AMY PORTERFIELD: Well hello there, Amy Porterfield here. Welcome to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. As you might know, on this show I do a mix of interviews and solo shows. Usually, when I do a solo show it is because I had some kind of challenge in my business and I worked it out, moved passed it, and I like to share what happened and what I did so that you too can get value from it. That’s exactly what this show is about today.
In late May I closed out a big launch, The Profit Lab. I talked all about it in Episode #64. I reviewed what worked and what didn’t work and all of the great stuff about that launch.
After that launch I thought I was going to get some down time. Things didn’t really turn out that way and that is kind of normal when you are an entrepreneur, right? I had all of these things I had put on the back burner while I focused on the pre-launch planning, the live planning, and all of that good stuff.
I had a huge list of things that I had to either get done or move around or do something with. That was causing me tons of stress and overwhelm. I felt like I couldn’t breathe at times. I finally took an afternoon and planned out my next six months.
The truth is, I started out January 1, 2015 with a fully fleshed out calendar. I knew exactly what I was going to do, when we were going to promote, when we were not going to promote, when I was going to take vacations, etc. All of that was planned out.
As you know, things get turned around as the year starts going. New opportunities come up, you want to be flexible, especially if you are an entrepreneur. You want to feel like you can move things around and it’s not that big of a deal.
I will say when you are too flexible in your own business you are going to kill your momentum and your success. It’s easy to push something aside and say you aren’t going to get to that. Then you get to the end of the year and you realize you didn’t meet any of your goals. So you can’t be too flexible and that’s why it’s a good thing to reevaluate, especially in the middle of the year, just to make sure you are on track.
I knew I changed the release date around for my webinar course. We were going to come out in August with the new How to Create a Webinar course. Instead we moved it to September. Because we are starting from scratch, we needed a little more time to get all of the pieces together.
We moved an affiliate promo around that I am going to do and I learned a bunch of things when I reviewed The Profit Lab and I thought I should get ahead of that a little earlier in terms of the content inside the program. So I wanted to work on revamping some of The Profit Lab program this summer versus waiting until September which is when I had it scheduled. That was way too stressful in the first launch. I learned from my mistake and I knew I needed to move some stuff up.
I needed to move some things around and that meant I needed to look at the calendar and decide what to do. That is how this episode came to be. I thought that if I needed to regroup then maybe you do to. Maybe you can find some great value in this extremely simple but powerful exercise I’m going to take you through.
If you happen to catch this episode later and it’s no longer right in the middle of 2015 that’s okay too. I think if you need to regroup you need to regroup and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is. So take this opportunity when you need it. It is the end of June 2015 but don’t let the dates get in the way of you actually looking at your business and asking what it is that you are not getting to, what is driving you crazy right now, what do you love doing, what do you need to move around.
In this episode I am going to take you through an exercise to evaluate where you are right now in your business, what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to change. Then we are going to evaluate how you are spending your time and what is possibly sucking the life right out of you.
We all have those areas so don’t be too hard on yourself. Just know the goal here is to bring those areas to light and do something about it. We will focus on any areas where you may need to go out and get some help.
Finally, I’m going to encourage you to choose the projects you plan to focus on in the next six months and open up a Google calendar. I want you to do this digitally. I’m an old school kind of girl, I like to have my written calendar next to me but I’ve since moved everything online because you can see the bigger picture when you use something like a Google Cal.
I want you to open up your Google calendar and you are going to block out the times in a color-coded method (I’ll show you how I do it) to allow yourself to see exactly where you are spending your time. We’ll get there in a moment.
To be really clear, this simple exercise that I’m going to take you through is not going to go deep into revamping your business and 10Xing your business in the next three months. That’s not what this is about.
I have a really amazing business coach, Todd Herman. He just closed his program out called the 90-day Year. He helps you 10X your business in the next 90 days. That is not what we are doing here. That’s a great idea and that’s an amazing program and we will talk about it a little later this year when we are getting into the new year.
But right now you are right in the middle of a new year. You have things going on. You probably have some goals, financial goals and overall business goals, and I want to reevaluate all of that and just get clear on how you are working today and how we can get you to work smarter and actually enjoy your work even a little bit more.
You know I like to make things actionable for you. So if you want to do this exercise and you would appreciate a template to walk you through it I have got you covered. To get your hands on this entire exercise that I’m going to walk you through in just a moment you can get the template at http://www.amyporterfield.com/66download or text the phrase 66download to 33444 and get it instantly.
