The business world is full of wonderful plans but lacks dramatically in simple execution…
Are you in a position at work where you have to digest one meeting after another? Do you have the impression that you are being fed with all kind of great ideas, great planning but nothing has been done at the end of the day? Don’t worry, you are not alone!
I’ve always been opposed to meetings at work when they weren’t necessary. Too often I simply sat down on a chair, sipping my coffee and wondering in my mind. This is all because great planning is nothing without execution. It seems that the human being loves to plan things, imagine them in his mind, but becomes darn lazy when it comes down to actually doing them.
The plan is not perfect. It requires fine tuning.
I have an urgent matter; I can’t do that right now.
Ah… I don’t think it’s the right time to start this.
We are going to start slowly but surely.
Too many lame excuses to explain that You (ME!, WE!) are too lazy to simply do what we have to do. The worst part is that while I hate when ideas get stuck in the clouds while people dream about them, I have done the very same thing with my partner for several projects.
Here’s the problem with most of the goals in our online company: we set them, we follow them but we don’t complete all the tasks to actually achieve them.
I spent a few afternoons under the sun thinking about this problem. A problem that could look like this:
Great! We have a goal. We can even go a little deeper and make it SMART.
S: Specific (okay, we got that – increase monthly income by $300 through Adsense)
M: Measureable (awesome! Money is easily tracked!)
A: Attainable ($300 would equal to an increase of 15% of my current level, a challenge but attainable).
R: Relevant (we all want to make more money )
T: Time-Bound (ok, let’s make it happen before the end of the year 2013).
So we have a Smart goal and we think we are…. Pretty smart! Once we have our SMART goal, my partner and I usually go through a brainstorming session. This is where we get all the great ideas about how to make more money online. We make a list and then, assume we will work on it at one point in time.
So we have a goal, we have a plan but we seriously lack execution. This is why sometimes we achieve our goals (because we really got into it and make it happen) and this is when we completely drop the ball. This is all because we don’t trigger any action towards achieving our goal.
I’m tired of leaving so many projects on the table and without making them happen. This is how I came up with the following idea: what if I only focus on execution and not on planning?
Yeah… this does sound simple but just try to do it!
So in order to do that, I sat down and took more time planning… ahahaha! What could be better than doing more thinking instead of doing, right? Lol! But seriously, I focused on finding specifics tasks that will boost my Adsense earnings for each site (‘cause all sites are not created equal).
Instead of simply working on writing “good content” or “doing keyword research” or “on-page SEO optimization”, I detailed tasks that will really make a difference. Instead of using common wording with barely no signification (what is good content anyways?), I’ve gone deeper in my reflection. The goal here is to break down tasks into small things to be done quickly (e.g. within a day of work) that would have immediate impact. This is what some successful internet marketers call “trial and error”. It is with many trials and through many errors that you find success.
I started to identify two things I can work on to increase my Adsense earnings: Click Through Rate (CTR) and number of page views (e.g. traffic!). You can argue that you can also work on the EPC (earnings per click) but this is pretty much out of your control and directly related to your topic. Ads on a site discussing how to grow free peas & cucumbers will always make less money than ads on a site discussing life insurance. I’ll let you figure why ;-). Now that I’ve determined on what to focus, I need to find actions that can be triggered rapidly and efficiently.
#1 Use Quick Adsense & Play with Different Ad Formats
I used a relatively good performing site and tried to improve my Adsense click-through-rate. With the same traffic, if I can only get more clicks, I’ll make more money without doing much, right? But this requires time and effort. Here’s what I’ve listed as specific tasks:
#1 Create various Ad blocks with different channel names (to track their performance).
#2 Determine various placement possibilities on my site.
#3 Start with first configuration and wait for a month.
#4 Change configurations and try it for another month.
#5 Compare data after 3 months to see if there are any differences.
From a simple “optimize Adsense” or “improve Adsense placement”, I came up with a detailed list of small actions to complete that will lead me to eventually “make more money with Adsense”.
