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The secret to working less so you can make more with Shay Cochrane

💡Imagine full-time productivity while working part-time hours

As independent business owners, we sometimes feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get stuff done. What if you only had 16 hours a week to create a thriving and impactful business? What would you focus on? How exactly would you spend your time? 

Shay Cochrane, a commercial photographer, product stylist, and the CEO of Élevae Visuals, joins us to talk about how she has built multiple six-figure businesses while only working 16 hours a week.

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Building a six-figure business working on part-time hours

Shay started her wedding and portrait photography business straight out of college. While it was successful for a few years, a series of major life changes made it difficult to keep up with her business’s physical and emotional demands. 

Becoming a mom meant that she had to run her business in a new way that didn’t require so much of her, so she left the wedding industry and pivoted into commercial photography. While her new direction allowed her to own her time more than she could before, she still didn’t feel like she was successful as both a mom and a business owner.

Shay determined that she could only afford 16 hours a week of childcare, so she had to fit her work schedule into that time. She pivoted her business again and started selling styled stock photography. That business morphed into Élevae Visuals, a stock photography membership for entrepreneurs. 

How to build a business to fit different seasons of your life

If you want to be an entrepreneur for the long haul, you have to realize that your business will look different in different seasons of your life. 

One way to make it work throughout various seasons is to create a business that doesn’t solely rely on you. If you want to work fewer hours, you need to have a team that doesn’t rely on you to do their jobs. For Shay, that means that she has other team members that can shoot images.

If you want your business to work for you, you need to create the kind of business you’ll want to run in five or ten years. 

Why working fewer hours can bring in more revenue

Did you know that 80% of what business owners spend their time on is not related to revenue growth? That means that if you work 40 hours a week, 32 of those hours are not spent bringing in more revenue. 

Working fewer hours gave Shay a higher return on investment for her time. She had to make extremely strategic decisions about where and how she was spending her time. Her strategy to focus more of her available time on revenue-growth activities allowed her to make progress in a shorter time frame. 

Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fit the amount of time you give it. When you work 40 hours a week, your work will take 40 hours a week. On the other hand, when you give yourself a shorter time frame to work, your work will take less time to get done. 

If you aren’t sure how to fit all of your work into a shorter time frame, use this question from Tim Ferriss: If you were given a horrible health diagnosis and your doctor said you could only work four hours a week, what would you continue to do to create revenue in your business?

How to conduct an 80/20 analysis of your business

To determine the right amount of hours that you want to work and make it work for your business, you need to conduct experiments and analyze the results. You can learn how Shay does her 80/20 analyses here.

In an 80/20 analysis, you list out everything you’re doing with your work hours. Everything from answering emails to posting on social media to taking out your office trash should go on the list. Next, identify the things on the list that you have to do to bring in revenue and the activities that are not tied to generating revenue. 

Look at your list and determine what items actually need your voice, face, or a skill that only you can do. For this to work, you have to get rid of the mindset that you have to do everything to make your business run. What things could you delegate off your list? What things can you automate? What things can you stop doing entirely?

The entrepreneurs who win big in life, in terms of their health and their business, take the time to figure out this process so that they can work less and earn more. The key is to conduct an 80/20 analysis at least once a year so that you can reconfigure your work to fit into your available time.

What to do when you aren’t seeing success in your business

If you’re working hard in your business and the needle isn’t moving forward, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have a proven product that people are asking for?
  2. Are there other models of success for your product or business type?
  3. Out of all the products and services you offer, what is working and what isn’t?

Do an 80/20 analysis on your products to determine which ones are bringing in revenue and which ones aren’t. Additionally, look at where your leads are coming from versus where you spend most of your time.

From there, you can determine how to spend your time and whether you need to let go of some products in order to double down on the ones that are working for you.

You get to decide what entrepreneurship looks like for you

No one is going to sort out your business for you, so you have to decide what entrepreneurship looks like for you. You don’t have to be exhausted, overworked, and putting your personal life at risk. You can decide how much you want to work and how much you want to make and figure out how to fit your business into your life.

The biggest differentiator between businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Shay believes that the biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail is discipline. Focusing on what you are good at and where you can win requires disciplined focus and action. 

Important sections of the conversation:

  • [2:11] Shay’s journey to building a six-figure business working only 16 hours a week
  • [14:00] How to build a business that fits into various seasons of your life
  • [16:54] Why working fewer hours brings in more revenue
  • [25:18] How to conduct an 80/20 analysis
  • [33:31] What to do when you aren’t seeing success in your business
  • [41:20] You get to decide what entrepreneurship looks like for you
  • [45:46] The biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Resources mentioned

Connect with the guest

Episode Transcript

Akua Konadu
as independent business owners, we sometimes feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get stuff done. But what if you only had 16 hours a week to create a thriving and impactful business? What would you focus on? How exactly would you spend your time? Well, today on the podcast, we get a glimpse into how this is done. Shea Cochran, a commercial photographer, product stylist and the CEO of Elevate visuals, joins us on the show to talk about how she has built multiple six figure businesses while only working 16 hours a week. Now this episode, we cover a lot, we talk about Shay’s story of how she started her business, the mindset shifts that we need to make in order to work smarter, not harder, and how to create a business where you are not sacrificing the things that mean the most to you. Che reminds us that the life and business that we truly want is possible. Now let’s get into the episode. Hey, everyone, this is your host Akua konadu. And you’re listening to the independent business podcast, more people than ever are working for themselves and building profitable businesses in the process. So on this show, I get to sit down with some of the most influential authors, entrepreneurs and creators to break down the science of self made success so that you can achieve it too.

