168 episodes

Set your time free through smarter systems so you can do more of your best work. Join Jenny Blake, award-winning author of three books—including Free Time: Lose the Busywork and Love Your Business and Pivot to explore our guiding question: How can we earn twice as much in half the time, with joy and ease, while serving the highest good? Subscribe now so you don’t miss an episode! Bonus: please leave a review and share with a friend—word-of-mouth is the most joyful way to grow the show :) Subscribe to theTime Well Spent newsletter at ItsFreeTime.com, and share this episode at pod.link/freetime. Check out Jenny's other podcast, Pivot with Jenny Blake, on navigating change at pod.link/pivotmethod.

Free Time with Jenny Blake Jenny Blake

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 36 Ratings

Set your time free through smarter systems so you can do more of your best work. Join Jenny Blake, award-winning author of three books—including Free Time: Lose the Busywork and Love Your Business and Pivot to explore our guiding question: How can we earn twice as much in half the time, with joy and ease, while serving the highest good? Subscribe now so you don’t miss an episode! Bonus: please leave a review and share with a friend—word-of-mouth is the most joyful way to grow the show :) Subscribe to theTime Well Spent newsletter at ItsFreeTime.com, and share this episode at pod.link/freetime. Check out Jenny's other podcast, Pivot with Jenny Blake, on navigating change at pod.link/pivotmethod.

    How to Decide on a Book (or Big Idea) Topic—10 Filters

    How to Decide on a Book (or Big Idea) Topic—10 Filters

    One of the most common questions from those accessing the Author Toolkit (an assembly of my best-open-sourced templates and processes from 14+ years and three books) is a variation on: How can I decide on a topic? How do I narrow down my idea? How do I know if/when I have landed on the right idea?
    Today I’m sharing ten filters to help you narrow down your book idea — or, if you’re not an aspiring author, perhaps your next “big IP” area that will best serve your body of work, your business, and your future audience. 

    🌟10 Filters: How do I decide on a book topic?

    BookRx: Does it solve a problem people know they have? Would two friends at the coffee shop talk about the idea the way I’m describing it? 

    Is it evergreen for the market? Will there always be new people interested in the topic?

    Is it evergreen for me? Will I be able to maintain interest in the idea over time?

    Is it specific and yet still a big idea? It needs to be unique enough to attract attention and broad enough to have a large audience.

    Is it missing, or has it already been done? Some topics are more crowded than others, so spend some time researching other books and authors.

    Is there a trend, a hook, a twist? What is my unique take on this topic, and how will it benefit my audience?

    Does it serve an audience I’m excited to attract? Who do I want to work with, and will the idea help you connect with them?

    Does it serve my broader business/career goals? How does the book fit into my business or career?

    Am I uniquely qualified/positioned? Do I have the expertise and background to create a book on this topic?

    Why me, why now, why this book? What is my platform? Do I have the reach and connections to make a business case for the book? 


    📝Permission: Ditch dull ideas! No matter how good (or should) they seem on paper. Stay committed—and surrender throughout the process—to ideas that make your heart sing.

    ✅Do (or Delegate) This Next: Once you’ve narrowed down your BookRx (or BigIdeaRx), create a one-pager answering: Why me? Why now? Why this book? What’s the timely hook or the unexpected twist? Bonus: Draft a mini-conversation about the problem it solves, with one friend lamenting to another over coffee, and the second one answering, “Ahhh, I know just the thing — you have to read this book!” 

