Managing Your Time Effectively
Are you managing your time effectively? As online entrepreneurs we’re bad about falling in the trap of counting every hour at the computer as “work time”. Be honest with yourself here for a minute. How much of that time is spent browsing through Facebook, checking the latest Reddit posts or going down the rabbit hole of “research”.
We’re all guilty of it but to be more profitable and productive we have to manage our time effectively. While the ideas below will take some getting used to, the end result will be to spend less time at your desk and more time away from your computer doing the things you love to do.
Make A Plan And Break It Down
Start by figuring out what you want to get accomplished. What’s your next big project and what ongoing tasks need to be taken care of on a daily or weekly basis.
If you’re working on a new coaching program, that might involve outlining what you want to teach, writing the training course, editing and formatting, creating worksheets and slides and figuring out how you’ll sell and deliver the program.
In addition you may have daily or weekly tasks like blogging, emailing your subscribers, interacting on social media sites and forums etc.
Figure out what you need to get done over the coming weeks and write it down. Knowing what you should be working on to be more profitable is half the battle.
Write Out Daily and Weekly To-Do Lists
Next it’s time to write out your to-do lists. Start with everything you’ve written down in the last step and break it down into daily or weekly tasks. Use whatever method works best for you.
Use a weekly list if you prefer working on larger tasks or projects all day long, or try daily lists and break larger projects up into manageable chunks that you can accomplish in just a few hours or less.
You can jot down your to-do list on a piece of paper and cross things off your list as you get them done. Or use an app for your smartphone. Remember The Milk is a simple and easy to use list app that allows you to create tasks, assign dates, priorities and even make the tasks recurring (great for reminders to write those blog posts).
Set A Time And Get To Work
The tasks on your to-do list will take as long as you allow them to take. To stay productive use a timer and get them done. Pick an item on your list, estimate how long it should ideally take you to get it done and then set that timer.
Remind yourself that if you work hard and fast, you can be done for the day and go play. Train yourself to work faster over time, but don’t forget to take breaks. 25 minutes of intense work followed by a 5 minute break seems to work well.
Continue to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Do more of what’s profitable and fun and try to get it done in the shortest amount of time possible – without sacrificing quality of course.
Do You Have Systems In Place?
The easiest way to make your business more profitable is to track what’s working. What parts of your business, what projects and what products are making you money? Which ones don’t? What type of customer is most profitable for you? Where is your most profitable traffic coming from?
Taking time to dig into your stats and calculating ROI (Return on Investment) is one of the best things you can do for your bottom line.
Start by looking at your products. This could be info products, physical products, any coaching you do, anything you resell or even advertising you sell on your site. List it all out.
Next to each item on your list, note down how much money each product has brought in. You can break it down by month, or look at long term figures like year-to-date profits or revenue generated over the past 12 months. Use whatever number seems most helpful.
Next think about how much work each of these products or profit streams take. Selling advertising space on your site or a simple little kindle book may not make as much money per month as that big info product you created or the one-on-one coaching you offer, but they also don’t take hardly any time to create and maintain. Assign a value to each item on your list.
Once you have all your data, it’s just a matter of creating more products of the type that’s most profitable for the time you invest in them.
Your Customers and Prospects
Taking a look at your customers and prospects is also a good idea. Where did they come from? Who is your core customer base? These are the people that buy everything you put out and are signing your praises to their circle of influence. They may also be repeat customers that come back to you over and over again.
What prospects are most likely to turn into paying customers? Are they people that were attracted by the freebie you offer to get them on your list, or are they people that found you via the great blog posts you write?
You can find a lot of this information by looking at your customer database and by comparing subscriber lists to customer lists. You can also learn a lot by talking to your customers and subscribers. Start a conversation via email, on your site or in a Facebook group.
Your end goal is to pinpoint who your most profitable demographic is and then figure out how to put yourself in front of more of those people. Which brings us to our last point…
It’s time to dig into those website stats. Where is your most profitable traffic coming from? How do they find your site, what do they look at once they get there and what funnel do they go through until they become part of your most profitable customer group?
Tools like Google Analytics are your best friend here. Spend a weekend learning more about the different reporting you can set up, what you can track and how to read the numbers.
Once you know where your most profitable traffic is coming from – be it Search Results, Pinterest, your Affiliates or Facebook Ads – put on your thinking cap and figure out how you can tap into more of that traffic or something similar.
Keep tracking, tweaking and improving your bottom line. Make it a goal to get more profitable this month than you were last month and you’ll see your business and bank account grow in no time.