Episode 43

Balancing existing client work with creating a new digital product

You may be wondering (like Roy on Threads) how to actually find time to work on a new digital product when you have client work and other obligations. In this episode, I share some questions around mindset to make sure you’re in a good place, plus a few strategies for planning and time management.

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[00:00:00] Rene: Hey everyone. Welcome to Your First Digital Product, a show that helps maxed-out service providers create their first digital product so they can gain an additional income stream, grow their impact without increasing one-on-one work and experience more time freedom. On the show, I talk to business owners who have launched digital products and dig deep into how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. I’m your host, Rene Morozowich. Let’s go.

[00:00:28] Hey friends. It’s Rene. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a question on Twitter and Threads that I was planning solo episodes, and I asked what you are interested in learning about digital products. The last solo episode I did was a response to one of those topics. And I have another topic today from Roy on Threads.

[00:00:47] And he wanted to know about project planning and time management between creating a new digital product and your existing work. And I love this because I love to talk about time management and planning and all of the things. So if there’s something that you want to learn about, visit yfdp.show/share.

[00:01:06] And just leave me a message and let me know. To that end. I am still doing market research calls. If you’ve signed up for one of these calls, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time. I’m looking to learn more about problems that you’re having with your digital product, and it could be creating or launching or marketing, really anything.

[00:01:25] I’m doing free 15 minute calls, no strings attached, no pitches, no sales. I won’t even add you to my email list unless you really want to be there. And if I can offer any thoughts or resources I will, but really my goal is to learn more about you so that I can understand and create the best possible content for you.

[00:01:41] And I’m looking to do 25 calls by the end of 2023. So we just have a little bit of time left. And if you’d help me out, I would be forever grateful. And if you’re interested, go to yfdp.show/convo. But if you don’t have time for a call, but still want to give me some feedback, I would love it. If you go to [00:02:00] leave me a voice message and the link will be in the show notes.

[00:02:03] So thank you so much for that. So today we’re going to talk about all of the things around time management and planning and working on your digital product. So we’re going to talk about prioritizing and scheduling and planning and protecting that time and all that good stuff. And a couple of other thoughts, but before we talk about any of those, we’re going to talk about mindset and why you’re actually here and what your goal is with your digital product to begin with.

[00:02:26] Now, we’re going to start from the assumption that you know what you want to create and you validated it in some way. Either you just really want to create it, or you have an audience who has told you, Hey, this is what I really want. So let’s start from the assumption that you know what you want to create. You know here abouts, uh, and you validated it in some way.

[00:02:45] If you don’t have either of those things go back to some of the previous solo episodes and look through and try to get to that point because you want to really be at that point before we start to talk about time management and planning and working on the digital product specifically.

[00:03:01] So the first thing I want to talk about is the mindset.

[00:03:03] And I really want to stress that if you don’t want to do it, you won’t want to do it. So there could be a ton of reasons that you don’t actually want to create a digital product. Right. You maybe don’t feel like you know enough. You maybe feel like you don’t have a big enough audience. You maybe just don’t even care about products and you just don’t want to do it to begin with.

[00:03:24] So maybe you fall under the category of, I think I should be doing it because someone told me to. A business coach or a colleague or someone. Now that can be a fine reason to do a product. However, I would say that you should really actually want to create a product before going down the path of creating one.

[00:03:43] It’s going to make it easier for you. Now, if you really do want to create it, but something else is in the way, think about maybe what that is. Are you afraid of something? Are you afraid of putting yourself out there in this way? Are you unclear on something? These can really be [00:04:00] barriers to actually sitting down and doing the work. And really just think about what could be getting in your way to actually creating this product.

[00:04:07] That’s not just like, oh, I can’t find the time. You may be prioritizing other things and saying you can’t find the time when really you’re actually scared to create something or you don’t know how, or you’re unclear, or you’re not sure on something. So think a little bit about your mindset before you dig into the specifics of time management.

[00:04:27] I would also say that you will do much better if it’s actually interesting for you.

[00:04:32] Now, this could be an interesting format. Like, let’s say you love video, make it video. If you love audio, if you love the written word, whatever it is, make sure that the format is interesting for you to create. If you think you have to sit down and create a set of videos and you hate video, it’s going to be very hard to prioritize actually getting that done no matter what sort of time management tips I give you.

[00:04:56] So make sure that it is in an interesting format for you and the content should be interesting as well. That’s kind of a assumed. I would say, if you are creating content around your, your service, your area of specialty, I’m thinking that that content is going to be interesting for you, but make sure that it is so that again, you will actually want to take time and create this product.