    📘Books Mentioned: Free Time: Lose The Busywork, Love Your Business, Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One 

    🔗Resources Mentioned:

    Free Time Author Toolkit


    Adrian Klaphaak’s Career Pathfinder Course (promo code PIVOT)

    Jenny’s LinkedIn Learning Courses



    🎧Related Podcast Episodes: 

    156: 8 Idea Generation Strategies

    103: How to Land a Literary Agent and Publisher with David Moldawer (Part One)

    105: “Don’t write the wrong book!” with David Moldawer (Part Two)

    036: Shaping Big Ideas — Notion Walkthrough #2

    038: Tracking Progress Toward Finishing a Book (or Big Idea) with an Essay Tracker — Notion Walkthrough #3

    031: Eleventh-Hour Creative Gremlins

    Pivot 207: How to Develop Your Book and Big Idea (Part 1), 208: Your Book and Big Idea (Part 2)



    💻 Access Free Time episode transcripts on Podscribe » 
    🌟 Enjoying the show? The best way to thank us is by leaving a rating or review.
    ❤️ Join Jenny’s private BFF community for access to a monthly Q&A call, a private podcast feed with bonus content, and a community forum to exchange ideas and feedback with fellow Heart-Based Business owners. 
    💌 Subscribe to the Time Well Spent newsletter: http://itsfreetime.com/join
    🛠 Get instant access to the Free Time Toolkit: http://itsfreetime.com/toolkit
    💬 I’d love to hear what’s on your mind! Take the Free Time listener survey
    ☎️ Submit a voice question or comment for future episodes: http://itsfreetime.com/ask
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    📝 Check out full show notes and links from this episode and share it

    • 28 min
    Downshifting to a Delightfully Part-Team Team with Laura Roeder

    Downshifting to a Delightfully Part-Team Team with Laura Roeder

    What type of business would you build if you no longer needed the money? After a life-changing exit from her previous company, Meet Edgar, Laura Roeder’s answer: a fun one. 
    She is now more focused than ever on building a business that is bootstrapped, agile, asynchronous, joyful for all involved, and powered by part-time team members who love what they do. In this conversation, we discuss why Laura downshifted from a structure with 30 full-time employees to one that’s leaner, saying no to the Business Ops Police, the perks of part-time team members (for you and them), and why “winner take all” markets are a myth.
    More About Laura: Laura Roeder is a lifelong entrepreneur and founder of several multi-million dollar bootstrapped companies. Her current two focuses are Paperbell and CoachCompare; prior to that, she built and sold MeetEdgar, co-founded Marie Forleo’s B-School, and ran LKR Social Media.

    🌟3 Key Takeaways:

    Look for people who get tremendous satisfaction (even if not passion) from the work you need done. What types of problem-solving and projects do they find inherently fun?

    “Your business is your utopia” (Derek Sivers): The reason you work for yourself is to have greater control and freedom.

    “The inside of your business should be as beautiful as the outside.” How can you build systems and employ software that engenders a sense of relief for all involved?


    📝Permission: To enjoy your business! Drop any shoulds you’re carrying from the Business Ops Police.

    ✅Do (or Delegate) This Next: Is your current software stack causing stress or making you sigh with relief? Make sure each tool is helping more than it’s hurting, replace any that aren’t, and even better still—see if any new tools can combine what separate ones are doing.

    📘Books Mentioned: 

    Free Time: Lose The Busywork, Love Your Business

    Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One


    Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink


    Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't by Verne Harnish


    🔗Resources Mentioned: 

    Laura on the web, Paperbell, CoachCompare, Instagram: @laurakroeder, Twitter, LinkedIn


    Article: Exactly How I Cold Emailed My Way to A Life-Changing Exit (and You Can Too)



    Videos: The Pre-launch Strategy That Built MeetEdgar a 100k List - Laura Roeder at Converted 2016, Laura Roeder: How She Grew MeetEdgar Into A Multi-million Dollar Business speaks at LTV Conf 2018


    Tools: MixPanel, SalesForce, Meet Edgar, HelpScout, ClickUp, Notion, Dubsado, Kajabi, Practice, DuckDuckGo, Hootsuite


    Podcasts: Laura Roeder on They Got Acquired, Built to Sell #344: How to Make Your Email List Worth 7-Figures, The Art of Newsletters 069: Laura Roeder – Building the Best Brand in Your Niche



    🎧Related Podcast Episodes: 

