You NEED to Time Track to Make Money as a Creator with Marley Majcher
Marley Majcher, The Party Goddess turned Profit Goddess, was running a business but not making money — despite her degree from Georgetown. But she managed to turn it around with this “one weird trick.” OK — so that sounds clickbaity, but it’s true. See, Marley didn’t have a system in place for her business. She, like many creators I think, wasn’t spending her time wisely. So, she decided to do something about it: she decided to learn how she was spending her time, organize those tasks, and figure out the crucial ones that actually made money. And it all started with the one “Weird” trick: Time Tracking.
- Revenue goals are not profit goals – You can make $1M but if you’re spending $1.1M, you’re going in the wrong direction.
- Most creators don’t think they need to time-track because they don’t do client work. But they are WRONG. You need to know if you’re spending 2 hours on a video or 8 hours on a video to know if that’s a profitable activity for you.
- Aside from just understanding tasks, time tracking can hold you accountable. You’ll see where you’re wasting your time, and be more mindful of it. And your devices have some tools to help you do that automatically.
- Marley Majcher
- Marley on Linkedin
- Marley on Instagram
- Marley on Facebook
- Marley on Twitter
- But Are You Making Any Money Ebook
- The E-Myth Revisited Book
- Mowing Your Lawn Blog Post
- Analog by Ugmonk
- Timery for Toggl
- Timing Automatic MAC Time Tracker
- Join the Creator Crew
Joe Casabona: Did you know that you could get even longer interviews with some of the most successful creators? You can with How I Built It Pro. With How I Built a Pro, you get extended ad-free versions of every episode. We cover things like pricing memberships, how to make a course creation even faster, building a creator business while also parenting, current events, and more.
Plus, you’ll get bonus episodes where I offer a behind-the-scenes look at what I’m working on, the revenue for my own creator business experiments, and video demos of the tech I talk about on this show. You can join How I Built It Pro today for just five bucks a month or 50 bucks a year. Sign up over at howibuilt.it/pro or use the link in your podcast app.
Marley Majcher, the party goddess turned profit goddess, was running a business but not making money, despite her degree from Georgetown. But she managed to turn it around with this one “weird” trick. Okay, that sounds a little clickbaity, but it’s true.
See, Marley didn’t have a system in place for her business. She, like many creators, wasn’t spending her time wisely, so she decided to do something about it. She decided to learn how she was spending her time, organize the tasks and things she was working on, and figure out the crucial ones that actually made her money. And it all started with that one “weird” trick: time tracking.
I’m a big fan of time tracking. And this conversation with Marley is fantastic. We kind of commiserate on mistakes we’ve made over the years that we don’t want you, dear listener, to make.
So look for these top takeaways. That revenue goals are not profit goals. If you are spending more than you’re making, you’re going in the wrong direction. That most creators don’t think they need to time track because they don’t do client work. But even if you don’t bill hourly, you need to know what tasks are making you money. And aside from understanding tasks, time tracking can hold you accountable.
And we’ll talk about some automated tools that can help you even if you don’t want to put in a formal time tracking system. Though Marley recommends a piece of paper and a pencil.
For all of the show notes, you can head over to howibuilt.it/301. Thanks so much to this week’s sponsors, Ahrefs, Groundhogg, and LearnDash. You’ll hear about them later on in the episode. Oh, by the way, in How I Built It Pro, we talk about what you need to do to sell your book and we talked about the universal principle. What is that? Definitely check it out. Again, all the show notes over at howibuilt.it/301. But for now, let’s get into the intro and then the interview.
Intro: Hey everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast where you get free coaching calls from successful creators. Each week you get actionable advice on how you can build a better content business to increase revenue and establish yourself as an authority. I’m your host Joe Casabona. Now let’s get to it.
Joe Casabona: All right, welcome to Episode 301. I’m here with Marley Majcher. She is the CEO of The Party Goddess. I’m really excited because I read your book, But Are You Making Any Money? and it’s something that really resonated with me as a business owner of like two decades, I started in high school. And I just always feel like it’s a constant struggle, right? Like, am I making money? Like, people think of business as glamorous or whatever. Like, “Oh, you must be rich.” But anyway, let’s bring in Marley first and then I can keep gushing. So Marley, how are you today?
