What’s a passive entrepreneur?
I wonder if there is such a thing as passive entrepreneurship. But anyways here the meaning of becoming a passive entrepreneur refers to an individual who’s working passively to grow their business.
Which sounds too good to be a sham, but in reality if you look at the big players in their business and entrepreneurial space, they work passively and rarely put their feet on the working floor.
Why? Because they have already been through that phase of working vigorously to the point where they have torn their mental brain to sustain a business. But once a startup starts it’s growth hike, entrepreneurs no longer intend to go on that same route and spend 70-100 hrs weekly to run a business.
Therefore most successful entrepreneurs are productive just because they input time into things which lets them achieve bigger goals and helps them think bigger.
For other individual entrepreneurs, this might not be the case. Some may want to run a business by spending 30-50 hrs a week and they want the rest of their time to spend with their loved ones. Hence here time is the priority and that’s the gift you can give to yourself when you start to work passively.
Therefore, to help you get to the stage of managing your business passively, I have listed four steps which can help you cut-down your time and become a passive entrepreneur.
1) Use ‘Time-Block’ to plan, act, and schedule your tasks
I can’t stretch this fact enough regarding how time-blocking is the real deal for productivity. There was a time when I spent a good 20-30 mins in the morning creating ‘to-do’ lists.
But all the effort would go in vain once I got interrupted by multiple small tasks throughout the day. The problem wasn’t the interruption,it was my lack of prioritization.
With to-do lists, it always felt like I was running away from my major and long-term priorities, and at the end of the day, I would always end up with a longer list of tasks than I initially started with.
Hence for that same reason, I shifted to time blocking. If you still doubt this technique, you should look at billionaires like Elon Musk, who use it.
For those people who don’t know what time-blocking is? It is a concept/technique where you can input your tasks into blocks and assign a time for each block. Thus ‘time-blocking’.
But how can you start doing it?
For starters: Use Google calendar to build a system
Google calendar is a great tool to plan our tasks, and probably most of us might already be using it for the same. But how can you build a time-blocking system like this,
I have a calendar that helps me go through weeks of tasks and also helps me through what I want in terms of productivity. To build a time blocking system you need to follow these steps:-
- Open your Google calendar and list out all the main goals you want to achieve each month/week.
- Once you know what you want to achieve, you would have a clearer idea of what to prioritize and what to focus on.
- Now break down your tasks that will lead to your goals. These tasks will be something like checking your emails, which require your attention.
- Most importantly, assign each task with a time frame. Suppose you can give 20-30 mins to check your emails daily.
- Once you have the list of tasks that you do regularly on a weekly/daily basis, you would notice there will be time gaps where you can input your additional tasks.
- These additional tasks are mostly the interruptive tasks (or) the sudden tasks which need to be addressed right away, and such tasks in the day can be filled in with your time gaps.
- Therefore, by knowing your priorities, you get to focus and work on the important tasks that matter the most.
In the end, the goal with time-blocking is productivity. Thus it is recommended to track your average time for each of your tasks and improve on it.
For productivity hunters: Use AI tools to improve your system and make it more flexible
Right now, I deal with my schedule on my own, and I hardly make any changes in my time blocks. But it’s not the case with every entrepreneur; there are sometimes unscheduled meetings and those could be important.
As an entrepreneur and a business owner, you are not likely to spend time dealing and scheduling your calls. Instead, you would rather have a Virtual assitant (or) a tool to do it.
Infact there are tools that can handle your calendar and will help your productivity schedule intact. For example, you can look at X.ai; through which:-
- You can integrate your Google calendar with it.
- You can add the AI bot in your emails to let it know when you would be available. Which means you can give instructions to this tool.
- The bot also will communicate with people on its own to schedule your meetings and will handle your entire calendar on its own.
Thus by using such a tool, you can stick to your schedule smoothly.
2) Maintain a clean inbox
Dealing with emails is essential and mandatory for every business owner and entrepreneur out there. But the truth is that sometimes emails are a good way for distractions and interruptions.
Did you know that it takes 20 minutes to proceed with an interrupted task and now assume what multiple email interruptions can do to your day?
Therefore to be a passive productive geek, you should learn to clean up your inbox to deal with less shit and lesser interruptions each day.
But how can one go about it?
Fortunately, I have learned a new framework through which people can eliminate their unproductive time sticking to their inboxes and truly focus on more productive tasks.
This framework consists of three steps: Read, Reply, and Respond Later.
Before doing his framework, you need to empty your inbox. No matter what, you have to unsubscribe from all your unwanted newsletters and stick to the emails from the people and platforms which matter.
Now once you have jogged down the email inbox, count to ‘zero.’ It’s all about following the RRR framework to maintain it.
No matter what kind of business you do as an entrepreneur, there will be tools in your life that are meant to make your life easier. These tools might be helping you with marketing, content, management, (or) maybe with something else.
And mostly emails from such tools are important to your business. However the best part with these emails is that you don’t need to reply to them. These emails are meant to be read and left after that.