[00:05:17] I’ll just give you a quick little example.

[00:05:19] Recently, my aunt passed away and I have been making rice bags out of some of her clothing. Now it has to be done by a certain time. So the service is coming up soon and I want to have these done for the service. And I have a lot to do, but I have been making time, finding time to work on these because I really look forward to it.

[00:05:37] I don’t get to do a lot of non-computer work these days and really just kind of doing this analog sort of work and sitting down and thinking about her. I find myself finding the time to do it because it’s interesting to me. And it’s something that I actually really want to do. So think about that.

[00:05:54] How can you make this a product that you actually really want to create so that [00:06:00] it is easier to find the time to create it?

[00:06:02] Let’s talk about prioritizing and scheduling. Now I’m a big fan of Profit First. If you haven’t heard of Profit First, it is a book about how you should take your profit before you set money aside for owner pay, for taxes, for expenses or anything like that. It is easier to allocate that money ahead of time and really not even miss it.

[00:06:26] And then have money left over to go and pay your taxes and your owner pay and your expenses and things like that. Now, this is kind of the same principle as like a 401k, right? So if you work at a traditional place of employment and they take out some money for your 401k, you will never see it so you never really miss it. However, on the flip side, you may know that if you wait until the end to take that out, there is nothing left.

[00:06:51] So that’s why it is easier to take the profit first. So that same principle applies here. It doesn’t have to be a ton of time, even just a half hour or an hour, but I would do that as early as you can. And early in the week, early in the month, early in the day. So I do have another episode. One of my first episodes actually was on why you should work on your product on Monday mornings.

[00:07:14] Monday mornings are such a great day and time to work on the product. Let’s say you actually do sit down and spend an hour on a Monday morning making some progress towards your product, you will feel so good about yourself the rest of the week. Like, oh, you know, I actually prioritized myself.

[00:07:31] I did what I said I was going to do. You will be really proud of yourself. So I recommend early in the day, early in the week, it doesn’t have to be Monday. It could be Tuesday. But early. And again, just a half an hour or an hour. And think about when else you can work on this product. Realistically, look at your schedule. You’ll hear a lot of talk in the kind of freelance world about not scheduling meetings on Mondays or on Fridays or on any certain day of the week.

[00:07:57] So that could be a good candidate for when you can work [00:08:00] on your project. A day that you know you have blocked off that you won’t have meetings. There are books like the 12 Week Year that talk about time blocking and time blocking is excellent for scheduling some time for yourself to work on your own business.

[00:08:15] So prioritizing and scheduling. Now let’s talk about planning. So let’s say you are able to schedule some time to work on your product. Again, whether it’s a half an hour or an hour or whatever you can allocate. What will you do during this time? Think about what exactly you will do. So create digital product.

[00:08:35] We put that like a little checkbox create digital product is not a good to do item. This is way too big. You will never check it off until the very end. What I want you to be able to do in this half hour or hour or however much time you can allocate is find something that you can do that you can actually check off.

[00:08:53] So you will want to take those tasks, those really big tasks and break them down. So let’s say you’re going to create an email sequence. You have a lead magnet. And you want to work on your email sequence that will sell the product at the end. Maybe one task could be to write one email in that sequence.

[00:09:12] And then the next time you are able to work on your product, you can work on another email. So by the end of that allocated time, you should be able to check something off that you have completed it.

[00:09:23] I do have a list that I can share with you. And I will put this link in the show notes. Basically I’ve broken down the product creation and marketing and launch process into five big chunks. And then each chunk has some individual tasks. And you can take this roadmap and modify it to suit your needs.

[00:09:42] So this may kind of give you just a guideline of where to start, because maybe you just don’t even know what tasks you need to do. So I will share that with you, check the show notes for the link. It is a spreadsheet, but you can take those tasks out and put them wherever. Put them in ClickUp. Put them in a planner that you’re actually writing those [00:10:00] tasks, wherever you keep track of the things that you need to do.

[00:10:02] I would recommend putting those specific tasks that way you know exactly what is coming next. So you know what to do. That clear plan can be so helpful because sometimes all we need is a clear plan to be able to move forward. Now, this is another reason why I recommend a smaller product. Because a larger product will take much longer.

[00:10:23] A lot of this is about wins, right? So in order to feel that win of I worked on this early in the week, check. I got one task completed, check. If you have a product that is super big, the whole thing is just really going to take you that much longer. So to get to that finish line, to get to that launch and ongoing marketing will just take you a really long time.