Akua Konadu
Hello, hello, Shea How are we doing? I’m so good. So excited to be here. I know, I’m so excited to have him you’ve already just been chatting and laughing. And I’m just like, we have to record so we are nervous, never start. Right. And we just want to bring people in on the goodness. So I’m really, really excited for today’s conversation. Because I feel like you know, you have a really amazing story. You have built some successful businesses, all while working 16 hours a week, which is just mind blowing to me. But I’m excited to hear more of your journey, I know that our audience is gonna be able to take so much from you. So I’m really, really excited. So thank you for being here. Yeah. Thanks for having me. Of course. Okay, so let’s let’s get into it. Because I’m really curious to know, like, share with us what has your journey looked like? Like what inspired you to start a business, then you were able to build like multi six figure businesses, while working 16 hours a week? Like what what did that journey look like? Yeah,

Shay Cochrane
okay, so I’m trying to try to make it the shortest version of that story possible so that I don’t bore you. I have always had the entrepreneurial gene. So like, I was hustling things on the playground, like I was selling frozen Kool Aid and Styrofoam cups out of my friend door, growing up on a military base. So there’s an aspect of that, that has just always been in me. So when I graduated from college, I was like, I’m gonna start a business. I was interested in photography. So I did what you know, everyone who’s interested in photography does, you become a wedding and portrait photographer, because you’re told that’s the only way that you can make money. So I did that pretty much right out of college and did that for a while I did that pretty successfully for a few years, four or so years. And then post college when I started having we moved, we started having kids, it’s the middle of the recession in 2009. So I my husband loses his job, we’re in a new place new state 1000 miles away from family, new mortgage, new baby, and I’m trying to make the wedding photography thing work. But that is a very exhausting job. physically exhausting job emotionally exhausting job, especially when you’re also trying to be a new mom, I mean, going and shooting a wedding 12 hours a day, like leaving a reception at one o’clock in the morning just doesn’t really work when you have a baby in the home. So I found myself no longer creatively fueled by that work. And also, it just didn’t really fit with my season of life once I started having kids. So I kind of had a little bit of an existential crisis of like, I want to work I’ve got 1000s and 1000s of dollars of photography equipment, I’m decently good at it. I know I don’t want to do weddings anymore. We desperately need money. At this point, we’re on food stamps, like it was a really, really tight financial time for us. But I wanted to own my time differently. Running a business the way I did before I had kids, all of a sudden didn’t work when my life became very unpredictable. And you have little kids, you can have the best schedule, but it’s just best schedule on paper, but it’s very, very unpredictable. So my way of life as an entrepreneur before wasn’t working with my new way of life in that season. So it’s like well, what am I going to do and I dragged my feet for probably a year of getting wedding inquiries, knowing I really didn’t want to do it, but also knowing we needed the money also wanting to be done with that type of work. And eventually I just after a very long time, worked up the guts to say, you know, I’m I’m no longer going to be a wedding photographer. I really want to try my hand at commercial photography. So product styling product photography, didn’t know whether I’d be able to do it. i It was just kind of like a feel like that’d be fun. I like working with my hands. Maybe I could do this. But at some point, you know, I had to just decide that I was it was worth the risk, and that I was going to free up my time stop taking wedding stuff and in one fell swoop. I remember the night sitting in the living room with my husband, we’re watching I think it was like Biggest Loser. Remember that show? Yeah, that’s it, I’m doing it. And I like left the room and went to my office that at that time was in the guest room. And I pulled down in like 30 minutes pull down like eight years worth of a wedding and portrait photography portfolio, changed the like heading on the website to like commercial photographer. And that was it, I was committed to making that happen. So for the next few years, I did work as a commercial and product stylist and I got to shoot for really incredible brands I Simplified Planner, Emily Leigh was my very first client really, really beautiful partnership, I got to work for truffle bags, and pure Fiji skincare and sugarfina Candy, I was shooting for sugarfina candy for years and loved it. And I was able to own my time a little bit differently. But also knew around that time was when I was starting to feel the poll in my own heart that I didn’t do mothering and business ownership at the same time very well. And to be honest with you, I feel like that, in that tension, I really was missing out on my daughter’s life because I found myself resenting motherhood instead of resenting my clients and there’s this constant pull between like my, my new baby needs me but like, my clients need me and to be honest with you, you feel way more valued and important, doing like sending an invoice and collecting one and then nursing again for like the 10th hour that day. So I felt that tension really heavily when I was trying to balance both. And I just got to the point where I was like, I don’t want to live like this, I wanted to be a mom, I chose to become a mom, I don’t want to resent being a mom and what that requires. So I’m gonna have to change things. So that my work week and my life is aligned with what I say my priorities are and where my heart really is. So it was that plus being broke. Okay, so like stamps, barely able to pay the bills. I think we were making literally $500 A month as a couple because my husband was volunteering as a worship leader at our church and all that they could kind of give us like a $500 month stipend. And that was it. It was I could only afford from the money that I was bringing in to hire 16 hours a week of childcare. Okay, so now we’re getting to like, why 16 hours, I can only afford 16 hours of childcare. And I knew mentally that I really wanted to give most of my time to motherhood. And then I wanted to give like, okay, maybe I’ll give two days a week, slash that’s what I can afford to my business and building this business. I love being an entrepreneur, I love my work. I felt like I was relatively decent at it. So that’s when the challenge became, alright, how do you build a successful business? Multiple successful businesses in 16 hours a week? How do you even do that? So the commercial work morphed into, Oh, this isn’t serving my season of life anymore. I couldn’t just drop everything to fly to LA to shoot a catalog or to reshoot something, or to you know, I was shooting for some, like some celebrity clientele at the time, too. And it’s just kind of like, can you come tomorrow? And like the answer when you’re young mom was like, No, I can’t. Tomorrow, I don’t have childcare. So even that, at one point, like after a little while, it wasn’t working for me anymore. And so that morphed into creating and selling styled stock, because practically speaking, I was like, you know, I really just want to in this season of life with little kids at home, I want to be able to shoot whatever I want, whenever I want. And it be useful for female business owners, which was just a group that I really, really love and resonate with female entrepreneurs. And that’s how originally it was the SC stock shop. And then that has morphed and morphed and iterated and iterated into what it is now, which is elevate visuals, which is, you know, I just tried to pull all of my experience as a commercial photographer, creating images for a list brands and funnel that into an image membership, where any entrepreneur for a much lower price point could have access to the same images that the big brands were using the same types of images that big brands were using for the digital marketing. So that’s how elevate visuals came to being and I think I didn’t really I didn’t I never know it would be become a thing until people like Marie Forleo. And Jenna Kutcher and every girl were like using my images to promote their stuff, they’re using them on Instagram using them on Pinterest. And that’s when it was kind of settling in that, oh, I really have something here. And I, I really strongly feel like the world needs women to succeed in the marketplace and also succeed at home. But like, we need women’s voice and creativity and ideas in the marketplace. So I just want to use my skill set, which is just photography, to help them get their ideas and messaging out to the world. But I also don’t want to compromise, who I want to be as a wife, and a mom and a friend in my care for myself, my care for my family. So all of that to say that was such a long answer. But that was kind of the origin of the 16 hours, what it’s looked like, why I built it, how it’s morphed. And what it is today in elevate visuals, stock image and video membership. And all of that all along was just had to be built in 60. A week, I mentioned just kept because I can make man if I can do this, if I can make this a journey in 16 hours a week, I’m not gonna work more than that I want to I want to have a life. So it just I’d really intentionally tried to keep it that way, even when I didn’t have to, and my kids are old enough to go to school full time. And