#2 Combine Google Analylitics with Longtail Pro
The second point I need to work on is my traffic. How can I effectively improve my traffic without spending hours learning weird SEO techniques or paying for some link building? By ranking about what Google wants me to rank for! You will probably notice that if you look into your Analytics stats; Google is pushing your site higher for specific topic it has decided you are the best fit for. Sometimes, you can find pretty odd topics that you would not believe you could rank for. This is what I intend to do with my site:
#1 Look at the top 20 most visited pages in Analytics.
#2 Cross reference it with the top 20 keywords driving traffic to my site.
#3 Enter these 20 keywords in Longtail Pro.
#4 Generate tons of derived keywords within seconds from LTP.
#5 Start writing about those topics and publish new articles (including Adsense block).
Over the past few weeks, worked on something a bit different. Instead of putting a lot of effort in planning and thinking about strategies, I’ve designed detailed processes. These processes includes series of actions that are easy to understand and easy to trigger.
The good thing about processes is that once you have one ready, you can copy and paste it for several other tasks. The more you put around your task and micromanagement, the better your results and effectiveness will become. You won’t wonder what to do anymore; you’ll have a highly specific list of things to accomplish.
As a matter of fact, I just finished my first month of trial with my Adsense optimization site. I compared July to May since they have the same amount of days. The thing to consider is that traffic always go down during summer time so I have less ad views in July compared to May. Nonetheless, I improved my Adsense earnings by 4.7% with 16.0% less ad views!
I can just tell you that in August, I’m doing more tests like this and follow my new processes!Comment: 1 Read More
What’s the difference between you and an entrepreneur? The entrepreneur works with 200+ hours in a day while you are limited to 24.
That’s an interesting question isn’t it? Let’s say you want to start a side project to make more money. How much time do you have in a day to make it happen?
Chances are that you sleep at least 7 hours per day – We are down to 17,
You need to eat, wash and take care of yourself; another 4 hours gone – 13 hours to go,
Darn! On top of that, you work out and stay up in shape; another 1h30 disappeared – 11.5 hours left, the clock is ticking!
Oh wait! You also work, right? How about 9 hours per day with transportation? – 2.5 hours to build something,
You are down to 2.5 hours in your day and you haven’t spent any time with your spouse, family or friends. You didn’t even have time to watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead!
Oh well, you have 2 days free on weekends when you can squeeze in a few hours for your side project between groceries, cleaning and some free time. I’m sure you are going to build a huge empire… one weekend at a time! (sic)
That’s an even better question. If you want to start making money on your own and improve your lifestyle once and for all, you need to make changes to your schedule. Warning; this means that you need to challenge all of society and break the unwritten rules of the dream crashers. If you really want to make money aside from your day job, you’ll need to turn around, leave I the sheep and run in the other direction. Have you tried to run the opposite way in a marathon? It is that hard!
Over the past 10 years, I’ve gone from a simple admin clerk to a private banker making 6 figures systematically (since 2008). I have worked my share of hours but it’s not true that I had worked over 50 hours a week during all these years to get here. All I needed to do is to work smarter than my colleagues.
Look at what you do at work. Examine each minute of your day and ask yourself this simple question:
If I was paying someone else to do what I do in a day, would I consider him worth all the hours he’s paid for? Would I like to get more back for the money I pay him?
Chances are that the answer will be no – you are not working during all the hours you are at work. You do face time, you spend too much time talking with your colleagues, you waste an incredible amount of time in meetings and non productive tasks. I know because I do too. We all do.
However, several times a year, I stop what I do at work and try to establish a new routine. A fresh routine to help me avoid unnecessary meetings and chit-chat with colleagues. A routine that will ensure that my time at work is efficient and that I deliver more than expected. Why would I do that? Simply because the more efficient I become, the more “free time” I have to do something else ;-). If I deliver more than what is expected, why my manager would argue with me that I don’t use my time properly? This is the only way you can truly free up some time from your schedule and start working on your own project.
