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5 tips to maximize productivity and profitability
If you're anything like me, you've probably got a lot of things going on in your life. Maybe you're still trying to balance a 9-5 job with a 5-9 side hustle. Maybe you're in school and drowning in homework or you have kids who need constant attention or you have a busy travel schedule… whatever you have going on – I feel ya! So today I'm sharing 5 tips to maximize productivity and profitability – so you can spend less time working and more time living!
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by #allthethings but I HATE, HATE, REALLY HATE hearing the excuse “I don't have time for that” when it comes to things in your business.
If you don't MAKE time for your business, then you don't have a business.
Whether you have 5 hours a week or 50 hours a week to work on your business, you can make time for the things you really NEED to do, but you have to FOCUS!
I run 3 businesses working 3 weeks a month. It's not always easy and there are definitely days or weeks when I feel like I have too much on my plate, but I make it work because I love what I do (and honestly I really love working… but I know it's not healthy to be working all the time)!
When you have limited time to work, you HAVE to use that time productively. But busy does not equal productive. You can embrace the pomodoro method and turn off notifications and bullet journal your way into thinking that you're being productive, but if your productivity does not translate into profitability, then you're doing it wrong.
5 tips to maximize productivity and profitability
I feel insanely strongly about prioritizing. If you don't know your priorities, you waste a ton of time trying to figure what to do. You also waste time on tasks that aren't really that important. And you probably spend a stupid amount of time thinking about #allthethings you need to do because you haven't narrowed down your insane to do list to the few priorities that actually matter.
If you're thinking ok, great but how do I actually figure out what my priorities are? Or how do I make time to focus on them? Here are a few things that work for me:
Focus on one income stream at a time. Most entrepreneurs have a bunch of different things going on. Maybe you have a few different services.. or you have one on one services as well as sell digital products.. or you have a membership and a shop and you're also trying to make income from affiliates.. or all of the above.. I get it. Back in 2016 I was consulting and launching courses and selling digital products and when I finally quit trying to do everything at once I doubled my income by focusing on one thing – the Styled Stock Society. That doesn't mean it's my only income stream (don't put all your eggs in one basket and all that), but if you're being pulled in too many different directions you're probably not doing anything as best as you can, so I would say – take a step back, and prioritize one income stream at a time. Focus on getting booked out with one on one clients THEN think about launching that course. Focus on optimizing your online shop to the point that you have a steady stream of daily customers THEN think about creating that subscription program. Just focus on one thing at a time!
Focus on the marketing channels that convert. My clients and customers find me mainly through Pinterest + Instagram so I spend ZERO time on Facebook and Twitter. The only reason my Facebook and Twitter are even active is automation (and a bit of outsourcing) but really, it's a waste of my time to spend time on marketing that doesn't really matter. My highest converting marketing channel is my email list so I commit to emailing my subscribers regularly. If I miss a few days posting on Instagram or take a break from blogging, it's not the end of the world because I know that I'm still reaching my audience through emails. I don't care if everyone is telling you that you should to be doing Facebook Lives or you should have a Youtube channel or you should start a podcast – you SHOULDN'T be spending time on marketing that isn't converting!
Focus on 2-3 priority tasks each day and get them done first. I'm the type of person who lives for my to-do list but the fastest way to get me feeling overwhelmed is seeing #allthethings that I need to do. My priority tasks are things that are essential to my business and typically take 1-3 hours to complete. For me, priority tasks are things like shooting Styled Stock Society collections, editing client photos, or writing email newsletters. Priority tasks are NOT things like making quick website edits, responding to non-urgent emails, or checking social media notifications. Priority tasks get done first. Period. If that means I don't get to responding to a non-urgent email for days #sorrynotsorry
Anything you do on a regular basis should be systemized. When you have systems for things, you don't waste time thinking about “what's next” because you always know. When you have systems, you create a more streamlined experience for yourself but also your clients / customers. Systems could be anything from how you publish new blog posts to how you onboard new clients to how you create social media graphics to how you categorize + respond to emails.
