How to Manage a Fully Booked Schedule Without Overwhelm

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Today’s Topic

Welcome back! Today’s episode is all about managing your time so you can get fully booked without feeling overwhelmed, and then manage your fully booked schedule without the overwhelm and overworking. 

So then you’re able to see the next phase of growth because a lot of the times, I see wellness entrepreneurs really hustling and trying to work to getting fully booked, but they’re also at the same time afraid of getting fully booked because of how much energy it’s taking to even get fully booked.

So they’re like,”How can I keep this up and manage a full client load?” And that type of thinking really holds them back in the present moment and as well as holding you back to the potential of what’s possible and beyond being fully booked with one-to-one clients at your current price point.

Struggles I Faced When I Switched From One-To-One To On Demand Online Group Programs

And I can tell you no shame, no judgment here, if any of that resonated because I’ve been in your very shoes. In fact, years ago, prior to the pandemic, I tried to switch from all one-on-ones to on-demand group-type programs online, and it didn’t go well. The reason why was because at the time, when I was first making this transition, I was fearful of one-to-ones. I was exhausted. I was not doing a good job managing my schedule and I was doing well. I was over six figures. I was profitable. However, I couldn’t see past that point. I’m like, “Well, where do I go from here? How can I bring more to my schedule? It’s just not possible.” And I didn’t feel confident to charge higher prices. So I just was kind of defeated and felt stuck.

And I remember I was in this place, too, when I was a massage therapist and had my own brick-and-mortar clinic almost 20 years ago. I remember being like, oh, goodness, I have to tell my age now, but I was like 24 years old, and I had a fully booked one-to-one massage schedule that I booked working in a spa. I was an independent contractor at the time. And part of the decision that I made to go to physical therapy school was because I looked at my schedule and I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m only 24. I think I’ve maxed out my time and energy of how many massages I can do a week. Where do I go from here? Here is the max of my salary. I’ve hit my ceiling salary,” I thought.

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Because you know what, as I age, I’m just going to get tired. And it’s the number of massages that I can do in a day, the number of massages that I can do in a week, it’s all going to go downhill from here.

You might feel this way if you’re doing a lot of yoga sessions where you’re moving your body and demoing and showing your clients correct alignment and moving your body all day. Or even if you’re an online health coach, you might feel overwhelmed with your schedule and have a fear or dread of being back-to-back all day on calls because of how you might feel at the end of your day. Or if you’re a Reiki practitioner, you might be afraid of tapping and tapping out, I should say, your energy source and that ability to be present and hold space for your clients. There are all sorts of ways where you can really hold yourself back by being afraid of not being able to handle a fully booked schedule. And that itself will hold you back.

In fact, as I mentioned, coming back to the story of when I first initially tried to launch some online programs, it didn’t go well. Then I got received coaching to add one-to-ones back into my schedule. Now, first of all, I should have never tried to completely abandon my one-to-ones without transitioning and doing a hybrid. But I thought that was the right way to do it at the time. And it was being taught to kind of burn the bridges, which is very risky for your business. And fortunately, the business marketplace has come around to be a little softer in terms of that type of thinking.

So definitely, if you’re going to transition any types of programs or transition your work at all, just know that you never have to burn the bridges and there are ways to transition in ways in your business where it’s not so risky. But at the time, that was what was being taught. And I just wanted to go all in and try it out that way. And I received coaching to add one-to-ones back into my schedule. And I’ll tell you, once I brought those familiar one-to-ones back into my schedule, that’s when my momentum started up again.

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Having A Fully Booked Schedule: What I Do and How My Weekends Are

And the old fears of having a fully booked schedule returned. So what did I do? Because now I’m fully booked. I’ll see anywhere from a slow week of 12 to 14 people a week, anywhere upwards to 17 to 23 in a busy week. And I do all my own marketing. I do all my own selling. I still have consultation calls. 

The only helpers, VAs, and independent contractors I have are a VA who occasionally helps me with a graphic and transcribes my podcast episode, so then it becomes a blog. And I do have someone that will SEO it for me, and so I can repurpose it on my website and then a podcast editor. That’s it. I do everything else in my business, and I’m not overworking. I would say nine out of 10 weekends, maybe even 9.5 out of 10 weekends, I close my laptop for the weekend, and I never open it again.