If you are going to do this, grab the template and that way you will know exactly each step I want to take you through. There are also timers involved. You will actually do some writing where you are going to time yourself. I have put that into the template as well so that you know exactly how long to spend on each of these steps I am going to take you through.
Before we jump in, this episode brought to you buy Lead Pages. It is the tool I cannot live without when it comes to growing my email list by hundreds, if not sometimes thousands, every single week. If you have been wanting to make list-building a focus in your business (maybe that was one of your big goals this year) but you just don’t really know where to start and it feels very overwhelming, I want you to start with my free online workshop. It’s called Four Steps to Quickly Grow Your List Without Spending All of Your Time on Marketing.
Just go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/newleads and get access to it right away. It’s an extremely valuable training so don’t wait.
Are you ready to dive in to the exercise to kind of regroup and reevaluate our business? Let’s do it.
One thing I did notice is I have a little bit of a gruff voice this morning. It is a little bit manly. Can you tell? Well, here’s the reason, sometimes when I get up really early in the morning I schedule these podcast episodes before the family gets up. Hobie is actually still at the fire station. When he works at the fire station he gets home at 8 a.m. and Cade is still in bed because it’s summer and the boy will sleep until 10 a.m. if I let him.
So it is 7 a.m. here and I haven’t talked to anybody. So it’s just me an the coffee cup and Gus. But when I record early I can tell my voice sounds a little rough. It’s because I haven’t really worked it out yet this morning and you are the first person I have been talking to – like you care, right? Let’s just do this.
I did this episode because I was feeling a challenge in my own business with everything piling on. I was overwhelmed. I also did a little investigative work before I decided to plan out the exercise. I have a few private Facebook groups for some of my paid programs and the groups are a really good mix of entrepreneurs. Some of them have been in business for a while (growing a business for at least the last three to four years) while others in my group are just starting out. We have a really good mix of more advanced and beginners.
I asked those in my private groups this very specific question, “How much of the remainder of 2015 do you have planned out?” So, looking into July through December, I wanted to know if they were clear about where their revenue would come from, which promos they plan to do, which networking events (if any) they plan to attend, and just how the rest of the year is going to go.
In a nutshell I wanted to know if the remainder of the 2015 marketing calendar already locked in. That was my question and although a few people (we are talking just a very few) said, “Yep, I’m good to go. I’ve got it all planned out.”
The majority of people that spoke up said some very choice words in terms of how their year looked. I am going to read some of them to you.
“I really need a plan and just want to be told what to do even if it’s me telling myself what to do. Everything seems to take ten times longer than I think it will and that derails me to get a plan together.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to plan out my year but I’ve never really done anything to make it happen.”
“I have it sort of planned out but not in stone. I’m going to continue to build and release my programs. I just need time to put them together.”
When I read that one I thought that was one that was never going to create consistent revenue quickly because it’s just a little bit too loosey goosey. He is working on his programs and just wants to get them put together. But you still need a plan, a deadline and different promos mixed in there so that you can actually be generating revenue.
Another person said, “Do I have a marketing calendar locked in? Um, no. Right now my schedule is a hot mess and I need to get organized.” I love that one.
Someone else says, “No, and that’s probably one of my biggest challenges. Everyday I feel a bit lost because I don’t have a plan in place and no targets to shoot for. It’s interesting psychologically because I never feel like I am making progress because I don’t have a point of reference.” That will do it for you for sure.
One more, “I have never locked in my calendar. I really prefer the opportunity to be flexible. However, that does sometimes lead to not having enough planned so it is a dangerous way to live. I often find myself wishing that I had a better system in schedule. How’s that for talking out both sides of my mouth.”
It thought that one was funny too. She started out strong and confident by saying that she had never locked in her calendar and that she liked the flexibility. However…
I think many people can relate. You want to plan. You may have even made an effort earlier this year but everything kind of fell apart because some things didn’t go as planned so now you are feeling like you are kind of floating out there just a bit.
Now is a perfect time. No matter when you listen to this episode, now is the perfect time to regroup and pull it back in. Again, after reading these comments and many, many more comments I knew that sharing this exercise that I used to regroup and reevaluate was going to be valuable for many of you as well. That’s why I decided to actually turn on the mike and tell you what I did to regroup in my business.
