What do you spend your time on when you’re trying to make money on the internet?

Too Long; Didn’t Read Summary: This article about how to spend your time when making money online uses a formula to analyze how you can prioritize your efforts to make money online if the goal is to “follow the money”

How you spend your time is a big question.

Think about it. In the past week, heck, the past day, where did you spend your time?

  • Rushing to meet deadlines at work?
  • Working on homework or big projects?
  • Eating, sleeping, body care?
  • Taking care of loved ones or fur babies?
  • Creating memories with your family?
  • Arguing, fighting, circular thinking?
  • Dreaming of possibilities?
  • Working on an action plan to reach your goals?

If you don’t have a plan, then you might get distracted and not work on projects that will actually make you money.

How to prioritize your efforts to make money online – Table of Contents

Time is Limited

Regardless of whether you have a 9-5 kind of job, or a more flexible work schedule, time is the ultimate commodity.

  • Everyone gets the same amount of hours in the day
  • You can’t create more time, but you can choose to spend your time differently.
  • During tough times, just know that eventually the time will pass. (If you’re working out for an hour, just know at the end of the hour, you’ll be done)
  • During great times, enjoy the moment and live in the now!

As a digital marketing entrepreneur who is trying to make money online, I have a lot of freedom in how I choose to spend my time.

  • I can sit away at my computer and log away the hours.
  • I can work for clients and try to help them achieve their dreams.
  • I can distract myself with video games, Netflix, or other… ooh squirrel!
  • In fact, there are some days where it’s tough to even get out of bed.

I’m at a crossroads.

Summer is here, and if I don’t spend a little time figuring out where I want to allocate my time, the squeakiest wheel will get my attention.

(Or distractions, I love dis… squirrel!)

Recently, things were going fantastic and I made $2,735 online (CAD) in May 2019!

And, I’m pretty sure in one day, I lost all of that and more through a mistake I made in affiliate marketing that will cost me thousands of dollars. (That post is coming up!)

So, I need to think about what projects I’m going to invest time in. As I once read online about becoming a millionaire, the key is to follow the money…

I have a few projects on the go exploring different ways to make money online.

I also measure my time in units of 25 minutes to try to stay focused. (Or, more accurately, trees of 25 minutes.)

So, which projects are making me money, and what should I focus on?

I need a system to figure out where the money is if I want to follow the money and focus on it.

(Yes, there are other criteria I could use to prioritize what I spend my time on: enjoyment, spending time with family, etc, but this is a site about internet income, so money seems like a suitable benchmark to use.)

I need a rough estimate to figure out how my projects are doing (as I’m working at a starbucks and don’t have access to all of my numbers)…

I’m a pretty analytical kind of guy, so I’m going to think of things in terms of:

  • actual earnings (in this quarter Q2 2019),
  • earning potential (in the next quarter Q3 2019),
  • likelyhood that I will continue to make actual earnings
  • probability I will reach this earning potential

Hmm. The math guy in me wants to come up with a formula! (Sorry, geeking out here.)

Priority Score = A * L + E * P

And to through numbers into the mix, I’ll probably go with something like…

Actual Earnings / Earning Potential:

How much have I made in the past few months… How much do I think I can make (on average) in this quarter? (July 1- Sep 30 Q32019)

  • Epic (4) – make $10,000+ per month
  • High (3) – make over $1000 per month
  • Medium (2) – make over $100 per month
  • Low (1) – make over $1 per month
  • None (0) – made $0 so far.

The likelihood that I will continue to make actual earnings / Probability I will make the potential earnings:

How likely will I achieve this goal between July 1 to September 30 (Q3 2019) if I spend all of my effort on this project?

  • Epic chance (4) – practically guaranteed (90%+ probability)
  • Good chance (3) – good chance (70-89% probability)
  • Some chance (2) – some chance (30%-69% probability)
  • Little chance (1) – little chance (10-29% probability)
  • No chance (0) – no chance or practically no chance (0-9% probability)

(Darn it, the teacher in me still likes that 4 point rubric scale…)

How could I spend my time Option 1: Product Review website

My Make Money Online 2008 Project 1 is my clear money maker right now.

It currently pulls in affiliate marketing revenue when I do product reviews, and I have some ideas to make comparison youtube videos to help draw traffic.

This would take an epic amount of work, but I think it would bring in more traffic, and then some of these visitors would go to my merchant’s site, and then a few of those would buy the product and I would get a commission.