Marley Majcher: I’m great. And I’m so glad to be here talking about one of my absolute favorite topics. I have a hard one badge of honor when it comes to this, which I’m sure a lot of your listeners can relate to.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, for sure, right? Because I will never forget this. I was in an off-campus apartment in college and my roommate’s friend was over and she was asking me what I do. And I was like, “Oh, yeah, I’m self-employed.” And she was like, “You own your own business?” And then like started coming on to me, I’m like, “Believe me, it’s not what you think. I’m not [inaudible 00:04:38]. Right?
Marley Majcher: That only makes me lower more, right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah. It’s a struggle sometimes. And your book really resonated with me in a few ways. But first, I would love for you to kind of set the stage for us. You tell a story in your book about… I think you were out with your… was it your in-laws or your parents?
Marley Majcher: No, it was my parents and my second husband at that point.
Joe Casabona: Okay.
Marley Majcher: So basically, to the back about 10 seconds, I had gotten my business degree from Georgetown. That’s important, I think, for people to realize because so many times entrepreneurs we’re so hard on ourselves. And I’m coming to the table saying I was the biggest hot mess you’ve ever seen and I had a business degree from Georgetown. And that is not to tell you that… it’s not Georgetown’s fault, right? Like I learned all of it but I still had trouble and I still had a disconnect.
So it doesn’t matter if you’ve gone to school for it. When it comes to your own business and applying what you’ve learned or what you know, there’s a disconnect, I think, because emotion gets involved too, because you somehow just don’t see clearly.
So I basically started in the restaurant business right out of college, and I married a chef. And that’s a whole other long story. But I once in the restaurant business got tons of publicity. My goal is to make a million dollars my first year, which I did. However, those of us who know, when you don’t set goals, we don’t set revenue goals tied to profits, you have a big problem.
I kept trying to make sense of what I felt like was the chaos of entrepreneurship. So then what did I do? You know, when you’re in the restaurant business and you have slow days, we have whatever, as entrepreneurs we try to like expand our business services, right? So it was like, Oh, should we open for breakfast? Oh, we started a catering company. Oh, we started doing events in our two different rooms.” Well, that’s great, right?
But what I didn’t do was have enough of a handle on my numbers. And so years into having the restaurant and then realizing, Oh, my gosh, we’re doing tons of sales and I’m great, I have this supposedly glamorous life on the front page of the newspaper, I’m dying inside because I can’t figure this out, and I can’t figure out why the more sales I do, the less money I seem to be making, and oh, by the way, the more I seem to be working.
Finally, I had this very bad skiing accident. So now I’m in rehab, my catheter, my leg, my brace, and my dad is like, “Marley, just freaking call it. You’re gonna partner up, you’re gonna do better. And you don’t have to be in the frickin restaurant.” I was like, “Okay, fine.” So, we partner up, that ends up being the best deal of our entire lives, however, many years later.
But at the time, I was like, “Okay, I’m just going to do catering events and I’m going to do the whole event planning piece.” So I was having dinner with my parents, and I’m going, “Oh, my gosh, we just did the opening of the Hollywood Bowl, and I’ve got this celebrity client.” And my dad, I just remember he was just over it at that point and was like, “But are you making any money?”
And I just remember that feeling where like the crocodile tears just welled up into my eyes. And I just remember thinking a) thank goodness this restaurant is fairly dimly lit, and b) please do not start crying because I knew… And we all know. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know. Once those tears start, you are never going to stop crying. And I was just like, “I cannot lose it in this restaurant.”
But I knew at that point, I couldn’t answer his question, right? And when I couldn’t answer that question, squarely, I was like, “I am done with this story. I am done with the excuses: I’m creative. I’m too busy. I have too much business. I don’t have time.” I was like, “No more.”
And I set out at that point to solve my own problem, which is ultimately then why I ended up reading the book. But the book came out because I needed to solve my own problems. But when I went to look for like Job clustering, I went to look for pricing and how a small business owner prices, not a ginormous corporation that’s got all these CFOs and everything. But how does this small business owner take their goods or even worse art or just their services and set a price and know how much money they’re making?
And then I came up with my very simple, you know, jerry-rigged formula and it turned things around. But I’ve yet to meet an entrepreneur who hasn’t been basically at some point in the same mess I’ve been in if not still in the same mess.
Joe Casabona: You touched on a few really important things there. Like you got a business degree from Georgetown. We were talking in the pre-show like experience is the best teacher when it comes to business. You can’t learn the pain of having to refund a multi-thousand client a year later, right?
