Be productive with your time by ‘stuffing it in’

One little technique has made a big difference to me.

I don’t have a name for it but the nearest I’ve got is ‘stuffing it in’ and this is how it works:

I’ve trained myself to make the most of those little bits of dead time we all have in a day and to ‘stuff in’ what I can in the few minutes that are available.

Let me explain…

If I’ve got ten minutes before I’m due to leave to pick the kids up from school I used to think ‘Oh there’s no point starting anything’ so I’d mess about at my desk, browse YouTube or check my emails until it was time to go.

Now I’ll look at the tasks on my list (for example writing and sending out a broadcast email to my list) and instead of waiting until I’m back at my desk, I’ll start the task immediately, even though I know ten minutes isn’t enough time to finish it.

On glorious angel-kissed days when the planets are in the correct alignment I’ll find that I actually FINISH the task in the time I would otherwise waste…

…and on other days I’ll at least eat into the bugger so when I get back to my desk, a decent chunk of it is already completed.

It sounds like a small, common sense method, but on speaking with other people about it I was amazed how many people would put off a task until tomorrow, or until they’re back at their desk because the time available didn’t seem like enough to finish the job.

Well even if it’s not, it’s nice to arrive at work the next day and find you’ve already made in-roads into your to do list.

There are ten and twenty minute chunks of time all over your day that don’t seem big enough to start something, but try doing something in that time – you might be surprised about how productive the habit becomes.

That said, sometimes it’s ALSO good to put your feet up and watch someone lighting a fart on Youtube now and again :)



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My latest conversion stats are crap – or ARE they?

tony shepherd solo ads

I started on a new sales funnel that I’m using paid traffic ONLY with.

Mostly solo ads (try Udimi if you want to get started with solos. They have a buyer rating system that works well)

And as you can see from the screenshot the numbers look crap.

I’m only getting a 32% opt-in rate. This means I’m losing 68% of every visitor that hits my site.

I’ve been trying since last year to improve this opt-in number (and still have the same information on the squeeze page) and I’m still trying.

Looks crap on the surface but is it all bad?

Well no it’s not and here’s why.

I’ve found by being totally transparent about what my free offer is (it’s a free sample of my newsletter) that the quality of the person who opts-in to receive the sample is VERY responsive to signing up for a full subscription and for my other offers.

And I’m making a PROFIT on my sales funnel so although I’m only getting a cruddy 32% opt-in rate I’m building my list not only for free, but for a small profit which is the holy grail of paid traffic as far as many marketers are concerned.

I did manage to increase my opt-in rate for the same offer last year by changing the wording on my squeeze page but found that the increased subscribers weren’t nearly as responsive to the rest of my funnel and I ended up not only losing my small profit, but now each new subscriber cost me to acquire.

There are of course other factors and variables to be taken into account such as lifetime value, retention rates, speed at which I build my list and so on…

…but I think this is a good lesson in how you can assume an opt-in rate is crap until you know the numbers behind it.



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Emails are getting harder to read

email

 

I receive emails from a LOT of internet marketers.

They all promise different things and I subscribe to their emails because it’s interesting to watch how they market their goods.

I must be on 200 mailing lists if not more.

But I can count the number of marketers I actually BUY from on a regular basis on one hand.

Because these are the guys and gals that are obviously intelligent, informed and experienced in their fields.

They’re also the ones who I resonate with for sure – I like their attitudes, outlook and opinions.

I like the way they do things.

But there’s more to it than that.

If you’ve been around the internet marketing scene for so long you’ll probably understand what I’m going to say…

…and it’s this.

I can now recognise those marketers who don’t have to shout – who don’t have to use hypey language in their emails to get me to check out products they recommend.

I can recognise the quietly confident guys who do things their own way and I like them.

Possibly because it’s how I try to do things.

And while I’ve always said that if you’re a marketer yourself, you should subscribe to loads of email lists to watch how other marketers work…

..it’s getting more and more difficult for me to cut through the level of noise I’m getting in my inbox these days.

Hmmmmm



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How I ‘do stuff’ task-wise on a day to day basis

I’ve realised it’s helped me a lot to divide business tasks into two categories…

1. The things I need to do daily to keep my business on track. This would include buying traffic, communicating with my groups and clients, producing content and ‘housekeeping’ such as communication with outsourcers and dealing with admin stuff

2. Creative tasks such as planning future projects, establishing relationships, creative thinking, examining potential ideas and businesses and having meetings. These are done often but as needed and aren’t scheduled as the first category is

When I decide on moving forward with something (big or small) it usually moves from category 2 into category 1 although it’s likely to be outsourced so even as a ‘daily task’ it only takes maybe 20 minutes as I communicate with an outsourcer.

Nor is this all as rigid as it sounds. It’s pretty flexible and easy to work with

Just sharing because a client asked me the other day about this and it was the first time I actually thought about it consciously :)



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Should you choose a niche or area of business that you’re passionate about?

should you love the niche you choose

I get quite a few emails each week from total newbies asking advice about what area of IM to go into.

I’ll be honest – some I answer and some I don’t. It depends what else I’m doing at the time, my frame of mind and the tone of the email. In fact my Skype is backed up with so many messages that at the moment only scheduled calls or messages get through.

Anyway I thought I’d share the advice I found myself giving lately which simply boils down to “Look mate, you’re going to be doing the aspect of IM that you choose (hopefully) for a lot of years so choose something you’re interested in or at least enjoy doing, otherwise you’ll never get motivated in the morning!”

