March 2017. It was a regular Wednesday morning until my mind started to wander. Was I working a decent job with a comfortable salary? “Sure.” Did it mean I could spend the rest of my life inside this cubicle? The answer was a loud “NO FREAKING WAY.”

My next thought involved an exit plan that consisted of saving for a year, then trying my luck as an entrepreneur. It sounded like a reasonable idea, but I knew myself well enough to realize that I wouldn’t last another month, let alone an entire year.

After all, I was the type of person to attend an English-speaking college without speaking English, the type of person to book a one-way ticket to Dubai with $100 in her pocket and 15 days to find a job, and the type of person who gets married two months after meeting her soulmate.

I’d always followed my heart and this was no different.

The very next day I handed in my notice and started my journey towards building a six-figure business while working three days a week.

It all started with The Kitchen

My first move after quitting the corporate world was to sign up with the Institute of Professional Excellence and Coaching (IPEC) where I underwent training to become a coach and the Master Practitioner of Energy Leadership Index Assessment. The assignments were demanding but I always had a lot of energy left at the end of each day. Naturally, I decided to invest the downtime into another project.

I didn’t have to look further than my kitchen to find my first idea. I’d always pictured food as a magic force that brings people together. It’s no surprise we have buffets at weddings, bake cakes at birthday parties, and go to dinners with our dates.

My idea was to use food as a means to bring local communities together in my city. I called it The Kitchen (surprise, surprise) and I got to work.

Like most ideas, The Kitchen was a guaranteed success on paper but one heck of a mess in practice. I needed capital to rent a place, employees to organize events, and a solid network to ensure regular food and beverage deliveries. I had none of these things and so, The Kitchen died before it was even born.

I knew entrepreneurship to be a bumpy road but that first frustration took its toll on me. The thought of going back to the corporate world crossed my mind, especially when I saw the bills pile up every month and we struggled to pay each one of them on my husband’s income.

But, deep down I knew it was too early to quit and the support of my family in India kept me going. Every night I decided to quit and every morning I decided to give entrepreneurship my best shot until one day luck smiled at me.

Accidental success

If you spend enough time with me, you’ll realize I’m always buzzing with energy. That’s most likely the reason why one of my coaching mentors asked me to give a speech at the Women Business Center of a local university, “Hey Prati,” she said, “Why don’t you share some of your high-energy secrets with our entrepreneurs?” I thought she was joking and I was wrong. Then I thought no one would show up to the event and I was also wrong.

I spoke in front of over 20 business owners and they all rushed my way at the end, fishing for tips and tricks. Just like that, I became the Human Energy Expert in a world full of strategies and tactics. I loved my new title and dived headlong to learn everything I could about the subject. I put more effort into studying how to best manage one’s energy levels and by the end of my coaching degree, it became second nature.

That’s when I had what you’d call a Eureka Moment.

I’m about to be a certified coach, I told myself. I have 20 years of marketing under my belt, and I know how to handle energy. Why not combine all of these things to create a unique business?

Unlike The Kitchen, I didn’t need capital or a supply chain. All I needed was me and so, once again, I got to work. I put together my first training program where I help business owners align their marketing energy with their energy.

I know. This can sound a bit woo, but hear me out first.

We all know that some people are more active in the morning than they are in the evening. If you’re one of them, it makes more sense for you to work on the most difficult tasks in the morning (like drafting sales pages) and leave the repetitive mindless ones for the evening (like responding to emails).

By doing so, you make the most out of your day.

The same pattern applies to business. By aligning your energy levels with your marketing strategies, you make the most out of your campaigns. Our thoughts are energy and our reality is created by our thoughts. I have always known it and now I had the words to help others understand thanks to my official training at IPEC.

My friends and their friends loved the concept and were happy to be my beta clients. Together we took each of their businesses to the next level. Then, word of mouth spread the news and the money machine finally started to roll.

Still, something was missing. Time. I wanted more of it. I wanted to spend more time hanging out with my kid, hiking, and drinking coffee with my friends. That’s why I decided to cut my working days down to three without impacting my output.

My three-day workweek

I owe a lot of things to books, and one of them is my current framework. I’d pick a bunch of productivity books, dissect each one of them, and test their contents until I’d find what works for me.

Below you’ll find seven principles I’ve used to design my perfect workweek.

  1. Write down your non-negotiables. For me, that’s family time, hiking, and clients. No matter how busy my business gets, I always prioritize time to refuel and connect with the people who matter most to me. I also strive to deliver the best results for my clients.
  2. Pick a structure that works for you. I chose three days a week where I start at 4:30 am and stop when I’m ready to hit the bed because that’s what worked best for me. Your ideal week could be four or five days with fewer working hours.
  3. Identify the resources needed to sustain your business model and life. For me, this includes delegating some of my work to a virtual assistant, paying for house services like food and cleaning, and dedicating enough time to my network.
  4. There’s no such thing as “too much communication” at home. I discuss most of my plans — business and otherwise — with my husband and son. I ask both for opinions and the support I need from them to make things happen.
  5. There’s no such thing as “too much communication” at work. The more I understand my clients, the better I deliver. It’s as simple as that.
  6. Make a daily conscious effort to not sweat the small stuff. It’s okay to take an entire week to fold your laundry. It’s okay to forget to water your plants. It’s okay not to meet all personal expectations. As long as you show up as your best self, don’t worry too much about the outcomes.
  7. Always ask yourself “What am I going to gain from the next hour?” It could be money, pleasure, satisfaction, rest, or knowledge. But when it’s “nothing,” you need to change your plans.
  8. Do not multitask. Focus on one thing at a time, tune out everything else. When I’m working, I’m working, when I’m with my family, I am with the 100%. Scattered energy brings scattered results.

Closing thought

This year, I didn’t send my 12-year-old son to summer camps. Instead, we spent the hot season together exploring nearby hills and hidden corners of our city. We also saw friends and family.

If I wasn’t the master of my time, I would’ve never afforded to spend the summer the way I want. Condensing every workweek into three days can be tiring but it gives me more freedom without compromising my income. If I could pull this off, so can you.