Marley Majcher: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: So I-
Marley Majcher: I can feel it now though. I can relive in there. Once it’s happened to you, that muscle memory goes back forever. But yeah.
Joe Casabona: For sure. I still get annoyed. I’m like, “I can’t believe that they made me refund this.” And then I put a kill switch in my contract, like live and learn. That’s the important part. But you also touched on, like you said, something that a lot of entrepreneurs. Especially as we record this, I feel like the creator economy is still pretty new. It’s like people have kind of fallen into, “Oh, yeah, my YouTube channel is monetized” or “this brand reached out to me and they want to do a influencer deal or whatever.”
So people view that as extra money in their pocket. But if you’re going to build a business, you need to know the basics of a profit and loss, right? Like, how much money are you spending and how much are you bringing in. Because I love what you said there. You can make a million but if you’re spending 1.1 million, you don’t have a business, you have debt.
Marley Majcher: You have debt, and you’re basically operating like it’s a hobby. We can get into all kinds of other pieces. But I feel like I should just spend the rest of my career focused on teaching influencers how to make money. Because by design it’s like influencers and creatives and sometimes those two intersect, but the focus is on the work, the social media and the staging, and all that stuff, which is such an amazing skill unto itself.
And just like the person who bakes the most amazing pies, like you know, that fabulous book, The E-Myth Revisited talked about. But you’re focused on your one thing, that’s why you go into business. You don’t go into business so then you can have my insurance effectively, you know, have email triggers and marketing campaigns. You go into it for that thing that you love so much.
But if you don’t stop and spend a regular amount of time and I mean, a regular amount of time, like every week, focused on what are your numbers, how much are you bringing in, and most importantly, of this whole conversation, it’s not even about money, it’s about time. Time is the only non-renewable resource on the planet. We can get into conversation that meditation, you can expand time, okay, but net net, I can make more money tomorrow, I can never get my time back.
And until we do that basic exercise that I talked about in the book of getting your hourly rate. And by the way, we all have one. So I’m sure some of your listeners are going to be sitting here going, “Oh, I don’t charge hourly.” And that’s when I’m like, Oh, my God, you have to think of yourself as how much do you make hourly?
Because if you are an influencer, and you’re getting, let’s say you get all this great product, okay, that’s a whole other conversation, and then let’s say you get paid 100 bucks. You know, we were talking at the pre-show about your ad sentiments, you get 100 bucks. But if it took you three hours to create, start to finish, whatever, you know, TikTok video, whatever… And I mean soaking wet, I mean to put your makeup on to do it, I mean to set the lights. I don’t mean just the taping, I don’t mean just the editing. I mean, the editing, the packaging, the thumbnail photo to put it on YouTube or wherever you’re gonna put it-
Joe Casabona: Script, outline, whatever.
Marley Majcher: Script, outline, you know, sitting at Starbucks thinking about doing the interview for how you’re going to put it together, all that. If you don’t take all that time together… And then oh, by the way, if you drive to meet somebody or you’re sending text messages how to monitor, to add that into your formula, you’re not making… So you think you’re making 100 bucks, it’s like, “Oh, this only took me 10 minutes every time.” It’s like, no, first of all, it probably took the three hours, like I said initially, but really it probably took like eight.
The key activity is to figure out how much time, and be honest, and then divided by your hourly rate, because what you’ll find out very quickly is your hourly rate, like I found out in the book, I should have been working at McDonald’s. I literally would have been making more money at McDonald’s. And you can’t imagine how that’s possible.
But the only way that I’ve gotten people like to wake up and really realize what I’m talking about is when you do an hourly rate. And I think it’s because we have so much associated, like we know lawyers make $400 an hour or $700 an hour and doctors get X amount for a surgery, right?
So you have these numbers in your head about what a successful person gets. And then you’re like, Oh, a maintenance worker gets this and a minimum wage is this. If you have your own business and you start getting anywhere near minimum wage, I’m gonna tell you, you know, go work for somebody else because the stress isn’t worth it.
Joe Casabona: Right.
Marley Majcher: Because by the way you’re not even making minimum wage. Just what you think you’re making.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And I love that because it’s… First of all, I feel like “time is the only thing you can’t get back” is like the theme of this season already because I’ve already talked about it with like two other guests for this season. But it’s so true, right?
Like you said, if I decide I’m not able to make ends meet this month, I could go out and I could find a client or consultant. In a pinch, even though I don’t make websites for people anymore, I can make a website for somebody.
