August 05, 2008

Focussing on the money-making activities

My biggest challenge when organizing my space, energy, time as a business owner... I'd like to focus better on doing the work that earns me $... however, since I do enjoy networking, book cover design, and other kinds of (what I call) subtle money makers, how do I, as a successful business owner, judge how much time to spend on such things?

It's hard to tell if I'm getting sidetracked or if this is actually productive work. I understand some business promotion/administration is necessary, but are there cues to tell if I'm off track?

Best wishes
Jennifer Kerr

I love this question!

Jennifer, you're right in that some business admin and lots of marketing are needed to run your business. I call this the "business of my business" ;)

While time spent on these types of tasks will vary from business to business , generally new businesses will spend a lot more time on, say marketing, than more established businesses. You can also get your business organised by using well-thought-out organising systems and processes.

I do know that this is not really what you're concerned about :) so here are my suggestions:

  1. make a list of things that you generally do in any given day.
  2. look through the list and isolate the 20% that, according to the Pareto Principle, bring you the most money. This is the same secret Tim Ferriss talks about in the Four Hour Work Week.
  3. always do these money-making tasks first. Always! Use my Eat the Frog form to help you stay on track every day.
  4. the 20% tasks should take up about 80% of your time
  5. the other stuff you like you dabble in? no problem, but you'll have to be ruthless and restrict them to no more than 20% of your time.

Let's do a quick example:

  • Say you work 5 hours a day.
  • 20% of 5 hours is 1 hour.
  • So I would say don't spend more than an hour a day doing your "subtle" money makers. If that's too drastic, then start reducing the time you spend on these tasks by 15 - 20 minutes daily until it's reasonable again.
Wishing you lots of business success

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