I’m Alive

I wish I could post on this blog every day. I have no lack of lists of things I would like to post about, and I have none of that “difficulty coming up with ideas on what to write about” that some bloggers run into. I might have that problem with some other blogs, but […]

Proof of Life

If you’re wondering where I’ve been –

I’ve had a really hard time keeping up with everything.  Truth be told, I wish I could post on this blog every day.  I have no lack of lists of things I would like to post about, and I have none of that “difficulty coming up with ideas on what to write about” that some bloggers run into.  I might have that problem with some other blogs, but not this one.

The real problem has been simply making the time to keep up with everything.  So at one point, several weeks back, I decided to take a step back, take a deep breath, and look.  And, lo and behold, what did I find?  I was swamped.  Oh really?  Okay, I admit that was already obvious.

But to put it more precisely, I was doing to much grunt work.  I was performing too many routine tasks which could have been done by others, even if I didn’t realize it until I forced myself.

There are only 24 hours a day, and only one me, and only one you.

Even if you and I were to spend 23 hours per day at our computer, lets face the truth – as Internet Marketers, once we have a few projects going, 23 hours a day will never be enough.  There will always be incomplete projects, neglected websites, photos to upload, friend requests, unanswered blog comments, unwritten blog posts, un-submitted articles, and at least a hundred other unhandled details, projects, and tasks.

That is, as long as we continue trying to do it all ourselves.

I am often reminded of a woman who has too many children.  I can never give any one of them the attention they deserve – Let alone all of them.  Not by myself, that is!

So, where have I been all this time?  Right here at my computer, actually.  What have I been doing?  For one thing, my freelance work.  For another, my photography course (I have to turn in my last lessons this month and then it will be done! 😀 )

But, possibly even more important (if anything could be more important than photography), I have been working on building up my team of assistants and other “back-up resources” – which means, people and agencies who can be called upon in the hour of need.

Slowly but surely, I am researching, assigning, delegating, apprenticing, instructing and correcting new assistants.  I do not have a huge team of full-time personnel.  I have a few part time assistants, one full time assistant, and a few others I know I can call on if and when the need arises.

And needless to say I have become more familiar with freelancing websites such as RentACoder, Odesk, and Scriptlance.  I have not tried every one of these websites yet but I try to become familiar with one before I move on to testing new territory.

Currently, Odesk is a definite favorite.  It is particularly good for finding freelancers for ongoing projects or projects of uncertain duration.  Work can be billed on an hourly basis, and you generally set a maximum number of hours that can be done per week, so as to maintain a budget.

There is an astounding number of trained and experienced freelancers to be found on Odesk, and the costs are surprisingly low.  If you are on a tight budget and you are willing to experiment a bit, you can probably find a skilled assistant at a low price by looking for people who have little experience and feedback on Odesk.  They will often do work at very low prices while they build up their portfolio and ratings.  You can find assistants to help you with just about anything – writing, graphics, web design, virtual assistant tasks, typing, Photoshop, link building …

Another thing I like about Odesk is that it makes it pretty easy to get an idea of a person’s skill, before you try their services.  Service providers are given the ability to provide portfolios, and information on their skills.  They can also do tests in different technologies if they wish (PHP, HTML, JavaScript, WordPress, etc.), after which their test score is displayed on their profile.  Feedback and ratings from past buyers is also available, unless the person is too new to Odesk.  Their hourly rate is also displayed.

The only thing that really frustrates me about Odesk is that the website can be difficult to navigate, and that takes some getting used to.

Okay – I actually didn’t start this post with the intention of promoting Odesk but there it is.  My main purpose was to add at least an update on where I am and what I’ve been doing, because I haven’t posted in a while.  I can’t say for sure when will be the next time I post again – I might start posting 3 times a day starting tomorrow, or it could be three months before you see me again 🙂  But I do have a couple of short video posts which I am hoping to put up within the next week or so.

In the meanwhile, that’s what I’m working on.  Outsourcing, grooving my assistants in, delegating additional tasks almost every day, catching up on old incomplete projects, rearranging my schedule within reality, and generally streamlining my business model.

As a result, I am hoping that I will eventually either have more time to work on those projects which I can not outsource (like, exercising 😀 And posting on this blog!), or at the very least, get more done on my other projects.

Or even better, both.

And, who knows, maybe I will even be able to switch to a more moderate work schedule (like 10 hours a day instead of 19?) so as to be able to do more “offline stuff.”  Such as … “offline socializing?”  Or minimally, taking more pictures!

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of RentACoder, Odesk, and Scriptlance.

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30 Responses to “I’m Alive”

  1. Mark Sierra
    December 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    I know what you mean, Anna. It seems like whenever I sit down in front of my computer with good intentions, I always end up doing something else.