Marley Majcher: You can go work for Uber. I’ve thought about that. What would I do if I had to go deliver for Uber Eats?
Joe Casabona: Right. And let me tell you, competition not very good for Uber Eats in my area. I can make a killing if I did it well.
Marley Majcher: And that’s why I bring it up. But anyway.
Joe Casabona: But the point is, you can’t get your time back. And the way I illustrate this with my… Like, I coach podcasters and they’re like, “Well, I edit myself.” And I’m like, “You should hire an editor.” And they’re like, “Why? It cost so much money?”
Marley Majcher: I can’t afford it when I can just do it, when I’m so… Yeah, that’s when I just I’m like, “Oh, goodness, gracious. We got a lot to work on here.”
Joe Casabona: Right. So I tell them I pay somebody to mow my lawn every week, and they’re like, “Why would you do that? You can do it for free.” And I’m like, “It cost me $30. It takes them 10 minutes.” I don’t have that much land. I live near Philly. Like, it’s expensive here. It takes them 10 minutes, but I’m not paying them for their time. I’m paying them so I never have to think about it. Because the last time I mowed my lawn it had been three weeks and it rained a lot and I have a cheap lawn mower and it took me five hours.
Marley Majcher: And you broke the belt and all these other things.
Joe Casabona: I had to get oil, I had to weed whack. I was like, it just cost me $1,000 to mow the lawn because that was five billable hours down the drain. So now 30 bucks a week, I don’t even think about it. Like it’s great.
Marley Majcher: The add-on to that conversation, kind of like the pro tip becomes. So if it’s, you know, $30, then what you start thinking about is, Okay, yes, paying that person so that you have that time to do it. But when you switch out that activity that’s, you know, the $30 or cleaning something or whatever that you can hire somebody else for and you substitute for one of your higher level activities, that’s when the magic happens in that delta.
I just paid this person 30. But guess what, they took them 10 minutes, whatever is going to take me an hour probably two. Even if you did it regularly, probably take you two hours because you still don’t know what you’re doing, whatever. But then you substitute two hours to one of your highest-level activities. So for me, it might be doing a podcast to talk about my book. For you, it might be coaching and you get $200 an hour, let’s pretend.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly what I charge.
Marley Majcher: Okay. So the point is, is that you get $400 versus $30. So now look, you just gave yourself a raise of $370 by having somebody mow the lawn. And when we can get people to make a paradigm shift to say, yes, that’s really what it’s about. Now, maybe you might need time just to go, excuse me, to a movie and relax. But the point is, if you just purely switch one activity for a high-level activity, the game totally changes, and now you have a profitable company.
Joe Casabona: Right. I love the way you… You know, a low activity for a high activity. Khe Hy talks about this, right? There’s like the $10 tasks and then there’s like the $1,000 tasks. $10 task might be checking your email and $100 task might be like evaluating a task manager or whatever. You want to do as many $1,000 tasks as possible, right? Where like, $1,000 is like, whatever, it’s the highest amount you can do.
Marley Majcher: And then when you start kind of getting the hang of it, because remember, none of this stuff is going to come naturally. It didn’t come naturally for me for years and years and years.
Joe Casabona: Human beings have been trained to think money out is worse than time out.
Marley Majcher: Absolutely. The other piece about that is then when you start going to the really advanced level where you not only say that, you know, the $30 or the $10 activity for the $1,000 activity, but then when you start talking about $1,000 activity that’s actually going to pay dividends, right?
Because then you’re talking about something like, wait a second, if I do hire this person, not only am I not going to have to do this, you know, component, but then they’re actually going to be able to grow in the position and bring in more, and then the extra money in the bank account, you know, if you were paying yourself interest, blah, blah, blah. You know what I mean? Then it starts compounding.
Now, you’re using your money instead of paying a late fee or percentage on your credit cards. So the whole game starts really, really shifting. But you have to step back and work on your business, not in it. And anybody out here that’s just like, “I’m so busy, I’m so busy, I’m so busy,” and it’s all doing whatever their activity is, you know, doing videos or podcasts or whatever and not spending that time critically thinking and evaluating, there’s no way you’re making as much as you should be.
Joe Casabona: Right. I challenge people to say, like, hey, skip your video this week, and instead, spend some time, right? I know it’s hard to see it but this is going to be a more valuable activity for you this week. Change the title on one of your YouTube videos and then increased views that way, or whatever.
