What would your life look like if you only had to work 20 hours a week?
For a lot of small business owners and leaders, the thought of a 20-hour work week sounds too good to be true, but this is exactly what LaShonda Brown has managed to achieve thanks to her use of technology.
LaShonda is an award-winning Tech Educator, YouTube Coach, and Speaker. Through her YouTube channel, Bootstrap Biz Advice, and her virtual workshops, she teaches service providers how to work less and live more by leveraging tech and YouTube.
This week on Priority Pursuit, we chat with LaShonda about her strategies for a 20-hour work week and how small businesses can utilize technology to work less and live more.
A Typical 20-Hour Work Week
Again, as a small business owner, the concept of a 20-hour work week may seem impossible. How could you possibly fit everything you need to do into 20 hours? LaShonda admits that this isn’t something that you can do right at the start. You need to lay the groundwork for your business first and work up to it.
However, once you do, it can completely change how your work week looks.
Pour into Yourself
The way you begin your morning can set up how you go about your entire day. If you start by feeling frantic and stressed, you will likely bring that same energy to your work environment and not present your best self or your best work.
With this in mind, LaShonda explains the importance of starting the day by pouring into yourself. For LaShonda, this means a four-hour morning routine, however, it’s not the length that matters—it’s how you spend that time. Create a routine that works for you and allows you to be your best self throughout the day.
Whether it’s four hours or 30 minutes, a morning routine focused on pouring into yourself can make a world of difference.
When you love what you do, it’s often difficult to set concrete boundaries and hard ends to the work day. However, the lack of these boundaries can lead to burnout—no matter how much you truly enjoy what you’re doing.
LaShonda says a key component to preventing burnout is to tell yourself it’s okay to stop. With burnout, everything ceases to exist, and in this state, you can’t really do anything for your business. LaShonda shares she would rather do less in a day than do more and end up stuck.
Create a Community
As an entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time in front of screens and very little time interacting with other people. Utilizing coworking applications and spaces like Groove can create a sense of accountability, camaraderie, and community that will help you get more done in less time.
Check-In with Yourself
When it comes to running a small business and maintaining a schedule, LaShonda says it’s important to have a sense of self-awareness. Check-in with yourself to see what is truly working and what is no longer serving you. That way, you aren’t wasting precious time on processes that are not leading to what you are trying to accomplish.
The Meaning of Productivity
When it comes to shortening your work week, productivity is key. According to LaShonda, to be productive is to get done what you need to in your life and your business in the least amount of time possible.
Oftentimes, people think it’s about how much you can fit in a day or how you organize your tasks and space—but to LaShonda, if you aren’t getting faster at the tasks at hand, it’s not productive. You may be accomplishing tasks, but it’s not the most productive you could be.
Productivity is about having less, not more. It’s not someone cramming their calendar full of things or wearing their busyness like a badge of honor. Instead, having the mindset of productivity means looking at processes and tasks you do regularly and thinking about how you can make them faster, smoother, and more polished.
Self-Awareness and Productivity in Your Small Business
With so much going on in a small business, it can be overwhelming to try and decide where you want to focus your efforts. LaShonda states it all revolves around being self-aware—in both your personal and professional lives.
To start, it’s important to understand where your efforts are currently going.
LaShonda recommends taking an audit of your life and small business. Consider what it is you do and how you are spending your time. Oftentimes, our written calendars are missing a lot of what goes on in our daily lives—may it be hours spent doom-scrolling on Instagram or time spent daydreaming—and that time can make all the difference when it comes to productivity.
Try to figure out where exactly your time is being spent and whether or not these are profit-producing activities. Are these activities moving yourself or your business forward? Or are they something you feel obligated to do?
This also includes doing things you personally enjoy that may not be productive for your business. According to LaShonda, it’s crucial to keep your business and personal life separate. When she first started, she thought she would find her identity in her work and create friends with her clients. But while business may influence personal life, they are truly two separate entities and should be treated as such.
With this in mind, you need to be honest with yourself about what you use your time for, why you do so, and whether or not it is truly for the betterment of your business or self.
Values and Skills
Self-awareness goes beyond understanding where your time is spent. It influences the very core of your business and how you serve your clients.
People aren’t looking for cookie-cutter businesses. They want to work with people offering a unique and effective solution to their problem that matches their perspective. As such, LaShonda says you should lean into your individuality. She poses the question, “If you were to combine your values with your skillsets, what would that business look like?”
By leaning into the values you hold and the abilities you have, you will attract the people who share those same qualities, and your processes will become that much more joyful. As such, being self-aware can help you customize your processes and procedures to best match the goals of your small business and best serve your clients.
