7 Time Management Techniques for Affiliate Marketers

Filed in Affiliate Marketing, Productivity by on June 18, 2016

According to Stuart’s scientific research into who the ideal NicheHacks reader actually is, most of you guys hold down full-time jobs.

Which is wonderful (predictable income is nice, after all), except for the fact that your job takes up 40 hours of your week plus any commuting time.

Leaving you with little time left over for your family, your social life, and building up your niche site for passive income.

Which is freaking hard.

When I worked full-time, I thought for the first few months that I could keep my writing business going on the side, but I was wrong. So, so wrong.

It once took me three months just to write one researched client article. Something I can now turn around in a week.

So you've got a challenge in front of you, for sure. But it's not an impossible one.

Loads of people have built up sustainable niche businesses on the side of their full-time job.

The trick is knowing how to use your time properly and to not waste it doing things that won't ultimately contribute to growing your bottom line.

Because let's face it, you may see yourself with less than a full working day’s worth of hours to commit to your site per week.

The good news is, being time-starved will only get you down if you let it.

Because if you face that reality head-on and plan carefully to get the most out of the time you do have, you can accomplish way more towards your passive income goals than you ever expected.

 

 

What You'll Learn

  • How to identify what needs to be outsourced ASAP
  • What systems to set up first so you save time immediately
  • Why "wasting" time planning is actually a time-saver
  • How far out to plan your goals so you never get lost or confused
  • How to stop the information overload and not feel guilty about it

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)

 

1. Track Your Time, Implement the 80/20 Rule & Achieve More Success

Each niche is different, and so is the business model of each niche site.

Because of that, how you need to allocate your time to maximize your revenue is different, too.

But I can tell you that tracking your time with one of the internet’s many free time tracking apps will show you where you’re spending the majority of your time

And which of those activities are the ones that are actually tied to generating money.

And normally, once you identify those revenue-generating activities, you’ll discover you only spend 20% of your time on those activities.

And 80% of your time on “filler” activities that feel like work but don’t actually contribute to your bottom line.

Many times (in my case, even), those non-revenue generating activities can take up 90% of your time or more, if you aren’t careful.

Known as the Pareto principle, or the law of the vital few, it was named after an Italian economist who noticed in 1896 that 80% of Italy's land was owned by just 20% of the population.

He also observed that in his own garden, only 20% of the pea pods grew 80% of the peas.

So when you know what those activities are that take up SO MUCH of your time, you can put them in a list and search for an inexpensive virtual assistant who can take care of those things for you.

For example, I noticed that I was spending way too much time (hours and hours, actually) on research for client projects.

And even though that activity was technically profitable, it didn’t help me grow my site or my business in any way, and it was something I could easily outsource, allowing me to work on even more projects.

So even if I spend $10 per hour for 5 hours of research… at only $50, I still make a decent profit on my work and opening the floor for more to come in.

Another entrepreneur realized that going to networking events wasn't getting her any clients, but speaking engagements (which were much fewer and far between) got her loads of work.

Instead of continuing to bust her butt to do a good job with networking events, she cut them out and foucsed on speaking engagements instead—cutting her working hours by 60%.

Tweet this time management technique.

 

2. Set Up Systems That Work While You Do Whatever You Want

Doing business online is the default for almost every single business that exists… whether it’s considered an “online business” or not.

Social media management and posting, email lists, staying on top of trending topics, and even keyword research are things that can all be done with free or paid software.

For example, posting randomly to Twitter and other social media channels usually isn’t something that directly generates revenue for any business.

But it does create a nice brand resonance and build loyalty among your existing fan base.

But something like Buffer only costs $10 per month plus time it takes to set up.

And once the setup’s done, it keeps posting to social media for you, without any active involvement from your part.

 

 

Buffer

Buffer lets you schedule your social media posts in advance so you don't have to log in multiple times every single day just to keep your social media presence strong.

 

This is a great way to spend a few hours on one task, and to make sure you keep “doing” it in the future without actually spending any time on it.

Tweet this time management technique.

 

3. Plan First & Accomplish More

When James outlined how to build a niche site in just 10 hours per week, he suggested that you always use the first hour to plan.

It might sound silly and a little extravagant (especially when you’ve already got so little time to work on your niche site as it is), but it will absolutely set you up for success.

