Being “busy” doesn’t guarantee you’re doing something meaningful. Busywork is often procrastination in disguise. What’s the point of devoting time to tasks that don’t make a significant impact on your business? If you’ve fallen into the dreaded busy trap, implement these four tips to be more efficient every day.
1. Check Your Inbox at Set Times Every Day
There’s no denying it. If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, it’s important to stay on top of business-related emails.
That said, constantly refreshing your Gmail account isn’t the most productive use of your energy. Get in the habit of checking your professional email account at set times.
This doesn’t need to be complicated. It could be as simple as checking your inbox in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Understand: most people don’t expect an instant reply.
As long as you’re following-up with your potential clients and customers within a few hours of receiving their email, they’ll probably be content with your turnaround time.
If you’ll be gone for a business trip or vacation, set-up an automatic reply that tells them when to expect a proper response (and make sure to meet their expectations!).
2. Answer or Delete Every Email Immediately
Staring at an email isn’t a good way to spend your time. Why not deal with correspondence as soon as you notice it?
Unless you need to do some research to answer a client’s request — or it’s an opportunity significant enough to justify a calculated response — there’s no good reason.
If the email doesn’t warrant a reply, delete it without a second thought. When the email demands a response (and the reasoning above does not apply), answer it right away.
Also, don’t underestimate the value of email scripts. You’ll preserve energy when emails require less mental activity. Save the thinking for higher level activities that will have a bigger impact on your business.
For example, I have a template to use when clients ask for rates. I modify that template to fit every unique situation, but it’s nonetheless a useful resource.
Being able to tweak an existing script (versus writing an entirely new email over and over again) saves tons of time in the long-run.
Create your own email templates based on the most common conversations you have with your clients or customers.
3. Find a Way to Repurpose Any Content You Publish
If you’re haphazardly publishing content about whatever happens to cross your mind, you’re just making noise.
This isn’t an effective way to grow your business. It’d be better to create content with a cohesive strategy or purpose.
Let’s say you have a fitness blog. You want everyone to know lifting weights is a great way to lose fat, build strength, and improve health outcomes.
You publish a bunch of blogs and social media updates about weight lifting, but you don’t take a Big Picture outlook. Instead, you make it up as you go along.
Here’s a better idea. What if you decided to publish an e-book or online report called: “The New Exerciser’s Guide to Beginning a Weight Lifting Routine for Fat Loss and Strength Gains.”
Sound ambitious? It’s really not. You could begin by sharing some essential tips and benefits in bite-sized statuses. Next, you could turn those statuses into blog posts. Finally, you could compile those blogs into a full-length book.
Your business might not have anything to do with fitness. That’s okay. A web designer could apply the same idea with a book called, “The New Blog Owner’s Guide to Creating an Attractive Layout (No Coding Skills Required).”
Note: The goal is to provide your readers (potential clients or customers) with enough advice to get solid results. Monetize the content by offering a service that helps them achieve even better results with less time and frustration.
4. Create Systems or Processes That Grow Your Business
Systems are simple, measurable processes that can help you attract targeted leads on autopilot.
To see an example of a lead generation system in action, look no further than my author bio on Pakwired.
That’s intentional. If a blog or business owner reads my content (and feels it’s a good fit for their audience), it’s easy for them to reach me. All they have to do is click one of those links and send a message with a simple contact form.
Can the results be predicted? Not really. It doesn’t matter. The most lucrative writing contracts I’ve landed have been a result of pure serendipity. The client just so happened to read one of my articles and like it enough to contact me.
I described another system I consistently use to generate leads in Freelancing 101: How to Get Your First Paying Client within a Month. I’ll summarize that system here. Modify the specifics to fit your own freelance business.
Every week, I contact 10-20 potential clients on job boards like Problogger, Upwork, and Freelance Writing Gigs. Like I already mentioned in #2, I use a template to make this process less stressful and time-consuming.
I test and tweak that template constantly so I can improve my conversion rate. As I learn and grow, it gets easier to accurately predict how many pitches I’ll need to send in order to close a certain amount of sales.
No matter where you find leads, using a system is in your best interest. Collect data to determine how effective your approach is. Make adjustments based on real-time results to improve your future outcomes.
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Read more articles by Daniel Wallen:
- 10 Things Highly Effective People Don’t Do
- 5 Questions to Ask Yourself before You Become a Freelancer
- 13 Motivational Quotes to Fire You Up in the Morning (Make #5 Your Battle Cry)