Akua Konadu
oh my gosh, okay, I loved every second of it. So you were definitely not rambling at all, this was so impactful. And I just love just a couple of things within your journey. Number one, just highlighting how scrappy right as business owners like that’s something that you can’t teach, right? A lot of it’s just you have to wait, make it work. And you have to figure it out with whatever it is that you have, what you have in the current season isn’t enough, like you just have to make it work. And you did, but also too, you just pivot it every single time. And I love that I think we have a tendency to feel like, okay, this is the decision that we’ve made in our business. And this is where I’m sticking to right. And sometimes our life changes all the time things evolve, like, you know, again, evolution of who we are as a person, our values change, and every single time you adjusted and change things, and let go of things that were no longer serving you for something bigger, that was more in line with where your life was currently at at the time. And I think that’s such a beautiful thing as entrepreneurs, it’s like, how we started is not how we have to, you know, finish. Like there’s, there’s more than one chapter in our story. And just the way that your business has evolved just so beautifully. I mean, every single thing that you started has an even though you’ve closed one chapter, it has led and prepared you for the next which has been amazing to see as to where now you have these beautiful stock images that everyday business owners like myself can utilize. And so like the impact that you’re making, is absolutely amazing. And again, doing it 16 hours, is is wild, but also to the way that you’re honoring yourself and honoring them of really important relationships to you, I think is so beautiful. Because I say this all the time, like we are more than our businesses. And in order to have a successful business, we have to be able to also be fulfilled, be fulfilled in the relationships that we have in our life, the hobbies, you know, that we want to do, and travel or whatever those things, whatever that looks like for you, you have to honor yourself and honor of the people that mean the most to you in order to have a successful business. So I love how you continuously put being a mom or wife, friend, you know, putting those things at the forefront and shaping your business around that which just it just ties up so like holistically, just amazing which and I know it wasn’t easy to get there, right. It’s not an easy thing to do. But the fact is, is that you’re doing it and the fact that it shows that it’s possible for us to also be able to do that. So thank you so much for like sharing that because that wasn’t easy. Absolutely. So another question that I have is, what were some of the major lessons that you learned? Number one, how were you structuring your time? I think that was one and then two, what were some of the major lessons that you have learned while building your business in this way?

