As a full-time Internet Marketer, I am involved in a fairly large number of projects at any given time. I have a portfolio of Adsense sites, a blog, a membership site, a link building service and a facebook application (in development) With so many projects on the go, maintaining my productivity can sometimes be a challenge! Thankfully, over the years, I have managed to discover some very powerful tools and developed a set of best practices for using them. In this post, I’m going to share with you exactly how I run my various businesses with peak efficiency.
What Have You Built Today?
Before I get into the tools, I want to touch on a very important concept; how I organize my mind and prioritize my activities.
In my business, I’m primarily concerned with building online assets that will produce a passive cash flow for me for years to come. Because of this, the first thing that I think about when I start my day is what am I building today? This type of focus is absolutely critical because without it, it would be extremely easy for me to become consumed with “busy” but not very “productive” work like email, moderating blog comments, researching new ideas, making lists, etc…
If you are in the asset business and you aren’t consistently building new assets, you are a dead duck!
There is one other key to understanding the key to my productivity; store nothing on my own hard drive and put everything online so I can access it from anywhere.
While Google docs aren’t new to anyone, I use the spreadsheet in a way that consistently gets a ton of requests for copies from my readers. My secret is to use the spreadsheet as a visual dashboard for task management.
In my case, I have a portfolio of websites that are largely maintained by my team of Virtual Assistants. I have VAs that do link building, I have VAs that launch sites, I have VAs that handle article marketing, and VAs that manage the tasks of other VAs!
Because each VA is involved in more than one project, it can be a challenge for them (and me!) to keep everything straight; especially without a mountain of emails flowing back and forth.
In the screenshot below you can see my niche site task management dashboard (the red areas contain confidential information). This dashboard is used to manage my growing portfolio of niche websites that produce a wonderful stream of passive income.
Across the top are the URLs of each site, so essentially, each column is its own mini-project.
Then, down the left hand side are all the tasks that would be associated with each site. I then have each VA that works for me subscribe to changes in this spreadsheet so that any time they, or I, make a change, we all get a color coded notification.
By organizing my projects this way, I am able to very easily see the status of their work on a variety of sites. Plus, we also use it as a communication tool.
For example, if a new task is assigned, I mark the cell in blue and put the VA’s name on it. If I have special comments, I include them in the comments of the cell. Then, once they have started the task, they change the cell to yellow. If, at some point, they run into a challenge that they need my help with, instead of emailing me, they change the color of the cell to red and then put their question in the comments of the cell. Once the task is complete, they change the color to green.
For them, and me, having a visual map like this has proven extremely helpful. They know where to direct their attention, and at a glance, I can see how heavy their workload is.
For each task that I assign to a VA, there is generally a set of instructions for carrying out that task. These instructions are created by me and are generally a combination of text, images, video, and audio. As I want to be able to easily bring new VAs up to speed, I wanted to create a scalable system for the storage and sharing of my various instruction sets.
I accomplished this by creating a membership site (I purchased the ProfitsTheme for this) and then structuring it in a way that was very easy to navigate. Plus, as it was a membership site, it was also very easy to protect all the content from the prying eyes of others!
For example, in the screenshot below are (part of) the instructions for launching a new site. Whenever I need to update the instructions, I have only once place to go, and that makes my life a whole lot easier!
Trent Dyrsmid is a full time Internet Marketer and blogs extensively about how he earns his living online. You can read more on his Online Income Lab blog, follow him on Twitter @TrentDyrsmid or check out his Podcast.