    093: How to Sell Your Online Business with Alexis Grant

    061: Scaling Boutique Businesses with Greg Alexander

    145: Tips for Training Part-Time Team Members with Kaneisha Grayson


    💻 Access Free Time episode transcripts on Podscribe »
    🌟Enjoying the show? The best way to thank us is by leaving a rating or review.
    ❤️Consider joining Jenny’s private BFF community, where you’ll get access to a monthly Q&A call, a private podcast feed with bonus content, and a community forum to exchange ideas and feedback with fellow Heart-Based Business owners.
    💌 Subscribe to the Time Well Spent newsletter: http://itsfreetime.com/join
    🛠 Get instant access to the Free Time Toolkit: http://itsfreetime.com/toolkit 
    💬 I’d love to hear what’s on your mind! Take the Free Time listener survey
    ☎️ Submit a voice question or comment for future episodes: http://itsfreetime.com/ask
    🎧 Make sure you’re subscribed wherever you listen to podcasts
    📝 Check out full show notes and links from this episode and share it with a friend! https://itsfreetime.com/episodes/157
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    • 55 min
    8 Idea Generation Strategies

    8 Idea Generation Strategies

    I had high hopes for the first couple of weeks of the year, but I rang in 2023 in bed, completely uninspired by goals or ideas—anything beyond a desire to get healthy and feel human again, let alone any loftier business aims. Taking a (very loud) hint from the universe, I settled on the theme THRIVE as my focus to start the year.
    One of the most common replies to my “wave a magic wand and fix one thing in your business” question when people access the Free Time Toolkit is for help with idea generation. In a meta move—seeing as I was in need of those very strategies myself to create this episode—today I am sharing 8 of them here with you!
    Don’t forget, you can always share a question or your favorite time-saving system by leaving me a voice memo at http://itsfreetime.com/ask.

    🌟8 Idea Generation Strategies:

    Maintain a collection bucket for when you’re reading, watching or have-on-the-go ideas. 

    What is true now? Look for Truth While It’s Fresh or Share When Solved moments.

    Always Be Listening (ABL). Systematize your listening through forms and ongoing input.

    Synthesis: Introduce a new concept by fusing different ideas together through metaphor.

    Be a contrarian: What is everyone talking about right now, and what is your take?

    What tropes or industry cliches drive you crazy? 

    Be a trend spotter: What is happening now that you have a heightened sensitivity to?

    Get quiet: What can come through only me? How can I serve as a messenger? 


    📝Permission: Lean on your audience and friends when creatively stuck. Explicitly ask for Q&A submissions, or get quiet and tap into the collective consciousness to create what you most need to hear in this moment. What’s the “love letter” you want to write or say if you were sitting across from one of your business besties (or your ideal reader or listener) in a coffee shop?

    ✅Do (or Delegate) This Next: Create an “always be listening” form (or field on an existing form asking about your audience’s biggest question or challenge) if you don’t already have one. For more on this, get your copy of Free Time and check out Chapter 13! 

    📘Books Mentioned:


    Free Time: Lose The Busywork, Love Your Business 



    Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One 



    How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking by Sönke Ahrens


    Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential by Tiago Forte


    The Way to Wealth: Ben Franklin on Money and Success by Benjamin Franklin (Benjamin Franklin)


    🔗Resources Mentioned:

    Free Time Toolkit, Free Time Operations Dashboard


    Videos: Matthew Dicks’ TEDxBerkshires Talk: Homework for Life, Curb Your Enthusiasm: Bad Middling


    YouTube Channel: The Deep Life with Cal Newport


    Article: New Yorkers Sick of Being Sick


    Notion web clipper: https://www.notion.so/web-clipper


    Jenny’s Loom walkthrough on Notion, and Notion for Collection Buckets



    🎧Related Podcast Episodes: 