Shay Cochrane
Yeah. Okay. So I’m going to answer to two parts. Okay. Two major lessons. And the second lessons really, I think what will clarify the like, the 16 hours and what that can look like for the average person and what that look like, for me. I mean, number one lesson that I’ve learned in business, and now I’ve been entrepreneur for 18 years now. So longtime businesses look very different in different seasons. We talked about some of that. So I’ve done a lot of entrepreneurship. At this point. One of the lessons that I’ve learned is that I really don’t ever want my business to depend on me. I never want an owner dependent company, or an owner dependent brand. Now, that’s a personal choice that’s not prescriptive for everyone. And we know the power that personality brands can have. That’s a choice. And that’s wonderful. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for me, the way that I like to live the pace that I want to live at my circumstance It says my family life, the things that I prioritize. Having a team, that’s an owner dependent team doesn’t really work for me, especially if you’re only working 16 hours a week, right? I can’t be the bottleneck, they can’t be waiting on an answer for me, until I’m back in the you know, I’m like in office on Thursday, and then I’m not back in the office until Tuesday, I had to build a team that was not an owner dependent team. And I did not always do that very well, I’m still learning how to do that better. But I also very strategically, never wanted to build a brand that was dependent on me. So for example, now, I’m not the only one that shoots images for the catalog, really, they don’t need me, we’ve got amazing contributing photographers all over the US, even outside of the US. So that was just a choice. And that was, I think, a lot of times as entrepreneurs, we were kind of nearsighted. And we’re just like, I’m gonna build it with whatever I can do now. And I’m, I’m a big proponent of build the business that you want to have five years from now, or 10 years from now, because the the logic is, well, I’m just gonna do this, because this is what I got to do. And I’ve got a hustle, and it’ll all pay off later. And then I’ll adjust it later. It’s very hard to pivot later, it’s very hard to change your work habits to change the expectations of your clients or to change expectations of your team. It’s very hard to make that shift later, especially if you are seeing any measure of success. So I’m a big fan of building the business that you want to see later in your next season of life. Go ahead and build that business now. And so for me that look like it not being owner dependent. It looks like hiring people that are smarter than me, I know that I can only take things so far. So just having the mindset from the beginning that this cannot be about me my skill, my level, my ability, my knowledge, my availability, so making sure that it’s not owner dependent. But then the second lesson that I think has been the most powerful lesson for me as an entrepreneur, most impactful lesson for me, is, and I learned this accidentally, and that’s it limiting your hours is actually a secret hack for catapulting revenue growth is actually a secret hack for catapulting revenue growth. So how in the world is that? Is that even possible? You and I both know, because I know, you’ve heard this before that statistically, at 80%, of what you are doing as an entrepreneur, is almost a complete waste of time from a revenue perspective. Oh, that’s like

Akua Konadu
yes, absolutely

Shay Cochrane
gut punch, but statistically speaking, 80% of what you’re doing each week, expecially in the early stages of business, because you just you don’t know. So you’re trying all the things and you just you know, you’re really not sure what’s working yet, but 80%. So what that means is that if you’re working 40 hours a week, 32 of those hours are not really moving the revenue needle very much, right? That’s the 8020 principle, and only eight, eight of your hours are actually generating 80% of your revenue. Okay, this is crazy, when you really stop and think about it. So 16 hours, the forced limitation, because it was all that I could afford, because it was all my my business was bringing in when I started 16 hours, became a really powerful filter and catalyst for growth, because and I think my revenue grew so quickly because of those limitations. Because what what had to happen was that I had to identify the 20% of my time. So let’s, you know, 20% of 40 hours to eight hours. How would I make sure that that was generating the 80% of the revenue so really became a filter that allowed me to make better decisions about a higher ROI, a higher return on the investment of my time. And then think about it. If you cut your work hours, if this is just math, like you can 2x 3x 4x your business revenue just using this one tool, because if you took if you really identified what you would be what you’d have to do in eight hours to generate revenue or what what was the eight hours worth of work that 20% of work that was actually generating 80% of your revenue. And you say Shay, I don’t care I don’t want to work 16 hours a week are or don’t want to work eight hours a week, I want to work 16 hours a week, you can then double your revenue working 16 hours a week because you know what was actually generating the revenue and the First place, and you found a way to focus on just that. So if you want to work 30 hours a week, or you want to work 40 hours a week, but you know what that 20% is, and you can commit to just doing that finding a way to only do that 20%, then you’re talking about 2x 3x 4x 5x, you’re the revenue that you’re making with whatever amount of hours that you want to work. So that’s what I mean, by limiting your hours is actually in an incredible catalyst for growth, because it just forces you to make the difficult but strong, more strategic decisions about what is actually worth your time. Does that make sense? I mean, it’s just, I really firmly believe it’s not that you can make money in spite of those boundaries, it’s a you can actually make more revenue because of those boundaries of those visitors. It’s just like a mental hack or a revenue hack. Oh,

Akua Konadu
yeah, I mean, just instantly, because how many times I know myself, like, I never have enough hours in the day. That’s always what I’m constantly thinking as a business owner, is that I never have enough hours. That’s why I couldn’t get this done. But it’s true. Like, we are literally doing tasks that are not making us money. Yeah.