    I hope you are having a good holiday season! 🙂

  2. Anna
    December 16, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi Mark, it’s great to hear from you! I was half wondering if I would have any readers left after such an absence. I see from your last post that you and I are in similar boats. Glad to know I’m not alone! But really, we all need to buckle down and get to work on our niches sometimes.

    Thanks for the comment and I hope you have a great holiday season as well!

  3. Dave Doolin
    December 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    Good to see you back.

    I took a look at your Alexa stats a while back, then again just now. You still have some traffic coming in.

    Alexa is just for comparison, I don’t regard it as canonical, just qualitatively useful.

    It will be really interesting to see how your traffic builds.

    You probably didn’t lose too many RSS subscribers.
    .-= Dave Doolin´s last blog ..Static Versus Dynamic Websites – Operational, Informational, Interactional =-.

  4. Anna
    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    Ha … yeah, I checked Analytics and my stats took a slow dive since I stopped posting. I actually have done little to nothing to build traffic to this blog, I put more time on my niche blogs (and my clients’ sites). But, I’m really hoping to change this as I start building up my outsourcing lines. Catching up on old incomplete projects now, and gradually delegating more and more of what I do myself, to free myself up. I’d like to post on this blog more regularly, pay more attention to other people’s blogs (I’m sure you can think of a few examples), and even do (what!) regular article submissions for this one! One day …

  5. Jenny
    December 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm #

    Anna,

    I am glad your back and hoping to hear from you more. I appreciate your info on Odesk as I may be needing these services in the near future. As I move along in my marketing career, I already see how many tasks pop up, emails I am late responding to, etc.

    Once again I am glad you are back, your posts always help me so much!

    Jenny
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..How to Survive Your First Year of Blogging =-.

  6. Free
    December 21, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    Anna, welcome back. yes..we have just 24 hours a day. cant also do all i want during a day. as for Odesk, ive been using it for 10 months..and yes..its quite nice service. much better than scammy GAF

  7. dave
    December 22, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    I got up today with good intentions but always seem to head off in a different direction this usually involves hours lost in blog land.

  8. Cash
    December 22, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    As online marketers we never really have time to do everything! The real secret is to maximise productivity and have systems in place – outsourcing can come into this.

  9. Cary Bergeron
    December 22, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    You have to outsource the grunt work of you will never get ahead. Even than you won’t get ahead but you will have more time to work on the important things.

    I find elance.com to be a nice site for finding contract workers.
    .-= Cary Bergeron´s last blog ..Google Adsense Website For Sale – $4000k+ Monthly Profit =-.

  10. Anna
    December 22, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    Hi Jenny! I’m always happy to see comments from you here, even when it takes me ages to respond 🙂 Thanks for sticking around. I can definitely empathize with you on the increasing inflow of emails and tasks. I’ve been amazed at how much I have been able to turn over to my assistant, bit by bit over time, and it makes a big difference in the long run. Some emails (like personal emails or emails from clients etc.) really can’t be outsourced, but it becomes much easier to handle those when you aren’t drowning in the rest. I will definitely try to start posting here more frequently again, and I’m glad if I can provide some useful info for you 🙂

  11. Anna
    December 22, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    @Free – Ha, I haven’t actually tried GAF yet. What’s scammy about it? I’m with you on Odesk, I’ve never turned back since I first started using it.

  12. Anna
    December 22, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    @dave – yep, sounds familiar.

  13. Anna
    December 22, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    @Cary and Cash – I agree with you on that one 100%. In this field, outsourcing really is key. Otherwise, you might just as well not bother.

    Cary – Thanks for the recommendation on Elance. I will have to look into it more in the future. I haven’t tried that one yet 🙂 Mostly I’ve used Rentacoder, Odesk, Scriptlance, and my assistants in the Philistines whom I found through other means.

  14. Robert
    December 23, 2009 at 9:15 am #

    Didn’t hear from you for a long time 🙂 Please don’t leave your readers alone 🙂

  15. SearchReadySeo
    December 23, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    Welcome Back! See such a huge fan base that you’ve? 🙂
    I’ve no idea how you keep up with comments as well as blogs. You are very attentive to your Readers. Not a skillset that lot of blog writers have.

  16. rahul
    December 24, 2009 at 5:12 am #

    thats a complain many a times from few of my friends too…..they start up thinking something but end some where else

    Search, Register and Transfer Web Domain Names and More

  17. Minneapolis Lawyer
    December 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

    Anna, Thanks for your suggestion about Odesk. I totally feel your pain about not enough hours in the day. I was making my New Year’s resolutions and wondered how I could add about two hours per day just to help me execute my resolutions.

