When it comes to productively moving your business forward, there are two ditches modern-day business owners may fall into. Both are dangerous — especially if you want a steady stream of clients that grow your revenue.
On the one hand, you have the trap of the never-ending list of items on your to-do list that you love to cross off, but that do little to move your business forward.
You tend to spend your days like this:
- Create a list of every task and project, both large and small, that
fills an entire page.
- Proceed to tackle the items that you can get done quickly and efficiently – usually emailing, scheduling meetings, and small items that don’t require much time or effort.
- Happily cross all those items off your list and feel great about what you accomplished.
On the other side, you have the mountain of client work you juggle.
Your day is spent like this:
- Create a list of client projects and each task required to complete the project.
- Proceed to devote several hours of your day to completing client projects.
- Happily cross off tasks and projects from your list and feel great about your hard work.
There is nothing wrong with either of these approaches to your daily list of tasks and projects if you aren’t at all concerned about getting new clients and growing your business. However, if you want to remain in business, balance these two approaches by incorporating the tasks and items that will grow your business.
Why is this so important?
As business owners, we are all busy. But busy doesn’t mean productive.
And productivity for productivity’s sake isn’t good either unless the end result of what we accomplish leads to driving our business forward.
In his guest article for Entrepreneur, 5 Strategies for Becoming More Productive, Scott Hansen writes:
“Getting things done to check them off amounts to vanity. When we check off the little things we get a shot of feel good dopamine, deceiving us into believing that we’ve been productive.”
This is dangerous because whether you are spending your time on small, unimportant tasks or solely on completing your client work, the most important things that move your business forward still remain undone.
If at the end of the day your task list is crossed off, but you don’t know where your next client is coming from, you may have fallen into this dangerous trap.
According to Hansen, the solution to this dangerous trap is to figure out your three income producing activities and incorporate them into your daily routine first. Because no business can exist for long without paying customers, your top three activities should be those that attract new prospects or produce sales.
If yours is a service-based business, it will only generate revenue if you have a steady stream of prospects that you move through a predictable process to become clients.
What tasks do you do infrequently or what tasks should you be doing that will win new customers or repeat business from current clients? Those are the activities to put at the top of your task list each day.
I have a service-based, online business, which means I perform content writing and strategy for clients I attract online. I rarely network locally. Instead, I rely on a content marketing strategy to attract new potential clients and turn them into paying customers.
My days used to look like a combination of the two scenarios above where I’d complete administrative tasks and various client projects.
I felt great at the end of the day because I crossed so many things off my list. I never failed to meet a client deadline.
Weeks went by where I put off marketing my own business to complete the never-ending tasks and client projects. I just kept my head down, working hard and hoping that one would show up before I finished with my current client’s project. Sometimes they did; but sometimes they didn’t.
My business fluctuated wildly as a result. Until I switched my daily routine to focus on my own online marketing strategies as my first projects of the day, I was often disappointed to say the least.
Taking the advice of Scott Hansen and others, I now …
- Plan, write and post my content and engage on social media before I pursue other tasks, including client work.
- Complete client projects and follow a system to earn reviews and recommendations to keep the client pipeline filled with by word-of-mouth referrals.
- Schedule time to work on a larger future project to sell a new service, create a new product, or earn passive income.
My weeks are evenly filled with income producing activities, administrative tasks and client work. I feel great that I am actively working on my business at the same time I am working in it, and I don’t worry about where the next client is coming from.
I have complete confidence that my content strategy will attract just the right client at just the right time.
So, how about you? Are you busy crossing non-important tasks off your list, always worried about where the next client is coming from?
In the comments below, share your 3 income-producing activities and your challenges right now in putting those first in your daily routine. I look forward to hearing from you.