Marley Majcher: And change the thumbnail, okay, 15 minutes. And I guarantee you if one person notices, give them a price, and then do a whole social media campaign about that.
Joe Casabona: You know, exactly. Which, spoiler alert in a couple of episodes, I’m going to be talking to Jake Thomas about this very thing. So be sure to subscribe if you’re not subscribed to this show.
Marley Majcher: Absolutely.
Joe Casabona: Now, you need to think about how much you make hourly. I want to talk about time tracking, because I think this is something that even people like freelancers probably don’t like to do a lot. But if they are charging per hour, they need to know how much to build their clients. Creators aren’t charging hourly, right?
You know, I got hired by a brand, they paid me an amount of money to make a few short-form videos for them. I didn’t say, “Okay, I charge $200 an hour.” I said, “I charge this per video, and I know it’s gonna take me this amount of time to make a video.” They don’t care how long it’s gonna take, they just want the deliverable. So first of all, how do you time track? How do you get in the habit of time tracking?
Marley Majcher: So, because I’m coming from the perspective of having coached so many people on this that I’ve heard every excuse in the book. And you know, when you’re in AA and you have a sponsor, and or you’re in Cocaine Anonymous or whatever, you have a sponsor who was a cocaine addict. So I am like the equivalent of that rogue, non, I mean, time tracking person. So it’s like you cannot con me in saying there’s any way possible that this does not make sense.
So that being said, I say, you track it, however, you’re actually going to track it. Okay? For our company, we use something called TSheets, and it integrates with QuickBooks, and you can job code your time. You could also do it… there are a lot of different programs. You can do it on your phone.
I am a total tech geek, I love technology yet, I actually write it down. You can just write it on a piece of paper or you can have a spreadsheet, right? And you just literally fill it in. To me for some reason, it’s easier to just keep filling in the boxes to say like, Okay, you and I started recording this, let’s say at x o’clock. But I actually was rereading your show notes a couple of days ago, and I was downloading the program a couple of days ago, and then this morning I was doing… for some reason for me, it’s easier just to be like, okay, 10:32 a.m. to this time doing this.
And the magic and time tracking is not just in the results when you review it let’s say after a week. The magic is in… it’s kind of like yoga. It is in the process of it. Because you start writing down, Facebook 11:10 and you realize you did not come up from Facebook until 12:20. Right? And then you have to start writing, Okay, that was 65 minutes or whatever, 70 minutes. And you start going, Ew.
And then if you can really be critical and say, “That is 70 min… Like how did I spend that amount of time?” Or when you write down And, you know, 10 minutes texting a client about this or 20 minutes texting client about that, and you write the client name, and then you realize this is my freaking lowest paying client. And they grind me all the time, and and and. So I’m spending the most time with them and the most agitated, and then making the least.
So it’s really about participating in the process and kind of just even learning as you go. And let me tell you, it’s like being on a diet and writing it down. Like you think, “Oh, I’m good. I barely ate today.” So you start writing it down, you’re like, “Oh, 12 M&Ms. Woops, I had an extra cappuccino, was nonfat milk but that still has caught me…” Then you start going, “No one I’m frigging not fitting into my jeans.”
Joe Casabona: Right. I mean, that’s like, “I didn’t sleep that well last night. I don’t know why. Oh, maybe it’s because I had an espresso at eight o’clock at night.”
Marley Majcher: Imagine. Right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Marley Majcher: Same.
Joe Casabona: It’s a little bit demoralizing but it forces you to change.
Marley Majcher: Absolutely.
Joe Casabona: I’ll tell you what, there’s a game on my phone. It’s called Marvel Snap. It’s like a turn-based card game. It’s like Magic: The Gathering but easier because I’m bad at that game. And the first day I downloaded it was a Saturday, which means I got my screen time report from my iPhone on Sunday. I spent six hours in that game the first day I downloaded it. And I was like, “Well, now I’m putting a screen time limit of an hour on that game. So now at least if I blow an hour on it on a weekday, my phone shames me and it goes, “Hey…”
Marley Majcher: Right? “Do you want to do this?”
Joe Casabona: “Do you really want to play this more?”
Marley Majcher: So this is the time when podcasts all should have videos, because just even as you’re saying that, I just caught myself holding my eyes because I knew where it was gonna go. We’ve all done it.
