Focusing on What Pays

August 6, 2012

When you run your own business in this digital world, it’s easy to spend all day, every day on tasks like social media and blogging and networking.

Those tasks help us earn a living indirectly, and they add up to long-term success. That’s why helping others, building a community and creating buzz online do deserve our time and effort.

Make money online

That money ain’t gonna grow on its own.

But sometimes an entire day will go by, and I’ll realize that although I’ve been busy with those tasks, I haven’t spent time on what really keeps my business afloat. I haven’t spent enough time on the bottom line.

That’s when I ask myself: What can I do right now that will MAKE MONEY?

As Chris Guillebeau suggests in The $100 Startup, sometimes you have to hone in on WHAT PAYS and block out everything else. Because there aren’t enough hours in the day — and not enough energy in your tank — to do everything.

Trying to do everything isn’t the best move anyhow. The smartest entrepreneurs and side-giggers and freelancers know they can’t possibly do everything, so they choose priorities. And when one of your goals is to make money, your priorities have to revolve around WHAT PAYS.

It might feel a bit sell-out-ish at first to focus on money. But the truth is, we all need money to live. You might strive to make a living doing something you enjoy, but you still have to make a living. If you want to continue to run a business that allows you to do work you enjoy, you need to turn a profit.

So whether you’re building a business on the side of your full-time job or turning your passion into your main income, think about whether your priorities are in order.

How can you spend more time on what matters for your business?

What can you do right now that will make money?

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    7 Replies to “Focusing on What Pays”

    • Shamelle says:

      Good point Alexis. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in busyness but if we really look at what we have been busy with, the ROI often doesn’t add up.

      These days I have made it a point to focus more on the critical few than the
      “important many”. I write 5 things that I want to achieve and when writing them I ask myself what value will this bring.

    • Just found your blog through your guest post on Expert Enough — love it!

      I was thrilled to read “Focusing on What Pays,” because I just wrote a blog post about the very same thing. When you’re running a small biz and doing the online thing as part of it, it feels like there are a million things to do every day. Focusing on what pays is surely the best streamlining technique I know of to get down to business already and get the work done!

      I often take out my looooong to-do list and ferret out which things will actually pay me now, or close to now, and make sure I get those things done first in a day, then I have the space and freedom to work on all the other stuff afterwards, like blog posts, social networking, and so on.

      Glad to have found your blog!

    • Ashwin says:


      I totally understand what you are trying to say here. I admit I force myself to focus on what works too. Yet, somewhere deep inside I feel that you should let the thought of making money slide by and focus on providing “value” instead.

      For instance, at the risk of bringing up a stupid analogy, I’ve been adding royalty-free stock photos, meta information (for SEO), outbound links, and inbound links to every post I wrote for every client over years and never charged clients extra for it.

      Recently, I had to develop a team of writers for a client ( a large project) and when I go through their proposals I see that most people charge for the post + anything extra ( but necessary) stuff you do to every blog post.

      I believe that these little things we do to blog posts don’t take much time and it’s very much a part of blogging. So why charge extra? Needless to say, I never hired those writers ( who were admittedly good) and instead choose someone else who added these services as a part of posting.

      You know what I mean? When you put value and service ahead of money, I believe that money just flows through.

      • Alexis Grant says:

        Yes — for sure! I love the idea of providing value, because the money often follows. But sometimes thinking about what pays helps me stay on track. It’s all about balance!

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