By: Tara Barber
College Pro Alumni (Toronto & Boston)
I went to school in London, Ontario at the University of Western Ontario, majoring in Honors Biology. I kept a part time job working retail about 15-20 hours a week, and I had a pretty active social calendar. In the August prior, I had committed to running a business with College Pro, and in January, it really hit me that I had to balance everything above while preparing my business. I knew before that I’d have to balance everything, and people told me how much effort it was going to take, but I didn’t quite grasp it. So, I did what any respectable type A person would do…I started planning it out. I got an organizer and started to plan.
Well my first crack at scheduling something with that many pieces wasn’t as successful as I had hoped. Luckily for me, at the first College Pro training session my General Manager showed me how to block schedule and helped hold me accountable to ensuring I stuck to the schedule and hit all of my goals – and not just my College Pro goals.
During the weekdays I would go to class, study and work on assignments between classes instead of getting a coffee and killing time like I had done years 1 through 3. On days I wasn’t in class, I was working at my part time job.
In the evenings on Monday and Tuesday I would spend 2-3 hours marketing. This would entail touching base with my cold caller, ensuring he was going out, and problem solving how he could get more leads. I would call those leads during that time to set them up for estimates for the weekends I was going to be back in my turf. I would also do call-backs during that time to the estimates I did the previous weekend to see if they were ready to book with me yet. I used this time to do my part of generating new leads by calling through College Pro’s previous customer list, last year’s proposals and my last year’s leads. Those lists were gold for me. I had a great cold caller but he could only do so much for me and when I went home those 2-3 weekends a month I needed them to be full of estimates; between my cold caller and those lists I was able to make it happen.
On Wednesday and Thursday evenings I’d love to say I studied like crazy, but the reality was I was either working at my other job, going to the gym with my cousin, or I was out socializing. The weekends I picked to stay in London were routine for weekends of a fourth year university student; study, sleep, socialize.
The weekends where I was back in my turf however were different. I took the train back and forth from my turf to school. It was awesome, the train was a great use of time to do readings for class, go over my schedule and generally be quite productive. I’d get in Friday night and have a nice meal with my family. Saturday and Sunday I would do estimates throughout the day (9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm). Saturday nights I would typically get together with friends from high school and then Sunday night it was back to University.
Writing everything all down it seems like a lot to manage, and looking back, I guess it was. Thankfully, because of the skill of block scheduling that College Pro taught me, it never felt like it was too much. I was able to get to May 1st hitting both my personal goals as well as my goals for my College Pro franchise. I had more business booked than I had planned, my painters were hired, I graduated with great marks and I didn’t miss a single celebration including a trip to Cuba over reading week. Block scheduling = success!