Today, my online business is also bringing in 6 figures in revenue and I work less than 10 hours per week on it. How do I do that? I’ve stopped trading money for hours.
The concept is super simple; imagine that you have all the money in the world. You can pay someone to cook breakfast, lunch and supper for you. Another person would clean your house, cut the grass and take the car to the garage. Basically, with all the money in the world, you can buy yourself a lot of free time.
The concept is similar to when you are building a company; you pay other people to work for you so you can have more free time to generate value. The key is to pay people less than what you make. If your employee works 1 hour and generate $50 in your pocket, the key is to pay him less than $50. The difference is going right into your pocket and you still haven’t work a minute. You need 10 hours of work to be done today? Just pay for them! Pay someone $30/hour and rack-up $200 in your pocket by the end of the day and you can still enjoy your day doing nothing.
The answer to this question is surprising; because people are trading time for money. It’s a natural concept accepted in today’s society: you need money, you have to work. Period. It’s as simple as that; you just have to trade your time for an hourly wage and everybody is happy.
The thing is that trading time for money is an acceptable concept in today’s society. In fact, if you are not willing to work longer hours at work, you are perceived negatively. If you focus like a manager or an entrepreneur on paying qualified employees to do the work and take Fridays off, you are perceived as a lazy dude. So while you are acting smart, most people will think that you are lazy and that you abuse other’s people time. Nonetheless, they will happily make the decision to trade more time to earn more money the following day.
There is another myth about trading time for money; pure passive income doesn’t exist.
If you live off your dividends – you need to spend time managing your money.
If you earn rental income – you need to spend time dealing with tenants and take care of your property.
If you own websites – you need to spend time writing content or at least managing your VAs.
If you run a business – you have employees to manage, contracts to close, etc.
However, the main difference between an employee and these four situations is the following:
When the employee leaves the office at 5pm, he stops making money. The investors, landlord, site owner or business owner makes money 24 hours / 7 days a week.
I wake up every day with more money in my pocket than last night. When I look at how much my sites had done overnight, I am amazed and I have never received a pay check for sleeping!
So the key is to make your hours of work produce exponential results. You can do that by either building a structure that will generate passive income in the future or by employing people to work for you. In both cases, you will end-up earning more money without trading your time for an hourly wage. This is what I call: stop trading your time for money.
This is probably the main reason why I’m working on the side to build my online business; to increase my overall hourly wage and make money while I’m sleeping. Eventually, I would like to buy a rental property with this money too.
What are your thoughts about trading your time for money? Are you trying to find other ways of making money? In which field?Comments: 5 Read More
I don’t know what happened, I just got busy and didn’t do it…
How many times have you heard that one? How many times have you said this to a co-worker, your boss, friends or spouse? If I was to ask you today if you have goals in your life, you will probably answer that you have a dozen. The funny things is that if I give you 12 months before asking the very same question, your answer will probably the same: I have a dozen. If I ask you to list them, chances are that you will pull out the same list that you did a year ago, 2 years ago even 5 years ago. Why? The simple answer is: “because you were too busy”. I know, I feel the same way.
Your job is demanding.
You got sick.
You had a rough year.
You have kids (how many things do we put on their backs? It’s the best excuse ever!).
You got stuck in your routine.
You were too tired.
Blah blah blah…
We have as many excuses as we have goals. The point is to get that the most interesting goals, never get achieved because you have the most interesting excuses. And it goes around. Very few people have the ability to create new goals year after year because they achieved the previous ones. Most of the time, I’m part of this group. Today, I’ll tell you how I make it happen. Mind you, I have the same excuse list as you do (the demanding job, kids, fatigue and the routine!).
The first thing to do is to drop your goals list. A dozen goals in a year are too much to take care of. Technically, it’s impossible to achieve 1 goal per month. But everybody does the same thing over and over again. In January, people want to eat healthy, go to the gym, run a marathon, travel, have a kid, get a better job, finish school, and on and on and on.
I prefer the sniper approach. Each year, I identify a few goals (3 or 4) and focus solely on them. The key to achieving a goal is focus. If you are not 100% working on your goals, how can you achieve them? I never achieve a goal by applying part time effort!