Shay Cochrane
And also, if you include is it, I think maybe it’s Pareto principle that’s like work will swell to fill the amount of time that you give it. So if you give yourself 40 hours a week, amazing, you will always have 40 hours a week. If you or more, you’ll never finish it, you know, like, but if you give yourself only 20 hours to work, you will have 20 hours of work to do, you will find a way to squeeze your work down to 20 hours. And I’ve just kind of tested that to an extreme. But you give yourself 60 hours you’re gonna make Well, I couldn’t possibly work less because I always have 60 hours of work to do well. Unfortunately, unless you’ve already done the 8020 analysis and dialed it and dialed it and dialed it, most of what you’re doing is not actually moving the ball down the field. Yeah,

Akua Konadu
oh my gosh, it is it’s that mindset shift. Because again, like I said, we always feel like we don’t have enough time in the day. But it forces you to number one have to really like you said dial it back, like really sitting down and thinking, Okay, what does this season of my life look like? And so it’s like, you can make money, no matter how many hours you’re working in your business, which is just it’s again, that that shift, like my mind is like, oh my gosh, that’s so true. And now I’m already in my mind thinking of these things that haven’t been serving me well in my business. So what do I need to maybe maybe not revisited right now, like in this season, if I’m trying to make this amount of revenue? What do I need to do to get to this amount of revenue in this season of my life? And I think that’s just so important. A great

Shay Cochrane
question to ask yourself, when you’re doing this kind of mental experiment comes from Tim Ferriss and the four hour workweek, he has this he sets up this whole situation where it’s like, if you that you were having all these health issues, and you went into the doctor, and the doctor said, you have a bad heart, and you’re gonna die if you keep working at the pace that you’re working. And if you you’re only going to be allowed to work four hours a week, if you could only work four hours a week, what would you do to continue to make revenue in your business? Alright, that’s a great question. Okay. What would I do if I could literally only work four hours? What would I do? So if you were a coach, for example, you probably have to be on the coaching calls, like that’s how you’re going to you’re that’s when you’re literally invoicing for right? And then he asked, he makes it even harder. And he says, Well, what if you could only work two hours a week? What would you do? So those are such helpful questions to get yourself thinking like, man, what is actually driving revenue? And what isn’t driving revenue? And then, you know, the question after that is like, Well, what do I need to do versus what can somebody else do so that I can make sure that I’m focused on the things that are actually bringing in dollars?

Akua Konadu
Yes, I love that. That’s so so important. And I think too, is just a reminder of, like, 16 hours worked for you. So it’s like, whatever hours for you, as business owners that were right, like, that is okay, I want to work 20 hours, like you don’t have to start it where it’s like, you know, really, really tight where it’s like, okay, maybe where you feel discouraged. It’s like, start somewhere. But I think that exercise of like, if I really only had to work four hours a week, because it’s true, like life happens in our business, things happen all the time, we have no control with how things are gonna play out. And so it’s like, preparing your business of what it’s gonna look like five years down the road now, I think is so so important. And I think that’s such a good reminder, because I know so many of us, like, when we’re especially when we’re starting our business, right? Or if seasons, you know, things have come up crazy, where it’s like, oh my gosh, like, what do I do and you’re in survival mode, you’re just trying to hurry up and make it to the next day. And we all have those seasons, but at some point, you have to be like, alright, like now, what can I do to make sure that my business is going to be here five years from now 10 years from now 20 years from now. And so as somebody you’ve been in the game for 18 years, I think it’s, I mean, it’s just a prime example of like, these are key things that you need to have in order to To build a sustainable business, really key mindset shifts that you need to have in order to build a sustainable business. So these lessons have been amazing. So, so helpful. And so another question is, is as you were experimenting, because you said that, like you’ve had to dial in and like, how did you know where to spend your time? What did that experimentation look like?

Shay Cochrane
Yeah. So that experimentation is a great word for it. Because it, it changed. I mean, the industry would change like the client, what the clients needed would change. So it was constant iteration, which we talked about in the beginning. But very practically speaking, I would do a literal 8020 analysis at least once a year, if not twice a year. And if you’re not familiar with what a 8020 analysis is, I, I do have a guide that walks you through, like how to do your own 8020 analysis, I think you can, it’s like how to work less and earn more, and it’s an elevate more. So this