The first thing you are going to do is either download the template that I supplied with this podcast at http://www.amyporterfield.com/66download. That template allows you to either type directly into it so that you can actually just put it up on your computer and there are areas for you to type into the template with each question; or, you can just print it out and write directly on it. Whatever you want to do, but I think the template is great because there is just one place for all of these notes.
Before we get there, I want you to grab two highlighters. If you are anything like me and you love office supplies you have a lot of highlighters around. So, grab two colors of highlighters because we are going to use those as we get going. That is all you need, the template and some highlighters.
Spend 15 minutes doing a week in review. Inside the show notes I am going to give you a few different websites I love that are a count-down timer on your computer and that is the only thing you see, the time counting down, because I don’t want you distracted.
This means you have to turn off your phone, turn your computer off or, if you are going to use one of those timers, make that the only thing you can see so that you can’t see emails popping up or anything like that. Get really focused to go through these five steps with me. It won’t take you more than an hour.
In the next 15 minutes I want you to write down every single thing you can remember you’ve done in the last seven days. We are doing a week in review so we are looking back and write down anything you can think of that shows how you spent your time in your business. I know this isn’t super easy and you have to really think about it. Maybe you could look through some notes you took last week, look at your calendar, really try to refresh your memory. How did you spend your time over the last seven days?
Write down every single thing. Write down phone calls you made, time spend reading emails, time spent writing emails, blog writing, reading other blogs, listening to podcasts, creating content for your products, all of it goes. The goal here is to figure out honestly where you have been spending your time.
I want you to spend a good 15 minutes. That might mean for a good three or four minutes you are staring into space because you are thinking you can’t even remember. If that’s the case then how significant was the time you actually spent? Probably not so significant, right? Right there it is a little bit of a tell tale sign.
But it is hard to look back so, again, look for notes or look at your calendar but try to remember where you spent your time in the last seven days. That is Step #1. Again, I want you to give yourself a full 15 minutes for this.
You are going to take the next 20 minutes and do a brain dump. But it is very different than Step #1. Instead of looking back over the last seven days I want you to look forward over the next six months.
Over the next six months what are all of the things you need to get done? Everything goes here. List people you need to get back to, products you plan to create, events you plan to attend, emails you need to write, blog posts that are waiting for you to create, phone calls you need to make, new projects you plan to work on. Anything and everything that you think you need or should do over the next six months needs to go on this list.
It might help if you pull out your goals. At the beginning of the year if you wrote a list of goals of projects you wanted to complete this year then grab that right now. That is something that will help you remember all of the stuff you wanted to get done before the end of the year. Or just do the next six months if you are doing this exercise when you aren’t in the middle of 2015. Remember, be flexible with yourself.
The goal here is to get all of that out of your head. The thing is, I work in Asana. It is my project management tool. I work in Asana for big projects. Once we start a big project it all goes into Asana. But before I start that project I have noticed it is not in Asana and if it’s not a big project I haven’t been putting it into Asana so it is floating out there and that’s a horrible feeling.
My new project manager uses a tool called Wunderlist. Basically, all of the little tasks that might be floating in my head are inside of this tool that she uses and that is probably something I need to look into because it is really overwhelming and stressful when you’ve got all of these things floating around and you don’t know exactly when you are going to get to them. That is what I was feeling when I decided to do this exercise.
I thought it may help you a little if I gave you a little snapshot of my own list I created when I did Step #2, the 20-minute brain dump. Again, you want to give yourself a full 20 minutes. Don’t cheat. Give yourself that full 20 minutes and everything you can think of.
This means personal and business. It all kind of starts mixing together when you are an entrepreneur. You have things floating in your head that have nothing to do with business but they are taking up space and probably stressing you out so that you are not doing you best work when you sit down to do business.
I say that because I am going to read you my list and you are going to hear a few random personal things as well. It is just kind of part of this exercise. So here’s what my list looks like, not the whole list, but the first ten things:
- Create the project plan for the webinar course.
- Complete the webinar course training program.
- Create the project plan for Profit Lab #2 and get it into Asana.
- Update Profit Lab training videos for launch #2.
- Get the pool pump fixed (you’ve got to love it).
- Figure out a new plan for podcast batching. (I have been really stressed out about getting my episodes done so finally after I wrote this list we finally came up with a new plan).
- Complete the bonus module for my current Profit Lab program.
- Plan my B-school live event curriculum that is coming up in August.