[00:10:44] So creating a smaller product, again, still a lot of tasks. But creating a smaller product and going through each of those tasks and then launching, you will feel so much better because it’s not just going to take all eternity to complete. So smaller product. Easier to complete. Tasks that take less time.

[00:11:02] So that’s my recommendation. Now. You have. I don’t know, maybe created a calendar appointment or blocked off your scheduler so that people can’t schedule meetings or whatever it is. And this is a new concept to me. I read about this recently and it is protecting the time. So protect the time that you have scheduled for yourself. Now, again, this could be blocking on the calendar where people cannot book a meeting with you, or get in touch with you.

[00:11:29] This could be turning off notifications. This could be setting your out of office message. Now I love the out of office message and I do have a blog post on this as well that I’ll put in the show notes. And your out of office message isn’t just when you’re on vacation, right? It’s not just like, Hey, I’ll be away this week and I’ll get back to you soon. It could be anything that you can use any time, even for just half of the day where basically you’re just setting the expectations for your clients. Now, I know you know this, but I’m just going to say it to remind you that it’s [00:12:00] okay to not get back to clients right away.

[00:12:02] Right. Sometimes it’s actually better. To wait a little bit to get back to your clients. Because then they don’t expect an immediate response. Right? So then they don’t expect you to get back to them immediately all the time, because then that time that you’re busy or you are away, they’re not super upset.

[00:12:20] So you set those expectations in that out of office message to say, Hey, I check my email at noon and four Monday through Friday, or I am heads down on an important project and I will get back to you in the order of your message was received. So anything. You can say anything in this message. But basically you’re setting that expectation for the client that you’re unavailable again for half an hour, for an hour or whatever amount of time that you are able to allocate and you’re setting those expectations and then they will not be worried or upset that you’re not getting back to them right away. So you want to protect that time, however you are able to do it.

[00:12:58] Now, this sounds silly, but I think it’s important to celebrate along the way. I am guilty of this.

[00:13:03] I don’t always do it myself, but I do think it’s really important to congratulate yourself that you did what you said you were going to do. So you said you were going to complete one email on Tuesday morning from nine to 10. You did it. You checked it off. Congratulate yourself. Don’t just dismiss it.

[00:13:22] Don’t be like, okay, now I have to get to client work. You did what you said you were going to do and you should feel really good about that. Now I also am a visual person, so I like to somehow again, mark this off. I’ve been doing a lot of, like, if you’re watching the video a lot of like check mark signs here. But I really love to check things off. And a lot of project management systems, even Google Sheets or whatever it is, will have some sort of progress indicator.

[00:13:51] So if you have 10 tasks and you check one of them off, you say this is completed. A hundred percent. You are 10% towards your goal. So I love [00:14:00] that visual reminder that you are getting closer and closer completing each task along the way. And I think that that is really motivating. It’s kind of like I talk a lot about running, even though I’m not running right now.

[00:14:11] I talk a lot about running and each mile marker that you go, you can see yourself getting closer and closer and closer to that goal. And I think that is really motivating for people. Instead of just like I’m going to be running for all eternity. You know that there is an end in sight. So think about that.

[00:14:28] Now just a couple other thoughts. Now, if there are things that you always make time for. I know there’s a couple of things out there probably in your life that you always make time for. I would think about those. What exactly did those have in common? What are the markers of those? Why do you always find time for those things but not for maybe some other things.

[00:14:50] So thinking about what might work for you and is there anything there that you can apply to your digital product. It could be again doing it first thing in the morning. It could be the accountability in telling somebody you’re going to do it so then they check in on you. It could be really be anything that works for you. Think about what is already working for you and how can you apply that to your digital product to be able to be more successful and get those tasks done while you have other things things to do.

[00:15:16] Now what do you have the most trouble with in terms of time management? Was there anything here that I talked about that you’re like, Rene I always have trouble with this. I always feel like I have to check my email first thing in the morning or I always feel like X, Y or Z. Is there anything that you want to talk about more or maybe something I didn’t mention. Hey Rene, you totally forgot about X, Y or Z. Send me a voice message at yfdp.show/share, or find me on social media and send me a message. I’d love to hear from you.

[00:15:44] Hey, thanks for listening. I’d love to continue the conversation in your inbox. Email SUBSCRIBE to hey at yfdp.show or sign up in the show notes to get bimonthly emails about how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. Can’t [00:16:00] wait to see you there.