Here’s a question I got from a solopreneur life coach:
Question: I wake up each morning and wonder what I should be working on in my business that can be revenue generating. How do we prioritize what work needs to be done?
Short answer: You need a timetable. Period.
- Start from the big picture and overall objectives of your business.
- Break down the tasks into smaller chunks.
- Prioritize your activities in advance (monthly, weekly, daily).
- Don’t wonder from day to day. Have a schedule that guides your activities.
The key to answering your question lies in the question itself. I.e. “waking up each morning and wondering what you should be working on”. That is already wrong..
You should not wake up each day and wonder what to do, you should already know what you’re doing before the next day comes. Wondering each day is the surest way to enter overwhelm and confusion.
This is because there are a million different things you could be doing at each point in time for your business.
- Should you be writing a blog post article or recording a video?
- And where should the video go — is it to YouTube only?
- Or should I also share it to my email list and LinkedIn page?
- Should you be interacting with folks in your Facebook groups or perhaps it’s better to work on your website?
- Maybe it’s more important to create a course than write an ebook?
- Even if I do all these things, will they lead to clients?
- Should I follow up with my past clients?
- Perhaps it’s better to focus on promoting my services?
- Etc. Etc.
You see, the list is endless. If you try to figure it out on a daily basis, you’ll hardly get anything done. This overwhelm is what leads to inaction and confusion on what you should actually be doing.
Solution? Take the wondering away. Create (or adopt) a system that guides you on which actions to be taking at each point in time.
That way, when you sit down to work on your laptop Monday at 11am, you know that you should be creating a YouTube video. Tuesday at 2.30pm, you’re writing a blog post.
It’s called a Calendar.
A task framework.
A workplace guide.
Choose any name that works for you, but they’re all the same thing.
Unfortunately, many of us resist having a timetable. I hear a lot of people say that they want to be free and flexible to do whatever they feel like doing in the moment.
You also probably want to be a free spirit who works according to “intuition” and does whatever feels good to you at that point in time.
And that’s all well and good as long as you are able to achieve your goals that way.
But obviously this person wouldn’t ask the question if they were happy and satisfied with their current situation.
The reason is that handling the level of freedom that comes with “being a free spirit” requires a lot of discipline and focus (2 qualities that are super rare in today’s world).
In the absence of this high level of discipline and focus, trying to build your business without a work timetable might give you the illusion of freedom and flexibility — but in reality it will only leave you overwhelmed and unable to know what to do at each point in time.
Which of course is very much the opposite of freedom, it’s a bondage that keeps you stuck.
Create a schedule for yourself, have some form of timetable that you work with.
Feel free to build in as much flexibility as you need, but there has to be a compass to guide you.
You don’t need to schedule all your hours from morning to night, that’s not what I’m suggesting.
Creating that much of a rigid structure when you’re just getting started might make you feel like you’re being put in a box…and your natural reaction will be to push back and dump it after just a couple of days.
Therefore, you can start from something as simple as scheduling only 2 hours per day.
- Monday, first hour for creating content, second hour for marketing.
- Tuesday, first hour for networking, second hour for creating your course.
- Wednesday, first hour for Facebook groups, second hour for email newsletter.
That way, you don’t have to wonder and guess what you need to be doing when you sit down to work — you already know.
By scheduling only 2 hours of work each day, you still have the rest of the day to “be a free spirit” and live however you want.
Answering the second part of this coach’s question, there is no one (1) magic action or set of activities that you can take to generate guaranteed revenue.
Your business is a complex web of activities. It is by doing each of them, a bit at a time, that you build your revenue generation streams over the long term.
And yes, some activities might be more important than the others… but again that is relative to each individual. It depends on your business model and overall business goals.
For example: Spending a lot of time to edit YouTube videos might be a waste of time for me, but for someone who is a video production coach, they absolutely must edit their video to make sure it’s “perfect”, so to speak.
If you’ve read this far, here’s an excellent article from George Kao that will help you reflect on what is productive vs. non-productive work.