Akua Konadu
will kind of walk you through that in the show notes. Yeah, elevate

Shay Cochrane
More, that will walk you through how I did an 8020 analysis. But this was really critical, because that’s where you’re listing out. Everything, everything that you’re doing period, like everything from answering emails to posting on social media, everything, everything, everything, emptying the trash in your office, literally everything. And then you’re identifying for yourself what those things are, that are that you have to do to bring in revenue, meaning like, if you could only work four hours a week, what would you do? So when I was a wedding photographer, it was like, I would show up and shoot the wedding or I was not going to be able to invoice. So what is the thing that’s most directly connected to revenue, and then you’re learning is that you end up with a pile of like things that attract that are actually tied to revenue, and then things that are not directly tied to revenue. And then you’re kind of sifting through those things as well. What are the things that need my voice or need my face or need my skill set that only I can do? Now, this is where we got to stop, because entrepreneurs think that they are the only ones that can do anything right in their business, right? We’re so like, I’m the only one that understands I’m the only one who has the voice. I’m the only one who’s going to do it at this level. So we got to get rid of that mindset. There are people that can do things just as good as us, if not better. So yet, we have to be willing to delegate in order to move forward in this, you can’t think that it has to be done by you. But when you really look at what needs my voice, what needs my unique skill set, what needs my face, what can only be done by me, you end up with another pile of like, what do I have to do and what can be done by someone else, or automated, right? We’ve got so many automation tools now, or just deleted entirely. And that’s a Tim Ferriss concept as well, that’s that automate delegate, delete concept, but very practically, I was doing this. So the here’s the thing, this may not be new information to you all listening to this. But how many of you have actually done it? Right, we’ve heard about the ad 20. We’ve heard about the concept, we can maybe get behind it, I don’t know, maybe we’re a little bit skeptical. But very few entrepreneurs, or let me put it this way, the entrepreneurs who win big in life in terms of like their health, they’re thriving, and also when big in terms of revenue and business growth are the ones that have the discipline, to sit and actually figure this out, and then refigure it out, and then refigure it out, you know, six months later, and then do it like actually do it. So an example would be most, most online businesses need some kind of have some kind of digital marketing component, right, they’re going to be on a platform like Instagram or Pinterest. These can be really key lead drivers. So you’re like, Shay, that’s super important. It’s super important that I’m on there. If I’m not on there, I might not have clientele. But if creating image content, shooting, styling, editing, Canva designing or even the hours that it takes to go search for images online, Google search for images across various sites, that’s going to take up so much more of your time. And if you’re a coach doing that, what like we’ll use our same example. What do you actually really need to be doing, you actually need to be coaching. So that’s where you can delegate automate. In this instance, you can delegate content creation like that to a site like elevate visuals, where we’re going to create the images for you. And you’re going to save 10 plus hours a month that you would have spent creating content and now you take those 10 hours a month, and you do more coaching, like you do the thing that’s actually going to increase your revenue, or you invest in yourself in your skill set and you learn how to be better at what you’re doing so that you can charge more so that kind of I just I really had to to dial in, right, if I had to work, I didn’t have a choice, I had to work 16 hours, I had to really figure out what I needed to do and what I didn’t, and then be willing to automate, or delegate, or just say, I’m just not even going to do that I just can’t be on that platform. Or I just can’t do that great idea. I just can’t do it right now. So I said no to a lot of things I don’t do at all. I’m not everywhere. I never have been, I never wanted to be. But I think it’s the people that are really disciplined about figuring out what they need to do and what they can delegate to somewhere else to another resource, something like that, are the ones that really win and thrive at the same time. Which

Akua Konadu
is possible, right? Like, I think sometimes in business, we’re like, it’s either one or the other. And it’s like, no, you started your business, and you could have more freedom or, you know, focus on the things that are important to you, or, you know, improve your health, right, or whatever those reasons are, and you don’t have to choose because I always see, it’s always been a joke on like Tiktok, and Instagram, I’ve always seen like, oh, yeah, I left my nine to five only to work 20 472

Shay Cochrane
weeks off a year of vacation to know, weeks off a year, because you take your laptop with you, and you’re still answering emails on vacation, like, it’s so true, you go from like, working of commercial corporate job, to, to, for a boss to like being an even worse boss than your old boss was because you don’t give yourself weekends and you don’t give yourself vacations and you don’t give yourself evenings off. So it’s crazy. And I think I just, I want to be one voice saying, it doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t have to be that way. But you have to stop the forward momentum, frenetic momentum, that is entrepreneurship, right, you’re just like, late and behind. And there’s too much and I don’t have time to stop and think about what I need to do, I just need to do, you have to be willing to take the time to stop and rethink those things regularly in order to reset. So I would take something like the guide that we have, I would literally take and work through that I would take like one day, or once a year or twice a year, I’d go away to a hotel for the day. And I would walk through that kind of process. So that I could tweak and refine, tweak and refine, tweak and refine.

Akua Konadu
I love that though I think again, boundaries are so key, like really honoring yourself really honoring those around you of like, again, that discipline, like boundaries are what I think are just so important to be able to do a lot of what you do. And so, so, so key and so helpful. And another question I have is, you know, because like you said, I also want to add this too, because you said this earlier that this may not be new to people that are listening, we feel like as business owners that there is like the secret to being successful when a lot of the times like the answer is literally right in front of you. And it’s pretty simple. A lot of the times and I think to your point of just taking the time to actually see like doing those those key things of slowing down. Keeping that honoring yourself and taking that time to yourself is so so big, and it can help you just give you so much clarity that you need to be able to prepare propel you for your business. And so a question that I have is for the business like right, there’s so many of us, like if there’s businesses that are really struggling, right, and they’re like I’m spending all this time and I’m not seeing anything at all, I’m not moving the needle, like what would you say to some of those business owners?