Joe Casabona: And don’t get me wrong. If today is your day and you want to do whatever you want to do-
Marley Majcher: Knock yourself out. But know that you are like, Oh, I’m checking out. And guess what? The six hours, that wasn’t even enough.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, exactly. You know, what I was doing was playing it passively at the dinner table, or playing it while keeping one eye on my baby and to make sure she’s like not eating Christmas ornaments or whatever. Knowing how and when you’re spending your time is really illuminating.
I’m not in a good habit of setting timers but screen time really helps me because it tells you apps I’m in. Well, Mac also has the screen time. But there’s an app called Timing that just kind of tells you what websites, how much time. The first time I saw I spent how many hours on Twitter. I don’t even like Twitter. I mean, Twitter could be dead by the time this episode comes out. I don’t even like this social media platform and I’m spending so much time on it.
Marley Majcher: When you write things down and you see them in black and white, then a) you have an opportunity when you’re writing them down to be like, “Oh gosh, I didn’t realize that.” b) you have an opportunity when you review it, like your totals for the week. But c) you have a real opportunity when you start critically thinking and saying, “Now I actually want to make a change. What would be the easiest things to change?”
Because it’s kind of like any negotiation. Basically, in this time you’re negotiating with yourself, right? So in any negotiation there’s some throwaway stuff. So if you said, like the Twitter thing, you’re like, “Okay, I spent an hour and a half this week or two hours this week on Twitter and you’re like, “I don’t even like Twitter.” Yeah, fun. Done. I’ll give you that two hours.
That is a very easy substitute that you’re not even going to notice. And you might find that you’re going to be so satisfied doing whatever it is you’re going to be doing for two hours and not annoyed with Twitter that the whole game might change.
So they are really kind of those three levels of benefits from tracking your time, but it absolutely is mindfulness and it is… I mean, I have binge-watched Breaking Bad, I mean, to the point where it’s like, Oh my goodness gracious. But I have needed that. Like it is like, Dude, it was either gonna be Breaking Bad or I was gonna be badly broken very quickly, okay? Because there were things that were not going in the right direction. So our minds do need to unwind but you need to know that your log sucks out.
Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Ahrefs, an all in 0ne SEO toolset that gives you what you need to rank your website in Google and get tons of search traffic. And now you can use their Webmaster Tools for free. Ahrefs has been instrumental as I try to get more traffic for Podcast Liftoff.
Their Webmaster Tools are made for small website owners. Connect your website through Google Search Console, and get your site audits, backlinks, and keyword data. If you create content, this is a must-have. Gain a following and increase traffic to your site for free. Sign up for Ahrefs at Ahrefs.com/awt. That’s Ahrefs.com/awt.
Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Groundhogg. Groundhogg is an open source CRM and marketing automation suite for serious agencies, small businesses, content creators, ecommerce experts, and WordPress professionals. Groundhogg allows you to create funnels, automate email, and SMS communications and manage your contacts from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard.
Unlike other SAS CRM platforms, Groundhogg does not charge you a success tax. Groundhogg charges a flat rate fee regardless of the size of your list. Groundhogg will never charge you more as your list grows. It also integrates with all of the top WordPress, ecommerce LMS, and membership plugins to create a unified customer experience.
Start now with a 14-day demo for $1. Go to howibuilt.it/groundhogg. That’s howibuilt.it/groundhogg or use the code HOWIBUILTIT for 20% off your first year of any plan. Thanks so much to Groundhogg for sponsoring this episode of How I Built It.
Sponsor: This episode is brought to you by LearnDash. Look, I’ve been making courses for a long time. I’ve taught at the college level and I’ve created curriculums for several different organizations, including Udemy, Sessions College, and LinkedIn Learning. When I create my own courses, there’s no better option than LearnDash.
LearnDash combines cutting-edge eLearning tools with WordPress. They’re trusted to power learning programs for major universities, small to mid-sized companies, startups and creators worldwide. What makes LearnDash so great is it was created by and is run by people who deeply understand online learning, and adds features that are truly helpful for independent course creators. I love the user experience.
And now you can import Vimeo and YouTube playlists and have a course created automatically in seconds. I trust LearnDash to run my courses and membership. And you should too. Learn more at howibuilt.it/learndash.
Joe Casabona: You know, as this episode comes out, you know, Jedi Survivor is coming out for Xbox and I know I’m going to spend a lot of time on it. I know my wife knows. Like we’re gonna have that time on the calendar.