You can also aim at goals that will results in several benefits. For example, this year I wanted to lose weight. I went easy on my workouts in 2012 because I have good excuses (a new demanding job, a newborn that doesn’t sleep and fatigue). I got the perfect package to not wake up in the morning and gain 20 pounds.
This year, I told myself that I was done with excuses and that I would lose at least 20 pounds. On January 1st, I weighted 196lbs. On December 31st 2013, I want to weight 175 lbs. But focusing on losing weight is the wrong goal. This is a result; a benefit. I have to focus on the ways I can achieve my goals ‘cause getting on the scale each Monday morning won’t do much to my big belly!
Instead, I will focus on running. I’ve set a very simple and yet specific goal: I will run 500 miles in 2013. 500 miles is quite easy to do over 52 weeks. That’s only 10 miles per week + 2 weeks of buffer. So technically, if I focus on running 12 miles average per week, I can take my 4 weeks of vacation and not even run a mile while I’m off. On the other hand, if I do 4 runs of 3 miles per week, I’ll definitely lose weight as I’ll be running my 500 miles during the year. 3 miles takes less than 30 minutes to do so there are no excuses that I can’t find half an hour per day to run.
The run will easily burn my extra calories and I won’t have to go through shakes or any other draconian diet. Anyways, diets can’t work over the long haul. I would rather enjoy healthy life habits!
Even if my goal of running 500 miles is totally easy to achieve and realistic to lose 20 pounds, I won’t achieve it if I don’t keep track of my results. A good example is that I left for almost 2 weeks for Disney at the beginning of the year. It was impossible for me to run for those 2 weeks. So I almost burned my 2 week buffer before I jumped on my treadmill for the first time of the year!
But before I left for that trip, I did something very simple but that will make the whole difference: I told my best friend and wife that I will run 500 miles this year. I’ve made myself accountable for my effort and my results. The second thing I did was to create a spreadsheet on Excel to track my runs. After four weeks, I’ve ran 28 miles on an objective of 40. That totally makes sense since I was off the first two weeks! Here’s what my chart looks like:
|Week||Runs (Miles)||Total (week)||Total (YTD)||Objective|
|4.2 + 4.2 +1.6||
|4.2 + 4.2 + 4.2+ 1.6||14.2||28.2||
As you can see, I’ve made an extra effort on the 4th week after getting back from my vacation and took “an easy week” with 9 miles. When I ran last week, I felt that I could easily maintain an average of 14-15 miles per week until I get my 2 week buffer back (‘cause I will have summer vacations!).
By telling my wife and my best friend, I make sure that people will ask me how my running experience is going . By tracking my results, I make sure that I ask myself where I’m at each Monday morning ;-). Since I hate to be ashamed of myself, I tend to achieve goals that I share with others.
After 4 weeks, I went from 196lbs to 188lbs. So both my running and weight loss goals are on track for 2013. If I continue my plan, I might even end-up at 170lbs!
We are all proud of ourselves and we sometimes think that we can do everything alone. Well, I’m part of that group anyways! So I rarely request help and tend to avoid any group thing. I sometimes feel that a group will slow me down and the time required for small talk and “making friends” is dragging me away from my goals.
But I’m wrong. The most powerful tool to succeed in your goals is to request help and support from a group. You already know that I have specific blogging goals. Each quarter, my partner and I establish our goals, focus on them and report what went well and what went wrong. At the beginning of the month, I was approached to be part of a new Mastermind group for bloggers. I wasn’t too sure about the idea but I thought it wouldn’t hurt too much to try. Worst case scenario, I would tell the group that “I’m too busy with kids” to make it happen and that I have to leave the group (I told you that kids are convenient when you are looking for excuses hahaha!).