Shay Cochrane
Well, that’s a complex question. Because if you’re literally not bringing in any money, then we got to go all the way back to like, is it a proven product? Do you know that people want this? Are people asking for it? Do you see other models of success? So there’s that whole side of the answer to that question, which is like, is it a good business idea? Or isn’t it I mean, maybe if it’s not working, maybe it’s just like flat out. And maybe the way that you could find that out is by finding someone in the industry who’s doing what you want to be doing and and learn from them, like pay them for a little bit of their time and figure out what it is that they’re doing that’s working and what the differences between what you’re doing so let’s that to the site, let’s assume you have a great product that you know that people want and you have at least a little bit of momentum, right people are buying it. That’s where it takes the discipline to say, alright, what am i How can I track the little things that have been working? How can I stop and an attribute that dollar came from there, whether it was Instagram or email or word of mouth, or you know, some SEO, whatever it is, I think if they can really fight that frenetic feeling of I’m behind it’s not getting done. I have to do all of it. Set aside a little bit of time to say okay, what is working like of all the products I’m offering, do an 8020 analysis Have the products you’re offering. Because the same statistic holds true for that, for products and services, 80% of your products and services are probably not generating any revenue, but 20% of them. And that might be one product is generating all the revenue that you’re bringing in. So if you are willing to stop and look at the numbers and say, Okay, well, I’m trying to do all this stuff, but the only thing that’s selling for me over here is is this thing. How could I? Or would you be willing to consider doubling or tripling down on just that product or just that service? And can you add 20, where all your leads are coming from? Maybe they’re all coming from word of mouth, but you’re spending all this time over here? And just be willing to do the hard and scary thing of doubling down and tripling down on? What it what is that thing that you can tell that is working and ignore the noise of everything else that everyone else is saying that you need to be doing? Or that you see everyone else doing? So again, there’s two parts to that it’s not, it’s not a one size fits all answer if you’re if you don’t feel like businesses working, but if business is working, and you can’t sustain this pace, which is, you know, probably a lot of people that are like, I’m exhausted, my marriage is struggling, I’m not the parent I want to be I’m super irritated. My friends say I’m always busy, I can’t, you know, like, I don’t have time for them, my health is suffering, I’m not eating, and I’m just like work is just consuming me, then those are the people that I really want to stop. Give yourself a day to figure this out, work through that guide. Really figure this out your life, and the success of your business really does depend on it. But it is possible to be more profitable than what you’re being currently by adjusting the things that you’re working on, and really getting smart about what you are putting your effort and energy and resources behind.

Akua Konadu
So good. I mean, just you’ve been dropping so many good gems throughout this whole episode. Oh my gosh, yeah, it’s like taking that time taking the day to just really sit down and break it down to see realistically where things are at. And I think it also really helps. And I’ve said this before, to where it just where it where you’re not so attached to the results, it really helps you look at your business objectively where like you remove the emotions out of it to really make those very strategic data driven decisions. And so when you feel like okay, I’m failing in this area, right, our emotions take over, especially if we’re not hitting our goals or meeting the expectations that we have for ourselves, when you actually just sit down and put it on paper, put it pen to paper, and doing some of these exercises, you’re like, Oh, hey, like, I deserve to celebrate myself here. Because even though I’m not meeting my goals, but this is going really well. So like, Let’s lean into that, let’s celebrate, but also to Let’s lean into that. And then how can we again, like hone in on it to make more to make more revenue. So I absolutely love that

Shay Cochrane
be open minded to what actually works for you. Like you just I know, we were like, I want to do this. And this is what’s gonna look like and it’s because we saw someone else do it or whatever it is. But it you may find out that there’s a certain there’s something else that you might be really good at within that. And if you’re willing to just be open handed about what business looks like you can build a really successful business. So an example that I have is a really good friend of mine, who runs an amazing website for moms who have lost children either in their stomach or new infant loss. Beautiful website, incredible resources. And it’s mostly a ministry like there, she doesn’t generate a lot of revenue from it. But she’s also a graphic designer. So that that’s called the morning the She also happens to be in her past life, a graphic designer, and once a year, she creates these wall calendars for entrepreneurs to help them plan out their life. Let me tell you, those things sell like hotcakes like absolute hotcakes, and she can make money to support her the thing that she wants to do her passion work over here by selling a calendar on Etsy, mostly in January, like that’s when all those stuff comes in. So I think she could either say, Oh, my business is a failure. It’s not working. I’m just gonna, I’m gonna like work harder. Or she could say like, oh, this thing’s working like this little thing over here that I wasn’t expecting is actually working like how can I just be strategic with that little thing to fund what I want to be doing? So it’s it’s that willingness to also be open minded about what it might mean for you to be an entrepreneur and what you’re actually gifted at and what people actually want from you versus what you want them to want from you. What are the They actually want what are they actually buying? What are they actually asking for? Sorry, I could just ramble forever on this stuff. But

Akua Konadu
I mean, amazing, please write me this is, it is so good and so helpful. And I think a lot of people listening because I also like you’re just so relatable. I feel like there’s a lot of people that are going to be able to relate to your story in some capacity, and just see like, okay, these things are possible for me, I can build the business that I want, right? Like, it doesn’t have to look a certain way, be open minded, and just watch what will happen. And I think I just think all the time with my own entrepreneurial journey, the most monumental moments have happened to me all by just being open and saying yes, and I’m like, I don’t have the plan. I’m just gonna like, the universe. And we’ll just bring it to me, right? Like, I’m just open minded about it. And I think that can help you and just shape your journey so beautifully. And what you thought, what, what it would look like, I feel I swear, like, what will happen is 10 times way better. So I absolutely. And so this company has been amazing. So I really, I want to know, I want to know what some of your hot takes are on entrepreneurship, because you’ve already just given us so many different hot takes. I want to know if you have any more to give us. Yeah,