The only reason why I might is if I forgot to do something that a client really needs, I really like to make sure that I’m fulfilling my promises. I’m trying to think of when else I would open my laptop. I can’t remember the last time I opened my laptop on a Saturday or Sunday. Yeah, I can’t. I still really can’t remember the last time I physically pulled my laptop out of my bag on a Saturday or Sunday to work on something. 

Most of the time, if I am to do any type of work, I might post an occasional reel or post if I’m in the mood or story, maybe respond and connect and engage with some audience on social media, again if I feel up to it, or if I feel that a client is in a crisis and needs a little pick me up, then I will respond to their messages.

But most of the time I don’t respond to client messages until Monday. And the only other type of work I may do is my own self-coaching and journaling. I will do that, but sometimes I don’t even do that. I really tap into my energy levels and my adrenals, and I notice how I feel. And I ask myself, “Will this make me feel more depleted on Monday?” Because if I feel more depleted on Monday, that week is not going to be a productive week. So it’ll be several days. In fact, a week of probably getting behind and not being as productive as I would like versus if I try to work just a couple hours on the weekend versus letting that go. 

And I create a list for myself and I get to it on Monday, and I’m usually way more productive then and get a lot more done for that whole entire week, not just the Monday. So it really pays off. And the work I’ve done to be able to manage a fully booked schedule, have my weekends off, have my evenings off, not open the laptop, is by really learning how to manage my thoughts about time and managing my schedule. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

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How To Be Able To Manage A Fully Booked Schedule

So the first thing is really learning how to manage your energy around your clients. And that might be because of your own thoughts and fears and hesitations and worries you have about being a practitioner. 

So you really want to be onto yourself and aware of all the energy leaks that you might have with your clients, as well as noticing how much work you’re doing outside of sessions for clients. Of course, you always want to have your deliverables fulfill your promises to your clients, and ensure that they’re getting their results. But just know that promising results and guaranteeing those results or helping your clients achieve certain results, it’s not time dependent. It’s result dependent. It’s practitioner skill dependent in the moment.

So, for example, you might think it’s all the deliverables and all the outside work you’re doing outside of sessions that’s getting your clients the results. It’s the insights that they’re getting, the takeaways that they’re getting that allow them to make the necessary changes in their lives to create those results, which is time-dependent if you’re very present in sessions and listening to them and not trying to force this particular type of framework, of modality onto them if they’re not quite ready or wanting that.

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Energy Leaks I Often See With Entrepreneurs

So when you clean up all that work around the energy leaks that might be really sapping your energy and just your physical time of doing a lot of unnecessary deliverables, that frees up your energy and gives you back time. 

So the work I do outside of my client sessions is messaging. And I don’t have volley messages with my clients. They will ask me a question and then I will respond. And then they take that and they go off and implement the work and run with that. We’re not going to have a back-and-forth volley throughout the day, because, truthfully, it’s energy and time-depleting for both of us. It’s much more impactful and effective if we do it in more concise messages. And then also, they’re not waiting on me to respond and implement work. They’re more resourceful and dependent upon themselves, which is very empowering. 

So, look at what you’re doing outside of your client sessions. I know sometimes with health coaching packages, there are certain lab analyses, reports, and nutritional plans that are needed to get back to clients. But how can you streamline the process? How can you create a repeatable template or framework so it goes quicker and it’s simpler? Trust me, your clients don’t want necessarily a 20-page book. They want the simplest way to get the results.

So ask yourself, what is the simplest and easiest way you can transmit the information for them so they can start implementing it into their own lives? Sometimes a 20-page book, although it may be jam-packed with very useful information, it might feel very overwhelming to them and then they might not implement it at all, which is a bummer because then they’re not going to achieve the results.

The other huge time suck I see with people who are really hesitant to get fully booked, that really want to leave one-to-one sessions and go to a group type format, is because they’re trying to implement all the things in their business right now that a business in three, five, eight or even ten years would have.

So, for example, someone might look at my business and be like, “Oh, I want that nice free opt-in and that welcome funnel.” Or if you were following me on Black Friday, I would like to have all of those Black Friday e-mails. Remember, I’ve been in business for a few years now since 2016. I’ve attended a lot of Masterminds, a lot of business skill-type training, and hired a lot of one-to-one coaches. It was all created through layers upon layers of work. 

