Work Smarter, Not Harder – 4 Keys to a Lower Maintenance and More Productive Online Business

by | Let's Talk Business, Productivity, Working from Home

Here’s something that most online business owners struggle with. Working too hard for not enough return. Even when the returns are good, the hours can be grueling.

As a wife and mom of three kids, I can’t afford to be sitting at my computer 24/7. I chose to run an online business because I want to be home with my kids, but being at home glued to a computer screen isn’t like being at home.

Even if you don’t have a kid or a spouse, a business should not become your entire life. It’s a recipe for burnout and a dismal life that revolves around a computer. At first, building your business and working really may seem exciting, but then you look up and realize there’s nothing else in your life.

So, how do you work smarter and not harder? In other words, how do you make more money with less personal time invested in your business?

To me, in comes down to 4 key points:

  1. Value your time and don’t undercharge
  2. Leverage the strengths and time of others
  3. Implement passive income models into your business
  4. Don’t be afraid of technology

Here’s some more thoughts on each of those:

1. Value Your Time and Don’t Undercharge

You need to set and limit your working hours. You probably run your business so you can stay home with your family and/or have more freedom. Well, being a prisoner to your computer doesn’t do either of those things for you. In addition, when you limit your work time, you are actually more productive. If you have only 3 hours to get work done, you’re more likely to stay focused and do what you need to do. If you have set aside the whole day to work, you’re more likely to slack off and find distractions.

The other part of valuing your time is by charging what your time is really worth to you. A common practice for new business owners is to not charge enough. Retail business owners discount their prices to be lower than their competitors, and those that provide services charge too little because they don’t feel they can charge more, or that they’re not worth it yet. If you’re running your business as a hobby, that’s fine I guess, but if you are trying to build a successful business and significant income, then that just won’t work.

Instead of decreasing your prices, increase the value of what you offer – whether it’s in superior customer service, personal shopping assistance, or other value-added offerings that will make you stand out from your competitors for the right reasons, not just because you’re cheap.

2. Leverage The Strength & Time of Others

Don’t think of yourself as a solo entrepreneur…think of yourself as a team. You can leverage the strength and time of others by:

  • Outsourcing: You don’t need to do it all yourself!
  • Partnering with others reaching the same target market as you: Your competition doesn’t need to be your enemy. Make them your partners instead.
  • Recruiting and training an affiliate force: Just setting up the script for your affiliate program isn’t enough…set up a stellar program that will motivate users to be part of.
  • Being part of mastermind group that shares business strategies and experiences.

3. Implement Passive Income Models Into Your Business

Outsourcing and having your own well-managed affiliate program are ways to generate passive income. Other ways to add more passive income to your online business are:

  • Join affiliate programs: You don’t have to fulfill the orders and provide customer support.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization is an excellent source of highly-targeted traffic for your website. Just think, people enter a keyword phrase for something they want and voila, they find you.
  • Implement pay-per-click strategies: Just like with search engines, you can get highly-targeted traffic to your website, but you have to pay for it. But setting up a cost-effective and profitable campaign can do wonders for your business. Try Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing.
  • Use autoresponders: Effectively automate your follow-up process with your prospects and customers.
  • Backend Sales & Upsells: When someone is already going to buy from you once, they’re more likely to buy more. Make sure you make extra offers.

4. Embrace Technology

This one might be tough for some non-technical people. Some uses of technology can include:

  • Autoresponders
  • Membership sites
  • Automating content addition to your sites
  • Making customer/prospect management easier and more profitable by using a CRM
  • Customer feedback, comments, reviews
  • Affiliate program
  • Tracking advertising and A/B split testing

So please, stop doing so much work! Your business, family, and friends will thank you for it!