As a business owner, you likely have a lot of things competing for your attention. In the beginning stages, it seems as if everything is important. The problem is taking on everything wastes both time and money. That’s why business owners need to learn how to differentiate important projects from everything else.
How Taking on Everything Messes You Up
I often speak to several business owners who are in the beginning stages of building their companies. It’s in these stages that they feel like they don’t know what projects to take on. At this point, they haven’t yet figured out which projects will actually move their businesses forward. Additionally, they are getting approached by other people with project offers all the time.
One thing we usually learn the hard way is that not everything leads to money. In fact, lots of things are just a total waste of time. The way these business owners see it, they think any opportunity could lead to a big project. Unfortunately, that’s rarely ever the case. Most times, they just spread themselves out too thin and have little to show for it.
I know because I used to find myself in this position. Now that I have more experience, I am able to differentiate important projects from everything else. Here’s how.
Choose what actually makes you money.
The first step in determining important projects is to choose what actually makes you money. For example, while working on this article, I am tempted to work on creating social media images. After a few tries, I’m realizing my camera isn’t connecting to the Starbucks WiFi. So I’m choosing to let it go for now and focus on writing this article.
Does social media lead to money in my bank account? It does, but it’s indirectly. That’s why it can wait. Meanwhile, I can directly trace this article to a payment in my bank account.
You can also do this when you’re deciding between multiple projects. In the past week, I’ve had two brands reach out to me for influencer work, but one paid a lot more money. You can guess which one I went into negotiations with.
Choose the path of least resistance.
The other way I like to determine important projects is by choosing the path of least resistance. For example, is this project I’m being presented with going to be more trouble than it’s worth? If yes, then I decline.
You can also do this to choose between offerings to create. For example, I chose to create a group coaching program because it would pay me more money with less effort in the long run.
This is very different from what I was doing a few years ago which was creating multiple things at once just because I got an idea. Now I have a section in my project management system where I park ideas so I can revisit them later.
The ability to identify important projects from the non-important ones is a skill all entrepreneurs must learn. Otherwise they waste time, energy and money. By using these two benchmarks, you’ll know whether or not something is important.
Amanda is a best-selling author of "Make Money Your Honey", a book that helps freelancers and business owners understand their relationship with money and how to make it more productive. She's driven by helping others live the most productive and fruitful way possible.