How Small Businesses Can Utilize Technology to Work Less on Content Development
While being self-aware and understanding the true meaning of productivity are your first steps to working less and living more—technology can play a major role in helping you make your business’s processes more efficient and effective—especially when it comes to content creation.
BigVu is a teleprompter app that makes recording reels and videos easier than ever! Once you upload your script, it will scroll across the top of the screen as you record your video using the front-facing camera—allowing you to read the script while appearing natural and confident in your video.
Async is a voice note app that allows you to send voice recordings to anyone with an email. LaShonda often found that her most meaningful interactions were happening over voice notes in her Instagram DMs. However, these are hard to keep track of and almost impossible to find again later.
Async allows her to utilize voice notes to meaningfully connect with clients and partners and consolidates these messages in an easy-to-navigate way so she can stay on top of her connections.
ManyChat is a versatile platform that enables businesses to create and automate responses to Instagram comments and messages. It's designed to streamline interactions with customers—providing tools for building engaging conversations, sending updates, and managing marketing campaigns.
For LaShonda, ManyChat has been especially helpful for maintaining high engagement without spending hours of her time responding to each individual notification. Even if she is not actively on the app, there is still a constant level of engagement.
What digital platforms you create content for will vary depending on your audience and business goals and capabilities. However, LaShonda believes that YouTube is a particularly useful tool when it comes to content creation.
While other social media platforms like Instagram act as a megaphone, constantly working to attract attention, YouTube acts like a telephone. The user searches for a specific topic or question and the platform responds by providing them with content that should be helpful.
With this search engine-based system, the user doesn’t need to know who you are to find your content. Likewise, you don’t need to fight for their attention as YouTube automatically generates this traffic of people who are prequalified to work with you as they are aware of a problem they have that you are a potential solution for.
On Instagram, however, you have to work to walk your audience through the buyer’s journey, from becoming aware of a problem all the way to deciding that your business holds the best solution. This results in a much longer and more arduous path to profitability.
Plus, YouTube content has a longer shelf life than Instagram reels. While a YouTube video posted four years ago can still be readily accessed upon a simple search, an Instagram reel is usually only actively seen for around two weeks.
If you can leverage the second-largest search engine to generate leads for your business, then you can essentially create the content and wait for the traffic. This allows you to operate in a mindset of service and takes the stress out of content creation as all you have to do is give value and make it very clear how they can work with you.
Advice for Embracing Technology in Your Small Business’s Digital Content
When it comes to starting to create digital content, LaShonda explains it’s important to remember it’s not that serious. People are not looking for a feature film—just an answer to their problem.
It seems that kids these days understand this. You can find countless creators on TikTok and YouTube who are making money by simply sitting on the floor talking to the camera—no editing, no planning, just talking.
LaShonda explains that as we get older and try to create content, we place more pressure on ourselves to perform in just the right way. However, people are not looking for a performance. They are instead looking for help. As such, all your content needs to do is communicate to people how you can help them.
And, as with any element of your small business, the way you do this can shift and change. Again, self-awareness is key. When things start to get overwhelming, take a look at your processes and find what is working and what isn’t.
Are you a good writer but not a great speaker? Use a teleprompter app when creating content that has you speaking to the camera. Maybe you’re better when talking to an audience rather than your camera. Create a live event on social media and interact with audience comments.
When you discover what works best for you and matches the unique values and goals of your business, you’ll be able to create quality content that meets the needs of your ideal audience.
Be sure to listen to this whole episode (at the top of the page or wherever you listen to podcasts) to hear more about LaShonda’s tips and tricks on how small businesses can utilize technology to work less. If you’d like to connect with LaShonda, you can sign up for her newsletter, find her on LinkedIn, or visit her website https://www.lashondabrown.com/.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Check Out LaShonda’s Workshops, Coaching, and More
- Access LaShonda’s Online Tools and Resources
- Sign Up For LaShonda’s “Videos That Serve” Newsletter
- Receive 50% Off Your First Year of HoneyBook
- Try ShowIt for One Month for Free
- Learn More About Treefrog’s Small Business Marketing Resources & Services
- Join the Priority Pursuit Facebook Community
- Follow or DM Treefrog Marketing on Instagram
- Follow or DM Kelly Rice on Instagram
- Follow or DM Victoria Rayburn on Instagram
The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.
Did you enjoy this episode?
If so, pin it to save it for later! Follow us on Pinterest for more marketing, business, branding, and boundary-setting strategies!