Business - Setting the Vision and Tone in the Solo Professional's Practice - What Hours Will You Work?

Business Solo Professionals



Setting your hours of work can be a challenge task as there are many factors that will have an impact on this. Your needs and the needs of your market will have to be considered and a plan established to ensure that they are met in the best way possible.

YOUR NEEDS:

1. Because you are a sole practitioner, your income depends on your ability to practice. That means that the first priority must be to protect your health. Individuals who work too many hours without having good self-care usually end up burning out and then cannot work. You therefore need to balance work and pleasure, eating a nutritious diet, exercise and get enough rest. My grandpa used to say "If you have your health you can make your wealth".

2. Your financial needs will help to determine the number of hours you work. Start by determining the net annual income that you want. Then divide that number by the hourly fee you plan to charge. The result will give you the total number of hours that you need to work in that year. Then divide this by 50 (allow two weeks for holidays) and you will know the number of hours that you need to work each week. You will likely want to add a few more hours each week to allow for no shows, non-billable paperwork, statutory holidays or other circumstances that will interfere with your plan.

3. One of the advantages of owning your own business is that you have some freedom to alter your work hours. A child's school concert, visiting relatives or participating in professional development opportunities can be benefits of private practice. Remember, however, that you will need to make up the hours or your yearly goals will not be met.

4. There are always circumstances which cannot be predicted which will demand our time away from the business. A broken water pipe, illness or other emergencies will affect your work hours. Remember, however, that every hour that you are away from the office means that you will not be earning income. You also risk upsetting clients who were depending on you being there for their appointment time.

The Bible states "Man who does not work - does not eat". This also applies to women!

YOUR CLIENTS' NEEDS:

1. Although our world has become much more flexible with work shifts and days off, there are some clients who will need to have early morning, evening or weekend appointments. You need to consider whether you want to set your office hours to accommodate these people.

2. There are times that your clients will contact you and state that they cannot wait until their next appointment. It is therefore important that you are able to assess the urgency of the situation, communicate with them by telephone to determine a suitable arrangement and possibly schedule an appointment beyond your regular work hours.

I suggest that people live like set jello. You need to be firm but flexible. Start your business with a set schedule in mind but be open to changing them if your needs or the needs of your client seem to warrant it.

Remember...life is an adventure every step of the way. Have an attitude of adventure and you will be able to enjoy the trip!


Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com


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