Marley Majcher: I love it. But isn’t that amazing? Because guess what? You’re gonna have the time on the calendar. But because you’re planning and then there’s the whole thing of for every minute you plan you save four minutes, right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Marley Majcher: So you having that on the calendar, even if you plan for six hours, you just according to that formula save 24. So there you go.
Joe Casabona: Wow. I like that a lot. For every minute you plan you say four minutes. And what that really gets at the root of, and this is why I like talking about time tracking, right? Because you need to know how you’re spending your time and then you can think about how you should be spending your time. So I’m going to show this as another reason maybe why we should have video. But you know, this is my little like to-do-
Marley Majcher: Love it.
Joe Casabona: …list card for the day. I use the Analog system by Ugmonk, and I like it because it’s a little slot and it sits upright and I have to look at it while I’m at my desk. And I write this card out the night before so that when I get to my desk, I am not like, “Oh, what am I even going to do today?”
Marley Majcher: Right. The other thing on that too because I have… They can’t see it but I have every… I do everything on blank index. And one of the amazing things is when you do what you did, which is you have your to-do on the card and then I add two extra things that if I really need to kick it in gear. I put an A, B, or C which is the priority level. Because sometimes if you plan to do these things and you haven’t quote wide up one day, and then something comes up, I want at least to know I’m focusing not just going top to bottom on the list. Because I think there’s something in our brains that just wants to go top to bottom. I want to know. “I better do the frickin A’s,” right? And the A’s aren’t necessarily going to come out at the top because when I’m brainstorming the list, I might not think of it. So I do the A, B, C thing as far as the prioritization.
But the other thing I do is I do a zero, literally a zero, or I do a $1 sign, a $2 sign, and a $3 sign. And what that does is reminds me this $3 sign, you know, spend 10 minutes doing that, finishing this contract to send off to the client, and you’re gonna get a deposit for $30,000, or whatever it is. So guess what? If I see that, and I know all of a sudden, Oh. And I see something that’s like a $3 sign and then A, well, it’s very simple to start organizing your time, especially for newbies doing this.
I mean, sometimes we need the paint by numbers. And sometimes it’s just nice not to think. But when you start looking all this stuff, where it’s like, you know, mail whatever back versus something that’s going to be like, you know, return coaching client email, and you know that’s gonna give you a $3 sign, the other thing its gonna give you a zero, Oh, my. You just start training your brain to recognize important things. And that’s what it’s all about.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, for sure. I love that. Because I’m always inclined to like… You know, there’s 10 things on my list and I’m inclined to do the ones that are going to make me fill in the most bubbles. And one is pick up my kids. There’s no way I’m not going to do that. That sounds like an easy checkmark. But clear inbox or write social media posts. Like, I don’t need to do that. There’s also send content ideas to this brand, so that we can get proposals together.
Marley Majcher: Well, that would be a huge-
Joe Casabona: That’s a $3 sign.
Marley Majcher: Right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Marley Majcher: Big time. And by the way, it doesn’t mean that necessarily you’ll do it today. But as you say, you’re sitting there looking at it every day. So after a couple days, you’re like, “Dude, you know, and oh, by the way, the mortgage is due or the rent is due. Oh, you know what? Let’s just frickin knock this out.”
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. That’s the other. I have another card here. It’s called my five critical actions for the week.
Marley Majcher: Wow.
Joe Casabona: These are the things that need to be done no matter what. And those are the things I look at every day. All of this because I time track and I know… Again, I’ve been freelancing, I’ve been self-employed since high school. So I had to learn. And now I have three kids and a mortgage. I need to know how to spend my time wisely.
So as we kind of come to the end of this, I think you’ve probably already told us but let’s say the creators are listening, and they’re like, “Geez, I don’t know how much time I’m spending on TikTok videos.” What do you recommend?
Marley Majcher: Very simple. Just take a blank piece of paper. Because I mean, as I say, even if I say download an app, it’s gonna be like, “oh, and then go to set up the account. There’s two ways to get out of it, okay?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Marley Majcher: So take a piece of paper and write today’s date and then you just write whatever time you’re starting. You’re like, “Okay, 9:40 a.m. to…” and then you’re like… you’re just doing your video. You don’t have to get so granular where you’re like, “Now I’m changing the lighting. Now I’m whatever…” Because the idea is also to learn… The next advanced part two is to learn how long something takes you so then you can price yourself better in the future. And then you can start charging what you’re worth and saying no, and not get lowballed and feel guilty. Because you’re going to start these timers with your TikTok video and then you’re gonna start realizing, “Wow, it takes about three hours total by the time this is all said and done, or two or whatever.”
