Spending Too Much Time on Non-Revenue Generating Tasks?
I’ve been there. Spending hours and hours designing my website and updating my portfolio so it is juuust right. Then doing the same thing a couple months later. Obsessing over a pretty instagram grid. Staying up late designing the perfect pricing sheet (even though I’m not a designer). Does this sound familiar? Maybe it looks different depending on your industry, but the idea is the same. Please hear this… I’m not saying that any of these things are bad. In fact, all of these are necessary and helpful to run a business well. However, the point I’m getting at is how much time are you spending on these tasks compared to the time you’re spending on actually getting, doing, and delivering paid work? Yikes! This was a little bit of a wake up call for me.
I’ve often gotten caught up in the need to make everything put together all nice and pretty, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward and pay attention to the details. But, I realized that if I’m spending too much time on the things that don’t necessarily bring in a pay check, then what’s the point of having a business. So what do I do to make sure I’m prioritizing my time on the things necessary to book and deliver on jobs?
1. Prioritize weekly to-dos by income generating tasks and seed sowing tasks. I write down my to-dos each week and then categorize them into these two lists. Income generating tasks are the things that bring in money right now, and these are what I tackle first. It can be things like sending a proposal to a new client, editing a photo or web job, sending invoices, having meetings with potential or current clients. By putting these things first, I always know that my business is moving forward and there will consistently be paychecks coming in. Seed sowing tasks are the things that are necessary to marketing my business and building my brand, but they don’t necessarily bring in money right here and now. I might not see the return for a few months, but I’m planting seeds now for future business. These are tasks like scheduling and strategizing a week of instagram posts, updating my portfolio on my website, engaging with followers/potential clients on social media, etc.
2. Outsource or hire. I’m a big fan of working within my strengths while hiring or outsourcing the areas that either I’m not great at or things I don’t have a lot of time to do but I know they are important to my business. This looks different for everyone and every industry, but in my case it could look like hiring someone to schedule social media posts for clients, send contracts, upload photo galleries to clients, book talent for upcoming projects, etc.
It’s easy to look at a to-do list and tackle the quick, easy, or fun things first, but categorizing my to-dos in this way keeps me accountable, on track, and consistently bringing in a paycheck. So, what do your income generating tasks vs seed sowing tasks look like? I’d love to know!