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The Importance of All the Little Things You Don’t See

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I’ve spent the last few days working seemingly non-stop on my business. But most of it was the little things people don’t see – like cleaning up code and broken links on the back end of my sites, updating old content to reflect more up to date information, dealing with advertisers (fun things like reading contracts and chasing down companies who haven’t paid for advertising), updating my books, getting my tax documents together (still haven’t filed yet), and all kinds of goodies. All of it is essential, and yet most of it won’t been seen or noticed by the majority of people who visit my sites. But that’s OK – it comes with the territory.

spinning hamster wheel

Sometimes it feels like you are spinning your wheels - even when the work is important!

As I was going through the laundry list of tasks I had in front of me, I was reminded of how many essential tasks go unseen in our daily lives – that is, until they aren’t done. Like the joke about the man who comes home from work to see the house trashed, the kids running around screaming, the television blaring, a half-eaten pizza sitting on the table, etc. He goes upstairs to his bedroom and finds his wife in bed watching TV and eating a big bowl of ice cream. “What’s going on,” he asks. To which his wife replies, “You know how you come home from work every day and ask me what it is I do? Well, today I didn’t do it.”

What a testament to SAHMs everywhere!

Our finances share a distinct parallel to this. If you don’t balance your checkbook, you run the risk of an overdraft – which is crazy expensive and entirely avoidable. If you don’t pay your bills on time you will trash your credit score. If you don’t rebalance your portfolio, you run the risk of being overexposed when the market shifts, potentially causing you a lot of money, and delaying your retirement.

If you run a small business, the same things apply. You need to keep up with your daily tasks, and all of the little things no one sees, or really cares about. Taxes, payroll, accounting, legal documents, permits and licenses, and all the fun things that can get you into hot water if you don’t do them. They are a sunk cost in terms of money and time, but entirely necessary.

Home maintenance, car maintenance, preventive health, insurance, and all those little things. All those important things.

The more life become complicated, the more I understand the importance of simplifying things as much as possible. Lately I have been focusing on simplifying my finances by consolidating accounts, automating payments, opting for electronic bill pay, combining insurance policies under as few providers as possible, etc. The less time I spend managing my finances and other accounts, the better. That gives me more time for the important things like family, friends, church, and running my business.

The same thing goes for simplifying my business. I’ve been spending time creating scripts and processes so I don’t have to recreate the wheel each time I want to do something. Canned e-mails work great for frequent e-mail inquiries. An advertising rate chart handles most advertising inquiries. Creating checklists for repetitive, but important actions, ensures the little things are done correctly the first time, every time.

It’s important to keep up with the little things, even when they go unnoticed. Sometimes those are the most important things you can do.

Photo credit. Zebra Pares


Published or updated March 1, 2012.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Money Infant

There is nothing more powerful than automating your business, especially if it ever comes time to sell. Who wants to buy a website that takes 4 hours a day of maintenance? Ah, but one that runs itself? That type of site commands a premium.

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2 Ryan Guina

An automated business – now we’re getting into 4 Hour Work Week territory! That was a great book, but the reality is far different for many people. But there are still a lot of great takeaways from the book which can be applied to almost any situation on some level. And finding ways to simplify and save time are the two biggest takeaways I got from that book.

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