    111: Building a Second Brain with Tiago Forte

    142: 🍉 Pick the Low-Hanging Watermelon

    124: JB’s 5 C’s System for Content Curation and Production


    💻 Access Free Time episode transcripts on Podscribe » 
    🌟 Enjoying the show? The best way to thank us is by leaving a rating or review.
    ❤️ Join Jenny’s private BFF community for access to a monthly Q&A call, a private podcast feed with bonus content, and a community forum to exchange ideas and feedback with fellow Heart-Based Business owners. 
    💌 Subscribe to the Time Well Spent newsletter: http://itsfreetime.com/join
    🛠 Get instant access to the Free Time Toolkit: http://itsfreetime.com/toolkit
    💬 I’d love to hear what’s on your mind! Take the Free Time listener survey
    ☎️ Submit a voice question or comment for future episodes: http://itsfreetime.com/ask
    🎧 Make sure you’re subscribed wherever you listen to podcasts
    📝 Check out full

    • 29 min
    How to Run Strategy Sprints + Scale by Certifying Coaches with Simon Severino

    How to Run Strategy Sprints + Scale by Certifying Coaches with Simon Severino

    What’s the right thing to do, and how do we do it quickly? In this conversation with Strategy Sprints founder Simon Severino, we cover: Why you shouldn’t start with your ideal avatar; setting daily, weekly, and monthly strategy planning (and measuring) habits; how he scales his business through certified Strategy Sprints® Coaches; creating self-healing loops, and greater resilience by tying roles to revenue.
    More About Simon: Simon Severino helps business owners in SaaS and services discover how to be able to run their company more efficiently, which results in sales that soar. Simon is the CEO and founder of Strategy Sprints which is a global team of certified Strategy Sprints® Coaches that offers a customized strategy to help clients gain market share and work in weekly sprints, which results in fast execution. He is also the host of the Strategy Sprints podcast, a Forbes Business Council Member, an Entrepreneur Magazine contributor, and a Duke Corporate Education member.

    🌟3 Key Takeaways:

    A 90-day sprint consists of 12 one-week sprints, each with 3 key measurement goals: one each for sales, operations, and marketing.

    Work backward to determine your ideal avatar: start helping people solve problems, then review what was the most fun and the most profitable.

    To build a lean, resilient process that can scale easily, make sure to establish self-healing loops and self-correcting mechanisms — with costs coming directly from profits, rather than being front-loaded.


    📝Permission: Drop the idea that you have to do more. You don’t. Follow your process, and good things will result.
     
    ✅Do (or Delegate) This Next: Think about your next 90 days and identify daily, weekly and monthly habits you want to institute. Bonus: choose one numerical goal for each of the three key categories: marketing, sales, and operations.

    📘Books Mentioned: 

    Free Time: Lose The Busywork, Love Your Business

    Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One


    Strategy Sprints: 12 Ways to Accelerate Growth for an Agile Business by Simon Severino


    Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp


    Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman


    It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson


    Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson


    The Road Less Stupid: Advice from the Chairman of the Board by Keith J. Cunningham


    🔗Resources Mentioned: 

    Simon on the web, IG: @strategysprints, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook


    Simon’s Podcast: Strategy Sprints


    Jenny’s 2-Day Strategy Sprint Template


    ISO Certification


    🎧Related Podcast Episodes: 

    061: Scaling Boutique Businesses with Greg Alexander

    016: IP Licensing with Lee LeFever

    140: How to License Your IP (Intellectual Property)

    122: My Top 5 Sources of Recurring Revenue

    Pivot: 126: How We Ran Our 2-Day Strategy Sprint (with Template)


     
    💻 Access Free Time episode transcripts on Podscribe »
    🌟Enjoying the show? The best way to thank us is by leaving a rating or review.
    ❤️ You’re invited! Join Jenny’s private BFF community, where you’ll get access to a monthly Q&A call, a private podcast feed with bonus content, and a community forum to exchange ideas and feedback with fellow Heart-Based Business owners.
    💌 Subscribe to the Time Well Spent newsletter: http://itsfreetime.com/join
    🛠 Get instant access to the Free Time Toolkit: http://itsfreetime.com/toolkit 
    💬 I’d love to hear what’s on your mind! Take the Free Time listener survey
    ☎️ Submit a voice question or comment for future episodes: http://itsfreetime.com/ask
    🎧 Make sure you’re subscribed wherever you listen to podcasts
    📝 Check out full show notes and links from this episode and share it with a friend! https://itsfreetime.com/episodes/155
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    • 43 min
    The Hard No ❌