But, it’s hard to get youtube views, I find…

I think I could also focus on Google Adsense to try to make some more money off of the pages that aren’t strictly related to the product review stuff:

  • actual earnings: Medium
  • earning potential: High
  • likelyhood that I will continue to make actual earnings: Some chance
  • probability I will reach the potential earnings: Some chance

Product Review Website – Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 2(2) + 3(2) = 10

How could I spend my time Option 2: OttawaSplashPads.ca

In 2013, we started a review of all of the splashpads in Ottawa.

Recently, I started running Google Ads on Make Money Online 2013 Project 2.

  • I think in June, we made around $8 (Canadian), which is kind of exciting because other attempts to make money on that site didn’t work.
  • I don’t see any reason why that would drop in the summer.

What’s interesting about this site is that it has a lot of traffic in summer (July, August), and drops to nothing in the rest of the year. TYhis makes sense because outdoor urban water parks are a summer thing.

  • actual earnings: low
  • earning potential: medium
  • likelyhood that I will continue to make actual earnings: Good chance
  • probability I will reach the potential earnings: Some chance

OttawaSplashPads.ca Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 1(3) + 2(2) = 7 points

How could I spend my time Option 3: Educircles.org and Teachers Pay Teachers resources

This project is my baby, and my gut says it has a lot of potential to take off. But, it hasn’t yet.

If I want this little patch of grass to grow, I need to water it and spend more time here…

Basically, I create Growth Mindset Lesson Plans and then I try to sell them on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

So, essentially I’m turning all of my lesson plans from my former life as a teacher and trying to make the world a better place.

I love creating lesson plans around the Six Cs of EducationCharacter, Citizenship, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. (The last two Cs need to be finished, as well as a unit review…)

The problem is I put in so much love and time that it takes over 40 hours, easily, to create one of these lesson packages. And, if they don’t sell, then it’s not a great return on investment.

I think the biggest problem is that I’m undervaluing them. 40 hours of work went into a package that currently sells for around $5.99

I recently learned from trying to do digital marketing for Ottawa Small Businesses that if your prices are too low (when the rest of the market charges a lot more), then potential customers wonder if I’m legit.

So, I still need to figure out if this is still a good spot to invest time in.

I think the key would be to focus on marketing and getting more quality traffic from Australia. (You know, since they’re in the other hemisphere and stuck in school.)

  • actual earnings: low
  • earning potential: medium
  • likelyhood that I will continue to make actual earnings: Good chance
  • probability I will reach the potential earnings: Good chance

Educircles.org / TpT products Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 1(3) +2 (3) = 9 points

How could I spend my time Option 4: SEOT.ca and stories about Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance

This project is important to me because I really believe in that growth mindset mumbo-jumbo that we can all improve.

But, just because we want to improve, doesn’t mean we actually will, unless we take concrete steps and actions. So, SEOT.ca is the idea that with strategies, effort, measuring results and optimizing what we do based on results, as well as a little tinkering, I believe that we can achieve goals.

I made a goal setting powerpoint for students to explain this SEOT philosophy.

And, this time, I thought about trying to make money through that freemium model – give away good content for free, but charge money for premium stuff.

In this case, I gave away the slideshow for free because I think this is stuff we should all be using with our kids and students… but if you want the specific goal-setting handouts that go with the slideshow, there’s a modest fee.

To get traffic, my idea was to research and write stories about people who demonstrate grit, tenacity, or perseverance.

  • Overcoming mental health obstacles is about developing strategies to get through the dark days and tough moments.
  • We can all have great mental health, but it’s not always easy
  • We have too many sensationalized stories about tragedy in popular culture about media.
  • I think we need to give parents, teachers, and schools a better balance of stories to show students and youth that 1) it gets better, and 2) there are strategies and things you can do that might help.

So, clearly, as a depressed teacher in Ottawa, this SEOT philosophy and project mean a lot to me.

But as someone who would like to make enough money to pay rent, I need to think more pragmatically…

  • actual earnings: none
  • earning potential: medium
  • likelyhood that I will continue to make actual earnings: high chance (of making $0)
  • probability I will reach the potential earnings: some chance

SEOT.ca Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 0(3) + 2(2) = 4 points

How could I spend my time Option 5: SEOTeacher.ca

SEOTeacher is my attempt to make money online by writing about my attempts to make money online.

