Do you run your own online tutoring or teaching business? There are a lot of things to remember. Here is the check list that I use to keep my online business growing.
It is organized by the year, season, week and day.
Many people make plans and examine their lives around the New Year. Most teachers, however, take some time for reflection and planning in the fall. My personal retreat involves an afternoon in a coffee shop or on top of a mountain. Be sure to:
-Check-in with yourself. Are you living the life that you want to live? Are there aspects of your life that need more attention? Exercise and healthy meals are a lot more likely to happen if you make time for them.
-Think about your staff. If you are trying to do everything, all by yourself, you have to make some changes. You are the bottleneck of your own business. Here is some information about hiring your first employee. You will get exponentially more done and more effectively meet the needs of your students and your biz.
-Write down goals for the next year. I have notebooks filled with goals that I have brought to fruition! There is nothing as satisfying as looking back at what you have created. My goal for last year was to have 5 classes running. Right now, I have 4.
-Think about your physical work space. Do you need to re-organize? Have you considered a standing desk? Here are some of my favorite ideas for creating a great work space.
-Consider your time. Here are some tips for making more time. Check them out and think about what you need to change.
-Check-in with your marketing strategy. Your business will not grow if you change plans with every breeze. Once every three months, spend an hour examining what Facebook posts got the most attention, what subject lines got the most of your emails opened. Are you getting more customers from FaceBook or from email marketing? What are the trends that are catching your customers?
-Create Curriculum. Leonie Dawson, one of my favorite productivity bloggers, talks about “Riding the Wild Donkey.” Like most everything, your time is better spent in chunks than piecemeal. Take a day and crank out those materials. Bust them out until they are done.
-Correct Student Work: Have a weekly time when you correct all of your assignments and read all of the papers. I take myself to a pub (I am not kidding) on Friday afternoons and correct student work. It makes the work feel almost decadent. After I finish, my kids and friends show up and we relax.
–Take a day off: The evidence is clear: A day off is essential to a productive week and a happy life. I am a big fan of the technological Sabbath. From Saturday night until Monday morning, all gadgets are powered down.
–Don’t check your email until you have accomplished something else. Create some curriculum, grade some papers or start an advertising campaign. But get it done before you are drawn into the chaos of the day.
-Get some exercise. Study after study demonstrates that you will get more work done in everyday if you get some exercise. It need not be intense. I take a lovely walk every afternoon.
Define Your Non-negotiables
Stop wasting your time thinking about the same things. Decide what are your non-negotiables, and stick to them.
-I do not work past dinner. It is not a productive use of my time. I can get twice as much work done earlier in the morning. Figure out what time is your most productive time of the day, and work with it.
-I do not attempt serious work with my kids around.
Special Tips for Mom
Online teaching is a great business for mothers. Work can be done from home. You can stay intellectually engaged. Work can be scheduled to fit into your life. Nonetheless, it is not something that you can do while parenting. Establish what you can do and what you cannot do with the kids around. Don’t try to do sustained, thoughtful work with kids in the room. It just doesn’t work. You do not want your children growing up with an extension of the computer screen for a mom. There are some things that you can do with the kids around, like scanning for good content to read later. I use Pocket to save anything that looks interesting to read later and I answer quick emails on my cell phone.
That said, you might want to consider letting the business coast while your kids are small. There are times to pour your heart into your biz. There are other times to pour your heart into the sleeping babe. If you have a business when you have children, allow yourself to put it on the back burner for a few years. It will still be there.
What is stopping you?
Make your business exactly what your life needs, today!