    The Hard No ❌

    As I shared in last week’s solo episode, Free Time isn’t about time management or productivity, or even simply doing work more efficiently. It is about setting time free. 
    If our time is trapped like a bird in a cage, unless we break free of shoulds and obligations, there it will remain. We achieve this through smarter systems, and that includes getting better at saying no. 
    My own tendency to say yes — in an effort to be liked, to please others, to be accommodating, or even to continue trying to “do right” by my work in promoting it — leads to burnout and resentment when to many “yeses” create time confetti and tiredness. In this episode, I’m sharing strategies that I’ve picked up along the way for doing the very hard thing of disappointing others by saying no. 

    🌟 Key Takeaways

    Do’s: Ask, “Is my focus done?”, create blanket rules, celebrate space, trust in timing and your own inner compass

    Don’ts: Punt something you don’t actually want to do to your future self, spend too many thinking cycles mulling a decision, beat yourself up, cave to FOMO


    📝Permission: Treat indecision as the decision that it often is: no! Separate the guilt or shoulds you feel from what your intuition is saying to you. Would you initiate this request with joy, unprompted, or are you saying yes out of obligation? 
     
    ✅Do (or Delegate) This Next: Craft a graceful reply for a decision you’re facing, and don’t over-explain or defend your decision. Save your “graceful no” replies in the same place (I use Notion and TextExpander) so that you can return to them when facing the next tough no. 

    📘Books Mentioned:


    Free Time: Lose The Busywork, Love Your Business 


    Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One


    Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done by Jocelyn K. Glei


    Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu


    🎧Related Podcast Episodes: 

    152: Do Less — On Entropic Bloat and Business Haircuts

    141: Process, Permission Slips, and Business Pivots with Tara McMullin

    052: Perceived Capacity vs. Actual Capacity

    106: Splatology—On Clearing Time Clutter

    Pivot: 293: 🍝 Are you a Spaghetti-Twirler or a Spaghetti-Thrower?



    💻 Access Free Time episode transcripts on Podscribe » 
    🌟 Enjoying the show? The best way to thank us is by leaving a rating or review.
    ❤️ Join Jenny’s private BFF community for access to a monthly Q&A call, a private podcast feed with bonus content, and a community forum to exchange ideas and feedback with fellow Heart-Based Business owners. 
    💌 Subscribe to the Time Well Spent newsletter: http://itsfreetime.com/join
    🛠 Get instant access to the Free Time Toolkit: http://itsfreetime.com/toolkit
    💬 I’d love to hear what’s on your mind! Take the Free Time listener survey
    ☎️ Submit a voice question or comment for future episodes: http://itsfreetime.com/ask
    🎧 Make sure you’re subscribed wherever you listen to podcasts
    📝 Check out full show notes and links from this episode and share it with a friend! https://itsfreetime.com/episodes/154
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    • 19 min
    Behind the Podcast — Increasing Serendipity Surface Area — Mic Flip with Matthew Thompson

    Behind the Podcast — Increasing Serendipity Surface Area — Mic Flip with Matthew Thompson

    Imagine my surprise when, on the Saturday before I was set to be interviewed on a podcast last summer, my phone dings. It’s Door Dash.
    Huh?! I didn’t order anything . . .
    Turns out it was a surprise delivery from the producer of that show, Matthew Thompson. Next thing I know, my husband Michael and I are enjoying iced coffee and yummy treats with our Sunday morning reading—I have never felt so taken care of prior to guesting on a podcast!
    That’s Matt, and he’s all class (not to mention a fellow systems aficionado). When he suggested we flip the mic to talk more about my podcasting process, I leaped to say yes :) We talk about increasing the surface area of serendipity, saving time, improving interview quality with pre-surveys, and what we both learned from conducting three-month daily podcasting sprints.
    More About Matt: Producer Matt helps entrepreneurs around the world unlock the power of podcasting. Over the last five years, he's built a system that protects founders from the pain of podcasting so they can focus on having conversations that add value, build relationships and grow their business. Email him here »
    🌟3 Key Takeaways:

    Be discerning about diminishing returns. If your content doesn’t feel perfect, how much effort would it be to make the tweaks and changes you need, and is it really worth it for the difference in outcome you would get?

