What are your hopes for your online business? Do you want to reach more people, make more money or have more time with your family?
All of these things can be yours. Get on it. Here are some resolutions for the New Year.
1) Do what you love (and you will earn more money!): Yes, you hear this over and over again. “Do what you love and you will love what you do.” For me, doing what I love is actually making me more money than doing what I thought would make money. I teach homeschoolers on WizIQ, which is an online platform for teachers and learners. I had been marketing to a general audience. Turns out, there are a lot of people who teach boring, general classes. Then, I remembered what really moves me. I get fired up about issues of social justice, equality and other progressive ideas. It seems that there are other people out there who want their kids to have exposure to these topics. We are all finding each other! I only need 24 students at any time to earn a comfortable living. I have found that by teaching what I truly love, I am connecting with more students. What do you truly love to teach? There are people out there who will be really excited to learn it.
2) Automate Automate Automate: What do you spend too much time on? Picking out your clothes? Wear the same thing every day; Mark Zuckerberg does. Steve Jobs did. I do. Why not? It is one less decision to make every day. In Little House on the Prairie, they have a cleaning day, a baking day, and a rest day. In my house, we do certain tasks on certain days. That way, I won’t destroy my kitchen on a random Wednesday by deciding that I need to learn how to make egg rolls from scratch. I also have certain days to correct papers, plan curriculum and market. Having these tasks “Automated” into my week helps me to work more efficiently.
3) Organize your teaching materials: The WizIQ content library makes it easy to store and organize all of my teaching materials. My PowerPoint presentations, videos and notes are all ready to go for my most popular courses. Click click: I am ready to teach.
4) Relentlessly and ruthlessly eliminate distractions: Do you spend too much time on Facebook or e-mail? Lock it out of your computer for certain hours every day. I use the app “Freedom.” I have a lock on my office door. It creates the separation that I need to get my work done.
5) Get enough sleep: Adults need 6-7 hours of sleep, but more than 30% of us get significantly less than that. You do not really get more done if you spend that time working instead of sleeping. Furthermore, you do not realize that you are becoming less and less effective. The more sleep deprived you become, the less capable you are of managing your tasks, but you continue thinking that you are just fine. You are not. Go to sleep.
6) Take a course to become a better online teacher: There are many free courses that will help you to create engaging, exciting classes for whatever subject you teach. WizIQ offers numerous training sessions and seminars, which are listed here. For a self-paced, recorded series of classes, check out Teachers Teaching Online. Dr. Nellie Deutsch offers many courses, most of which are free. You can learn about them, here. A little bit or training makes it so much easier to make your courses interactive and engaging.
7) Talk to a business adviser: There are a lot of free resources for small business owners. SCORE is an organization that is run by successful executives that provides mentorship and support to startups. They offer online courses and seminars. The US Small Business Administration offers advice and mentors to businesses, courtesy of tax dollars.
8) Hire an employee: For several years, I have been a sole practitioner. I had my little business, and I was making money, but I was doing it alone and not making very much. Conversations with a business adviser helped me to see that the easiest and fastest way for me to grow my business was to contract out some of the labor. After a very short online search, I found someone great! She is really excited to help me grow the business, has a huge network and lots of relevant experience.
9) Work Less: Studies show that working all day results in less efficient work. According to recent research at the University of Florida, the most effective way to get things done is to work in uninterrupted 90 minute chunks and take a break between chunks. I find that I am most productive on the Pomodoro schedule. The most effective performers rarely work more than 4.5 hours each day. Whatever technique you use, though, schedule your time, work, and then finish.
10) Take time off: What are you working for, if you do not take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Just like everything, satisfying down time only happens if you plan for it and make it happen. So, schedule an hour this week in which you can think about a vacation, and then schedule at least one, if not two, this year. I usually take off the entire month of January and August. I have found that when I take time off, I return to my work refreshed and invigorated. When I am not working, I spend less and need less to be happy. I also take off every Sunday. All sorts of research has found that time off actually makes you a more productive worker.