    I’ve had decent luck finding consultants from elance. Though I do usually need to weed through lots of bad resumes…

    Going to try Odesk.

    Thanks!

  18. Michael Hoppal
    December 30, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    As a freelancer, I have had little success with oDesk. All the workers seem to be willing to work for a lot less than I am, and most of the employers fail to see that somebody charging $3 an hour is only worth $1 an hour.

    I am still trying to learn how to balance blogging with homework, as I am signed up for seven classes and a lab next semester. Kind of ironic since I blog about balance…
    .-= Michael Hoppal´s last blog ..Life Coaches: Useful? =-.

  19. Neales
    January 15, 2010 at 5:15 am #

    Well, Anna, take one job at a time just like you live only one minute at a time. I have employed time management techniques and have even scheduled for leisure therein.

  20. Anna
    January 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    @Neales – Thanks for the encouragement. My schedule is definitely steadily improving and a lot more has been fitting in than it used to! Now to just get the rest of it back into the carpet bag …

  21. comforpedic
    January 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Even if you can’t always afford to get to this blog, it’s nice to see that you are keeping up with your photography.

  22. Anna
    January 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    @comforpedic – Thank you! Truthfully I could update that one a lot more often as well. Plenty of photos still sitting on my hard drive …

  23. my swarovski crystal beads
    February 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Hi Anna
    i would love to hear your experience with rentacoder, i used 99designs.com last month and i was very unhappy, i guess i tried just to see how their business model worked, seems like they have inexperienced coders and designers, thats why im wondering if you used rentacoder and how your experience was? thanks so much and love reading your blogs 🙂

    Tommy

  24. Anna
    February 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    @my swarovski – I’m sorry to hear you weren’t happy with 99designs. Were you ordering a graphic? What went wrong?

    I have used Rent-a-Coder successfully. I still use them but I mainly prefer Odesk, and only go to Rent-a-Coder now if I can’t find what I want on Odesk.

    One gripe I had with RAC was that in the beginning, I had to wait long periods of time before my listing was approved and published. By then, it was often too late. Particularly when one considers the time zone element of working with providers in Phillipines and the Indian Sub Continent. After I had run several bids, they removed the requirement for my listings to be manually approved, but by then I had already migrated to Odesk.

    Odesk listings are instant. I have had many occasions when I needed a task done and I had someone working on it within minutes of me posting the job. The simpler the job, the faster the bids come in, and the more bids there are.

    I also find the Rentacoder design to be difficult to navigate and read. Odesk has some navigation issues to get used to, but it is much easier to read and follow.

    I hope that helps!

  25. Anne@Effective Time Tracking
    February 9, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    Welcome back Anna and thanks for the update. I know exactly how you feel and have been hoping someone would hurry up and invent the human cloning machine so I can hire myself to do twice the work!

    I have heard about the Odesk site before and will have a good look at it (when I have a spare 5 mins) as it seems like a great way to make a few extra bucks.

    Good luck with everything and I will look forward to you next articles.

  26. Sharon@Corporate Chair Massage
    February 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    That is always the trick. Finding the time to do everything we need to do, and everything we want to do.

  27. Jeny
    March 24, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Hi,

    I love your article. You kinda took the words right out of my mouth. I started a blog last year thinking that I’m on a roll but I find that it does get pretty overwhelming over time. Coincidentally, I just talked about how I took a 3 months break from blogging just because…..

    I have a vague idea on what my blog is because I just write everything i feel (I call it Jeny’s Closet) and trying to find my voice so I love it when I come across blogs like yours.

  28. Anna
    March 24, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Hi Jeny! Thanks for leaving your comment! I appreciate it. It can be hard to keep at it when every day there seem to be so many other priorities – but even if you miss a few months here and there (like I do) I suppose the important thing is that you keep at it. As long as you do want to keep at it! I also had to make a decision at one point – if my day was 95% full and there was only enough time left for either blogging, or going outside and doing something in the real world after a day in front of the screen, which would it be? I suppose the latter won. I love blogging, but we all need to live as well and sometimes life barely allows for that.

    Oh, I just checked your last blog post and I think that is GREAT for being new! I’d be ecstatic too 🙂

  29. Anna
    March 24, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    @ Sharon – Yep

  30. Anna
    March 24, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    @Anne – Yes, well, I haven’t been able to clone myself but I have been able to gradually build up my team of assistance and gradually train them on the various tasks I do – one step at a time. So that I have been able to begin to reclaim my life, one step at a time. It’s an ongoing process but the more I build my team, the more time I have left over to earn more money and do more of what only I can do (including jogging, for which I’ve not yet found outsourcing possibilities).

    I love Odesk but have only used it as a buyer. I suppose it must be good for sellers too, as they wouldn’t be there otherwise!

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