Shay Cochrane
I mean, listen, you get to decide what this looks like. You get to decide what entrepreneurship looks like for you. And unfortunately, no one is coming to help you like no one is coming to sort this out for you. Like if you are exhausted and overworked. And it’s not working, and it’s not generate revenue, and marriage is suffering and friendships are suffering. No one’s coming to save you like, that’s the bad news. The good news is you get to decide what this looks like. So if you only want to work five hours a week, then if you can open your mind to say not, oh, I could never do that I could never make six figures in five hours a week. Or maybe you don’t need to make six figures. Maybe you just be happy with two grand a month, two grand a month is not laughable. That’s a substantial life change for most of us. If you can you get to instead of saying there’s no way I could do that no one else does it like this. If you can get your brain to the place where you’re saying, you know, could I do that? How could I make $2,000 a month in five hours? Well, I could do this, I could offer this. I could try this. And maybe it’s within the business you haven’t maybe it’s not. But the point is the open mindedness and the willing the mind shift of saying, how could I do that? Alright, if you only want to work 20 hours a week, and you want Friday’s off, and you never want to have to work on the weekends, and you want to give yourself a month off a year being creative enough to say or open enough to say how could I do that? What would I do if I if that was how I what I wanted life to look like. And then you force your brain to get creative and to problem solve in that way. But you get to decide what it looks like for you as an entrepreneur. So all I did 16 hours is not a magic number. That was just my decision about what felt good for me so that I could thrive as a person, and in the other areas of life that are really meaningful to me, but no one is coming to help you figure this out. You have to stop and decide, but you get to decide and it can look how ever you want it to look. I don’t care what the standards of your industry, our I don’t care what everyone else before you has done. I don’t care what your competitors are doing. You get to decide what your entrepreneurial journey looks like and how you want to show up in it. And how much you want it to own you or not own you the possibilities. Today more than ever, in this moment in history more than ever, with all the available online resources to you. The possibilities are endless to be financially successful at home, or unlimited hours a week and also not sacrifice your soul and everything else to be a successful entrepreneur. So that’s my hot take you get to know once you get to decide what this looks like and really, anything is possible.

Akua Konadu
Oh my gosh, that was it was hot. But so good. And also to just when you were saying that I’m like, you get to decide like nobody’s coming to save you. But I was also like, that’s such a gift. Literally you get to decide and build your life the way that you want to and that everybody gets to do that. Right you get to do that. And so it is I think it’s it’s scary when you kind of hear of like, like, oh crap, like nobody’s coming to see me. And it’s like, we but I have the power like I literally it’s up to me like I can do whatever I want. I can shape my life however I want and I don’t have to answer to anybody.

Shay Cochrane
Yep, that doesn’t get it’s such a, it’s such a beautiful opportunity. It’s such a beautiful privilege that we have to be able to do that. Not everyone can do that. So take that opportunity to build the life that you really want. And don’t compromise on the things you want. It’s, it is possible. Yes.

Akua Konadu
Oh my gosh, che i have this conversation, I could talk to you for hours. And I’m sure if you’re listening, you can listen to her for afterwards. Because this has been so phenomenal. So inspiring. And I think so many tactical tips that we can take with as an implement to really start shaping and creating the businesses that we want for ourselves. And so a question that I always love to end with is what do you think is the biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail? Discipline?

Shay Cochrane
Easy? I have a quick answer to that one, if not the funnest word. But listen, it’s not your marketing strategy. It’s not your product. It’s not even whether your product is that good or the best? It’s it’s discipline, it’s disciplined thought discipline in your thought process, which is what we’ve talked about. It’s disciplined focus. So here’s what I can be good at, here’s what’s working, here’s where I can win. I’m going to, here’s the platform I can win on like it’s it’s disciplined focus, and then it’s disciplined action. It’s it’s one thing to know what you need to do. But we all know, as an entrepreneur, it’s a whole nother thing to sit down at your desk and actually do it actually do the thing that’s the most important in your day, and not email and not the other things, you know, to actually do it. So discipline, discipline, discipline, I think it’s a disciplined people who win as entrepreneurs, discipline, thought, discipline, focus, discipline, action.

Akua Konadu
Oh, my gosh, yes. Love to all of that. This was so good. I’ve absolutely loved this conversation. And just I appreciate your transparency so much. And so for people that want to connect with you, where can they find you?

Shay Cochrane
Yeah, so you can find elevate visuals, we are on only one platform, we are only on Instagram, you can find us there and get a feel for what’s in the catalog and be inspired. That’s at Elevate visuals on Instagram, do go download that guide that really is going to be a good kickstart for you to practically apply this set aside a day on your calendar, go do it. That’s it, elevate, which is where you can find the membership. So elevate More is where you’ll find that guide. And if you’re listening, and you’re like, Oh man, I really I actually am on these platforms, I really could use somebody else creating images for me and I really could use like 10 more hours a month saved on creating content, then we you can use the code HoneyBook and actually get 10% off of the quarterly or the annual plans. So that’s a little gift for you guys. Yes, they check out yeah, check out what we’re doing [email protected] And just make sure you use that code. So you get a little a little bit of a discount there. And then I am on Instagram also only I’m only on Instagram. I only have time for Instagram and barely. And you can find me at Shea Cochran but I that’s a little bit more of a peek into my personal life. And I’m just love to connect with with people there as well. Yes.

Akua Konadu
Oh my gosh, thank you. Thank you so much. I mean, you have just poured in so much into our community for this episode. And we will make sure to have the guide in the show notes and absolutely the code. So definitely check out the membership. And thank you all so much for listening. And until next time. Thank you. Bye. That ends our episode of The Independent Business Podcast. Everything we’ve discussed today can be found at Head for our website to access for shownotes relevant links and all the resources that you need to level up. And if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to subscribe to the podcast to make sure you never miss our future content. Drop us a review and leave our guests some love on social and thank you again for listening.

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