The Importance of Working Smarter, Not Harder
I’m not a huge fan of GaryVee. I know the entrepreneurial world is in love with him for his no bullshit approach and his unparalleled work ethic—and honestly, I love that part as well. But I always got the impression that his hustle was so intense that there wasn’t much room for a life well-lived, and that bothered me. Now that I’ve had a few years to stew on it, I see one thing with complete clarity: GaryVee knows how to work smart.
Work smarter, not harder is a pretty common mantra among entrepreneurs and many people have taken it to heart in the way they conduct business to maintain a semblance of a personal life. But how exactly do you do that?
Here are a few strong tips for how you can work smarter instead of working harder.
Busy isn’t the same as effective
The first thing you have to realize is that busy and effective are not the same thing. You can fill your schedule up with all the meetings, events, courses, and webinars in the world, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good use of your time.
The same thing goes for content production, social media posting, and other online activities. You could certainly fill up the better part of your day with these things, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting you anywhere.
So how do you start getting effective? You determine what your revenue generating activities are.
Determine what your revenue generating activities are
This is a tough one for most small business owners and founders because they’ve got a ton of noise buzzing around in their ears about all the things they “should” be doing to grow their brands. Social media. Blogging. Google Adwords. Conferences. You name it, there’s about a million strategies that work—and that’s exactly the problem.
Just because a strategy works for someone else doesn’t mean it can work for you. Even if your businesses seem similar—similar audiences, similar industries, etc.—your business is unique and so are your goals.
If you’re already seeing sales come in from Instagram, great! If you’ve got a strategy for how you’ll convert your Instagram followers, great! But if you’re just posting content on there and hearing crickets, you need to either revisit your conversion strategy or put your efforts somewhere else entirely.
Yes, maybe you can make money off of Instagram someday, but if you’re not actively working toward that at this very moment, you’ve got to accept that you can’t do all the things.
Accept that you can’t do all the things
Here’s what it all comes down to friends: you and your team can’t do all the things. It’s simply not realistic. You have to admit to yourself that your budget is limited and your resources are limited, so not everything is going to get done. (Which is why you should only be investing in revenue-generating activities!)
Once you acknowledge this, you can put your energy into things that truly count.
If you do have some money that you can invest into hiring an assistant or a specialist to handle things that need to get done (the things you can’t handle yourself) then you should do it. Knowing when to outsource is a key component of working smarter.
Invest in your growth
Investing in your own growth is key. That could mean buying a course to learn or hiring someone to take things off your plate. Either way, you’re putting money out there in an effort to make your business run more smoothly.
Too many small business owners and even CEOs are afraid to spend money because they don’t know if they’ll see an ROI. This is going to kill your business! So many aspects about starting up a company are about testing the waters, so if you’re risk averse, this may not be the space for you.
Working smarter is about efficiency
What it all comes down to is efficiency. You only have so much time and so many resources to grow your company. Are you spending them acquiring vanity metrics or are you using those resources wisely? It may be frustrating to grow more slowly than you had planned, but each small win is building the foundation of your success. You’ll be working smarter, not feeling overwhelmed, and seeing results, when you spend time on revenue-generating activities, outsource smart, and be willing to invest in the growth of your brand.
Meet the Author: Shauna Armitage
Shauna is a Marketing Director or Fractional CMO helping early-stage startups scale with effective strategies, creative solutions, and unparalleled integrity by making the most of small budgets for maximum impact.
As a vocal advocate for women in business, Shauna is on a mission to redefine what it looks like to be a working woman and to support other women doing the same. She spends her free time traveling with her husband and four kids while drinking Coca-Colas. Connect with her on Instagram at @shauna.armitage.