And it doesn’t have to take a large amount of time to achieve all of these assets I’ve created in my business. But at the same time, I didn’t do it all at one time. The way I built my business was by prioritizing clients first, which is why I teach my clients how to sign clients on-demand. Then, all those assets are created between sessions. You never want to prioritize those types of assets over learning and becoming a master of knowing how to sign clients on demand. And when I say that, I mean without paid advertising. So you know exactly what to focus on and what to prioritize day to day in between client sessions that you know can reliably and predictably bring you clients. 

Are you able to answer that question? And when you are, that frees up a huge energy leak because in between your sessions, instead of worrying or fretting about what you should do or is this the right decision or is that the right decision, maybe I’ll try this and then I’ll jump over to this project. You’ll know exactly what you need to focus on. And so by doing that, you actually do focus, and you’re more productive. And that leads to more clients. And I’ll tell you, you get more confidence about being able to handle a busier client load when you actually have a busier client load.

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When you’re getting the revenue from that busier client revenue goal, it feels so much more rewarding and fulfilling because now you’re like, “Oh, now I’m finally getting paid for all my hard work,” versus sitting behind a computer screen and trying to effort out a website and a funnel and all these e-mails and all this stuff and never getting paid for any of that because you’re not signing clients. That can feel very defeating. 

So very commonly, I’ll have a practitioner who’ll come to me on the consult call wanting to work with me one-to-one, in particular to leave one-to-ones, to launch a group online program, which is great. But often their business isn’t ready for it yet. And I’m not saying that it has to take a long time to prepare and get their business ready or mature enough to have an on-demand or a group program. It can be as little as three months or sometimes six months if you know what to prioritize and what to work on first. But they don’t realize that.

So, for example, I have my client, Justine. She was just on the podcast a few episodes ago. So my client, Justine, first came to me wanting to streamline her business more, get more energy so that she could be home more with her family, be more profitable, and have more take home. And at first, she thought that adding an online program was going to be the way to do some of these things because it would bring in more revenue, and she’d have to not see as many one-to-ones, which is very common. I thought that and many clients, when they come to me first with consultation calls, think this as well. However, what’s missing and what’s often known and that I had to learn personally is how much work actually goes into the back end of creating a successful on-demand or group program so that you can launch it multiple times and always have an already warm audience group of people ready to buy launch after launch continuously if you’re keeping the doors open. And that creates a lot of work and back-end work.

Plus, at the time, there were things going on in Justine’s business with her staff and such that just really needed to be cleaned up. So she made the hard decision, which is very courageous because sometimes the right decision doesn’t always feel easy, but she made the hard decision to put a pin in her online program and focus on cleaning up her business and simplifying some things. And then because she did that, we were able to circle back around now to her online program. And she just launched her online program and surpassed her founding members’ goal of having 10 people in her launch. She had 14 people in her launch.

So you can still accomplish the goals that you want to accomplish. You just have to know that it comes in phases and it comes in steps and you can’t compare yourself to a business that’s been in business for five or six years. You can’t even compare yourself or try to do the same things in a business that has started in less time as you because you just don’t know the skill set that they’re bringing to the table. You don’t know the audience that they’re bringing to the table. You don’t know what they’ve done before they started this particular business that you’re seeing. Maybe they had a lot of entrepreneurs or serial entrepreneurs where they’ve tried many different other types of businesses first. And I always say it’s not necessarily a failure if you take the insights and learnings with you.

So, I know many entrepreneurs who have had many different types of businesses. And as they evolve into their next business adventure, they take the learning and the insights. So, what might look like a new online health coaching business to you is actually an entrepreneur who’s been an entrepreneur for many years. And they’re taking all that learning with them. So you can’t compare yourself to any of those businesses and try to do all the things that that business is doing all at one time.

The key to really managing your time is knowing what’s going to turn the dial-up for you. What do you need to prioritize so you can consistently create clients on demand? Because when you have clients paying you, that is going to create more revenue. It’s going to create more profit, which opens up more freedom and choices for you down the road.

And then the last energy leak that I really see among wellness entrepreneurs that’s really sucking their time, sucking their energy is worrying, worrying about spending time, investing time into social media platforms and posts and e-mails, or investing time into consultations and not seeing results from that.