There are a lot of ways to document and implement your systems, but most of my systems are mapped out in Asana so I can easily duplicate workflows or share templates with my team.
Having systems in place also makes it easier to figure out where you can automate work or outsource it to someone else – which brings me to…You can embrace the pomodoro method and turn off notifications and bullet journal your way into thinking that you're being productive, but if your productivity does not translate into profitability, then you're doing it wrong.Click To Tweet
If you aren't using any sort of automation in your business I guarantee you are wasting time! You cannot (and should not) do everything yourself, so taking advantage of the tools that can help you run your business on autopilot should be a no brainer. A few things I automate in my business –
I automate Twitter / Facebook posts using SmarterQueue* (just set up your social posts once and they can recycle automatically!)
I automate a series of emails to anyone who downloads my free stock photos so they are introduced to the Styled Stock Society
I automate a series of emails (using Convertkit*) to anyone who signs up as an SSS affiliate so they get follow-up resources
I automate an initial response to any support requests we receive so that customers know what to expect (+ are also directed to our FAQ page where they might get answers even quicker!)
Most of the tools I use to automate in my business involve paying a small monthly fee (and if you click on any of the * links above, I may earn a small commission), but the amount of time I save by automating parts of my business is worth WAYYY MORE than the price I pay!
As a self-proclaimed control freak, outsourcing has probably been the hardest thing for me to do on this list. But here's the thing – you are not the best at everything. There are certain things in your business that someone else can do better / faster / more efficiently – so why are you wasting your time trying to do them? There are also things you probably HATE doing – but someone else actually likes doing it. I love numbers but I still hate doing accounting. I personally I also hate doing a lot of “chores” so I outsource a lot of things in my personal life (cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) Then there are probably a bunch of tasks that you can do and you don't mind doing… but they're just not the best use of your time. These are the the types of things that have been hardest for me to delegate (because again, I'm kind of a control freak), but honesty, I just know that for me, outsourcing things like copywriting / creating blog post graphics / scheduling social media allows me to focus on other things that I really don't trust other people to do.
#realtalk I know that if I only want to work 3 weeks per month, there's no way I have time to do it all. Overall, I outsource around 20 hours of work a month to other people, but if I tried to do everything that they do myself, I would probably be spending an additional 30-40 hours working because I'd be doing things I wasn't good at and/or things I didn't enjoy doing!
From a profitability standpoint, everything I outsource is worth my time. If my time is worth $300/hour and my VA charges $40/hour for a task that would take me 2 hours to do (yet it only takes her 45 minutes because she actually enjoys doing it), then it obviously makes sense to outsource it… but only if I'm using the time I “saved” in a productive way!
Last but not least… for all those things you are actually doing yourself and not automating / outsourcing, doing them in batches can save you a ton of time. You know how when you switch from one task to another it takes you a bit of time to get “in the zone” – when you batch your tasks you don't have to waste time getting in the zone because you STAY in the zone. You don't bake 1 cookie every time you want a cookie, right?! You do all the prep work for a whole batch of cookies and then make them at once because it would be silly to put in all the work for ONE FREAKING COOKIE (and who actually eats only one cookie?!) – the same idea can be applied to things in your business. Instead of making 1 blog post graphic, plan your blog posts for the month and create all your graphics at once. Instead of pinning whenever you can squeeze in time, spend an hour scheduling all of your pins for the entire month (this is totally possible)! Instead of taking a photo for Instagram every day, batch your photos once a month so you always have something to post (or ya know, you could save even more time and just buy stock photos ;)
So those are my tips to maximize productivity and profitability so you can spend less time working and more time living. Because I didn't start my business so I could work a million hours and I'm guessing you didn't either! Do you have other tips for maximizing productivity + profitability? Share in the comments!
Tools I use for productivity: SmarterQueue* (get a free 30 day trial!), Tailwind* (schedule a whole month of pins for free!), Asana (it's free!), Convertkit* (try it free for 14 days!)