It’s been only three weeks but I can tell you that it will be a game changer for 2013. The group is bringing 2 awesome things to me so far:
#1 Outside the box ideas to help me pursue my goals
#2 A Constant kick in the butt to make something happen each week
Since we meet online weekly, I have no other choice but to set specific goals for the next 7 days and report what I have done during that week. No more excuses, no more lagging, no more to do’s on a shelf for a few days. Things need to get done or else, I will look like a loser on Monday night. Nobody wants to be the loser who didn’t do anything this week!
I was also surprised by the support I got from the group. Each week, one member is in the “hot seat” and shares a situation with the group. You explain what you are working on and ask for help to get better. I got my “hot seat” moment and I was stunned by the amount of feedback I received. Even better, now that I got this feedback, I would look kind of foolish if I don’t do anything with it, right? Another point for accountability techniques!
If there is something I want you to remember from this article it is the 3 easy steps to achieve your goals:
#1 Focus on a few goals
#2 Make yourself accountable
#3 Get in a group
If you follow these 3 rules, I believe you can achieve pretty much anything you want, what do you think?Comments: 6 Read More
I never thought I would say this but I miss driving 1 hour each morning to go to work…
For those who have been following TFB for a while, you know that I used to work in downtownMontrealand drove 1 hour each morning to get to work. I did that for two years all because I had fallen in love with a house 85km away fromMontrealand decided to make the move in order to improve the quality of my lifestyle. It was the perfect place for my family as we had enough space for everybody; 2 minutes away from an elementary school and 2 minutes away from all the major stores.
In early 2012, I was blessed and found the perfect job for me only 6 minutes away from my new home. No more waking up at4am, no more freezing in my car for 20 minutes during winter, no more traffic. It seems like it was the perfect “ending” for my career. I can work here until I retire and it would be just perfect.
Perfect? Are there such things as perfection? Sadly enough, there isn’t.
First of all, I love driving. Then, being in my car for a little over an 1 hour each morning and every evening wasn’t a pain for me; not at all. Also, my ride didn’t include much traffic. I was enteringMontrealbefore6amand leaving at4pm. The whole ride was driven on the highway where nothing stressful happens. This is why I enjoyed driving to work so much. But there is more than the simple joy of driving my car. The real reason why I miss my 1 hour drive is because I’m losing something in my routine; relaxation time.
On my way to work, I didn’t have to think about anything for one hour. It was relaxing as my brain could drift wherever it wanted to go. I was thinking about so many things and so little both at the same time. It was the perfect time to let creativity emerge from that. My best ideas usually came during these moments.
On my way back home, it was a great time to completely disconnect from work. Here again, I was relaxing, laughing at funny jokes played on the radio and… all the while getting even more ideas.
The whole point of having some time alone in a day is perfect to allow for the rearranging of your thoughts. It’s unproductive as I was taking 2 hours out of my day to do this but my thoughts had never been clearer. I never felt that I was buried by tasks or projects. I had time to manage them, think about them and solve my problems in my car. This was my own little world.
Most people wonder why I’m able to run so many projects at the same time without burning out. Being alone in my car was part of my secret recipe. It was also a great way to evacuate the day’s stress before seeing my family. If I had a bad day at work or something worried me, I had the time to vent and find potential solutions before talking to anyone who matters to me. This way, my family was never impacted by my job. When I got home, I was with them 100%. And that is really important to me.
But now it takes me 6 minutes to go to work. In terms of energy and time management, this is the perfect scenario. But I can’t solve my problems or disconnect from work in 6 scant minutes. I have to find other ways to compensate!
The first need I must fulfill is the need to vent and evacuate. This is very important to release what frustrates you and what annoys you inside your mind. If you have a problem, you need to find a way to get it out of your head. After that, finding solutions will be like helping a friend; it’s always much easier when it seems to be someone else’s problem you are solving!
Working out in the morning is a fantastic way of doing that. Each morning, I run 3 miles and do some weight lifting. Now it’s the first thing I do when I wake up so it kind of replaces my 1 hour drive. I used to go to the gym when I was working inMontrealthough. So I fulfill my need to vent, but I’ve truly lost 1 hour/day to do it. I’ve also added one activity to my schedule; I’m now playing soccer once a week. It’s fun as it enables me to run as fast as I can and push my heartbeat to another level. Since I’ve never played soccer before, it’s a great challenge for me!
