Whether you run your own business or hustle on the side of your 9-to-5, I’d venture to guess you have a mile long to-do list.
As the founder of a communications agency, a blogger and writer with a side gig and as a yoga teacher, I can definitely relate.
When you wear many hats, you have to prioritize.
In the midst of your seemingly endless list of tasks to check off, there are always those few items left over — to-dos that no doubt will help your business grow and thrive, but to-dos that are also easily pushed to the back burner.
“I’m so busy! I’ll get to that later,” you say. “I don’t have time.”
And truthfully, no one could blame you.
It’s tough to put administrative to-dos ahead of client work, but without them, your business will get stuck in a rut and you’ll risk never reaching your full potential. Plus, many of these back burner items could actually help your business earn more money.
Bye-Bye Back Burner To-Do List
Stop pushing these important tasks to the back burner. Here are five easy tasks to stop procrastinating.
1. Gather testimonials from past and current clients or customers
When was the last time you asked a client or customer for a recommendation or review of your work?
Testimonials can be an invaluable marketing tool when a prospective client or customer lands on your website or work. It’s not enough for you to simply tell potential clients or customers how great you or your product or service are. A recommendation from a customer or client boosts your reputation with a third-party endorsement, lending you additional credibility in your industry.
Pro tip: Getting a recommendation doesn’t have to be difficult or awkward. Make the request for a recommendation on LinkedIn. That way, when your client leaves the recommendation, it’s public on your social-media profile, and you can easily copy and paste the recommendation over to your website. Now that glowing testimonial lives in two easy-to-discover places.
Frequency: Twice a year, or any time you complete work with a client
2. Update your website or online portfolio
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of forgetting to update your website on a regular basis. I’m definitely guilty.
Despite blogging weekly, I know I personally tend to neglect updating my website’s portfolio, “about me” section and services page, which are some of the first places a potential client or new reader will go when visiting your website for the first time.
Take the time to:
- Add new clips or projects to your portfolio.
- Refresh the language on your “about” page.
- Update or add new services to your “work with me” page.
- Remember those handy new testimonials you asked for? Add them to your website.
- Ensure your social-media buttons are on your homepage.
3. Review your website’s analytics
If knowledge is power, then your website’s analytics are a treasure trove.
I have a monthly spreadsheet where I track basic website statistics pulled from Google Analytics, including the number of users per month, sessions per month and time on the site. This helps me see if my website is performing well and growing monthly or if traffic is down and I need to readjust my efforts.
If you’re doing any external promotion for your website, whether it’s paid ads on Facebook or a weekly e-newsletter you publish yourself, you should be checking out the “Acquisition” section of Google Analytics. This will show you how people are finding your site. Are the majority of visitors coming from organic search or are they actually clicking on the links in your emails?
Be sure to also check out the “Behavior” section of Google Analytics, where you can see what type of content is performing best on your site. Knowing which posts resonate most with your audience can help you plan future content.
4. Refresh social-media images and bios
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube… social media can often be an endless time suck for most of us. However, it’s also one of the very best branding tools, so it’s important to stay up-to-date.
If you haven’t reviewed your social-media profiles in some time, do so now.
First, take a look at your profile photo. Does it accurately represent your business? Will it be recognizable to existing and new customers? Do you have a new photo or logo you can upload? If so, aim to use the same image across all social-media sites for consistency.
Next, take a look at your social-media bio. Bio length varies depending on the site (i.e. Twitter bios are just 160 characters, whereas LinkedIn allows multiple paragraphs), so create different versions of your bio. Try to craft a bio that provides a glimpse at the services you offer as well as a personal touch.
5. Send a survey to your audience
It’s happened to all of us at one point. You craft a great new blog post or share something really exciting to you on social media and get… zero response.
Disappointing, right? It’s important to remember that what you find interesting may not always resonate well with your audience.
The best way to know what your audience wants more of is to ask.
Send out a brief (no more than 10 easy-to-answer questions) survey (SurveyMonkey and Google Forms offer easy-to-use templates) through your email marketing platform or on your website to gain valuable insights into the types of content your readers want.
Then, make sure to deliver on their wants and needs and develop your content strategy later.
You have more time than you think
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and, whether you believe it, you actually have more time than you think.
The truth is, many of these back burner to-dos are simple; most take less than 15 minutes, though, of course, some may take longer.
Here are two ways to make time for these back burner items in your regularly scheduled programming.
- Consider the gaps in your day that you could use to check off these items. Say you have a conference call from 9-10 a.m. and the meeting ends 15 minutes early. You’ve just gained 15 minutes in your day. Maybe you don’t have enough time to get started on your next big project or assignment, but you could use those precious minutes to check off one of the quicker items on your to-do list.
- Schedule these to-dos into your calendar like a meeting. You would never miss your weekly check-in call with your biggest client, right? Of course not! So you shouldn’t skip out on your important admin time either. Book time for yourself on a frequency that makes the most sense to you and add it to your calendar so you can’t skip it.
It’s easy to shrug off these tasks because they don’t seem super important. But they are. You need to get them done to be a successful blogger or business owner.
Trust me — your business, and your bank account, will thank you.
Jessica Lawlor is the president and CEO of Jessica Lawlor & Company (JL&Co), a specialty communications agency. Admittedly, she has a long back-burner to-do list she’s working through.