The biggest lament I hear from Soul Proprietors is that they just don’t have the time to market their business. Business people are busy people. There’s no doubt about it, but that doesn’t change the fact that — if you aren’t consistently marketing your business — you eventually won’t have a business to market.
How we manage time is largely a function of our personality. Ever notice how some of us just seem to be totally organized in everything we do? How nothing ever falls through the cracks? For some folks, managing themselves as it relates to time seems to come very easy.
Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. I have to work at it and stay on top of things every step of the way or I simply forget too many things. I’m the kind of person that if I’m supposed to be somewhere at 6:00 p.m., I’ll finally look at the clock at 5:50 and realize I have somewhere I’m supposed to be in 10 minutes.
It seems that we Soul Proprietors have more difficulty in managing our time than most other entrepreneurs, and I think that’s because most of us think with the right sides of our brains — the creative side. Our minds are going ninety-miles an hour dreaming up new, fun projects to do, and all those details of things we’re supposed to do just go right out the window.
There IS hope for us though, even if it might not be easy. It just means that we have to make the conscious decision that we’re going to be disciplined in how we manage our time and then work at it.
The following are a few time management strategies that I’ve found helpful, and you might find some to be helpful, too. You may never have thought of some of these as time management strategies.
Keep an idea list.
As you have ideas for marketing, for articles, for new services to offer your clients, write them down. This keeps your brain free of clutter so there is more room to dream up new ideas.
Capture your ideas no matter where you are. All over my house — including the bathroom and in my car — you’ll find 3×3 sticky notes, or a little spiral notebook, and a pen nearby. Wherever I might “perch” they’re handy so that if I have an idea or a thought that I want to remember I can readily write it down.
Make a marketing plan.
Every week I know that I have to write an ezine, but if I don’t check my marketing plan, I’m most likely to forget that I’m supposed to do it until it’s almost too late. That’s why I constantly refer to my written marketing plan so that I always get marketing projects done when they need to be done.
Know your strengths and weaknesses.
Let’s face it, there are some things we just aren’t good at and we never will be. I firmly believe that the best thing we can do for ourselves is to hire someone else to do those tasks.
This frees us up to do what we do best. And if we’re doing what we do best, we’ll naturally make more money and be more successful.
Know your niche and your target audience.
As soon as you get very clear about exactly the niche you want to serve and have decided on all the traits and qualities you want in your perfect client, you’ll start saving both time and money because you’ll have a smaller group to market to, and you’ll know exactly how to reach them without scattering your efforts all over the place.
Get out of your element.
You may find that trying to think about your marketing in your office environment may be a deterrent to getting anything productive done. If that’s the case for you, try getting out of your element and doing your thinking and planning somewhere else. Maybe a coffee shop, maybe the library, or maybe a park.
Get yourself a planner.
I’m a paper planner kind of guy but you may be more into electronic devices like palm pilots or your computer or maybe even your cell phone. I like paper because it’s easy, it’s not likely to disappear if the battery dies and I can carry it with me; but to each his own.
Just use a planner of some kind, even if its just a steno pad. The important thing is that you are writing things down so you don’t clutter your brain trying to remember them. I use the Planner Pad system. This way, I can see a full week at a glance, and I can keep a running list of the things I want or need to do without having to re-write my to-do list every day.
Plan tomorrow before you go home today.
Whenever I take the time to plan tomorrow today before I quit for the day, not only do I get more done tomorrow, but I’ll sleep better tonight. Mainly because I don’t have to worry about forgetting something.
Use a project sheet.
As you think of projects that you want to do, write them down on a project sheet, being sure to think about how much time each project will take and what all the steps are.
Make time for learning.
This may mean watching online videos or doing internet research, reading, listening to audios or attending teleclasses. Just keep learning all the time!
You’ve heard the old cliché, “Work smarter, not harder” dozens of times I’m sure. (It’s a cliché for a reason: it’s true!) The more you learn, the more efficient you’ll become at doing all of your tasks — not just your marketing.
The biggest time-killer I know of is email. Julie Morgenstern says in her book by the same name, “never check email in the morning.” Good advice. Schedule times during the day to check email and use David Allen’s two minute rule: If its something you can deal with or respond to in two minutes or less, go ahead and do it now. Otherwise, move each item to a follow-up folder so that you can attend to it later at a time that you schedule for that purpose.
Take advantage of when “the spririt moves you.”
When are you at your creative best? That’s the best time to schedule your marketing work. If you’re at your best in the morning, plan to do it then. I seem to be at my creative best starting at about 3 in the afternoon, so that is typically when I do my best work. But you and everybody else are different. Pay attention to your “muse,” and when it calls, enjoy the creative flow.
Not enough hours in the day.
If you hear yourself lamenting “there just aren’t enough hours in the day” or saying things like “I’m always behind” or “there never seems to be enough time” then STOP IT! Right now.
Knowing that the Law of Attraction is working in our lives all the time, when we say those phrases or feel those thoughts, we just get more of the same: not enough time! So watch your language and your thinking in regard to time. You might try saying to yourself instead, “I have all the time I need to complete this project.”
Volunteer some of your time.
Ever notice how when you give something away, like money, you get more of it? It works the same for time. Volunteer to help out your favorite group. You’ll be amazed at how much extra time starts to show up for your other important work — like marketing.
Set aside one day a week to work on marketing.
You might try setting aside at least one day a week where marketing is all you work on. Maybe that’s the day you do some planning, or write your ezines or articles. Maybe that’s the day you staple, fold, and mail your newsletter.
The reality is that, if you are in business for yourself, you are a marketer. In fact, marketing is really your main job. No, its not working with clients. Your main function as the business owner is to do marketing — marketing that works!
So prioritize it. Make time for it! Discipline yourself, and just do it!
Some time planning resources you may find useful:
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: www.davidco.com
Planner Pads (this is the planner system I use): www.plannerpads.com
Daytimer, Day planners and organizers: www.daytimer.com
Franklin-Covey, Day planners and organizers: www.franklincovey.com
Julie Morgenstern, author of Never Check eMail in the Morning, Time Management from the Inside Out and numerous other time management and organization related books and programs: www.juliemorgenstern.com
Instant Productivity Toolkit: 21 Simple Ways to Get More Out of Your Job, Yourself and Your Life, Immediately! by Len Merson. Visit www.chaosover.com to learn more.
Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy: www.briantracy.com
Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing: www.productiveflourishing.com
Dave Navarro, Rock Your Day: www.rockyourday.com© Copyright 2010 Marty Marsh