One of the most common complaints people have when it comes to marketing their business online is lacking time to do it.
This is especially true for home business owners who are solopreneurs, working and operating at the comfort of their own home, all by themselves.
The problem is very common. But if you really can’t find time to do marketing, chances are there is something wrong with how you allocate time for different activities in your business. Or it may be that you should now consider delegating some of the loads by hiring or outsourcing.
Michael E. Gerber in his famous classic The E-Myth Revisited says that:
The problem is that everybody who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one: The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician. And the problem is compounded by the fact that while each of these personalities wants to be a boss, none of them wants to have a boss.
Everything is trying to get our attention as though it is the most urgent thing you must do right now.
Just before you start doing it, tens of other things pop up, distracting your focus to them. The result is you get nothing done but you shuffle from one task to another so fast it seems like you are too busy.
Each of the personality above has different set of activities that need to be done to be successful in the business. In this article we are not going into these exact personalities, but more on the activities.
Generally, there are only two types of tasks any small business owners or service professionals spend their time with:
1. Revenue-generating activities
2. Administrative tasks
Ideally you should spend the whole waking moments do revenue-generating activities, but this is not possible because administrative tasks are also important although they are not generating any income for your business.
Those that fall into this category include consulting with clients, developing new products, services or programs, all marketing activities from planning, delivering a presentation, seeking strategic alliance partnership, writing articles for publications, and so on.
Everything in this category is very important because it brings in the revenue, new source of income for your business. For most of us, it is the reason we are still in the business.
Your goal should be to dedicate at least 60-80 percent of your working time for revenue-generating activities.
If you want to grow your business, there is no other way but to do this. Unfortunately, sometimes the tasks that make up a project is so overwhelming you seek to find other more low level things that make you feel you are productive but in fact they are not really that critical nor urgent.
This is when adopting an action management system is utmost important to keep tasks related to certain contexts and priorities in their places. Once you are ready to dig them out to do them one at the time, you know where to look at instead of trying to remember it, causing unnecessary stress.
Finding the proper balance in delivering consulting service, creating products and marketing your business is also important. If you dedicate the majority of your time to consult, you are not getting your message out there.
Your email subscribers may not recognize you anymore the time you try to reach them. Marketing existing products can help you maximize the revenue without trading hours.
Revenue-generating tasks can be fun and easy if you know how to do it. If you spend much of your time trying to figure out how to do certain things then you need a guide and/or a system.
For example, if you are to plan for a podcast but you are struggling with the whole concept about how it could be used for your business, you are not being efficient in using your time.
Investing in programs that help you become more productive is priceless. If you could save half of the time tinkering with different marketing technologies, it may have saved you $2K per month if you learn how to do it right in just a fraction of time.
So first, know what you should do and then, make it efficient by learning how to do it.
The activities that are part of this category include mail and email, bookwork, paperwork, etc.
They are not directly generating revenue, but also necessary to support the business. Administrative tasks appear from different sources. Some of them are by nature while others are part of the results of your actions.
For example, do you get into the habit of subscribing to tons of email newsletter that are mostly promotion? Do you take the time to read all the mails, read what they have to offer?
This could lead to different problems like hopping to the next shinier opportunity instead of pursuing what is available now.
Your goal should be to limit the time you spend on this type of tasks to no more than 20 percent. These are more likely the tasks that you should delegate to others.
The only way to allocate the right time is by knowing exactly which actions belong to which category.
Again it is easy that at 10am when you should be researching for new product ideas, you are so overwhelmed with the data you check email numerous times, read newsletters, try out new version of software, etc. And before you realize, it is 12am and you start wondering where the time flies.
After identifying the activities in each category, you need a way to manage the actions and make sure they are get done.
The system I use is Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. It has been used by thousands upon thousands of people successfully.
If you are serious about growing your business — and also improving your life, it may be the greatest investment you can make this year. Yes, it is suitable to manage both personal and professional activities.
In fact, it is designed to do so because what are left un-managed take the same amount of space in your mind. This is what this system tries to help you overcome.
Just so you know, GTD also includes a system to track delegated tasks, so even if you don’t do much of the things yourself, you can still use it to be come more organized.