Work better by doing less

Aside from my weird name, followed by how I earn money from blogging (short answer: I chatted about it with Darren Rowse in this recent webinar), the question I’m most often asked is:

“How on earth do you do it all?”

Now, I’m not going to go there, really, because we all know that no one does it all. So you’ve gotta assume that I don’t, either. And it’s true. I don’t garden, I don’t raise chickens, I barely watch TV, and I’ve got several sewing projects that have been waiting for completion for about four years.

But yep, I do write, and I get paid for it, and I run a blog network that earns revenue. And I also write books, raise three kids, and do my best to get dinner on the table most nights. So it’s a legitimate question, because it is a lot.

My answer contains several parts, so I’ll just tackle part of it today. And that part is one of my favorite tricks of the trade: outsource, outsource, outsource.

I do a lot, but I don’t do all that’s required of me because I delegate quite a few of those jobs to other people. I tap the skills and time of other people who can do things better than me, so that I have more energy to do those things I’m best at.

Here are some examples:

1. I have a virtual assistant.

Katie is my lifeline and keeps me sane. She’s a fellow mom, blog reader of mine, and personal friend, and she’s smart as a whip. I intrinsically trust her. Her main duties include wading through my insane email inbox, moderating comments, wading through guest post submissions, and editing regular contributors’ posts.

She does a few other smaller things here and there—things that eat away at my sanity when I add them to everything else I need to do. She’s gifted in administration and is an excellent writer, and she understands the blog world. Katie’s a gem.

2. I have an ad manager.

Mandi is a fellow blogger and friend, and her company sells ad space on behalf of mine. She gets a portion of our ad revenue, but what I gain in return more than pays for her hard work. She handles negotiations with other advertisers, schedules and publishes the ads, and markets the blogs to potential advertisers. Totally worth my sanity.

3. I have an accountant.

I also get to sleep with him, because he’s my husband. Seriously, though, Kyle handles all the money stuff, which is good, because that gives me a serious headache. He’s also my Chief Troubleshooter, handling lots of the snafus and hiccups that come our way. Working side-by-side with my husband on the blog has probably been the key reason why I’m still at it—highly recommended. (This is a whole other post coming soon.)

4. I have a babysitter.

There’s no way I’d get much done while also being on kid duty, so several times a week, I have a teenage girl come play with the kids. I have to work fast and furious when she’s with us, and I never get everything checked off the to-do list, but her time with the kids is when I get the bulk of my writing done.

It’s taken me awhile to get here, yes, because all these people need to be paid, and that doesn’t happen overnight. While I was building my blog, I wore 17 hats and juggled a ton. I enjoyed it, in some ways, which is why I was willing to do it for free. But today, I’m able to reap some rewards of that hard, unpaid labor, and I’m incredibly, humbly grateful for it.

What does this mean for you? If you’re just starting out as a blogger, it probably means you have to do more than you wish you did. I understand. I’ve been there. But if there’s anything you can outsource, even temporarily, I say do it. Trade services, if you don’t have the funds. Swap babysitting with a friend.

If you run some other business, think about existing services that could help you devote more time doing things you love—a web designer, for example, or a VA. It might feel counterintuitive to pay money in order to work, but if you ultimately earn more during those hours you’re doing something you love, well, then the math adds up.

And if you’re frustrated because you’re just not there yet—you can’t afford to hire all the help you need—then my encouragement is to be patient. I know, I know… it’s hard, especially if you’re a natural entrepreneur. But don’t look at the bigger fish in the pond and quit because you’re still a minnow. Those fish were minnows at first, too, and it took lots of swimming to get those gills and fins. You’ll get there. You will.

If you’re interested in finding a VA—or if you’d like to become one—then head here to this Facebook thread and either contact someone or add your name to the list. I pass this thread on to any fellow blogger that asks me if I know of a good VA.

There are several other key components to doing what I do (which is never “all”), and I’ll discuss these soon. In the meantime, if you have more questions about writing, blogging, working from home, running a business, or juggling an entrepreneurial mindset with mommy brain, then I’m all ears. I’m here to help.