When you embark on a second career in your golden years as an online entrepreneur, or solopreneur, the concept of managing your time may be vastly different from what you have experienced in the corporate world.
The goal now is to make the most of each day so that your productivity is thriving, yet your enjoyment and ability to unwind and relax is sufficient, too. Many people underestimate the amount of time and effort required to start your own business online.
They are purely focused on the fact that they no longer must answer to anyone else, and they can set their own hours. But what often happens is one of two things. First, the new marketer becomes immersed in their business to the point that everything else in their life is neglected.
Or they fail to devote enough time to their business, and find themselves struggling for weeks, months, and sometimes years. The reasons behind this may be varied – from fear of failure to a myriad of distractions
Start With a Goal You Want to Achieve
To manage your time so that you succeed in your online marketing efforts, you must have an end goal in mind. This does not mean being vague and broad, such as saying that you, “want to make more money online.”
That could mean something as little as one dollar more. You also do not want to be generic and say something like, “I want to work fewer hours.” How many hours does this mean to you?
One hour? Ten fewer hours? You must be specific so that you know how to create a schedule that works for you. The idea is not just to achieve a business goal, but to find the right work-life balance so you can enjoy your life in every way possible.
The goal that you set can be several things. It could be financial in nature, such as earning four or five figures to begin with. It might be time-based, such as working 20 hours per week, yet earning a fulltime income.
It might be a productivity goal, such as releasing six new digital products per year, or something else. Only you will know what you want to prioritize in your life in terms of goal setting, and this is something that may be different for every person.
Do not just pull something out of thin air, either. Really take time to sit down and visualize how you want your life to look when you embark on the journey to be a successful online entrepreneur.
Set a Timeframe for Its Completion
Regardless of what your goal is, you will have an idea in mind about how much time you want to contribute to your business every day. Some people will be able to devote 15 hours a day or more to building their business, and that is exactly how they want it to be.
Others have no more than their lunch break for one hour on Monday through Friday to build a business. This puts the person with least amount of time at a slight disadvantage, but only if they fail to be productive and strategic during their work hours.
Keep in mind that many people who work all day often procrastinate on the tasks that they should be getting done. You might get just as much done as someone who has more hours to work if you are strategic with your time and focused so that you can be highly productive.
If you are not sure how many hours you will need to work, and your schedule is free to mold it however you want to, then you will want to begin by having an end date in mind for your goals or project.
It must make sense. Just as you cannot set a goal to lose 100 pounds in one week, you cannot do certain things with your business in too short of a period, like building a list of 10,000 subscribers in 48 hours.
For example, if you want to create your own digital info product, you might give yourself 30 days from now until your launch. How you determine your schedule depend on what you plan to do yourself versus what you want to outsource.
It will also depend on how fast you work. If you are someone who can write five pages in an hour, and you want to create a 50-page eBook, then you will need to devote 10 hours to the creation of your digital info product.
Keep in mind that you need a buffer in case of emergencies or other setbacks. You also need to allow for time to do other tasks associated with your launch. The launch of a digital info product is not built solely around the creation of the eBook itself.
You have many other tasks to do, such as creating a listing on the platform you intend to sell it from, such as Warrior Plus or JVZoo. You also have to create the joint venture page for affiliates as well as the sales copy for the front end and any additional one time offer upgrades that you want to include.
You’ll need to network with others to get them onboard to promote your launch, queue up emails to your subscribers to announce your launch, and create any graphics for the info product itself, the sales page(s), or affiliate toolbox that are necessary.
Even if you intend to outsource or delegate some of these tasks, you must allow for time to communicate with the freelance service provider, anticipate any delays they may have, and put in a buffer for time spent on revisions and tweaks.
Eliminate Time Wasters to Free Up Your Day
When you start working as an online entrepreneur, you are going to have to be a little tough on yourself when it comes to you procrastinating or wasting time in general. There’s a newfound freedom that you will be enjoying with being your own boss, especially if you have been living under the thumb of a strict management style in the corporate world for decades.
If you notice that your goal keeps being pushed back to a later date for completion, you need to take a step back and analyze how you are spending every hour within your day. From the time you wake up to the time your head hits the pillow at the end of the day, find out how your hours are being spent.
You want an honest analysis, so do what you normally do for a day or two so that you can look at the time log and see where the waste is. You might find out that you are staying in bed in the morning on your phone scrolling through social media or news sites for more than an hour when you could shorten that to ten minutes.
