Creating freedom for…?
Would you like more freedom in your life? If you could only work a few hours (2-3) per day to sustain the lifestyle you want, would you do it? Of course you would but why would you do it? Overall, how would it make you feel? Would you have more time for your passion? As creatives we have a passion to create and, a goal we share is to spend more time doing what we’re passionate about. So, what are proven hacks to creating freedom in your life? And, more importantly how can we get started on them right now?
There are four main things that directly contribute to creating freedom in our lives and they are: time, systems, delegation (outsourcing) and having the right know-how. These can be summed up to having the right knowledge, at the right place and, at the right time. I will expand a little on these crucial factors by outlining seven specific, proven hacks to creating freedom in our lives.
1. Effective Time Management
What are you currently doing with your time? Look closely at your browser history for the past week or so. You’ll notice the websites you visited the most. What if you could track everything you do on your computer automatically and receive reports for it?
You actually can with RescueTime (free app). It will run in the background and after a couple of weeks you’ll know where you’re investing most of your time. Then from there you can begin to eliminate tasks that aren’t as productive and see where you’re losing focus. You can take this a step further and create systems for your most important tasks (automation). You can delegate tasks that you’re not awesome at; leveraging other people’s time. Such as systems made by business solution companies like this page, meaning you can take less time trying to work out your businesses ups and downs on your own and have it all laid out neatly in a bespoke piece of software created for your business, meaning more time for yourself.
The point is without analytics we would never know how to make things better. So we must take advantage of all the analytics tools that are freely available and hack our way towards freedom. RescueTime is really a great analytics tool for creating time.
2. Leveraging Systems
A great exercise to test if you really know what you’re doing in your business is to write down everything you did at the end of each day for a two week period. Once you’ve seen where your efforts are and discover the workflow behind real productivity, the next step is to design a step-by-step system. This system will allow you to stay focused and not miss anything that’s crucial in your workflow. The system will be different for everyone so a good practice is to look at other systems that already work.
The great thing about systems is that they work so you can focus more on creativity and freedom. Systems are created as a reference not as a strict process that’s going to control your output. The reason for the system is for you to identify the necessary steps to actually produce the work that counts and therefore, focus on the more important things like cultivating creativity. I’ll talk about scheduling in a bit.
If you’re a small business owner then you need to know business systems. Even if you’re bootstrapping your first start-up it is imperative that you use systems from the very beginning. For example, if you love cooking hamburgers and decide to open a hamburger business, wouldn’t it be good to study how McDonalds is so hugely successful? They sure didn’t just follow their passion and keep making hamburgers everyday. There are systems involved in everything they do. It’s one of the top reasons why most businesses fail, because of the lack of systems.
A really great system I learned from Perry Marshall is traffic + conversions = sales. This is really a great system because most people think, especially when starting out online that traffic = sales but they’re wrong. You can get all the traffic in the world but if you’re not getting enough conversions your business model will fail rapidly.
The E in the tactical triangle, as it is known, stands for Economics. Which means that you have to be making profit from what you’re selling. If all your money is going into traffic and you’re barely getting any conversions chances are you’re not going to be making any money.
The 80/20 part is from Pareto’s Law: 20% of the work will bring you 80% of the results, notice it’s in the middle so it effects all parts of the triangle. One way it applies is to conversions, in the sense that most of your conversions won’t be as profitable. In other words, 20% of your conversions will bring you 80% of the money and, within that top 20% there is yet another top 20% that single out high-paying customers.
Leveraging other people’s time is a proven hack to creating freedom in your life. It’s great to be able to have other people working with you and to be delegating tasks to freelancers but the key is knowing how to choose them. Having more employees or contractors will not give you more freedom on its own; you need to have the right employees and contractors.
This is not a post on outsourcing but about creating freedom in our lives. So, outsourcing when done correctly can really give you the entrepreneurial lifestyle of working from anywhere at anytime. Choosing the right freelancers can be tricky but you want to focus on your weaknesses and lower-cost tasks. Things that you shouldn’t be focusing on as a business owner because your time is more valuable. You can also create systems that streamline the outsourcing process itself.
If you want to translate systems to how you delegate you will need to start using available technology. It is easier then ever to have files and folders shared with groups of people on the Internet today, using Google Drive or Dropbox. For example, if you need someone to take care of your Facebook Ads. You will then need to create a series of videos that teaches them how to create ads on Facebook the right way. In addition, you will include spreadsheets of how you want those ads to look, with headlines, pictures, body copy and links.
That’s just one example but the possibilities are endless, you can really create one system per week to make your business life a lot easier. With Google Drive you can create spreadsheets with instructions on how to do anything in your business and embed videos so you can direct people there instead of teaching it to them time after time.
It’s also a great idea to have a weekly mastermind with employees or partners to make sure you’re on the same page and skills are always being polished. This can easily be done over video calls. You can even record them and share them on social media or do a live recording on Facebook or Periscope.
