had to take on four client sessions a week!

That’s all you have to do.

The price that you can charge per session for working with a client one-to-one far outweighs the price that you’re going to get from a low-ticket offer.

People will always perceive that working with you one-to-one gets them what they want faster and more effectively than doing it self-study or buying a low ticket offer.

You’re going to have less resistance to the sale and you’re going to have people far more ready to dive in because they trust that working with you one-to-one will get them the support and results they need.

You’re positioning yourself as a high-end provider in the market as well. You don’t ever have to compete on price.

It’s a really powerful way to get your business started.

I know that in a podcast episode like this, I’m not able to really dive into the depths of the strategy. But the good news for you is that I have decided for a limited number of people to open up my new course absolutely free of charge.

The course is called Side-Hustle Success.

Whether you are starting your business on the side of a job or whether you are time-limited for other reasons, this course will help you with tangible and practical strategies so that you can grow your business even with limited time.

Side-Hustle Success is a paid course, but for a limited time and for a limited number of people, you have the opportunity to grab it for FREE here: CLICK ME

(If you’ve missed out, still comment and we can let you know if free spaces are still available elsewhere, or send you a discount coupon.)

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist