When I finally got to the point where my business could sustain my family, celebration was in order! But there wasn’t much time – I was doing a crazy amount of work just to keep things running smoothly, and I was doing it on my own. To be honest, it wasn’t sustainable for me. And what’s the point of having a sustainable business at the cost of an unsustainable level of work?
These days, a lot has changed: I’m spending less time on my online course business than ever before. Not only that – my business is bringing in more income, too!
Sure, I still spend some extra time on things as needed, especially when I’m making an important change or am implementing new growth strategies. But overall, my schedule is mostly free to pursue the things I want to do.
What’s changed? I’ve turned my business into a machine that can run mostly without me. As long as I do four key things every day, everything else will fall into place without my direct input.
So the million dollar question is, what are those four key things? In this post, I’m going to take you through each of these crucial steps that keep my business running smoothly (and keep bringing in passive income).
Key #1: Look at KPIs in my Daily Report
By 8:15 each and every morning, my assistant prepares a daily report for the previous day. This report summarizes all the important stats that matter most for my business.
KPIs (key performance indicators) that I care most about include:
- Previous day sales
- Revenue from new versus past sales, since some of my students are on payment plans
- Amazon affiliate income from affiliate links
- Organic and paid traffic to my website
- Page visitors to my opt-in page
- Conversion rates: the ratio of clicks to opt-ins
- Google SEO clicks
- # of new subscribers
These pieces of information are what help me make sure that my (nearly) automated machine, aka my online course business, is running smoothly. And not to brag, but things look pretty good most days! If I notice that anything looks a little off, I can always dig into more analytic tools behind the scenes and figure out what needs an adjustment.
Key #2: Look at Freshbooks
Once I’ve checked out my daily report, I move on to Freshbooks. Keeping the accounting side of my business up-to-date is so important! All payments for my online course business are processed through Stripe.
Then Zapier automatically creates payment records in Freshbooks. All of my business expenses are also imported into Freshbooks from my credit card.
Each time I log in, I take a look at new payments and check to see that my expenses are categorized correctly. For example, sometimes my receipts from Rev.com (a transcription service I use for my videos) are mistakenly categorized as Entertainment. Catching any little errors right away really cuts down on the amount of time I have to spend reconciling my records later.
Key #3: Send Bonjoro Videos
If you haven’t heard of Bonjoro yet, you’re missing out! It’s a simple, user-friendly app that allows me to send short video messages to each and every one of my new students. Every time a person enrolls in my piano course, I make a personalized video message welcoming them, usually within 24 hours.
This would be a very time-consuming process if I was making individual videos manually. But Bonjoro makes it so easy to pull up my task list and send out quick videos within moments.
When I first started learning to scale my business, I wouldn’t necessarily have thought that this 3rd key would be something I’d want to do every day. But I’ve seen firsthand the impact that personalizing things as much as possible can have on new students. The more engaged and supported they feel at the beginning of the course, the fewer issues down the road!
Key #4: Check my Email Inbox
I used to spend over half my workday answering emails and support requests. It’s an important task, but I didn’t like how much it was monopolizing my time. So I now outsource much of my email management to my assistant. She goes through all my new emails twice a day and helps identify the messages that need my personal attention. Then she takes care of the rest.
These days, I can log into my inbox and simply look for emails that Emily has marked for my attention. This allows me to dramatically reduce the amount of time I spend in my inbox overall, while making sure I don’t miss anything important.
Communication with my students matters to me, so I will always have some involvement on the email side of things. Those few minutes each day are worth it!
A 1-Hour Workweek?
So there you have it! If you’re a fan of The 4-Hour Workweek, how does an approximately 1-hour workweek sound? It is possible once you reach a certain level of stability within your business.
These four relatively simple steps help me keep my online course on the rails and earning income that supports my family. If I want to take the day or week off (or even a month sometimes!), I just need to make sure I spend about 10 minutes daily on these crucial tasks.
If you want to learn how to run a profitable and efficient online business, don’t click off my site just yet! I’ve got plenty of cool podcast interviews with other course creators for you to check out, some free training, and info on how I can help mentor your online business. So I hope you stick around!