- Train my new project manager on how to create replay pages inside of Lead Pages. (That is a super random one but it keeps floating around in my head and I don’t know where it goes in the whole scheme of things but I know she needs to be taught how to do this).
- Send out thank-you cards for my Profit Lab affiliates.
- Find a company to clean our windows at the house.
- Ask Trivinia, my assistant, to start a testimonial campaign.
- Add a new opt-in opportunity for my home page on my website (we recently took it down during launch and we need to put something back up there).
This is just a quick snapshot of the things that are floating around in my head before they actually get into Asana. When I did this I realized because all of this is floating around and because it is stressing me out I probably need to look into a tool like Wunderlist. There are a bunch of others out there too, I know. In the meantime this really helped me breathe a little bit better because I finally dumped it all out and had it in one place.
This is for the next six months so when you do this, I don’t know if I said this earlier, but you are doing this for six months. Every single thing you can think of that needs to get done. It is for business but I said to put in personal stuff if it just floats in there. There are probably another million personal things I need to do but sometimes it just all gets scattered in my head. So anything that came to mind I put on this list.
As you can see from that little snapshot I gave you there are some big projects on there. But there are also some random small tasks and then some personal random things as well. But all of that is taking up a lot of space in my head. A lot of that is why I can’t sleep soundly at night because it is just rushing through my head. The biggest thing is that none of it is scheduled yet. I know I need to get it done but when am I going to get it done? That is what has been causing me a lot of stress and that’s why I created this exercise.
One more thing, during Step #2, the 20-minute brain dump, you are not thinking of new ideas. This is not a time for creativity and new ideas. There is a time and place for that but this is not it. The reason for that is I am sure you have enough on the horizon without thinking of new stuff.
So this brain dump is all about the stuff you should be doing or you think you should be doing in the next six months. It’s not a time to create new ideas. We don’t need to add anything new on this list just yet.
Break out one of the highlighters. Choose one of the highlighters. In this case I chose the yellow one. I want you to highlight that list. Your list should have at least 30 things on it, I would guess. It should have small silly little tasks and big projects. There should be probably 20 to 30 things on the list. If not, you probably didn’t dig deep enough in terms of what is floating around in your head.
If there are just a few things then you may be way more organized than me and you should just do a little proud happy dance because that’s awesome. Anyway, I want you to take one highlighter and identify the projects that are going to produce revenue for you either directly or indirectly. You know what those projects are.
It’s not all about money but we are in business and we need to make money to continue to create and grow our business and provide for our families. So we first need to identify the projects that are actually going to contribute to us making money.
If you set project goals for the year and you documented some revenue goals as well this is the time I want you to take out those goals. Maybe in Step #2 you took out a list of things you had planned to do this year. If you have it, I want you to take out the list of your revenue goals.
When you look at the goals that you set for the year in the revenue goals you need to ask yourself (since we are reevaluating) if the goals are still feasible. Just as important, you also need to ask if they are still exciting to you. I know things change along the way so this is your time to reevaluate. If you have plans for the next six months and they do not excite you then you have a problem and you need to look at that and decide what might possibly need to be tweaked to get you recharged and reexcited about the projects you set at the beginning of the year.
I want to say this, don’t make any quick decisions to change everything just because you might be off track right now. There was a reason you set those goals earlier in the year. I am sure you didn’t put a bunch of things on there just for the sake of it. There was some thought and meaning behind those goals that you created. So treat them with the respect they deserve.
You might not be able to hit all of the goals and you might want to change some of them around but don’t throw them out the window and just start over right now because it feels good to do so. I say that from my own experience. One of the things I love to do is clean out all of my closets and go to Goodwill and give tons of stuff away. It just makes me feel like I am starting over and that I am renewed.
Don’t do that with your business because you might be throwing out some really valuable goals that could get you to exactly where you want to get to. Just for the sake of starting over you are going to kind of ruin that so be really careful.
I am going to give you an example: My goal this year was to create a stand-alone Facebook ads program in the second quarter. However, at the end of the first quarter I reviewed my goals and realized I didn’t want to create a stand-alone ads program.
I teach a very specific ad strategy in The Profit Lab. That’s the one I believe in. That ad strategy is what I think is going to get you the biggest bang for your buck so that’s what I really love to teach. I actually created the entire program and put it in Beta and realized this is not what I want to do. I don’t want to have to continually revamp the entire ads program because ads change all of the time, the dashboard changes, and all that stuff. I would constantly have to be in there with the nitty gritty stuff and that doesn’t excite me. Nothing about that program excited me.
