Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E®, a time coaching, and training company that empowers individuals to achieve more success with less stress. She has worked with coaching and training clients on six continents and is the author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money and The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment.
Find out how Elizabeth's entrepreneur journey began.
How many hours do you work a week?
When I started out as an entrepreneur, I didn't understand how to make a schedule for myself and keep my business and my life distinct from one another. I would get up pretty early and work for a while. Then I would maybe take a shower around noon, do some errands, and work some more.
This schedule kind of worked for me, but I found that I felt guilty whenever I was home and not working. This meant I'd come home from events and feel like I had to answer my business e-mail at 10 p.m. I didn't feel free to rest and didn't know how to determine when I had done “enough.” This meant I worked many nights and weekends and put in around 50-60 hours a week.
Now that I have a much more effective schedule, I work about 40-45 hours a week. There are occasional weeks when I work more, like when I have multiple speaking engagements in one week. But I now keep careful track of how many hours I work each day and make it a goal to wrap up on Friday with as close to 40 hours as possible. Then I focus on my personal life over the weekend-guilt free!
You have a lot on your plate, speaking engagements, training, coaching, and blogging, how do you manage it all?
Almost everything I teach my clients, I've done to myself. I really desire to authentically live out the message that it is possible to build a business and have a life. One of my biggest keys to success is having set routines. Each Monday, I time-block out my week, so I can see exactly when I will complete major projects. And each morning, I empty my inboxes, check my calendar, and evaluate my deadlines. This allows me to adapt my weekly schedule as necessary and constantly keep in mind what's most important on a big picture and small task level.
What is your favorite life & balance tip?
Set others' expectations. I've seen in my life and the lives of my clients about how we so often create our own craziness by not establishing healthy expectations. One of the biggest ways I've seen this is in answering e-mail. I've set the expectation that I'll respond by the next business day to e-mail, so none of my clients worry if they don't hear from me immediately. Plus they know to call or put “Urgent” in the subject line if it's something I need to read right away. But if I had decided to always answer e-mail immediately, people would start getting upset if I didn't respond in a matter of minutes.
I've taught this method to my clients, and they've found it works quite well.
What kind of growth has Real Life E seen since it launched?
Over the past year and a half, my work as Chief Encouragement Officer with Real Life E has taken me all over the country speaking to thousands of individuals about succeeding a woman in business, discovering their dreams, starting their own companies, and achieving work/life balance.
But what I'm most proud of is how I've focused the mission and purpose of Real Life E to empowering women in business to achieve work/life brilliance through Schedule Makeovers. This mission is so true to my purpose and passion and allows me to serve a special niche market.
What has been your biggest business struggle?
Like many business owners, my biggest business struggle has definitely been consistent business development. I'm working to overcome that challenge in many ways:
- Scheduling time in the morning to do sales calls and development projects
- Analyzing what really produces results and focusing my efforts there
- Having two other entrepreneurs hold me accountable to my weekly goals
It's a challenge I will always need to face, but I'm happy to report that I'm making significant progress.
Thanks, Elizabeth for sharing your story!
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