And then you can say, so for me to be an influencer, or for me to get merchandise, or for me to get, it needs to be X amount in cash or, let’s say 10 times the value of merchandise. Whatever your formula is going to be. But that’s what I would say is just start writing it down and just put the activity. And then when you switch to Facebook or Twitter or… And by the way, even if you switch to doing two minutes of a text, stop and just train yourself. Text message for that client, then go back. And just so that you can just see it. Because the other thing you’re gonna also realize is all this switching back and forth is what makes us very inefficient and it takes our brains have to restart. So there’s a whole other productivity lesson just in that.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, context switching is huge and killer.
Marley Majcher: Huge. Huge.
Joe Casabona: I’ve started doing this because I read Carey Nieuwhof’s book about finding your green zone. I actually have a focus mode on my phone called green zone where the only notifications that break through are my wife, my mom, and my kids’ schools. Those are the only four entities. Because if something’s wrong, invariably my mom is going to be the person to tell me anyway. Or if my kid’s sick. So everything else can wait. I’m not going to be in a green zone all day.
Marley Majcher: Right. Nor could you. You couldn’t sustain it.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, you can’t, right? Yeah, exactly. So what I like about at least writing the start time down, because I’ve done this too where I’ve started a timer in Timery or Toggle or whatever. And then I’ll do a task and then five hours will go by and I’m like, “Wow, it’s taken me five hours to do that task,” but what I did was I went to Facebook or I went to Twitter.
Marley Majcher: By the way, if that happens, you don’t have to start all over again. Just stop the timer then. Because you can even do a timer on your phone is really easy a stopwatch, and just put… Okay, yeah, you were still doing that task for five hours, but then just try to guesstimate. Okay, I was on Facebook for about this and this. And then just start chunking it down, and then just try to get back to being better.
The other thing is the Pomodoro method, it’s all about the, you know, 50 minutes and then you take a 10-minute break or something. So the other thing you can do too is you can set your stopwatch when you start, but always then set an alarm for let’s say 50 minutes, which is when we should get up and walk around and clear our heads anyway. And that’s a good reminder to be like, “What did I just do in that 50 minutes?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. At least starting the timer makes you face the fact that you have wasted some time on Facebook anyway, right?
Marley Majcher: Exactly.
Joe Casabona: I love that. Marley, this has been really fantastic. Stick around for the pro show if you want to hear more conversation with Marley Majcher. You can sign up for five bucks a month, which is less than the coffee that I bought at the coffee shop this morning. So you can do that over at howibuilt.it/pro. But Marley if people want to learn more about you, where can they find you?
Marley Majcher: Well, on social media, of course. Our website is theprofitgoddess.com. And then for any of your listeners who want to get kind of a free taste of what I’m talking about, it’s sort of like a little video, free video series about kind of the principles in the book, you can go to mini.theprofitgoddess.com. And then, of course, you can buy the book on Amazon, which I would love. That’d be amazing.
Joe Casabona: Also, I don’t know if this helps you or hurt you. Maybe we could talk about this in Pro, but I think it’s part of Kindle Unlimited, which is how I read it. I think.
Marley Majcher: Oh, yeah.
Joe Casabona: So I mean, I think you get to choose if it’s on unlimited or not. Or maybe it’s not. I actually have to check. We’ll check this in Pro. But I’ll include all of that in the show notes as well. So the profitgoddess.com and mini.theprofitgoddess.com.
And if you want to get links to everything we talked about, because we mentioned apps and resources and lots of other fun things, you can head over to howibuilt.it/301. Marley, thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
Marley Majcher: Thank you for having me. It was great.
Joe Casabona: My pleasure. And thank you so much for listening. Thanks to our sponsors for this week, Ahrefs, Groundhogg, and LearnDash. You can find them at the aforementioned howibuilt.it/301. And until next time, get out there and build something.
Free Email Course!
5 Fast Fixes to Grow Your Podcast.
Wondering why your podcast growth is stagnating (or non-existent)? You likely just need to make a few small tweaks to see growth. In this free email course, we’ll go over what they are, why they work, and how you can implement them. Sign up below to have it delivered instantly.