For example, if you got an email from your Google search console account sharing your monthly reports of clicks, impressions, and traffic. Would you reply to that?
No, right! Similarly there will be such emails which are only meant to be read and are used to assess your business tactics. Therefore you don’t need to reply to them.
Reply to one-minute emails
What are ‘one-minute emails?
Understand that there are emails that usually take about only one minute to read and one minute to reply. However if an email is 500+ words long but can be replied to in a minute, even then it falls into the ‘one-minute reply’ category.
But why one minute?
David Allen, the author of ‘Getting Things Done,’ has said in his book, ‘if anything takes less than two minutes to respond, do it now’. The same goes for the email.
Not all emails could be replied to in a minute, but usually most of our inbox will consist of such emails. Therefore whenever you open your inbox and check your emails, try to analyze whether it will take you a minute or more to reply. If it does, reply and then go about your day.
Therefore this one step can make to go way ahead in terms of being a passive entrepreneur
Respond to your emails later
Now, if you’re wondering why you need to respond to your emails later?
Listen there is a good reason to it; usually, your inbox gets filled with new emails throughout the day even though most emails can be answered in a minute.
But there will be emails that might take you more than a minute to reply. Therefore such emails can be responded later, and you can choose your own time in the schedule to respond to all such emails. I have used a tool called ‘Boomerang’ to schedule my emails for such cases.
Usually I would either respond to such emails all at once, at the end of the day (or) at the beginning of the next day. Thus it’s your choice to choose which time is the best to respond to multiple and longer emails.
3) Understand your tools and platforms to eliminate effort and time
Until now, I touched upon the concept of time-blocking, which lets you design your schedule to be productive, and on the other hand, I have shown you how to manage your emails to be efficient.
But is that all?
Nope, that’s not all. This article might go on and on if I choose to share each bits and pieces of my work and share with you a solution that I use to become more passive.
Here the problem is that not everybody is doing what I do. I am a marketer and a blogger, the tasks in my day are mostly restricted to my niche of work, and I can’t fit into other entrepreneurs shoes to give suggestions.
For instance I use these paid tools for my business:-
- Ahrefs for keyword research
- Hunterr.io for email verification
- Mail Merge for sending emails
- Hootsuite for social media scheduling
- And this list goes on and on
My list of tools will be different as my daily needs to complete a task would be different. As every entrepreneur’s needs are different, and thus the tools will be different.
For example, an Ecom owner might choose the Cloudways platform for Ecommerce hosting and their services to take care of his business.
While on the other hand, a blogger might go with shared hosting from XYZ brand which offers limited resources to run his blog. Therefore the platforms used by each individual are different because their needs are different.
Similarly, it’s up to you to choose what tools and platforms make your life easier, save your time, and help your productivity. Here you can keep few points in mind while going after tools:-
- First, analyze which of your tasks are tedious and then look out for the tools that can do it efficiently.
- Once you find some tools, make sure that it doesn’t put a dent into your budget.
- Also, consider what if you hire a VA, and check whether it costs you any less.
- If you’re early into your entrepreneurial journey, wait for your business to make money. Later you can re-invest your money from business into the tools.
- Always make sure to use the trial versions of each tool extensively before making a buying decision.
4) Outsource tasks that take more than 30 mins
Entrepreneurship isn’t a destination, it’s a journey, and the same goes around when we talk about being passive entrepreneurs. There is no limit to becoming passive, it’s just a way of running your own business while doing less and being productive.
However, when someone starts a new business, the business is dependent on him. But soon it would become evident that he can’t do everything as an entrepreneur, and for business sake, he has to find people to do his tasks.
Initially, I loved writing content, but I wasn’t a writer, and all I had was a vision to write. It wasn’t possible for me to run a business if I focused only on content because marketing was vital too.
So hence I started outsourcing content that didn’t require my touch and could be done by someone else. Even though writing content is not a tedious task, it’s time-consuming.
Similarly, with your business, you will come up with tasks that requires more time but could be done by someone else, and that’s when you need to think about outsourcing.
My general rule of thumb for outsourcing is if something takes more than 30 mins to complete, needs daily attention, and might be repetitive. Then it’s best of my circumstances to outsource it to other freelancers who are good at it.
Understand how outsourcing your tasks can help you:-
- It will eliminate a lot of your time from your time-blocking system and lets you focus on more productive tasks.
- You will have a chance to generate new ideas for business and you will have the time to see the bigger picture.
- Lastly, outsourcing your tasks should help you become passive with your efforts, increase your productivity with time, and it lets you stay persistent to your goals.
Assuming you have read the article, till now. If yes, I am glad, and before leaving, I wanna convey that as I said, ‘Entrepreneurship isn’t a destination. It’s a journey.
This means becoming a passive online entrepreneur isn’t something you achieve instead you work daily to be a little better than yesterday.
But at the end of the day, if you’re saving time for your personal life and can still succeed in your professional life. Then that’s the passive entrepreneur life that everybody wishes for.