Guys. I’m not sure what happened, but somehow it’s July.
And Asana has so kindly reminded me that past Kane and Lisa set some pretty ambitious goals.
If you're a bit like me, and feeling blindsided by the fact that we're already halfway through this year 😱, today I’ve put together nine practical, super actionable ideas to help you make the best use of the remaining 182 days of the year!
1. Track your time.
Whether or not you charge by the hour, having a clear picture of where you spend your time is invaluable. It’s pretty eye-opening to see where the time actually goes in your day, and once you have the data, you can make more informed decisions about which tasks are delivering an ROI and which aren’t. It took us wayyy too long to get into this habit, but hopefully you can learn from our mistakes!
- Get a free trial of some time tracking software (we like Harvest) and commit to tracking your time for 5-10 days.
- Review your timesheets and see how many hours are spent on billable vs non billable items. Are you wasting large amounts of time on tasks that you don’t enjoy or that you could pay someone else to do for less? Are you charging enough for the work you do? Keep an open mind and look at ways you can be more savvy with your time.
2. Invest in your business.
Whether you decide to invest in a new website, a faster laptop, ad campaign, office plant or digital course, sometimes you have to lay down some cash to move the needle in your business. Anything that will help you be more productive, attract new customers, raise prices or avoid losses tends to be well worth the initial outlay.
- Ask yourself— what tools, equipment, marketing materials or knowledge to I need to reach my goals?
- Work out which items will make the biggest difference, or are within budget and make an informed purchase.
3. Get to know your customers.
Know what they say they want, what they actually want, and get familiar with their deepest desires and challenges. The most persuasive marketing messages come from your customers, so stop guessing what they want and start listening.
- Set up 2-3 short interviews (over the phone or in person) with people who fit your ideal customer description. Listen more than you talk and get to know what they’re looking for from a business like yours.
- Setup a quick website survey (I explain how to set up customer surveys here.)
4. Know your numbers.
Data doesn’t lie. If you’re not already, keeping track of your income and expenses will help you to make better business decisions and understand how profitable you are. Plus, if you’re trying to hit revenue goals for this year, keeping track of your progress will help to motivate you. If you need help, hire an accountant and/or bookkeeper, but I also think you should have a pretty good grasp of your own finances too.
- Get setup with some great accounting software (we like Xero).
- Hire an accountant or bookkeeper to support you.
- Get a basic understanding of your finances by learning in a way that you can commit to (podcasts, audiobooks, paper books, courses—there are lots of options)
5. Get help.
Is there a task on your to-do list that's been sitting unfinished for a while? Maybe you hate the thought of doing it, or it's taking you way longer than you thought? It might be time to work out which tasks are killing your productivity and get some help with them. A helpful tool to work with is Michael Hyatt's freedom compass which he discusses in his book.
He suggests there are four productivity zones. The first two are the desire zone (tasks you love and are really proficient in) and the drudgery zone (tasks you dislike and aren’t proficient in). The third, disinterest zone includes tasks you dislike but are proficient in. Y’know those tasks you’d like to outsource but don’t think you should because you have the skills for them in house? Yep, those.
The fourth is the distraction zone, which includes tasks you love but aren’t proficient in. It’s the stuff you love tinkering with (for many people this includes social media and design), but these tasks eat up your valuable time.
I understand that outsourcing work to other people can be scary stuff (we are right there with you). You might be wondering whether you have the cash flow to support the extra expense, if you can find someone who can do the job as well (or better) than you, and where are you going to find the time to teach them how you like to work. I don’t have those answers for you. But, I can tell you what we’re doing—baby steps! We’re hiring contractors to complete small tasks for us so we don’t have to overcommit. So far, so good.
- Work out which tasks are in your drudgery zone, disinterest zone and distraction zone.
- Decide which of those tasks would be most beneficial to outsource.
- Write a list of the skills or tasks you’d need help with and the type of person who’d be best suited to the role.
- Find someone to help— put up a job ad, ask for recommendations, contact someone on UpWork or enquire with someone local.
6. Build an email list.
I love social media as tools for connecting with like-minded customers and businesses. But, as users, we really don’t have much control over our accounts. We’ve seen it so many times—a change in the FB or IG algorithm and suddenly your reach and engagement plummet. That’s why it’s a smart move to get your social followers to connect with you via email too. Over 3.8 billion people globally have email and, on average, 78% of sent emails will make it to inboxes (which is significantly better reach than most social platforms).
- If you don’t already have an email list, make it a priority to sign up for your own account. We like autopilot, but mailchimp, convertkit, active campaign and drip are great options too.
- Make it a priority to start collecting emails! You can ask your followers to subscribe by offering them a free resource, quiz or challenge. Read more about how to create your own lead magnets here.
7. Master your conversion copy.
Many people can write about their business. Fewer can write persuasively to sell. There’s a big difference that will impact your revenue. Don’t underestimate the power of your words to convert browsers into buyers. Learning the art and science behind great copy will help you get clear on your brand message, understand the psychology of marketing, and give you the foundational knowledge to choose a great copywriter to support you if you need help.
- Head on over to Copyhackers and take their free copywriting course.
- Read or listen to Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller for tips on crafting your website copy.
- This list from Neil Patel has 75 amazing links to resources, books and courses about copywriting.
8. Know your value.
Pricing can be difficult to get right, especially if you’re offering a service. It’s a tricky balancing act and, despite cries of ‘charge what you’re worth’, you might not feel ready or comfortable to charge a premium price tag.
I think a good indicator that you need to raise your prices is when you feel like you’re delivering a ‘hellavalot’ of value (experience, insight, time and results) to your customers compared to the price you charge. If that’s you, I’d suggest getting really clear on the value you offer, articulating it to your potential customers, and bump up your price accordingly.
And, if you think your price is fair, but you still want to earn more (good on you), you might be able to find ways to add more value (and therefore increase prices) by tweaking your process, saving your customers time, or reducing their risk. Money is exchanged for perceived value, so give more value and you can charge for that extra value.
- Want to up your value or trying to articulate the value you offer? Take a look at the elements of value pyramid for a great breakdown of how businesses deliver value to their customers.
9. Give generously.
Reciprocity is one of the six principles of influence Robert Cialdini talks about in his book. It speaks to the human tendency to want to give something back when something is received, and it is a powerful marketing strategy for building relationships with potential customers.
There are lots of ways you can give in your business without needing to offer discounts or give away items for free (although you can if you like!). For example, you can write helpful blog posts, share your best tips on facebook, instagram and youtube, or surprise your customers with something delightfully unexpected. When you give generously, give it time, and it will come back to you tenfold in opportunities, connections and new business.
- What can you give to your customers that would be immensely valuable to them?
There are a few items on this list, and I hope a couple have resonated with you. And, because I know that even small differences can accumulate into significant advantages, if a suggestion on this list (or not on the list) is something you need to act on, add a comment below to commit to it!
Kane and I? We’re focusing on #5 for the second half of the year (hold us to it!)