If you’re running one or multiple home-based businesses, you know it can be incredibly taxing on your time. This month I launched 2 new businesses, 1 blog, and 3 websites by applying some of the principles I learned in Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Work Week.
Before I get into this, let me give you an idea of my current responsibilities – the reason I do this is to connect with people who think that they don’t have the time to start a business. I used to think this too, but if you think differently and optimize your time, it is possible. Here’s a snapshot of my life/time demands:
- Single mom with 2 kids ages 6 and 7
- After school activities
- 1 full time freelance writing business with 25+ regular clients and approx 75 part-time clients
- Write for 2 blogs
- 3 online businesses that are somewhat automated but require marketing
- Plans for 3-5 additional small niche websites within the next 30 days
- Plans to start a gumball machine vending business to get the kids in an entrepreneur mindset within the next 30 days
I certainly don’t have a 4-hour workweek. But remember, Tim Ferris was already making $70,000 per month when he began cutting down the time he spent working on his business. I’m in the growing stages. I used the principles in Tim’s 4 Hour Work Week as a way to give myself more time to develop other income streams without losing my mind or turning into a zombie.
Here’s how I’m doing it:
1. Remain Keenly Aware of When I Am Stalling
I launched My College Fundraising early last week and knew I would need Pay Per Click to get leads. I have never launched a Pay Per Click campaign before and was a little intimidated by the process. My ex-husband had launched one a few years ago and ended up with a huge bill so I’ve kind of avoided it out of “fear.” I set a goal for myself to have PPC running by Monday and by Tuesday morning, I hadn’t even started.
In my mind, I kept making up excuses about why the site wasn’t ready or why I wasn’t ready to hand leads. I also made internal excuses telling myself that I didn’t have the time to set it up. Bullsh**. At 5:51 am I decided to take action and by 6:12 am (19 minutes later) I had a PPC ad in position #1.
2. Leverage Parkinson’s Law
Tim Ferris introduced me to Parkinson’s Law, which dictates that “a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. In other words, give yourself a longer period of time to complete something, and it will take longer. Give yourself a shorter deadline and you’ll get it finished faster.
One of the reasons I was stalling with Pay Per Click is that I ask people to fill out a form to receive a fundraising kit by mail and I don’t have that completed yet. I know what will be in it, but it is not assembled. My goal was to have this assembled before the launch of the site, but I was wasting all kinds of time trying to put extra items in the kit and therefore was subconsciously telling myself that I wasn’t ready to start PPC. Bullsh**. When I get a lead, I will complete the kit in record time with all of the essential materials. In the meantime, I’ll work on other necessary tasks.
3. Make Myself Accountable
If I only do client work each day, then I really don’t have anything to contribute to this blog. This was one of the main reasons why I forced myself to take action on the PPC ad today. The act of writing this blog hold me accountable for making progress on these businesses.
4. Choose business models that don’t require a lot of customer support
For my hosting business and travel booking business, service and support is built in. These are turnkey businesses that I private label so there is no website maintenance, no customer support, just sales. My travel booking business allows me to make 60% commissions off of every booking – all I have to do is do smart marketing and relationship building with businesses and groups that already book a lot of travel. (If you’re interested in doing the same, visit Private Label Travel Agency).
5. Work on one critical component each day
This is another idea of Tim’s. You should have one CRITICAL function listed to accomplish each day. It’s ok if you are only doing one thing to further your business each day as long as it’s critical and will move you closer to your goal.
6. Focus on one business each day
When launching a business, you’ll probably need to accomplish more than just one critical action per day. In this case, I devote one or two days (or half days) to one business. I have a list of tasks mapped out that I need to accomplish during that time period and miraculously, it gets done.
7. Break the day into tasks and set deadlines for each
If you don’t set deadlines for completion, tasks have a tendency to take forever. If you set a short deadline to accomplish something you will get it finished in record time.
Here are some other great posts from other bloggers about time management:
- Haiku Productivity: The Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits
- 25 Time Management Tips from Jerky Beef at Blog Tips for the Entrepreneur
- Put More Time in Your Day from Wendy Boswell at LifeHacker
What else can we entrepreneurs do to manage my time better? What’s keeping you from accomplishing more of what you want? What strategies to you use to manage your time?
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