I mistakenly set that goal because I thought it was what I should do versus what I truly wanted to do. I made a mistake this year. I shouldn’t have set that goal. We all make mistakes. We have to be nice to ourselves and say, “okay, what are you going to do.”
The easy way out was for me to say I have done well this year and surpassed a bunch of goals I had already set so why not just take it off the list. Instead of throwing that goal out the window I decided to replace it with something else. So we had revenue goals tied to it and I wanted to feel like I finished this year strong and stuck to my goals.
I feel like my goals are my word to myself. I don’t feel really good if I just throw something out the window. My goal was to introduce something new this year so I started to listen to my audience more. I did that big survey a few months ago and got some more feedback and asked some questions related to webinars.
It was extremely clear that my audience was very interested in how I have had success with webinars since I started my business. I love, absolutely love, to talk about webinars. And, anytime I talk about anything in my business there is always a component of Facebook ads. My webinars are fueled by a Facebook ad strategy I use. So I still get to teach ads but in a whole different way.
I instantly knew that was the program I wanted to create this year. So I changed out the program. I moved some dates around because I knew it was never going to work to put a brand new webinar program in the second quarter. But it is still on the calendar. That’s important to me, that I stick with those goals and meet my revenue goals at the end of the year.
Sure, I’m ahead right now, but who knows what might happen. I still have a bunch of things that need to happen for the rest of this year. So I didn’t take it off the docket. That’s the lesson I want to give to you as well because, to be honest, this year is a bit more hectic than I had planned for it to be.
An easy way out would just to have been to throw it out. For some of you that may be the best decision. Maybe you feel so overwhelmed and just filled to the brim with too much stuff to do and you have packed your calendar too much. You were a little overzealous at the beginning of the year. Maybe for you it means a few things need to come off the calendar. You know yourself best.
You know yourself way more than I know you so if you do need to take some things off then do it. Just make sure you are doing it for the right reason and that you aren’t taking the easy way out but are taking care of yourself. That’s also extremely important.
When I decided to do this webinar program I knew it was going to be a lot more work than the ads program because I have taught ads forever and ever. I have never taught webinars. So I decided to hire a copywriter to help me with a lot of the promo stuff when I promote it. I’m not going to do it all myself.
I also have a project manager now that is going to help me get this project done. If it was just me I probably couldn’t do it based on everything else I have going on. I did build in a few precautions to make sure this webinar course doesn’t kill me as I try to create it. You do have to take care of yourself and that’s one of the most amazing things about being an entrepreneur, you get to build in some of those different ways to protect yourself as well as create what you want to create.
That’s Step #3, you are highlighting those projects that are the moneymakers, the ones that not only excite you but you also know they are going to generate revenue. Those are the ones I want you to keep your eye on as you go into Step #4.
This is where we are going to identify where you are wasting time and where you could use some extra support. I want you to look back at the exercise from Step 1 where you did you week in review. I want you to take a different color of highlighter and highlight the tasks that were either a big waste of your time over the last seven days or tasks that you were doing that you just know in your heart of hearts that you could actually leverage or delegate in some way or another.
Go back to Step #1 and if you did a really good job there and really spent the time to figure out how you spent the last seven days in business you will definitely be able to identify some areas where you are wasting your time or that you shouldn’t be working on right now. You may find areas where you don’t need to be working on a specific project that you could give to someone else on your team. Or maybe it’s time to start looking into hiring a VA.
I know when money is tight it is scary to hire a VA or scary to hire anybody else on your team. But you know, because you have probably listened to many podcasts and entrepreneurs talk about this, when you are able to leverage some of your activities you can actually start making more money because you are spending the time in your business where it really makes a big impact.
Many of you are listening and know you have been thinking about hiring a VA for a long time. Or you might be like me. When I first hired a VA I wasn’t actually using my VA like I should. I was too afraid to let go of some projects. Heck, I still do that now. But letting go of that control and having somebody work on different projects that will free you up is important for our sanity and for the growth of our business.
Again, you are going back to Step 1. You are taking a different colored highlighter and are highlighting those areas where you are either wasting your time or you are wasting your time on that project because you know you could be leveraging it or delegating it.
The next thing I want you to do is go into Step #2 where you did the 20-minute brain dump on all of the things swimming around in your head right now that you know you need to get done or think maybe you should get done. We already highlighted all of the money-making projects that were on that list.