Because when you spend time planning first, you naturally focus on things that will steer your niche site towards growth, and not things that bury your productivity… like responding to emails.

In fact, James suggests, limit your admin work (like email) to just one hour per week… or approximately 1/10 of the time you spend working on your niche site.

If you need to hire an assistant or set up software to make sure that’s what happens, then do it.

Planning is so valuable, in fact, that according to research done by Bplans, businesses who take the time to plan are twice as likely to succeed in achieving their goals.

And in the same vein of this sentiment… I’d suggest making your to-do list the day before and sticking to it.

This is the biggest productivity hack I have for myself… to the point that I use a small weekly planner, so the stuff I can add to my daily to-do list is limited.

Making sure I knock out my most important business-based and client work every single day.

Tweet this time management technique.

 

4. Make a 90-Day Plan for Reachable, Achievable Growth (Don't Get Sucked Into 'Hacks')

One of the biggest problems we have when trying to grow a niche site is reading about how others used a “hack” to grow their niche site.

And decide we need to drop whatever strategy we’re working on to implement the exact same steps they’ve done.

But the thing about “hacks” that no one ever really talks about (and I hope Stuart won’t smite me for writing this on his site, which is called NicheHacks) is that they don’t really exist.

When you hear of massive, explosive growth from a strategy like guest posting, for example, it’s either a total unicorn of a situation

Or the author is really underplaying the careful strategy he used in approaching the “hack” that got him all the growth.

And either way, none of it happened by pure, dumb luck.

We all want instant gratification, but we’ll never get it by seeking it.

Instead, it’s best to plan what you want to accomplish with your site in the next three months.

Break it down to a weekly basis of tasks, and commit to knocking out those tasks steadily.

So even when there are times where you feel like you’re grinding through without any results, you’ll be able to look back on the progress you made the next week to easily see that it wasn’t all for nothing.

It was all for a goal that you’re working towards and will accomplish.

So besides keeping you from wasting your time by chasing trendy ideas, this strategy ensures you use what little time you have towards accomplishing your big-picture goals.

And, because it’s only 3 months, ensures you don’t get too overwhelmed by working with a year-long timeline.

I do this for my own business and it’s totally revolutionized how far come on a month-by-month basis towards my major goals.

I even surprised myself by tripling my revenue from March 2016 to April 2016 and launching a YouTube channel—things that would have never happen if I hadn't planned them in advance. (So, yeah, it works.)

Tweet this time management technique.

 

5. Limit the Time You Spend Communicating

Sending emails, doing Twitter shoutouts, and commenting on blog posts and forum threads can feel like work.

But unless you’re actively closing a sale or implementing growth of some sort, it isn’t.

If you work with a support team, let them know in advance that you’ll only be checking your email once or twice a day.

So you don’t get sucked into chatting with them for 45 minutes. You’ll both know that communication needs to be brief, so you’ll get to the point even faster.

And even if you don’t have a support team and you're building your site totally on your own, only allow yourself to do these types of activities once per day, and limit your time window surrounding them.

This forces you to get to the most important messages more quickly.

And discard the clutter that stops you from focusing on the most important things... like the things that will drive more affiliate sales.

Tweet this time management technique.

 

6. Set & Keep Working Hours to Guarantee Higher Productivity

“When you tell your brain that you can work at any time and from anywhere,” said Jawad in one of his posts, “it loses focus and doesn’t know when to actually get in the working mode.”

If you’ve got a window of available time where you can work on your site every day or every other day, give yourself a hard stop time and STOP working when that time rolls around.

Stop working even if there’s still a few things on your to-do list.

It can be tempting to just keep working until you’re finished.

But if you stick to a hard stop, it trains your brain when it needs to be in a highly-productive working mode.

"Without structure," said Joel Runyon on Lifehack, "it’s easy to let non-essential things get in the way of actual work.

Because you haven’t designed exactly how you want to spend your time, it’s easy to let other people come in and steal 15 minutes here, and 30 minutes there."

But with a set routine, he says, "you don’t get the luxury of indulging people in things that distract you from your goals because you know exactly what you must do in order to get the end result that you desire."

Tweet this time management technique.

