I'm sure as a Tennis Professional this gets asked to you all the time by your friends that you grew up with or someone who just doesn't understand what it is we do.
They didn't ask what I do for a living…rather what role I play in my business…basically, how I spend my time.
Like most businesses as a tennis professional you wear a lot of hats. As an entrepreneur you probably do a lot of different things.
It’s an interesting question for all of us to think about because we often end out spending a lot of time doing things that aren’t our strengths and things that we aren’t particularly excited about doing.
This week I ran a USPTA Directors Workshop for 35 tennis professionals, taught 10 hours, attended a Committe Meeting at the Club we manage during the summer, strung 15 rackets, wrote two blog posts, worked on two newsletters, updated our website with our designer and registration company for our camp, had two phone conferences which each lasted one hour, decorated a Christmas tree, and spent last night with my family at our church's annual Christmas dinner. So needless to say its been a busy week. I'm sure like most of you this is pretty typical of a week.
So here was my answer when they asked me what I do:
Coaching, Teaching, and Training - I spend a great deal of my time coaching, teaching, and training.
This time of year I'm only on the court 5-10 hours per week based on what the weather is doing. During the summer my coaching ramps up to basically 40-50 hours per week. This includes on court coaching and also coaching and training staff at our summer camp that we own, 4 Star Camps.
I’m a strong believerthat experience is of great value in coaching or teaching…and I wouldn’t want a coach or teacher who hadn’t ‘been there’…I wouldn’t want a business professor or a business coach who hadn’t owned a successful business - so I plan to be coaching for a long, long time. I’ve been coaching for over 30 years and if you asked me what I would want to be remembered as professionally if I ever retire - it would be as a coach.
Creator- I have to create a lot of content…newsletters for the USPTA Mid Atlantic Division, our weekly summer camp newsletter, blog posts for 3 different businesses, etc.
I have really grown to love the creation side of things. I’d have never guessed I’d enjoy writing a decade ago, but now I rarely go a day without doing it. The creation side of what I do has really provided me an opportunity to reach (and hopefully positively impact) far more people than I could coach directly - so it’s been a huge positive but it;s time consuming. Having to research articles and to put your thoughts together takes time.
I think one of my strenths is that of project manager because I'm juggeling at least 1/2 dozen different things at any one time.
Connecting - I’ve long been more of a ‘relationship guy’ than anything else. It’s not only been at the core of my marketing efforts, but I think of it as part of my identity. I try to spend some time virtually every day connecting with friends, colleagues and tennis entrepreneurs who I want to get to know better.
Converting - Make no mistake, I’m running a business here so conversions or selling is something I have to do daily or we wouldn't be able to exist.
I know that some people are turned off by selling but if you can't sell then you are going to struggle in the tennis business. This isn't a hobby.
These four things - or variations of these four things - make up about 80% of how I spend my ‘business time’. The other 20% is spent on the stuff that needs to be done to support these four.
So why don't I spend 100% of my time on these four things?
I consider the time I spend in transit to host an event or do a presentation part of that 20%. Plus things like meeting with my staff and partners takes time as well. So it won’t ever be 100% for me…but 80% makes for a really great business to run.
So how do spend your time?
Are you doing the things that you’re best at and that you enjoy most?
Are you doing things that allow you create the business you want?
How much of your time is spent on those activities versus the ones that you don’t feel fall into that category?
And finally…what are you doing to shift the way you’re spending your time to be doing more of what you’re great at and less of what you’re not?
As you know it's not an overnight process…but if you’re aware of it and progressively working toward improving it - you’ll get to a point where business is really enjoyable and far less stressful than it is for most tennis entrepreneurs.
So the next time someone asks you how you spend your time in your business you have some ideas on how to answer.