    If you have a podcast, transcribe your episodes and make sure that those transcripts are easily searchable so that you can quickly review your podcasting history for guests, key ideas, and quotations. 

    Thoughtfully giving gifts to guests can be a small investment in your process that pays huge dividends in your relationships. Consider how a gift can help digitally replicate some of your experiences in real life.

     
    ✅Do (or Delegate) This Next: Review your tech stack: Look at the different tools and software you use to run your business and see if there have been any updates, changes to functionality, or new integrations you might be able to use to save yourself time and clicks. 
     
    📘Books Mentioned:

    Free Time: Lose The Busywork, Love Your Business

    Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One


    Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect 



    🔗Resources Mentioned: 

    Matthew on the web, Best of Belfast podcast


    Tools:Notion, Descript, Zapier, Hourglass gift, Auphonic, Riverside.fm, Yeti Nano mic, Elevate coaching with Jay Acunzo, Loom walkthrough of Jenny’s podcast production process



    🎧Related Podcast Episodes: 

    Best of Belfast podcast: Amilra De Silva on Serendipity & the Chemistry of Everything, Isabel Woods: The 93-Year-Old Record-Breaking Cyclist


    Depression Cure podcast: ADHD 101: Superpowers, Myths & Unexpected Causes


    130: Day in the Life of a Podcast Episode and How I Prepare for Guests

    Pivot 197: Should You Start a Podcast? "It's A Love Game" — Interview by Petra Kolber


    Pivot 300! 🎉 3 Creative Lessons Learned from 7+ Years of Podcasting 

    Pivot 41: The Progress Paradox with Gregg Easterbrook


    Pivot 307: Pivoting from Google to Starting People Playbook with Tony McGaharan


     
    💻 Access Free Time episode transcripts on Podscribe »
    🌟Enjoying the show? The best way to thank us is by leaving a rating or review.
    ❤️Consider joining Jenny’s private BFF community, where you’ll get access to a monthly Q&A call, a private podcast feed with bonus content, and a community forum to exchange ideas and feedback with fellow Heart-Based Business owners.
    💌 Subscribe to the Time Well Spent newsletter: http://itsfreetime.com/join
    🛠 Get instant access to the Free Time Toolkit: http://itsfreetime.com/toolkit 
    ☎️ Submit a voice question or comment for future episodes: http://itsfreetime.com/ask
    🎧 Make sure you’re subscribed wherever you listen to podcasts
    📝 Check out full show notes and links from this episode and share it with a friend! htt

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

Jawsietime ,

So good and so relevant!

A long-overdue review for this brilliant podcast. Jenny’s ideas are a must-have for any solopreneur or aspiring solopreneur. Also great for creatives and anyone who wants to re-assess their relationship to work.

DailyGC ,

Joyful Solutions for Entrepreneurial Overwhelm

Can I give 6 stars? In the universe of entrepreneurial overwhelm, Jenny and her guests consistently offer relevant, actionable nuggets to help you achieve focus, clarity and results. If you need a compassionate guide to get you through the messy middle or to rearrange the fragments of your next great work, this is the place. Many episodes, such as "Building a Second Brain" and "How to Start Writing a Book, Course, or Workshop," offer roadmaps that are worthy of a second listen. You will be joyfully grateful. Thank you, Jenny!

HillGamingCompany ,

A breath of fresh air

I love listening to this pod on my daily walks and getting inspired with great ideas for how to grow (my business and my outlook)

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