If you want to learn more about outsourcing see this course: The O.P.T. (Other People’s Time) Formula.
4. Use Robots…Kind Of
There are so many automation platforms available today, some free, others paid. These are the robots of our time (at least until the real ones arrive). Here’s a great example from a well-known Internet Marketer, Frank Kern. He’s come up with this complex system: Behavioral Dynamic Marketing. Where his sales funnel is completely customized to each lead that goes through it. The sales funnel changes dynamically, according to the action that the lead takes, if they open an email, if they click on a link, if they don’t, if they register for a webinar, if they don’t, if they purchase a product and of course, if they don’t.
The reason he’s able to do this is because of software like Infusion Soft. Everything is automated and created beforehand. This is the future of Internet marketing. It’s not robot-like, as we may like to think, where everyone gets the same emails, the same pitch and so on. This is a universe catered completely to your lead.
5. Stay Focused!
Use the data you gather from RescueTime (mentioned above) to create a schedule. See where you need to focus your efforts. Schedule everything. Schedule breaks, family time, eating and just about everything. Darren Rowse from ProBlogger created a schedule from 8AM-8:30PM where he outlined absolutely everything. He even scheduled the type of food he was going to eat and the clothes he was going to wear.
The reason he did this was to minimize the amount of decisions made on a daily basis. There are studies that show that those who make less decisions throughout the day actually get more done. Hence, avoiding decision fatigue as author Timothy Ferriss calls it. Tim goes on to say that you can’t make decision after decision each day without paying a biological price, so minimize your decisions and you’ll even live longer. Tim Ferriss is a strong advocate of working less and doing more, I highly recommend his book for more productivity hacks: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated).
The easiest way we can create more time, which we don’t need anything else but ourselves to do, is learning how to say no. Create blocks of time where you only focus on business-related aspects and ignore everything/everyone else. Ignore social media, phone calls and emails. Create systems so you won’t miss anything important.
(I.e.) If I receive an urgent email, I have a system in place that will automatically send en email responding to let people know they should then reach me on my cell phone.
Be selfish. May sound like a bad thing to do but it’s really not. Spend time alone. I’m not saying to practice loneliness, I’m saying to practice solitude, you might like it.
Focusing your efforts on the tasks that matter will yield results but in order to stay productive you also need to create time for focused rest. A fine balance is required; can be approached using 80/20 rule, where you work 80% and rest 20% throughout the day and, of course always get a good night’s sleep every night.
6. Gaining The Right Know-How
I learned this from William Clement Stone, he refers to it as “the particular techniques and skills that consistently get results for you.” This doesn’t mean that you just learn how to do something, it means you gain the right know how, which allows you to do whatever it may be, most efficiently and get the best results.
If you haven’t realized by now most of these freedom hacks are related to the 80/20 principle. If you look a little closer you begin to realize that there is an 80/20 principle within each one of the hacks as well. For example, most of the times it takes 20% of the right know-how to do something in the best way possible and fastest way possible.
“It takes less time to succeed when you do the right thing, rather then the wrong” (W. Clement Stone). If you can get 20% of the right knowledge, you’ll skip leaps and bounds in time and effort. Doing this also relates to creating a system, a formula that is repeatable. The system comes from your experience and modeling those who already have that experience. Once you have the right know-how you can create a system from it.
7. Starting an online business
Lastly for those that don’t already enjoy the freedom of working from home or having an online business, this part is for you. The best hack of all the proven hacks to creating freedom in our lives, is having a business that practically runs itself. It’s really the entrepreneurial dream. In order to run an online business, you have to be clued up in how to protect it through the use of firewalls. There a number of firewalls available, luckily Indeni explains cisco vs palo alto firewall in a very clear and concise fashion.
There are several online business models but the one with the lowest fulfillment cost is information products. The reason being that they are digital/virtual products. The opportunity here is huge and that’s why a lot of people attempt to start a business online. The majority of them fail simply because of lack of persistence.
It goes something like this, they start a website or blog and begin affiliate marketing. When they see they’re not getting too much results then they give up. Even if you’re an affiliate for a company like Amazon the payouts are usually low. So the potential to make a full-time income from only affiliate marketing is almost none. The key is to have a few income streams.
Another online business model is licensing. You can license another person’s product as your own and therefore get bigger commissions. Higher priced products equals even bigger commissions. The thing is most of the time people don’t want to license their product to you so; you will have to approach them to reach an agreement.
In a future post I will expand on this topic and will focus on how to make money blogging. Stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, if you would like to learn about a company that’s really taking licensing to new heights and has in fact grown to a $150 million in less then 5 years then check out MOBE: My Online Business Education.
Now that you know the proven hacks to creating freedom…
What does freedom mean to you?
Are you willing to learn from those who are willing to teach?
How does freedom translate to success, for you?
Any thoughts or comments are welcomed below…
“My goal is to find the best way you can achieve your dreams of spending more time doing what you love.”
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