Take a different color of highlighter (all of you office supply people who are in love with office supplies like me are having a heyday right now – you have to grab the other supplies) and highlight all of the things you put on the list that you could either move the project to a different date and time (you aren’t going to do it now, instead you are going to move it to a date in the future) or tasks that can be leveraged or delegated.
Again, just to make it really clear, you are going back to Step #2 and highlighting any project that you should not be working on right. Maybe something snuck in and you really didn’t have plans to fulfill that project now and now that you have looked at all of your goals that were set at the beginning of the year you realized you have gotten off track.
So highlight those projects that you just got off track and they shouldn’t be there right now. And mark of any projects or tasks that you wrote down that you could delegate to somebody else on your team or maybe finally hire that VA to help you.
There is a lot of highlighting going on right now but we are just identifying those areas where you likely shouldn’t be spending you time. That’s what Step #4 is all about.
Here’s an example from my own evaluation in terms of how I was spending my time: I recently had to change the way I was managing my podcast. My favorite thing to do on this podcast is solo shows. I feel I enjoy them so much and most of the feedback I get on my podcast tends to be about these solo shows.
The interviews are great but the solo shows are really packed with great content and it is very actionable. That is why I really love them. They are a lot of work. I do a lot of prep time in advance.
A few podcasts ago, probably a few months ago actually, I talked about hiring a content manager to help me with these podcasts. It just hasn’t been going as smoothly as I had hoped. That is totally my fault, not hers at all. I just couldn’t figure out what wasn’t working. This is something I have revisited a few times so if I really wanted to beat myself up I would tell myself to get it together, “what is not working with this podcast?” My biggest problem is getting it done in batches.
When I did this exercise I realized I need to do the interviews differently. The interviews are easier because it’s not just me preparing all of the content. But I am not okay with interviews where I ask someone to tell me about themselves and how they got their start and one challenge they have in their business. I hate that fluffy stuff in interviews.
I want my interviews to be just as powerful as my solo shows. I want my interviews on my podcast to be like mini trainings like this one is here. So I made that commitment. When I did this exercise one of the things I found out was that I just need to approach my interviews for my show differently and I have started to do that.
I have now made it really clear with my content manager, Chelsea, that we are going about interviews a lot differently. We are choosing people that can do mini trainings with me. We are preparing in advance with those people. We are making the PDF giveaway really juicy whether it’s a solo show of mine or an interview.
These are some of the things I had to work out through this exercise because it just was not working. It was just too stressful and I was doing the shows at the last minute and that’s the last thing I want to do and it is not productive.
I found the areas where I can leverage, where I was spending too much time on my podcast, where I need to work smarter. All of that came out of this exercise I am teaching you right now.
Sometimes I feel my podcast is a confession. I just tell you guys all of the stuff that’s not working in my business. But hopefully you will see the stuff that’s working such as when I reviewed The Profit Lab launch and all of the good stuff that worked there as well.
Since I have been a little girl I have always been the first to tell on myself when I do something wrong or when something isn’t working. You get it all from me. The podcast is totally the most powerful thing in my business. But, as much as I love it, it has been a struggle. So we are just working through it and working smarter.
That was the one thing I was able to identify. I think you will find some ah-ha moments as well. You just have to fix what’s not working and make sure that not only does it work for your audience so that you are delivering impeccable value, but it’s got to work for you too, whatever processes you have set up in your business to generate more content and revenue in the long run.
Now that you have identified those areas, before we move on to Step #5, what I need you to do is to either commit to getting the help you need or stop doing the things that are likely sucking the life out of you and wasting time.
A lot of times it has to do with leveraging or changing the way you are doing something such as the example I gave you with my podcast. To be more specific, Chelsea is now starting to communicate with the people I want to interview with. She is communicating with them how we will do the interview. She is helping me with really smart questions to ask them so that I can do my own solo shows because I like to create that content myself. She is going to run with the interviews so they will be really good coming up.
Basically, that’s how I solved that problem. I want you to solve some things in Step #4 before you move to Step #5. By the time we get to Step #5, our final step, I want you to have gotten really clear about the projects you are going to be working on for the rest of the year, where you will be making money (you have to generate the revenue), and clean up those areas that are just not working for you.
If it’s time, you have got to ask for more help or hire more help. For me, I have enough help in my business, I just don’t ask for it enough. Trivinia, my assistant is constantly asking me to let her help me. I have such a struggle giving it up. So having great people on your team to push you to give up control is always good as well.
