Working from home and starting an online business is becoming a dream and even a reality for most people who know that they have information, services, and products to offer. But doing these kinds of things not only take time, but they take very well managed time.
A common mistake that many online business owners do is mismanage their time. This leads them to be disorganized and overwhelmed, leading them to be very frustrated, often to the point of quitting.
Fortunately, there are a couple of good methods that can greatly assist in time management for somebody who owns an online business. Creating schedules, using timers to organize the time you are spending per day, and saving time on marketing and other small tasks can help manage the time you are spending on your business.
One thing that business owners get wrong is that while they are indeed working from home and have the freedom to work from wherever they want whenever they want, they are still doing work. They still need to meet deadlines, check up on things to see if everything involving their business is operating smoothly, and still need to be productive.
Being your own boss is great – If you actually know how to be your own boss.
But many do not know how to do this, and do not act like their own boss. Having a location independent business still entails structure, and unlike the job you had, you now need to provide this structure, or else risk being disorganized, overwhelmed, and frustrated.
There are two schedules that you should make: A weekly schedule and a daily schedule. When you make these schedules, set a time during the day for a “self meeting” of sorts and plan everything out.
To do this, it is suggested that you use either a dry erase board that you have posted on the wall of your office or sheets of paper that you can tape up to the wall. Planners are good, but they are not in clear view like something like this is.
The week should be planned first. When you do this, think of all the “obligations” you have that week. These could include appointments, meetings, dates that you have agreed on going, and other things that take you out of your work environment. If you have due dates or deadlines that you have either set for yourself or that others have set for you, these should be listed on your weekly schedule as well.
Daily planning will actually take a little more time than planning a week. This is because daily activities entail work related tasks. Also, things can come up during the day: Someone might need you to drive them somewhere, an emergency involving somebody you know could take place, anything.
The best way to do daily planning is to separate everything into two hour chunks. For example, say you wake up at 5 in the morning. So the night before you go to bed, you would create a schedule where your first “block” would be from 5-7 in the morning. You would then list whatever activities you wanted that block would include.
Then you would have a 7-9 block and its activities, and so on.
Any “obligations” you would have on that day that you know are going to take place would get its own block, and an estimation of how long it would last. For example, say you are playing golf with some partners tomorrow at noon. It’s an 18 hole game, so you predict it would take 4 or so hours to finish the game. Therefore, this would have its own block on your daily schedule.
It can be pretty easy to get lost in a task. Even if you are using a PC to work and have the clock in the bottom right of your screen, it is pretty easy for 3-4 hours to go by while working on a task. This is why using timers can be really effective.
There is not much of an excuse to not use a timer, either. Any given PC, smartphone, or tablet will have a timer equipped, so it is very easy to use timers to monitor your time.
Timers can and should be combined with the “2 hour block” system involving daily planning for a very optimized time management experience.
Saving time on time consuming tasks
Owning an online business can entail some very time consuming tasks. Creating websites, blogs, sales pages, and other things that are necessary or an online business can take a lot of time.
Fortunately, just as creating an online business has become much more popular, hiring freelancers online to do the busy work involving an online business is just as popular and just as easy. If you have the budget, you should consider hiring some freelancers to do the work involving your business that you just do not have the time to do.
Another time consuming portion of having an online business is marketing. Proper marketing for an online business can be extremely time consuming. Fortunately, there is a way to market your product that does not entail time consuming word of mouth marketing. And that way is to connect the catalog of your online business to other catalogs that sell things related to what you are selling. This will free up a fair amount of time on marketing.
This is known as a punchout catalog, also known as an E-Procurement catalog. The best part of including this kind of catalog is the fact that it focuses completely on the purchase of information, services, and products online. These can be conducted from a business to business standpoint, a business to government standpoint, a business to public standpoint, or even a DBA business owner to DBA business owner standpoint. This kind of networking will save a significant time on marketing.
Another way to maximise your marketing leverage are to use strategies such as affiliate marketing. Many businesses create enticing affiliate programs to recruit affiliate marketers that promote their products. This form of product promotion works so well because as the merchant, you only pay affiliates when they bring you a sale — making affiliate marketing more cost-effective than many other marketing strategies.
Author’s Bio: Melissa Stanley is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies so far. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is Client Service Manager of PCGT – PunchOut Catalogs.