Overwhelmed, overworked, and not seeing a profit in your business yet? This needs to change!
Hands up if you have tons of half-finished items are on your to-do list! I hear you.
I used to be in the exact same position. I didn’t have a strategic plan of action to implement and I was working 12 hour days on things I wasn’t even sure was helping my business. I was scatterbrained and tried a little of this, a little of that, and more, thinking it might help but not knowing for sure. After working 12 hours I couldn’t look back and pinpoint what exactly I was working toward other than just trying to keep my head above water.
Now, I work less, make way more, and work more efficiently! Woohoo!
What changed? I created a profit plan and my friend, Haley Burkhead, taught me exactly how to do just that.
I joined Haley in the Profit Planner Lounge and I found out which tasks bring me the most money. I also cut out everything that was draining my energy and automated what was driving profit! (This automation was HUGE for me!) The tools you work with Haley on alone are business-changing, but then you get so much more help from Haley and the awesome community.
So, what exactly is the Profit Planner Lounge?
It’s a place to automate your:
- High Priority Tasks
- To-Do List (on a color-coded, recurring calendar)
When you join, you’ll be able to break your income goals down into daily, actionable, color-coded tasks that make you more money, not migraines!
Click here to join me and learn more about the Profit Planner Lounge
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:
- Value your time and don’t undercharge
- Leverage the strengths and time of others
- Implement passive income models into your business
- 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:
- 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!
Your home office makes a big difference on your overall productivity and work happiness. Having a great home office makes it easier to concentrate and will help you get more done in less time. Here are some of the many things you should keep in mind while you’re designing your home office.
The Space Itself
Your home office should be separated from the rest of your house and especially the rest of your bedroom. If you don’t have a separate office space set aside, at least use curtains or other material to partition off the space.
When you step into your home office, it should feel like you’re stepping into a workspace. It should not be an extension of your bedroom.
Designing Your Flow
Place all the tools you’ll need within arm’s length. In other words, your phone, your keyboard, your printer tray and your notepad should all be in reaching distance if those are tools you use regularly.
Measure Your Space
Before you buy any equipment, make sure you take a tape measure and measure everything out. The last thing you want is to buy office equipment only to discover that it doesn’t fit.
Make Sure Your Cabinets Have Room to Open
This is one of the more common home office design mistakes people make. They remember to measure the cabinet’s space, but forget to measure enough space for the cabinet to open out. You don’t want your cabinet to hit anything else when it opens – including you or your chair.
Add Real Plants
Working in a home office all day can be quite stuffy. Research has shown that nature and real plants can help people concentrate and boost mood.
Add a real plant or two in your workspace to help lift your spirits.
Invest in a Quality Chair
Sitting in a low quality chair can result in back pain, aching shoulders and other kinds of body pains. If you’re going to spend money on anything in your office, spend it on your chair. Get a quality chair that supports your spine and allows you to work for extended periods of time without undue pressure.
Lighting Is Important
You don’t want to work in dim lighting. Having good lighting helps reduce strain on your eyes, promotes better mood and helps improve productivity.
The light in your office needs to appear diffused, so it can’t just come from one source. Ideally you’ll have three or four different lights that all contribute to an overall sense of having a well-lit room.
These are some of the many things that go into designing the optimal office. Your office space has a big impact on your overall workflow. The time you put into improving its design will pay off many times over.
The difference between a productive work system and an unproductive one is enormous. Someone with high productivity can easily get more done in one or two hours than many people can in a full day of work. When you work a standard desk job, productivity often isn’t tracked. When you work for yourself, however, the only thing that matters is results. In this environment, productivity makes a big difference.
Productivity can be defined as getting as much done in as little time as possible. Being productive also means doing everything that needs to be done with as little stress as possible.
So how do you increase your productivity?
1. Create Uninterrupted Periods of Work
It’s impossible to be truly productive when you’re constantly being interrupted. If you’re always checking Facebook, emails, taking phone calls and so on, you’re simply not going to be able to get much done.
Work in batches of uninterrupted time. You might work in 50-minute segments, 25-minute segments or whatever amount of segments you find work for you. Block out time during which you don’t take calls and aren’t interrupted at all.
2. Manage Your Inbox
Your inbox is one of the keys to your productivity, yet most people pay next to no attention to their inbox management. Your inbox can be digital (your email) as well as physical. Any place where you receive communications or tasks that you’re responsible for can be considered an inbox.
Most people’s inbox management looks something like this. First, they see something land in their inbox. They then either do something with it or not. If not, they try to remember to do something about it later. Their inbox pretty soon piles up until they have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of emails sitting there.
This is no way to run an inbox or a business. Instead, successful people work from a “zero inbox” system. The inbox is a set of tasks that needs to be completed. Every time a task is complete, it’s moved out of the inbox. The email or message is either deleted, filed away or responded to. Nothing stays in the inbox. At the end of each day, the inbox goes back down to zero.
This eliminates dropped balls. It also completely eliminates the stress you experience regarding always feeling like there’s something you’re supposed to be doing.
3. Scheduling Your Time
You’ll find that there are certain times of days when you’re more productive than others. Some people find they do their best work before 7am, while others are late-night owls who only get started at 11 pm. Figure out which schedule works best for you.
If you get in the habit of working in blocks of productive time, get your inbox down to zero daily and schedule the bulk of your work during your peak productivity times, you’ll get a lot more done in a lot less time. You’ll feel less stressed to boot.
No matter how well you plan your business, at some point life will get in the way. Perhaps your car breaks down. Or perhaps your child gets hurt and needs to be taken to hospital. Or maybe your sister is having a baby. Whatever the case, the simple fact is that life often doesn’t always turn out the way we expect it to.
What can you do? How do you keep your business going when life gets in the way?
Take a Deep Breath
Start by taking a deep breath and giving yourself a little space to relax. Yes, it’s important to keep the wheels turning – but it’s also important to give yourself a little space. Don’t beat yourself up over having to give your life priority.
Cut Down All But the Essential
Look through your task list for the upcoming days and weeks. What can you cut out? What projects aren’t essential?
Cut down your workload to just the bare bones. Cut out any business expanding efforts. Do just enough to maintain your client base and keep your business running – no more.
Outsource as Much as Possible
Outsource as many tasks as you can to someone you trust.
Business owners, especially home business owners, are often hesitant to outsource. If you have to pay someone $25 an hour to keep things running in your absence, that can seriously cut into your profits.
In normal circumstances, that’s certainly true. In an emergency situation, however, paying someone a respectable hourly rate to keep your business going is a wise investment.
Find someone who understands your business model and all the tools your business needs to keep running, and ask them to run your company for you for the days or weeks you need to take off.
Work When You Can Fit It In
Don’t just drop your company entirely. Instead, do as much work as you can when you can fit it in.
For example, if you took your child to hospital, bring your laptop with you. When you’ve got an hour or two in the waiting room, do a bit of work. If your car broke down, again, use the waiting time productively.
An emergency will almost never take up your entire 16 waking hours. Use the time you have left over to take care of the most important aspects of your business.
These tips will help you put your business on a bare-bones life support system. Your business certainly won’t grow, but it also won’t shrink. Dealing with emergencies is toughest when you don’t have a contingency plan. Once you know who you can turn to and how to respond to emergencies, these situations become a lot less stressful.