Generating revenue should be the #1 job on your to-do list.
Every. Single. Day.
Ask any entrepreneur how they’re doing and you’ll hear how busy they are: “There aren’t enough hours in the day” or “I’m wearing too many hats.” Dig a little deeper and you’ll often find they are very busy and still not making money. “I’m killing myself and not getting anywhere!”
It’s more than not focusing on the right things. When you’re an entrepreneur, so many elements of your work are important and need to be done: fulfilling orders whether they are products or services, marketing for new clients, sales calls, bookkeeping, admin, business planning, and the list goes on. Too often, the urgent overtakes the important. I get it. I’ve been there.
But there are a lot of inefficiencies, too.
Where Time is Lost
Social Media: It’s a time suck. We can pretend we are doing business, but we’re really just getting dopamine hits. Pre-schedule your social media posts (I use Publer), set a timer when you do go onto social media, allow yourself to socialize after hours. If you’re going to check social media during your work day, restrict yourself to responding to messages and checking notifications. No scrolling!
Email: Schedule email check-ins. Many people check email in the morning, at noon, mid-afternoon, and right before they stop for the day. When you respond immediately to an email that’s not urgent, you are setting up a situation where you volley back and forth. You are training people to expect immediate responses from you. This will not end well. Train them to NOT expect an immediate reply. Unless something is on fire, don’t respond until your scheduled email time.
Networking Events: You heard me. Unless you are going into a network event with a specific goal and making real connections with people, you’re just socializing. Either target a certain number of connections or identify specific people (or types of people, for instance, accountants) that you want to meet. If you’re seeing the same people at several networking events a month, drop at least one of those events and find a new group with different people.
Getting Ready to Get Ready
This is procrastination, usually caused by one of two things, fear or a lack of clarity.
Fear is that paralysis you feel when you go to send an email with an offer in it. It’s that hesitation before you pick up the phone to call a prospect or post a promo ad. Fear is what causes you to avoid doing… anything. What if I put all this time, effort, and money into making this program and putting out this offer only to get no response? What if the prospect says no? It’s fear of the unknown. Well, click the button and you’ll know, one way or the other. No, that doesn’t make you feel any better about it. Sorry. If you’ve done the best you can with something, you owe it to yourself to put it out there. I’m one of those people who would rather know than wonder about something for the rest of my life. That has put me in many awkward situations. But I didn’t die. It’s also given me some very cool successes. Sometimes you have to close your eyes and jump.
Lack of clarity causes you to be unsure about what lever to throw next. Should I do this or that? The Eisenhower Matrix helps you to determine what’s important vs. what’s urgent.
In a small business, you spend a lot of time putting out fires (The Urgent). You don’t have layers of management or even an assistant to handle the small or unimportant things, i.e., no one to delegate the Urgent/ Unimportant to. The Urgent ends up pushing ahead of The Important. Ask yourself how much of your “Urgent” could be avoided with some thoughtful pre-planning.
Sometimes you have to clear your head. I do a brain dump at the top of every month, sometimes more often if there’s a lot of stuff going on. (I talk about how I get so much stuff done in this article.) I rewrite the brain dump using categories that apply to my work (client work, nonfiction writing, bookkeeping, etc.) and I create a weekly to-do list from there. I also set three main goals for the month and put them where I can see them so that I don’t lose sight (literally) of what I’m trying to accomplish.
Plan out your day the night before. I actually plan out my week on Monday morning. (I’m NOT a morning person and the planning eases me into the week.) If you like to hit the ground running, plan out your week Sunday night or even Friday afternoon. If you like to get granular, time block your day.
Create a routine that tells you when you need to stop farting around and start working. I need at least one cup of coffee in me before I start my day. I check email while sipping that cup. When I get the second cup, I know it’s time to get down to business. Cup #2 is my signal to work.
Prioritize Revenue Generating Activities
There’s always stuff that needs to be done. But getting money in the door should be an entrepreneur’s #1 priority. No money and you’re out of business. We tend to do the things that are easiest for us to do. Often those are not the things that make us money. (See Fear, above.) Make a list of what you do to bring money into your business. It may be things like:
- Create an offer and send to list
- Call 5 prospects a day
- Send out 100 direct mail pieces a week
- Set 5 sales appointments
- Have assistant go through old blog posts to add a content upgrade for lead generation
- Contact 10 podcast hosts this week to pitch being a guest
When you’re making out your list for the week, schedule in your revenue generating activities. Do them first thing in the morning. Then if something comes up later in the day, they are done. Keep in mind that you need to do both direct and indirect revenue generating activities. I have a simple method of distinguishing between the two types of activities: Indirect Revenue Generating Activities find prospects for you and Direct Revenue Generating Activities turn these prospects into clients. (The link goes into more detail.)
How Do You Start Generating Revenue?
- Work during your work hours. Play during your play hours.
- Stop getting ready to get ready.
- Understand what activities actually generate revenue
- Schedule and do those things first. Every Day.
Try it for a month. I’d love to hear how you do. If you need some help determining what the revenue generating activities are for your specific business and the best ways to go about them, schedule a strategy session with me.