Know What Works
There’s a rule in business called the “80/20 rule”. You may be familiar with it. The rule is that eighty percent of your income will be generated by twenty percent of your actions. What does that really mean? Well, for many of us, it means that our workdays are chock-full of tasks that don’t bring true value to our businesses.
So, what’s a business owner to do?
Find the twenty percent of tasks that are the most important. When you know what these tasks are, you’ll be able to make smarter business decisions.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you want to determine if a business activity is truly valuable.
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Can someone else do this task for me?
You should have an area (or areas) of expertise in your business. If you’re the only one in your business who can perform a task, that activity is a most valuable task.
If you’re a bestselling author, then your most valuable task would be writing. If you’re a graphic designer, then your most valuable task would be creating stunning visuals for your clients.
Think about it. Do you absolutely dislike social media? Then you’re not likely to share and interact there as you should in order to grow your business.
This is probably something that someone else should be helping you with.
If you’re working on a project and there are elements that someone else can do, don’t be afraid to outsource. By outsourcing, you’ll be able to concentrate on bringing your very best work to the project.
See my suggestions at the end of this post for getting help without spending a ton.
Do I make money from this Task?
We often overlook this one, but your most valuable tasks pull in income for your business. A lot of us spend WAY too much time on activities that aren’t profitable.
Spending three hours stressing over the colors on a simple social media graphic or endlessly comparing your website to others’ are activities that are not making you money!
Don’t be taken in my Shiny Object Syndrome. Focus on the tasks that will help you grow and feel good about what you’re building.
If a task doesn’t earn you money, then you should ask if this is something that truly needs to be completed by you. When you outsource simple or time-sucking tasks like managing your email, you can then focus on big-picture tasks that help pay your bills.
Does this task fill me with energy?
Your most valuable tasks are the ones that get you fired up in the morning. Sometimes, I get up extra early because I’m so excited to start a project! Does this happen to you?
If you love a task so much that you could do it all day, every day, chances are high that it’s a valuable task.
Most business owners dread the small, humdrum tasks because they already know these tasks don’t make much of a difference to them.
Take some time to evaluate tasks that you don’t enjoy – do they really need to be done? Do they really need to be done by you? Do they really need to be done every day?
It could very well be that you’re holding onto outdated advice or that your business has changed so much that you no longer need to do this task.
At the beginning of each new year, you should evaluate your work and look for truly valuable tasks. Don’t be afraid to let go or outsource your eighty percent tasks so you can concentrate on your income-earning, energy-inducing, twenty percent ones!
Alternatives to paying big bucks for outsourceable tasks
If you’re a new business or not ready to pay for help, you can barter services with other VAs or creatives. For example, if your “thing” is graphic design, you can exchange your services for someone else’s writing services.
And finding places to barter isn’t difficult; you can easily find others to trade with within your Facebook groups.
Search for virtual assistant or business groups, and join a few. You can bravely post a barter request yourself or the group may have a weekly thread where you’re able to make your offer.
Give it a try!
Here are a few dynamic Facebook groups to get you started:
Also, some tasks can be done by agents from places like Fiverr or Upwork.
I have a client who uses a Fiverr agent do all her video editing and it’s very cost-effective.
Just be sure to check credentials and prior projects so you’ll get quality work.