Other time wasters could be things like binge watching a good show that you have come to love. Instead of watching an entire season in one sitting, split it up and devour it like a guilty pleasure, a little at a time.
You can use the show as a carrot stick reward for whenever you have crossed items off your to do list each day. Some people do not even realize how much time they are wasting.
You might spend more time than you realized on the phone with a well-meaning friend who calls right in the middle of your workday and talks for too long, pulling you away from your work.
Outside influences are a common cause of time wasters. You might have people popping in on you at home because they know you are home. But they do not realize you are truly working.
Your children might drop the grandkids off with you while they go run other errands. You must put your foot down whenever you need to be building your business and not let anyone infringe on your work time if you find yourself getting behind with your projects and goals.
Create a Schedule That Balances Out Your Work-Life Needs
Being successful with time management is not always about working the most hours. It is about being strategic so that your life balances out to a place where your business is thriving, yet you can enjoy your personal life when you are not working.
Some people get so behind with their work that whenever they are supposed to be enjoying down time, they are incapable of it. They feel guilt and shame for being behind when they should be working.
Some people suffer silently, while others make drastic moves to begin neglecting their personal needs so that they can burden themselves with more work. Instead of trying to keep all these plates spinning in the air, find something that offers calm and peace.
To begin, look for the time of day when you are most alert and energetic. This should ideally be when you are working. You will need to be able to focus and absorb information without fail.
Figure out when you hit your quitting point. For some, this might be two hours. For others, a short 10-minute break to refresh their energy levels is all they need to keep going for a little while longer.
You also want to see how you work best – in large blocks of times or broken up throughout your day. You might commit to working from 8 A.M. to noon Monday through Friday.
Or you might work from 8-10 A.M., then again from 2-4 P.M. This allows you to enjoy your personal life, stopping to have lunch with a friend or spouse, allowing for time to enjoy your grandkids or just nap in the afternoon if you want.
Regardless of what hours you work, you want to have your schedule mapped out ahead of time. Take each project and break it down into tasks. If you know that you want a 20-page report written in 10 days, then you must commit to writing 2 pages per day.
How long does it take you to write those 2 pages – 20 minutes, or an hour? What else must be done that day? You want to jot down all your tasks, including the project ones as well as administrative tasks and even networking.
Administrative tasks might include things like handling customer service emails, posting an article that you wrote to your blog, or checking on your paid ad accounts. Networking would include befriending fellow niche marketers, reviewing their products to promote, or asking them to promote your upcoming one.
Brainstorming or idea generation and research are also areas you will want to reserve time for. Whether you are brainstorming a slant for an eBook or blog post or researching a breaking news story in your niche so you can share it with your audience, it should all have a place on your schedule.
Evaluate Your Productivity Performance at the End of Each Day
Being strategic with your time management means you must check back periodically to see how you are performing. You cannot just implement some changes and hope it all works out.
You should reevaluate how you are doing in increments. Start by looking at how you did at the end of each day. Were you able to easily cross off all your tasks? It could be that you can push yourself a little harder.
Or, if you like the pace, you are at, stick with it. But if you feel like you were rushed and overwhelmed, or even failed to get everything done, you might have put too much on your plate.
If you know you were working diligently, then you can readjust your goals and schedules for project completion. But if you can admit that you did not do your best – you got distracted or were suffering from brain fog – then work to implement some changes.
You might need to work in a different place – somewhere with fewer interruptions. You may need to use an egg timer or alarm system that helps you work in a focused manner until the time is up.
Keep tweaking until you begin to see the right kind of schedule emerge from your efforts. You also want to check in every quarter. You should have goals for every 12 weeks that show you what kind of progress your business is making.
If you are meeting or ahead of schedule, that is great! Keep doing what you are doing. But if you are falling far behind, it is time to start working smart or asking yourself some tough questions.
Sometimes, entrepreneurs realize weeks or months into it that they have lost the passion they originally had for a certain business model or niche topic. If you feel like your enthusiasm is waning, it is okay to course correct and change paths.
You want to do this quarterly to allow for big moves like this. You also want to sum up your year every month in December to see how far you got and whether you need to change anything for the upcoming year.
Being strategic with your time can sometimes feel like a humiliating task. You must shine a spotlight on yourself and see if you are measuring up to your own standards. There is no shame in doing this – and in fact, it is a sign of a savvy business owner.
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Mike Gaudreau is the owner of The Wealthy Boomers, a site devoted to helping seniors make money online. Mike resides in Montreal Canada.
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