 

7. Stop the Information Overload to Get More Finished

I know, I know. I run an online business too.

I wish I could sit and listen to every single webinar produced by every single successful online business person, but I simply can’t.

I’d learn a lot, but I’d never get anything done.

So I have to pick and choose… which means that every few months, I go through and unsubscribe from different lists to keep the information overload to a minimum.

So if there are blogs you read only because you know ‘everyone else’ is reading them and you ‘should’ too because they’re ‘popular’ and ‘full of good advice’, it might be time to actually stop following those blogs.

Don’t feel bad about it—it’ll actually be better for your business in the long run.

There’s plenty of good, free advice to go around, so “missing out” on one blog really doesn’t mean you’re missing out at all.

Plus if anything's that good, it'll go viral and you'll see it anyway.

Tweet this time management technique.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)

 

Make the Most of Your Time

I may have said earlier in the article that I don't believe in "hacks," but I do believe in working smarter towards your goals... which in many ways, is a "hack" in and of itself.

And one of the best ways I've found to work smarter is to learn from people who've already been there and done it.

And with running a niche site, traffic is crucial. (Because especially if you're an affiliate, no traffic = no sales.)

So, to help you make the most of your time and not have to "pay your dues" by learning from lots of your own mistakes, Stuart's put together a guide on 101 smart traffic strategies you can employ to get the traffic you need to sustain your site

And much quicker than if you were trying to figure it out on your own.

 

CLICK HERE TO GET ACCESS TO 150+ NICHE REPORTS

Chelsea Baldwin
Chelsea has a background in journalism and IT, and besides writing for NicheHacks, she's the founder of Copy Power, a business and a website that helps business owners figure out how to get remembered online via copywriting.

She excels in the topic of SEO but can write on a wide range of topics of which you can discover by clicking on her name.

Comments (12)

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  1. I love this mindset ,too ! I'm also building and maintaining a website about self-confidence too. no sales just a few subscribers, but the most important thing I got lots of great things to learn and discover.

  2. Aaliyah says:

    Nice Piece of Content!!

    Planning is essential to start a business otherwise you just meander all day long. To get a true success on your affiliate business, track how much time you are actually spending on each work and create a daily goal sheet for your work status.

  3. Great says:

    These tips are incredible, thanks Chelsea, I love Nichehacks.

  4. Sachin Rathi says:

    Hello,
    I am following this website for past few months but I am unable to comment on any of your old posts. Please tell me how can i comment.

  5. Ku says:

    I liked the 80/20 rule very much and understood it very well. Now I am also planning to make 90 days Achievable goal. Thanks

  6. Jim says:

    Excellent information and advice. Hit right home for me.

  7. Chelsea Baldwin says:

    I also want to add the Pomodoro Technique to this list.

    I've just started using it a couple weeks ago and OH MY GOD I'M GETTING SO MUCH DONE! (Seriously, everyone should try it.)

    • NicheHacks says:

      I tried it briefly in the past and my problem was that I'd forget the timer was running or I'd stop when I felt I really didn't need to becayse the timer said so.

      How exactly are you using it?

      • Chelsea Baldwin says:

        Really? How do you forget the timer is going?

        The part of stopping every 25 minutes to make yourself take a break is I think what enables me to keep going at a really productive rate for long periods of time. Like, by giving my brain a break before it needs it helps ensure that I don't get burnt out as the day goes on. Plus, I'm hyper-focused in that 25 minutes and just don't do the time-wasting things like Facebook like I used to because I know I have a break coming soon when I can do those things.

        I'm also not as strict about the rules, so if I need to do two or three sessions before a longer break because of whatever's going on in my schedule, I just do that instead of sticking to sets of four.

        • NicheHacks says:

          I think The app I used ran the timer in the background but didn't notify me when it was time to break. So I'd forget all about it. Or I'd not remember to restart it again after a break.

          I didn't try that hard with it. I just felt like I was better working until I couldn't work but what you say makes sense as working until burnout is unpleasant too and leads to more problems.

          I need to get back into a more productive routine so I may give it a shot again.

          • Chelsea Baldwin says:

            Oh, that sounds like a sucky app for that purpose. I just use my phone's timer, so it beeps really loudly and I can't forget, hahaha.