Jul 25, 2021
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 min read

Where Should Affiliate Website Operators Spend Their Time?

This is the second post in a series for affiliate website operators creating 7 figure content assets.

The first post showed you how to solve the most common problem faced by growing affiliate websites. Your editorial system is now cranking out glorious content without you. 

You are no longer working in the business, so It's time to work on the business. Where should you focus your newfound time for the biggest impact?

The answer lies in a piece of software you're probably already using: your employee time tracking app.

A more powerful use for your time tracking software

I used Time Doctor to manage and pay my virtual team while growing Home Grounds. The $49/month automated payroll admin and saved me a handful of hours per month. 

Not a bad investment. But you'll get 10x more value by using your time tracker on yourself.

Wait, what?

Resistance bubbled inside of me at the thought of time tracking myself. "I'm the boss. Ain't nobody using time tracker on me!" screamed my ego.

But the advice came from legendary management theorist Peter Drucker so Ignored my ego and started logging in each day alongside my team. 

One of the first significant lessons taught by Drucker in The Effective Executive is: Know Thy Time.

Knowing thy time, according to Drucker, involves 3 simple steps.

Record your time --> Manage your time --> Consolidate your time

I followed Druckers process, and this is what happened.

Drucker is watching what you do next

Not all minutes are equal

The first step was easy. I tracked my time. I needed see where it was really going.

Effective executives don't start by planning their time; they start by finding out where their time actually goes. - Peter Drucker

After spending 90 days I exported the data and created a nice little pie chart.

But I have a terrible habit of collecting data and doing nothing with it. Little colored graphs might give you a juicy hit of dopamine. Still, without action, this data is as useful as an inflatable dartboard.

This time, however, things were different. I assigned a fictitious hourly rate to each category of work. I pretended I'd get paid $10 - $10,000 per hour based on the category.

This idea was inspired by The Magic of Doing $10k/hr Work by Khe Hy, who suggests looking at our work on a spectrum. The useless busywork ($10/hr) sites on one side of the spectrum and high-impact work sites on the other ($10k/hr).

$10/hr work

$10/hr work is just busy work. Eliminate it ASAP. 

Not surprisingly, my time analysis revealed an embarrassing number of hours that fell into this category. I would do these tasks most days (often multiple times per day), but they had absolutely zero impact on growth.

Clearing the inbox. Checking SEO ranking movements. Checking yesterday's affiliate earnings. Looking at competitors' SEO movements. Checking if we published new posts. Or sometimes, randomly sharing one of our new YouTube videos to a Facebook group. 

Busywork meme

All this busy work seems harmless, and it feels good because it tricks you into thinking you're being productive. But it doesn't move the needle, and as the data reveals, it snowballs into a huge opportunity cost.

If you do only one thing after reading this article, please let it be tracking how much time you spend doing busy work. I guarantee it will force you into better work habits.

$100/hr work

$100/hr work is busywork at scale. If you can't eliminate it, automate it. If you can't automate it, delegate it.

Checking SEO rankings daily? Eliminate this habit, and check once per week instead. 

Manually sharing new articles and videos to social media channels? Maybe you don't want to eliminate this because social signals have SEO benefits (faster indexing, trust signals for link building, etc.). 

You could delegate it. Hire a VA, and make it his/her role. But now you have another VA to manage. Ideally, you automate this task.

That's what we did, using Zapier.  Every new piece of content published was picked up by Zapier and posted to our social channels with a custom headline, image, and description. No more manual sharing. No extra person to manage.

$1000/hr work

$1000/hr work is probably your core skill. Its valuable, but it lacks leverage. 

You're probably doing this yourself. For affiliate site operators, it's usually SEO. You manage the SEO, and it works.

Whatever your $1k/hr skill is, aim to delegate it as soon as you can afford to, ideally to a 3rd party (because again, the fewer people to manage, the better). And make sure you delegate the responsibility, not the task.

Start by outsourcing your link building, which is a large part of SEO. This will mean your cost per link is higher but remember: you're buying time. Time is worth more than a back-link. Time is worth more than everything. We made a decision early on to outsource all link building. 

Delegating your $1000/hr work is difficult because you're good at it. "Nobody can do it as well as me," you'll rationalize. 

But just because you're good at it doesn't mean you should do it yourself.

If it's your true calling in life,  if it fills you with love, joy, and rainbows, sure; keep doing it. But if you're here to build a business and create wealth, let it go.

$10,000/hr work

$10,000/hr work is HIGH leverage work that might earn you $10k (or more) one day. It's planting seeds for the future. But be warned; it's not linear. There is no immediate feedback here—no warm fuzzy dopamine reward. You might question yourself as you do this stuff.

The point is not to do the $10k/hr work all day, every day. Other stuff in your business still needs to get done. But you should give this high-impact work the time it deserves. Consistently.

The $10k/hr work for an affiliate website

Once I'd categorized my time buckets as either $10, $100, or $1000 per hour work, and only the $10k/hr work remained.

I couldn't believe my eyes. I spent less than 5% of my time doing high-impact work and more than 50% of my time doing low-value busy work. Things needed to change.

I could no longer just stare at my little pie chart and bask in the warm fuzziness of my dopamine wonderland. There was absolutely no way I would waste so much time earning peanuts when It was my choice to work on 1000x higher return stuff.

What's the $10k/hour work for an affiliate content site?

Sales and business development.

This is part of every business, but it's typically neglected in an affiliate site business because affiliate sites don't actually have products. Write content, rank content, insert your affiliate link tracking code and call it a day. Right?

Not quite. Affiliate sites do have a product. 

"If you don't pay for it, you are the product." 

The 'you' is your visitors. Your visitors are the product. Which means your affiliate partners are your customers. Start treating them as such.

Affiliate partners meme

I wasn't giving enough attention to the sales & business development role at Home Grounds. Nobody was building relationships with advertisers. Our customers were neglected.

So I committing to 4 hours of focused deep work per week to this role. It was that simple, but it worked.

(I talk about exactly what I did in the next post in this series)

We built relationships that were worth building. We found profit opportunities that were invisible to our competitors. And still are. Our revenues and profits went up and to the right.

But this only happened because:

  • I followed Drucker's 'know thy time' process.
  • I valued my time from $10 - $10k/hr.
  • I committed to the $10k/hr work as a consistent, weekly practice.

This 3 step process uncovered the hidden profit in my business. And it will do the same for yours. 

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