Do you ever wonder how I keep up with all of my projects?
If you follow along with me and what I am up to (and I can barely even do that) then you might know that I have more than a few projects going on. How do I do it? How do I keep up with all of my projects? I have a few secrets. No kids, no sleep, and an extremely understanding wife who knows that I am working towards an extreme future that includes never having to worry about money!
Recently I was overwhelmed with all of my projects – I do that to myself and then some older projects popped up out of the blue. A CPA whom I had done some work for and whom I had promised I would follow through with some training gave me a rather tall order. That was last weekend’s project. This weekend I am finally getting caught up. I have been wanting for weeks to get my AnalystsOnline.com internship program set up and it is finally done. The key to what I am setting up is to use video and forms to completely automate the process. So now we’re there.
- I post an ad on the University’s alumni program website for interns
- They watch a video
- Fill out a form
- An auto-responder goes out with another link to a video explaining what they need to do
- They set up an account
- They start submitting blog posts for review
Do you see how the process is streamlined? I just saved myself thousands in overhead because no intervention is required until someone signed up. Then I send them a list of approved sites to work from and then they are off and running. They go to work producing content for me. They get credits and learn a ton about marketing and the internet as well as the stock market in the process. I get my content, my eyeballs, and my ad revenue.
This is how I am building a human powered search engine! I give them the platform for creating the content. The whole idea is to find ways to bring people together. You can bet I will have a forum where all of the interns can talk to one another and share stories about their school experiences and most importantly, their dreams. As a by product of the internship I hope to show them how they can build their dreams in today’s world by using technology to catalog and manage their dreams. Maybe “catalog” seems contrary to the idea of a dream – it sounds like it makes it impersonal, but how can I expect to see it come true if I don’t get organized around the idea? How can I bring my dreams to reality if I don’t find some way to write them all down, organize and prioritize them?
Another secret to managing my projects is this..
I have to be ridiculously organized. Projects these days are all about information so if you want to manage your projects well it comes down to managing your information well. I manage my projects and information using many programs to help me. I am also always playing with new things. It also helps that I have a passion in itself built around finding programs that help me organize information. Programs that help me organize, prioritize, and manage all of my projects.
If you are not sure where to start, just start. Open a word doc or a Google document and start putting your ideas down as randomly as they come. Then you can go back and sort them out into logical groups or categories. I recently read a book about writing copy for the internet called Writing Riches by Ray Edwards. In his book Ray explains that he writes at least 100 bullet points before he starts writing his sales copy. Do that! Just write your bullet points – the things that highlight your idea, and the things that describe the benefits of your idea. Write bullets that describe the ultimate outcome. What does the beneficiary’s life look like as a result of your idea? Answer that question in as many ways as possible with bullet points. I have been doing this now. Trust me the ideas and the copy start coming together really nicely all by themselves when you do this.
Ask! Talk to people about what has worked for them – how do other organized people manage their projects?
I talk to people regularly and ask them what they are doing that works. They respond and offer me information which I can use to help myself. I am presently evaluating a new program which I believe will completely change how I browse my whole computer and the internet. You can create “thoughts” and then attach anything to them – documents and web pages. You can also write up detailed notes and create “child” thoughts and link things up in any way you see fit so you can really organize things based on the way you think. I will probably have the blog post about it up by next week. So ask people how they keep up with their projects and ideas. Ask ME!
Meet with people who own businesses. I like to have a lunch or coffee now and then with other business owners. We talk. We ask each other questions and I always learn a ton. In fact I have one friend with whom I am about to collaborate on a web based tech show that is based very specifically on the idea that we realized a lot of people would benefit if they could just listen to the stuff we talk about because we are both people who are constantly on the fringe of what is new in terms of products that make it easy for businesses to get off the ground and keep running for little or no cost.
Here are some of my projects that I am working on and how I came to choose them, and what lessons you can learn from what I am doing.
Once of the reasons I chose Accounting as a profession was that I knew it would give me exposure to learn about a lot of businesses. Then as I come across things I like I can get into them – especially since the accounting gives me the greatest insight into how each business runs. Here are some examples of how I am applying this:
Real Estate (A lesson in “Use What You Have”)
I love real estate and make no mistake I will own a bunch of it and have my own property management company in the future. In the meantime I am teaching it to people on one of my newest sites at www.RealEstateAccountingWithQuickBooks.com. Teaching accounting for real estate keeps me close to the real estate business. It keeps me involved and you can bet that this experience is giving me exposure to real estate professionals and at some point I will likely collaborate with one or more of them to start my first real estate venture. Either that or I will make so much money teaching it privately that I will simply do it on my own. At that point I may invite them to help me. The point is if I want into a certain field or industry then I have to find away to get close to it using what I have right now. In this case I have my knowledge of accounting for real estate so I am using it.
Online Publishing (aka blogging) (A lesson in “how to make money”)
Well it’s no secret that I love to do this. But how does one earn a living at it? Let me count the ways. A big one is advertising. You build a following and setup Adsense. The more targeted traffic you have coming to your site the more ad revenue you will generate. How do you get “Targeted” traffic? You offer really valuable content so people have a really good reason to want to keep coming back and tell other people about your site.
This project doesn’t require much in terms of keeping up. I am organized, I know where my blogs are, I have defined the distinction in terms of what type of content goes where and I commit to writing and recording videos each week. I have “recording” times set aside on my calendar.
The Stock Market (A lesson in “if you want to learn more about something – just dive in..”)
This one really combines the last one with itself. I started www.AnalystsOnline.com this year with a few main purposes in mind:
- To re-acquaint myself with and teach myself about the stock market.
- To help others find one place with a ton of really good information coming from multiple sources in order to aid them in understanding what the stock market is all about and what is going on there.
- To create an amazing opportunity for people who have knowledge of and love to write about the stock market.
Starting this has already lead me to attend a seminar on “Smart Investing” and that in turn gave me some great content for some videos and a template on fundamental analysis for small business that is now selling in my knowledge center.
Start a movement / Create a tribe (A lesson in “how to get noticed”)
I am using my knowledge of the most advanced features of wordpress (like wordpress multi-user) in order to make this work. I am also using my knowledge of Camtasia in order to create engaging videos to bring the community together. In the end that’s what it was about. I was watching a video of Seth Godin a few days ago and he was talking about a variation on this theme. He calls it building a tribe. You start a movement based on something people are passionate about and people will join your tribe because they believe strongly in it. Like it or not, the religions of the world are a good example of this. Watch the video and while you’re at it – book mark TED.com. If you want to know where I go to learn, this is the newest place and I can tell you rigtht now that when I am up at 3am on the internet, I am not watching internet porn, I am most likely watching videos on TED talks. I hope to be one of their speakers some day.
There is one thing that no one can ever manage any project without!
You absolutely must use a calendar. We manage way too much and we have less and less time. There is no way in hell you will accomplish the amount of things that I do unless you get in the habit of using a calendar. Everyone I do business with clearly uses one and most know how to create an event and send an invite that I can accept such that it will appear on my calendar. I have a ton of to do lists for various purposes but there are only one of 2 ways those things actually get done:
- I take the item off my to do list and add it to my calendar as an appointment at a very specific time so I know that is what I am doing, that is when, and that is the only way it will get done.
- I set aside a time generally to tackle the items on a particular to do list. This means I set an appointment at an exact moment, and this is when those things will get done.
And always cross off things from your list as you get them done. Don’t just delete them. This gives you a visual which gives you a sense of accomplishment.
I hope this helps you get some ideas. If it did, please post your comments below. If it didn’t please post your questions below.