It’s “Time to Money” Tuesday

SUMMARY: I’m increasingly thinking about how to adjusting my daily busywork such that it becomes revenue generating work. I review what I have been getting done, and realize that most of my tasks are not focused in this way.[ghd]:http://davidseah.com/blog/comments/making-a-groundhog-day-resolutions-tracking-form/ As I wrote yesterday, I am feeling the need to maintain more continuity here on the blog. Why? My days are so unstructured that it’s easy to lose my sense of progress. That’s not to say, however, that I’m not getting anything done. Since writing yesterday’s post, I made a WordPress theme for new acquaintance and entrepreneur Greg Boutin, imported all my account information in the Mint bookkeeping and financial web app, paid for and picked up boxes of Emergent Task Planner pads for fulfillment, received print-on-demand output from Idaho for the Agenceum $500 photo websites and dropped ’em off at the studio, helped plan a summit I’ll be having with Stephen Smith in Concord, helped design a poster for Sid’s photography business, backed up all my critical databases, worked a bit on some iPhone application visualization for Al, signed up on location-aware social media site Whrrl, and wrote a few thousand words on this week’s Wave theme. All of this moves me toward that place on the horizon where Things Should Be Better. However, as I review my list I’m painfully aware that I should measure each activity against the One Metric that will keep me from becoming another white bleached pile of bones heaped by the side of this long desert road. That metric is, as my buddy Gary calls it, time to money.

So let me see how what I’ve gotten done in terms of actual revenue:

  • The WordPress Theme generates no revenue, since I did it as a barter against future advice from new acquaintance Greg Boutin. I had enjoyed our chat on Skype, figured Greg for a good guy to know, and went for it. The “two for one” or twofer is that I needed to review my CSS anyway in anticipation of a future site reorg, and the threefer is the experience working with the current WordPress theme architecture, which gives me the ability to offer such theme development as a new Agenceum low-cost business website offering.

  • Importing information into Mint generates no money, but is a necessary step. With Mint, I can finally visualize my financial picture so I can tell if I’m making money. Right now it is doing a fine job of showing me how poor that picture is, and that I need to reduce the amount of long-term mobility-stifling debt that’s sitting on the books.

  • My Emergent Task Planner Boxes were already shipped to Amazon’s warehouse, except for the two I picked up. All this generates potential revenue, so hooray for me. I have about 70 units I’ve kept for International Fulfillment from home. The twofer is that by figuring out a new fulfillment process locally, I can finally address the underserved European customers. The threefer is that having a new fulfillment process locally opens up new product selling opportunities.

  • The 35 double-sided sell sheets for the Agenceum $500 Photo Websites cost me $20, and give me the ability to leave a credible descriptive piece with my entrepreneurial friends. You can see what they look like here. So, there’s some possibility that these will generate $250 of revenue for a website based on an existing template. The twofer is that this is the first time I’ve tested DigitalLizardPrint in Idaho as a print service provider, and the quality/price/turnaround for this first piece is quite acceptable. I’m more likely to use them for other small print jobs and mark up the price to make some profit. The threefer is that there are several other products that they offer (posters, for example) that are the basis of new information products at a lower cost, which makes bootstrapping this business much more doable given my limited funds.

  • The summit does not bring any revenue. However, it pulls together some local people that I’ve wanted to meet in the context of figuring out how to make money from doing what we love. Perspective is what I hope to gain. The twofer is the experience of pulling something like this together with someone else, which could lead to greater confidence in offering workshops or something that does generate revenue. I’ve heard that running trade and workshop events can be very profitable; it doesn’t hurt to get some experience learning how to run one good meeting.

  • Helping with a poster design for Sid adds nothing to the bottom line, but it helps out my friend and now he can promote a little more effectively. As I hovered over his Macintosh calling out key shortcuts and other forms of Photoshop trickery, it occurred to me that one revenue possibility was to teach a simple Photoshop Workshop. That’s the twofer. The threefer is realizing that I could use Camtasia Studio (which I tried out a few days ago, and was very impressed by) to deliver some how-to magic as well, though this may not generate revenue in itself.

  • Backing up Critical Databases generates no revenue, but is a necessary chore.

  • Working on an iPhone app is effort made now in the hopes of gaining future revenue. The time to money here is probably around 8-12 weeks. The twofer is that I’m working with someone that I actually seem to be getting along with. I’ll actually need to spend some money here; I need to get a used iPod Touch for testing and familiarization with the iPhone way.

  • Joining Whrrl, after looking briefly at GoWalla and Fourspace, generates no money and sucks time from me. However, it does give me some experience with this breed of social media application, which I suppose is part of my job as the local technology/web guy for my group.

  • A few thousands words of Waving generates no revenue, but it keeps me sane enough so I can keep on task. The twofer is that I’m getting a lot of ideas and support, which may lead to revenue-generating insights. The threefer is that Colleen ROCKS, and it’s really inspiring to see how someone else does it. It’s hard not to feel a little small by comparison, but it’s the kind of smallness that wants to burst into greatness. The trick is not to overwork or get too caught up in one’s own personal demons at this stage. The fourfer is that a lot of what I’ve been writing in the Wave results in new blog posts, potential book material, or improvements in my own efficiency.

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p>So, while each task has been rich in potential, only a few of them have a direct time-to-money path. I think for the remainder of this week, I’d like to get at least ONE immediate product in the pipe that can be sold right now. I have to add, though, that this focus on “money” leaves a slightly sour tinge in my mouth, but it’s a necessary