You know what you need to do. Spend some time in Step #4. To me I feel it is the most important step. Really get clear. And when you download the template I will give you a little bit more information and guidelines around Step #4 to make it really actionable. So don’t move on until you feel good about the decisions you’ve made.
Once you make some decisions in Step #4, in Step #5 you will open up your digital calendar. Let’s just pretend everyone is using Google Cal because that’s the one I know and I can talk about that the most.
Inside my Google calendar I have actually color coded main topics. I have one main topic called podcast creation. Anything related to the podcast is coded in green whether I am doing a solo show, interviewing someone, or reviewing interview notes.
The colors will make sense, you can have any color you want but the colors actually mean something.
Any time I am creating content outside of my podcast for anything else the color used is orange. Content creation would be writing a blog post or more likely creating content for my paid programs or bonuses inside my programs and all that. That’s all orange. When I work on my webinar course that would be all orange because it is content creation.
In addition to that I have a few other colors. In Asana we have to note that “Amy’s content for the webinar course is due on XX date.” If there are deadlines that need to be put inside my calendar the color is red. Red means I have a deadline coming up.
There are a few other colors I use. If I take time off the color is pink. If I have a personal meeting such as getting my hair cut I use another color. There are a few personal ones and some main chunks that are color coded. It is blue if I just want to identify when we are starting a promo and ending a promo.
Again, your colors don’t have to match my colors but the colors are important; I probably have ten different colors. I went to my Google calendar and booked everything until the end of the year. For you that might be overwhelming and you might want to just start out with the next three months. But, if you can do the next six months that is great.
I had to put everything in there and that’s why Asana played a really big part because we put our project plan together that I talked about in Episode #62. In Episode #62 I went over my entire project plan that you can download as well. Because that is in Asana, I know when the due dates are.
This took me a good three to four hours. I guess I kind of lied in the beginning, not intentionally, when I said this whole exercise might take you an hour. The calendar part took me two to three hours because I literally blocked out everything.
Let me give you an example: Next week, for five days straight, I’m going to work on only new content that I want to offer inside The Profit Lab for the next launch in October. I’m really getting ahead of it and, for the record, this is the first time I have ever done that. It’s going to be hard for me because I’m the type of person that procrastinates and then it is like a big kick in the butt and I get it done. That is not a good trait to have so I am really forcing myself to get it done way in advance. Having a project manager is kind of good for that because she holds me to it.
Next week for five days I am just working on The Profit Lab to revamp some of the content with new stuff I want to add for October. If you are part of The Profit Lab now don’t worry, you will get all of that new stuff.
What that looks like in my calendar, I have five days booked of all orange (remember, orange is content creation). Because I love to create content and I feel that is where I am strongest, once I did my whole calendar and Google Cal for the next six months, it was really important to me that I saw a lot of orange.
I told my new project manager and my assistant, Trivinia, the more orange you see on my personal calendar the happier this girl is. Then I know the other stuff is getting taken care of by the team I have created. I always say I have a small but mighty team and I want them to take care of all of those other things that are going on.
Of course, I have a lot of green and that is getting my podcast up and running sooner. I want to be recording these things even if they don’t come out for a few months. I just want to get ahead of the podcast. So I have a lot of green and a lot of orange.
In addition to that, anything else I need to do is on the calendar. I may be a little bit crazy but I am very specific and I like for you to see inside my world so that you can figure out how it would work for you. I take two or three hours to create each podcast solo episode.
Let’s say on a Monday I give myself three hours to put my notes together for the show. I never record a podcast on the same day I work on the notes because that’s exhausting to me and you won’t get my best self. I won’t put my best self forward. The next morning I give myself an hour to record.
My calendar has preplanning for Podcast #66 on a Monday with two or three hours blocked off. Then the next morning I give a full hour of recoding for Podcast #66. I know myself so well that I know I couldn’t put those in the same day. I used to try but who am I fooling? I am terrible at recording and planning on the same day.
That’s the kind of stuff I have broken up on my calendar. I just wanted to kind of paint the picture for you. You decide on your colors and decide what color you want to see the most inside your calendar. For you it might be product creation. Maybe that’s a specific color. To me, content creation is product and free valuable content. But if you really need to get a product done give it a color and then plan the time and then look in your calendar for the next six months. Are you giving yourself enough time to get it done?
