How I run my coaching business in less than 20 hours a week


How I run my coaching business in less than 20 hours a week


Since I started my business, first as a health coach back in 2012 and then going on to become a business mentor, I’ve always worked around other commitments. Initially it was around a full time job, and then my children after I had my son in 2014.

While the work I do in my business has evolved, I’ve consistently managed to make it all work in around 20-25 hours a week, with lots of time off too!

This hasn’t just been a lucky accident so I wanted to share a little bit of what things look like behind the scenes when it comes to making a coaching business work in a few hours a week.

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Why 20 hours?

Well, it’s not always exactly 20 hours, some weeks it’s a little more and others a little less. But basically I’m working around my children’s school and nursery times which are 9am – 3pm. I also try and have Fridays ‘off’ which basically means I don’t plan to do work on Fridays although sometimes I do if I haven’t got other things planned.

I also occasionally work in the evenings or very early, but I’d say that’s less than 2 hours in a month when that happens. I also either take off or vastly reduce the time I work in the school holidays and in December around Christmas.

When I started my business it was always an aim to be able to work flexibly around my children and not be chained to a desk between 9 and 5 each day. I also value spaciousness in my week and having time available to do other things I enjoy that keep me healthy and happy like seeing friends for a coffee, going to the gym and so on.

The ‘around 20 hours a week’ thing feels like the sweet spot for me and my business over the last couple of years in terms of being the amount of time I can still get stuff done in, that ensures everything ticks over.

Quick disclaimer – I would also like to add here that I’m neurotypical (as far as I’m aware) and that this is my own behind the scenes experience. This could well look very different for you. I’m also aware that I have certain privileges too which all impact my experience of being able to work 20 hours week.

My Business Model

I have also created a business model that allows me to make a reasonable income in that amount of time. My business is currently making around £50K / $63K a year (with around £12k of this being expenses and taxes so a lot of it is ‘profit’) which I’m happy with right now for how much time I’m investing in – but more on that later!

My business model – i.e the services and offers I have available that generate income are a mixture of more time intensive done for you and 1:1 coaching and mentoring that I charge mid range for, alongside more leveraged and passive offers like my group programme, membership and online courses.

As a business coach / mentor, I’m not actually charging that high ticket for my more 1:1 offerings in comparison to other coaches which could potentially be an area of growth for me – more on this soon!

My systems, processes and strategies

I have a number of systems, processes and strategies in place, alongside my current business model, that allow me to make the income I make in the time I have. These include:

Client free / meeting free days

I have two specific days each week when I try not to schedule any clients, discovery calls or any other meetings. I know that to work on bigger tasks that ‘move the needle’ in my business I need to have a good chunk of uninterrupted time. These days also give me that feeling of spaciousness I thrive on. Currently I have Mondays and Thursdays as client and meeting free days and Tuesdays and Wednesdays when I have things scheduled.

Using my Mini Season planning framework

Last year I developed a new planning system for myself which basically looks like planning everything out based on the school terms which I attach roughly to the Pagan wheel of the year. This has worked so well for me because I take most of the school holidays off and because each school half term tends to be between 5 and 8 weeks long which is a nice period of time for me to work with.

I’ve found that planning in these time chunks – longer than a month, but shorter than a quarter – is just right for me to be focused and get shit done in the time I have.

Each Sunday evening, or sometimes a Friday, I’ll look at my annual plan and my mini season plan and write out all the tasks I have for that week. I’m slowly getting better at matching the tasks to the time I have available and not over tasking myself!

Not using social media

Well, I do use social media, but not a lot. I feel like this is one of the reasons that I can make things work in less time because whenever I have tried to do a lot with social media over and above the occasional Instagram story and Facebook group post I currently do, my time would get totally sucked in. Now my main marketing is more streamlined…

Using the Multi Channel Show method for my marketing

While creating The Wholehearted Business Show does take a lot of time each week (probably around 3-4 hours an episode from writing the blog to recording and editing the video and podcast) it is worth the time investment as it pays off in terms of attracting new people into my world and the connection it creates with them too.

Working with a VA

Having a Virtual Assistant on my team for a few hours a month does make a massive difference and allows me to get more done that actually helps my business grow in those precious 20 hours. I can outsource certain tasks that make sense and that helps me make much better use of the time I do have available.

My Lifestyle

While I have things reasonably well set up to work in 20 hours a week, there’s also things I have set up from more of a personal / lifestyle angle that support this too.

I try to prioritise sleep as much as I can. After several years of co-sleeping with small children and existing on what felt like no sleep at all, now I try and get as much as I can.

I was recently very kindly gifted a Simba mattress and this has been a total game changer for my sleep! I find that to work effectively in 20 hours I do need to be pretty focused and ‘on it’ and sleep is a big part of this for me.

I also try to plan out my meals and snacks for work days so that I’m not grabbing something less healthy because I’m stressed and out of time. I like my food and want to enjoy my lunch breaks, so planning things out and having some decent options to hand really helps too.

When it comes to exercise I tend to go between getting up early at 5am and getting to the gym way before the day starts, or, I’ll fit it in during my work day – something I love as a bit of a self employed perk! It really just depends on what I have on and how I’m feeling.

I’ve learned the hard way over the years that I need to have a good structure to my days, but that structure needs to be flexible too. As a Mum, and a 41 year old human navigating life in 2024, the shit is going to hit the fan some days and everything will not go according to plan and that’s ok. This is something I can really struggle with, but having a more flexible attitude to things definitely helps!

The reality of working 20 hours a week

Ultimately, while it is lovely working a few hours a week around my kids and things, there is the reality of it which for me right now having really looked at my business is that I’m at a bit of an income ceiling.

I’ve been at around the same level of income the last couple of years, and while there’s plenty of coaches making way more than I do working the same or less hours than me, they will likely have a different business model and set of privileges and support than I do, so comparison here is not (if ever!) useful here.

So I’m very much currently reflecting on this and making changes in my business to help me reach the next level. If that also sounds like you, then check out my 1:1 mentoring programme that can support you with just that!


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