If you’re self-employed or your pay depends on your productivity, it’s important to consider how you’re currently planning your day and what you should do differently.
Having freedom in your schedule is a beautiful thing, but it can also be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have superior flexibility. On the other, you have a lot of planning to do — and that can be simply overwhelming. Many financial advisers like myself have to juggle marketing, administrative work, portfolio management, client meetings and more.
I reached out to a few to get their tips on how they plan their day to make the money – and I included a few of my own. Financial adviser or not, you’re sure to benefit from their advice.
1. Choose Your Top Three Most Important Tasks
Grant Bledsoe, CFA, CFP(R), a Portland financial planner and blogger at AbovetheCanopy.us, says, “I try to list out my top three most important to-dos the night before. That way, when I get to the office in the morning, I can refer to my list and get right to work. If I don’t, I’ll waste time on emails, ESPN and surfing the web.”
He adds, “I also try to limit the list to no more than three tasks. I’m far less likely to finish longer to-do lists, and the sense of accomplishment I get when it’s done helps keep me motivated.”
There seem to be two main takeaways from Bledsoe’s advice: Focus on a few of the most important tasks and do so early in the day.
2. Categorize Your Tasks to Achieve Balance
Peter Huminski, AWMA, a wealth adviser in North Carolina and blogger at ThoriumWealth.com/blog, says, “I try to block out at least 90 minutes everyday to work on prospecting for new clients. Sometimes it’s in the morning, and other times it’s in the afternoon, but I try to move a relationship closer to becoming a client during that block of time.”
Here, Huminski points out that prospecting is an important part of earning more money. It’s true that one can get caught up in the administrative tasks so much that they forget to think about the future of their business.
He adds, “I also break my daily tasks list into business development or administrative. For every administrative task I do, I will do one off the business development list. This gives me balance between the two most important parts of my business or any business.”
Labelling your tasks and making sure to work on each category equally, assuming they are both important, will help you focus on the present and the future of your business.
While you’re at it, make sure to look for some ways to save money. This is an important part of the future of your business. If you can cut some expenses, you’ll save a lot over the long-term and have more money to put to better use.
3. Don’t Forget Creativity & Good Customer Service
Joe Carbone, Jr., CFP(R), a wealth adviser and blogger at WealthManagementfortheRealWorld.com, says, “I use my morning as my creative time. I use this time to work on new marketing ideas, different investment strategies, reach out to prospects, etc.”
If your creativity peaks in the morning, you may want to use that time for your most creative activities. While you may or may not define these activities as your most important, creativity is a critical ingredient in making more money.
Carbone goes on to say “I also make sure my current clients are being treated with the utmost care and customer service throughout the day. They are the lifeline of my practice. What good is attracting new prospects and clients if my retention is 70%? Not to mention I would be failing them on my promise to take care of their financial world.”
Improving your customer service is a great way to increase your chances of making more money. People want to be taken care of, and if you don’t take care of them, they’ll probably look for service elsewhere.
4. Focus on Things That Allow You to Make Money Quickly
Yes, there is such a thing as a quick buck. It’s not always the best route to take, especially over the long-term, but it will help you get out of a bind. Look at some ways to make money fast and do try them in your spare time or try one early in the day. Whether you’re looking to raise some money to put toward advertising or buying new equipment you need to run a better business, there’s always an idea or two that will work.
5. Delegate Tasks
There are probably a few key tasks you do to make your money, and you’re good at them. There might also be several other tasks you do that have to get done but don’t really result in more money. Consider the second type of tasks. Are any of these the kind you can delegate to others? Perhaps you need some content edited. Instead of doing that yourself, find an editor to help you out. Maybe you need some web design. Again, delegate that to someone who can get the job done.
It can be a little scary to delegate tasks to others, especially if you’re new to it. You don’t have to dive in head first. Instead, pick one or two tasks that don’t require a lot of responsibility, and offload those to other people.
If you’re not used to planning your day before you begin, it may take some time to get the hang of it. Going from putting out fires to organized, efficient money-making isn’t something you learn overnight. Consider taking the tips from this article and try them out. (You can monitor your financial goals, like building a good credit score, each month on Credit.com.)
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