This is based on my own experience of slowly removing almost everything that I don’t really enjoy from my business one way or another. You can outsource tasks for sure, but you still have to give instructions to your freelancers and if it’s a subject you don’t really like then it’s still a pain in the arse.

You can change as you go of course, but that could mean ripping apart an infrastructure that took you months or years to build.

There’s a lot of merit in making mistakes and changing direction – I’ve done it myself a few times and you often come back stronger and more focused, but there’s something else to consider…

…and it’s this:

If you choose something that you have no motivation for then there’s a decent chance you won’t work hard enough at it to see some results, or more importantly, some money, in your first few weeks or months.

And that’s when a lot of newcomers quit.

And it’s impossible to change direction when you’ve quit :)



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New iPhone 6 plus is like a wide-screen telly

new iPhone experience

 

I like Apple products.

Their stuff works well for me, and it seems to be geared up to the creative process which is even better…

…so when I was due a phone upgrade (actually I was due one last April but didn’t get round to it) another iPhone was always going to be my choice.

A mate recommended the iPhone 6 plus so I just went with the suggestion.

They’re big buggers.

They’re slippy too. I’ve almost dropped mine half a dozen times since I got it yesterday.

I feel vaguely ridiculous using it as a phone. If you ever saw Dom Joly on Trigger Happy TV (see the pic above) you’ll know what I mean. It’s a bit too big, even against my chunky melon.

But as a ‘thing’ to work from, browse on and use in a business sense it’s got to be the best iPhone yet in my opinion.

The phone didn’t cost me anything as an upgrade except an extension of my existing phone contract, and to be honest it seems as though a phone contract is now as ‘essential’ as a car, cable TV contract and everything else we western softies say we can’t live without, so it wasn’t a hard choice.

But this isn’t a phone review, it’s a celebration of NOT being an early adopter. It’s my acknowledgment that I can happily post about getting the newest model iPhone four months after the really hip people got one.

And it still works the same. If anything it’s better because the OS has been tweaked and upgraded to fix some of the initial bugs.

I suppose I missed out on the initial buzz of being able to flash it about on launch day (yeah right), but then again I can also say I wasn’t one of those tooly-heads who spent three nights in a tent outside an Apple store queueing to buy one.

But now we’re at a time in history when iPhones are no longer the ground-breaking bits of kit they once were, and other manufacturers have not only caught up but surpassed the iPhone…

…don’t you think getting people to spend freezing nights camping outside your shops to buy one is a superb bit of marketing? :)



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Pie chart of where my 2014 income came from

internet marketing income pit chart

I’m right in the middle of doing this.

Every few months I put together a report about where my income comes from and chuck it together in pie chart format.

I like pie charts. Actually I like pies full stop, but there’s something very wholesome about seeing your income laid out in graphical format so you can tell what is working and what isn’t.

I don’t have the full results in yet but it’s looking like selling my products, affiliate marketing, coaching and software are going to be the biggest slices for 2014 although there’s still ‘everything to play for’

I fully recommend you do this. It gives you a whole new perspective on what’s working for you and what’s not.

It usually throws up a few surprises for me…



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Big pile of unopened business mail

do internet marketers still use mail

This is the site that greeted me early this morning – was up early to see my daughter off on a three day trip with school

(This is my first day back at work after the Christmas holiday)

It’s all the business post we’ve received since 19th December when we closed the doors on work.

I’ve dipped back into my office to connect with clients, my private group, contacts and so on but I’ve never been tempted to open a single one of the letters on this pile.

Closed means closed – at least to people who send letters. Our support desk was fully functional right through the holidays for online stuff.

Although to be a fair a lot of the post that we get comes from our offline businesses where the majority of people still deal with paper and envelopes.

More and more it seems that physical mail requires me to ‘do stuff’ and over the Christmas and New Year hold the only thing I was doing was having fun.

It’s harder to ignore an envelope because it’s physically there in front of you (hence one of my ‘things’ this year will be to expand our direct mailing efforts), whereas email can be clicked away swiftly and without remorse…

…but I never have any problem NOT opening letters. The older you get, the less pleasant the experience seems to work out, unless of course it’s a cheque.

Which is why it’s going to take a strong cup of tea and a choccy biccy to even get me near this pile.

Bet you 50% of it is junk anyway…

 



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Why I hire outsource workers FAST

why i hire outsourcers quickly

I got asked about choosing outsourcers the other day.

If you hire outsource workers using a site such as Odesk or Freelancer you’re going to get at least 30 replies. This means 30 CV’s to go through with the probability of more trickling in each day as you draw up your shortlist.

My advice?

When you find a candidiate that is 80% suitable, if your need is pressing, stop and hire them.

You could go through all the CV’s but that would take you a long time.

You could draw up a shortlist of say 5 or 6 and give them all the same task to do and then hire the best one but in reality this is going to take DAYS if not weeks and at the end of it there’s often no clear winner.

So what I do if the job I’m outsourcing is a pressing one, is to hire the first person who fits MOST of the bill.

You can teach them the rest.

Chances are that even if you DO go through all the CV’s you’ll not find Mr or Ms Perfect anyway and you’ll have wasted days that you could have been spending on your business.

Find the ‘almost’ candidiate and hire them.

The instinct to ‘wait and do more investigation’ is a strong one but takes your focus off your business.

Hire quickly.

Works for me. Most of the time anyway.



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