One of the biggest mistakes we make as solopreneurs is not setting aside time to review what’s working, what’s not and where we can improve. I’ve been doing that this week, and I’ve identified ten tiny tweaks I need to make to improve income, productivity and output in the coming months. Trying to increase productivity or improve profits in your online business? Or maybe just reduce workload, stress and busywork? Hopefully they’ll help you too.
Focus on core activities
I also run niche blogs, put together short reports, do some affiliate marketing, promote my books, run online stores on Cafepress and Etsy, plus an Amazon shop, and do a lot of social media marketing. I Tweet, I Pin, I run my Facebook pages.
These are not my core activities. Writing is, and so is publishing. That doesn’t mean I can’t do my other activities. They’re fun, and they help me to promote and market my core services. So I focus on the core business first. I work on my current writing and publishing projects. First thing. Every day. Then I allow some time for the other activities.
Do the important stuff first
This ties in to the point above. The most important task gets done first.
I’ve been told to do the hard stuff first (you know, the Eat That Frog approach), but that’s not working out for me. Hard stuff takes a lot of energy and it isn’t always the most important stuff on my to-do list.
Join me. Learn to prioritize and do the most important task first. Don’t use all your energy on the hardest task UNLESS it’s also the most important task.
Write distraction free
My most important core activity deserves my attention. When I’m doing that, I shouldn’t be doing anything else. No email, no social media, no background entertainment, no snacking. I use an old-fashioned and under publicized trick: willpower.
I know there are all kinds of fancy-pants apps and programs to stop you checking social media or limit your time on it. If they work for you that’s great. I just don’t launch my internet browser when I’m doing creative work, and I keep all notifications (on my laptop and phone) turned off.
Focus on affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a small and not-that-significant part of my business and I’ve not been paying too much attention to it. I’ve never been one to seek out affiliate programs specifically to make money. If I haven’t used and liked a product I’m NOT going to recommend it to my readers, subscribers or social media followers.
Then I realized that some of my most indispensable, best loved products and programs had affiliate opportunities. These were things I was using, loving and recommending to others, but I hadn’t signed up to their affiliate programs so I wasn’t getting rewarded when people took me up on my recommendations.
I’m talking about super useful programs like The Freelance Writers Den, Coach Glue (amazing resources for online coaches and bloggers), the Pindepth Advanced Pinterest marketing course, and the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Program. (Yes, those are affiliate links… now. Yes, I use and love these services myself.)
Use what you’ve got
I realized I wasn’t fully utilizing programs and services I’d signed up for, some of which I’m paying for. Programs like the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and Pindepth Advanced self-study courses have lifetime access to the materials, (and include regular updates) but I hadn’t logged on and reviewed them for ages. White Label Perks provides new content every month so it’s worth spending a little time each month working out how you will use it to engage and build your audience that month.
Get a solid PLR strategy in place
I subscribe to some great PLR services like Easy PLR and All Private Label Content, so I have a lot of PLR material on my hard drive. It’s not doing anyone any good there. It needs to be out there pulling its weight as part of my overall content strategy. If you’re not sure how to use PLR you’ve acquired, or might acquire, download this free report about PLR.
If you don’t love what you’re doing, you need to outsource some of it. We all have stuff we enjoy and stuff we’d rather delegate, and there are actually very few tasks that need to be done by you personally.
It’s your business. Run it on your own terms. Outsource the tasks you hate or those you’re not good at. Try the Outsource Weekly course if you’re not sure where to start.
Move social media activity to less productive times
I’m a huge fan of social media for business, and I totally believe in the marketing power behind a solid social media strategy, but it can also be a time suck and distract you from productive work.
Now I fit in social media when I’m feeling less productive, maybe after a big writing or editing session, in the evenings and weekends, or when I’m simply not at my most creative. Oh and have FUN with your social media. It’s meant to be social. Learn to use it as a break from real work, even if you use it mainly to promote your work.
Carve out some reading time
Every. Single. Day. Reading is vital. It helps me expand and improve my business. I’ve recently read Unmarketing and How To Be a Productivity Ninja. I’m now re-reading some of my favorites from my own reading list for entrepreneurs.
Take care of me
Like most solopreneurs, I suffer from burnout from time to time. So I’ll be focusing on my own health and wellness from now on. Simple things like diffusing essential oils, regular yoga practise, and making time for a daily healthy green smoothie. With health, as with business, even tiny tweaks can make a difference.
Try and find time to work on your own tiny tweaks today. Ready to get really clear on your goals as a blogger and solopreneur? Grab a free workbook and some other goodies to help you run your online business.