Moving your business online creates huge opportunities and a massive amount of freedom. You can literally travel the world with a mobile phone and never miss a beat.
However, working online can trap you in to being “on call” 24/7. There's always a question you can answer or one more thing you can check.
This can lead to a lack of productivity when your working, and no way of switching off when relaxing, training or having fun.
This article looks at ways to go off grid, while still providing an incredible online training service .
Is Setting Boundaries a good move in Todays fast Paced World?
Setting boundaries for clients can work but people are becoming much less patient. Most people in the modern communication age expect to interact with a service instantly and have emails answered within a few hours. While many trainers would chose not to work with these people this will mean ruling out a larger and larger percentage of the population as time moves on.
You can however set yourself boundaries and even take completely “off grid” holidays if you have a couple of the things below nicely in place.
1 – Chat bots.
Chat bots have become very popular, and for good reason. They're free or low cost to set up and can answer clients instantly with guided questions and answers. If well set up chat bots can satisfy almost everyone until a real person is ready to take over.
2 – Live chat teams.
These days you can get a team of customer service specialists available to your clients on live chat 24/7. You can train your team up with answers to all of your most common questions.
The cost is definitely higher than a chat bot but the human touch can make it well worth the investment, especially if you train your team up well.
3 – Telephone answering service.
You can have a dedicated work number with real people answering any calls and taking down messages 24/7 for a much lower cost than you may imagine.
Even though these teams tend to be like a human answering machine it gives people the feeling they're valued and being taken care of in a way a simple answering machine can't. It also gives you the option to take email addresses and respond by email rather than phone if you prefer.
For both of these 24/7 services we use Moneypenny who, while more expensive than most, I find to be excellent.
4 – Having a Facebook Group.
A Facebook group can bring a real sense of community to your business and make every member feel like part of the team. Over time you find a lot of your members and clients will help each other out and chat happily without needing too much input from you.
Be careful with this one though as it can suck you in to serious 24/7 phone checking. Also if your service is bad a group can expose this in a very public place.
I love our Facebook group and it brings a huge amount to PT Distinction but I recommend having set times you dip in to your group and making sure you have everything in your service running smoothly before setting one up.
5 – Employing someone to help you with your clients.
This one is obviously the most expensive but can really help. For most trainers this would be another trainer/ coach who you bring on board to help you look after your clients.
I would suggest this is a great way to grow once you're already well established with a good and growing client base.
How to Separate Yourself from Being on call 24/7.
One thing that makes switching off hard is the ease of doing everything on your phone. For most people this phone sits right next to you most of the time.
When a client sends you a message it's so easy to have a quick look to make sure they're alright. When you see it's a trivial question it's still too easy to quickly answer.. Then you sit, waiting for a response. Before you know it someone else messages you, or, you quickly check Facebook and a couple of hours have passed without relaxing one bit or doing anything productive in your working time.
Here's some ways to solve the problem:
1 - Batching Communication
Have set times each day where you answer all questions in batches, then turn off the internet on your phone outside your working hours.
I set my communication batches as:
Facebook Group and Messengers – 7 am – 7:30 am, 1:30 pm - 1:45 pm, 5 pm- 5:15 pm, 8:15 pm – 8:30 pm = 1 hour 15 mins a day
Email - 9am- 10am and 5:15pm – 5:45pm. = 1 hour 30 mins a day.
I've found that communication in messenger and Facebook groups works best with regular shorter periods, while emails (due to their more detailed nature) tend to work better with longer periods at the start and end of the standard working day.
While 2 hours 45 minutes a day is still quite a lot of communication time we have 000's of trainers to help and it could easily be all day, every day if it wasn't batched up like this.
2 - When outside communication batches leave your phone in another room.
Notifications come through and phones buzz or flash at you all the time. Phones always let you know when new messages or comments come in. The pull this has on the human brain is incredible and mobile phone addiction can be seen everywhere you look.
During non communication working hours I leave the phone in another room with only the call volume turned up.
When enjoying family time I turn off the internet connection on my phone.
With the strategies above in place, you can now relax knowing all of your clients will be well looked after while you enjoy quality time with those around you.
Communicating with your team and Family when Shutting out Other Noise
If you want to be contactable by your family or your team while shutting out the constant beeps of a mobile phone you can set up a separate messenger such as WhatsApp that you only use with your core team and family. Set it up to come directly to your computer and to your phone. Then if something really needs your urgent attention your family or team can send you a message and a text message to tell you you're needed.
Even with the switch off methods above, if someone sends a text and WhatsApp message at the same time you will receive the message straight away.
Great service and truly caring about the people that put their trust in you is massively important. With some of these steps in place you can help thousands of people but still have time for your self, for your friends, and for your family.
For most great trainers coaching online is about two things, helping more people and giving yourself freedom. With the correct balance you really can do both.
As you grow your online business getting help and using specialists in certain roles will provide a better service and a better life than trying to do it all yourself.... However great you are!