I used to start working the very first minute I entered my office. After all, I had a 1 hour drive + 1 hour workout to wake me up. It’s about time to get to work! Now, I come into the office early, when nobody’s there and take the time to drink my coffee while reading the news. I do that for 20 minutes or so instead of 1 hour but the effect is the same: I let my brain wonder wherever it wants to go.
At the end of my day, I don’t have that many options left to disconnect. If I finish at5pm, I know that by5:07I’ll be kissing my wife and kids. So I’ve decided to do the most “interesting” or “relaxing” tasks at the end of the day. I try to start doing something I really like about my job around4pmso I know that I’ll be leaving with a smile and won’t need to disconnect.
I’m curious, do you take the time to disconnect from work before you head home? When do you allow yourself to relax and get lost in your thoughts?
Comments: 7 Read More
Right before I went on vacation, I had a strong feeling that I needed time off. My inspiration level for blogging was very low and I didn’t feel like waking up in the morning to go to work. This was a weird for me as I am usually pretty pumped to go to work each morning and I never have any problem writing (mind you, I’ve been writing everyday for 6 years now!). I found the answer why I my energy level was so low while I was on vacation: clutter. I basically needed to defragment my brain and some parts of my life.
For the non-geeky readers, defragmenting is the action of rearranging all the clutter into an efficient use of space in your computer. When you make too many changes (installing software, creating documents, etc), it is sometimes placed randomly in the hard drive. Defragmenting allows the computer to reorganize its memory to become faster. This is what I needed to do as I’ve “installed” new software such as “Newborn BabyIII” (the first two were so great so I installed another one) but it also came with some viruses like “Not Doing Your Nights” and “Too Tired to Workout”. “New Job” was also a heavy weight for my computer and it was slowing down my flash memory.
So instead of coming up with a “To do” list in order to become more productive, I thought of creating a “Not To Do” List. The traditional To do’s are quickly piling up and I lost track of everything. However, the Not To Do list is very motivating as it encourages you to free-up some time instead of finding a 15 minutes spot to accomplish an additional task.
Checking my email when I turn on my computer in the morning. This time is reserved for writing articles. Most of the time, I answer a few email, start on something new and one hour later, I’m still stuck with less than 200 words written.
Snoozing. I’m under a very strict schedule if I want to both write articles and workout in the morning. Thinking about another 30 minutes of sleep is not a good idea. You don’t get much real rest and you are preventing yourself from doing what you should be doing. Bad move.
Look at Adsense income. For the past three months or so, it has been very pleasant to look at my Adsense income throughout the day. Since I make over $100/day, it’s always fun to see if I’m ahead or behind during the day. The problem is that it doesn’t bring me anything; regardless of the result, I will end-up with an amount over which I have no control on a day-to-day basis. I should look at Adsense once a day to make sure my sites are running well. Not more!
Multi-Tasking. I used to be a huge fan of multi-tasking. Depending on which type of work you do, I still think that multi-tasking can be productive. For example, there are no arms required to listen to a conference call and therefore work at the same time. However, doing too much multi-tasking is destructive. I started to answer my email while I was writing articles… it was a very bad move as the mind is not completely focused.
Read Online Newspapers. I started the very bad habit of reading online newspapers. First, there are only two types of news that should be read:
- Hockey news (man… I might have some free time this winter!)
- Financial news (this is part of my job after all)
All the rest is only a way to distract my mind from what really matters during my day (making money!). Reading news doesn’t bring me much and I should completely stop it. At least, I’ll try to just read the headlines at first in order to save at least 30 minutes in my day.
Setting up a not to do list is not that easy as it requires stopping habits. However, if I can follow my not to do list, I’m sure I’ll be able to accomplish my to do list! Take 5 minutes this morning and write a quick Not To Do list, what’s on it?Comments: 5 Read More
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