One thing I learned from my business coach, Todd Herman, is that you can’t be doing a bunch of context shifting. We talked about that when Todd was on the show earlier this year. You can’t have five different projects you are working on in one day. Switching projects every few hours is maddening. It is too overwhelming.
I want to put out a challenge to you that I’ve put out to myself as well. It is a tough one so you have to brace yourself. I want to challenge you to only work on two things per day. Let’s say you have a little wiggle room for three and that’s what I have done for myself.
Every day when you look at my calendar if I have more than three different things going on I know I am never going to get to them. I don’t even know why I do that to myself. I used to put four, five, or six things on one day. I would never get to half of them so I would have to move them over and the calendar will just keep shifting and shifting.
If we tell ourselves we are only working on two things in one day, maybe write a blog post and finish two modules of my upcoming webinar program. That’s it. You can be sure I will get it done. I will be focused and not overwhelmed. But if I add two meetings and a phone call with Trivinia and then a hair cut (silly life stuff too) I am scattered and never finish any of it because I am too overwhelmed. In my head I think I have too much to do so I just shut down and hardly get anything done. It’s weird, right?
I know it’s really hard but while you are blocking inside your Google Cal if you can just commit to two things a day, three max, you will zip through your calendars every single day, I promise you.
Make sure to build in time for yourself and some time for your family. If you are in the States and it is summertime you have to take that into account. You probably have the kids home. That kind of stuff is important.
But here is the last thing I will say and I feel like I am on a soapbox right now so I need to jump off of that. But one thing I will say is that when I did my calendar I spent those few hours on a Sunday, of all days. I looked and then I told Trivinia my calendar is insane. It is too much.
I had to do something because I couldn’t’ get everything done. I had to cut back even more and find different ways my team could help me even more. I know that not everyone listening has the luxury of saying, “Trivinia, can you work on this for me,” and having a team to do it for you.
That’s when you have to get really realistic and decide that if it is too much and you don’t have the money to delegate a bunch you should find ways to work smarter and do less but actually make a bigger impact and make more money. That is very, very possible. But you have to dig deep for that kind of stuff and I want to encourage you to do so.
I am not a huge fan of pushing yourself to exhaustion. I hate the word hustle so I am not saying you have to hustle and work your tail off every day. I am always trying to figure out how not to work so much. It is just something that is a constant battle with me and that is why I have loved ones around me to keep me in check. I hope you do too.
There you have it, Step #5 is to get inside that Google calendar and color code your main projects with just two to three things a day. I know it’s hard but if you do it you’ve got to come tell me. Post on my Facebook Page or in the comments underneath this podcast on the show notes at http://www.amyporterfield.com/66 to let me know you are doing this because it will encourage me to stay true to that challenge as well. I’m telling you, this is going to be big for us if we can get really specific.
The final thing I will say is once you’ve got it all in your calendar you have to breathe a little bit and maybe have a glass of wine or take a walk to just say you did it and it is over, it was tough but you did it. Kind of celebrate a little bit. Then, as you get going, every Sunday night before I go to bed or a few hours before I go to bed I like to look at my calendar for the week to get very clear about what is coming down the pipeline and make sure it is all very doable.
Every night before I go to bed during the week I check for the next day just to be really clear about what is coming. I like to be clear before it actually happens. That has helped me immensely as well.
I’m not perfect at this. I work at it every single day but I like to just tell you what I have been working on and what has helped me. This little exercise has allowed me to get really clear for the next six months and now I feel like I can breathe just a little bit easier.
I hope you have found value in it too. Be nice to yourself and patient with yourself as you work through these five steps of regrouping and retweaking what you have done in your business so you can work smarter and have a little breathing room as you do it.
Now that we have gone through the entire exercise, as you can see it is a simple exercise but there are some steps involved. If you do it right it can be really powerful. It will actually allow you to breathe a little easier and get excited for the next six months of your business. If you like this exercise and you want a template so I can walk you through step by step I want you to grab the template at http:// www.amyporterfield.com/66download or you can text the phrase 66download to 33444 and get the freebie instantly.
Here is my challenge to you, I want you to commit to doing this exercise in the next 48 hours. On your calendar put the time you are actually going to do this and make it happen. It could really allow you to breathe easier and enjoy the work that is coming down the pipeline. I want you to really dive in and get it done.
I cannot wait to talk to you again next week. Make it a great week. Bye for now.