And when you’re worrying about spending time in a certain activity because you’re worried that you might not get a client from it or see results from it, then it’s like dipping your toe in the water of that activity where you’re half in half out and your belief is shaky and wavering there. And so it’s going to make whatever activity you’re doing less impactful, less effective, because you’re not going all in. And in that way, it’s going to take longer for you to actually see the results of that activity. So it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where your worry does create a lack of results.

Whereas if you went in all in, yes, you might fail. But if you do fail, then you’re going to learn from that and you can fail faster and get the learnings faster. So then you can make a better decision going forward in the future.  

But if you’re always half in, half out, then you’re not really progressing forward. You’re just kind of taking super micro-baby steps forward. And that can feel very defeating. We’ll say, because here you are spending a lot of time and energy and it feels like you’re doing a lot of productive work and you’re not seeing the results of that.

So the key is, again, to really know how to sign clients on-demand. Again, that’s why one of the first things I teach my clients after we figure out their ethical high-ticket wellness offer is creating that marketing and selling plan, which is part of the process of learning how to sign clients on demand so they can always refine that and rinse and repeat that.

And then we work on anything else that comes up. So they always know what to prioritize in their day-to-day. And if they’re questioning and doubting things, they know that they have a protocol to come back to inform them of that next decision. So they’re not wasting time in between sessions trying to figure out what to do. Or they can catch themselves if they’re spending a lot of time in deliverables or client work outside of sessions and their boundaries got muddled. They can learn how to catch themselves and come back to, “Oh, okay, that’s right. I need to focus on what’s going to move the needle to help my clients get results faster.” It’s not just about doing all this busy work for them. And then this is what allows you to feel more confident that your schedule is in control and making money is in your control.

So when you feel more control over those two things, then you’re more likely to make bigger investments in your business, investments like hiring a coach, investments like hiring a Mastermind where you can learn the business mindset and strategies that are needed to grow your business to help you see more revenue and work with more people. 

But the only way you can make those type of investments is if you feel like making your money back is within your control, because then you can invest in full belief, knowing that even if I do put this on my credit card, I know how to create clients. I know how to create money. So I’ll get my money back. And that is the thought I personally have every time I invest with a coach or a program, I know how to make my money back. Making money is within my control. I know how to sign clients on-demand. I never have to be convincing or manipulative. I have a protocol and a process that I can trust that is reliable.

And that allows me to, yes, sometimes put a Mastermind or a coach on a credit card, but every single time I pay it back off and I’ve made, I’ve gotten my return on the investment where I’ve made my money back. But more than that, I’ve actually learned the skills to make me so much more money. And that’s how I continue to grow.

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So consider this for yourself today. Look and see, there’s a saying that 20 percent of your activities is really what is generating the revenue and the clients for yourself out of all the activities that you’re doing day-to-day.  

So if you look at the activities that you’re doing day-to-day, you can even write a list and use my schedule audit to help audit your day-to-day to figure out what are your time and energy sucks. But looking and saying, “Okay, what am I doing that really helps my clients to achieve results for me?” It’s the one-to-one coaching calls or when I’m coaching them, the portal, the workbooks, they’re great. They will help speed up the process, but it really is the coaching that gets the insights and gives the transformation so they’re continuing to grow. And that’s why the deliverables aren’t everything. 

So for you, it’s really examining what’s moving the needle forward for your own clients so they can achieve the results. And what is really bringing in those clients? Look at the last three to five clients you’ve signed. Where have they come from? Have they come from referrals? Have they come from social media? Have they come from your e-mails? Have they come from networking events? Have they come from YouTube? Write it out, because that’s where you want to spend your time. If you’re seeing a theme, that’s where you want to spend your time and dial in on those activities. And then if you have extra time, then you can spread yourself out to other platforms and do other activities. 

And in between sessions, that’s when you can start to build your portal and other deliverables or creating that next funnel. But you never have to feel in a rush or urgent to do it right now, because again, that can be a huge energy leak for you.

So there you go. Some ways to manage your time with a fully booked schedule and continue to grow!

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Alison McLean

"I help the Entrepreneur reduce stress and live a more fulfilled and balanced life."