(Also, I like to look into mirrors while holding up a mirror.)

On one hand, SEO is about Search Engine Optimization which is the art and science of trying to get to the top of Google’s search results (and get more traffic / customers.)

On the other hand, getting to the top of Google ain’t easy. Like any goal, it requires grit, tenacity, and perseverance, so I’m using my SEOT goal setting philosophy to try to make it big.

Selling the tools to make money online is a way to make money through affiliate marketing. So, the goal of SEOTeacher was to write about what I was trying… and my epic failures along the way. (Like losing $3K)

I think I could make medium commissions on this site because the analysis tools and web hosting tools pay out a commission between $40 – 90 per sale, so there’s potential.

But, the likelyhood of making those sales before Sep 31, 2019 is pretty low right now. It’s hard to rank for a competitive niche like making money online so I would have to get traffic from other my other sites. Which is a work-in-progress…

  • actual earnings: none
  • earning potential: medium
  • likelyhood that I will continue to make actual earnings: high chance (of making $0)
  • probability I will reach the potential earnings: low

SEOTeacher.ca Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 0(3) + 2(1) = 2 points

Other Sites

I have a few other sites, including one where I talk about struggling through depression and another site where my kid and I learning about selling, but these are more of a twenty-percent project.

Analysis Results or… My SMART goal Summer Game Plan to Make Money from the Internet

A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Action-orientated, Realistic (given the resources you have), and Time-Bound

And here are the final scores – in the order that I should spend time on:

  • Product Review Website: Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 2(2) + 3(2) = 10 points
  • Educircles.org / TpT products: Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 1(3) +2(3) = 9 points
  • OttawaSplashPads.ca: Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 1(3) + 2(2) = 7 points
  • SEOT.ca: Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 0(3) + 2(2) = 4 points
  • SEOTeacher.ca: Priority Score = A * L + E * P = 0(3) + 2(1) = 2 points

This makes sense, I guess. If the goal is to “follow the money”, then projects that are currently earning money will score higher than potential money.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

Especially, if it’s a money making bird…

So, this summer, I need to focus on my Product Review Website, my Teaching Resource website, and my SplashPads website.

The splashpad website is a project with my kid, so we’ll work on that together when she’s with me.

Ooh a ratio question!

  • Product Review Website: Priority Score = 10 / 25 points or 40% of my time
  • Educircles.org / TpT products: Priority Score = 9 / 25 points or 36% of my time
  • SEOT.ca: Priority Score = 4 / 25 points or 16% of my time
  • SEOTeacher.ca: Priority Score = 2 / 25 or 8% of my time

So, in a 50 hour work week, I’m doing…

  • Product Review Website : 20 hours
  • Educircles.org / TpT products: 18 hours
  • SEOT.ca: 8 hours
  • SEOTeacher.ca: 4 hours

(And I should be spending around 18 hours per week on SplashPads with my kiddo. That should be okay. We’re going to be driving to different splash pads in Ottawa this summer…)

Wait! Let’s be realistic.

There are some days that I just can’t get going.

Back in the day when I was on my game, I could easily do 60-70 hour work weeks.

Even though I’m choosing my struggle, I think trying to do 50 hours a week won’t work for me, and would just be overwhelming guilt because I’ve set myself up for failure.

But, I think I could handle 25 hours in a week (which is roughly 4 hours a day.) Obviously if this was a side gig, I’d be happy to get 2 hours a day, but I’ve quit my old job and I have to make this work.

What am I going to measure?

In terms of keeping track if I actually making progress (because if you don’t water the grass, chances are nothing will grow), I’m going to keep track of two things:

I’m going to measure time.

  • I do like using the Forest app to plant virtual trees, work in 25 minutes blocks, and monitor progress…
  • I also use TimeCamp to keep track of how long I work on projects. (It integrates nicely with Trello)

And I’ll know I’m successful if I work 25 hours per work week, which means I’m planting 50 trees per week (or around 8 trees per day, with a day of rest.)

  • Product Review Website : 20 trees
  • Educircles.org / TpT product : 18 trees
  • SEOT.ca: 8 trees
  • SEOTeacher.ca : 4 trees

I’m going to keep track of income / money made online.

Here are my target monthly goals (on average) that I’m trying to reach before September 30, 2019:

Here are the main summer goals:

  • Product Review Website: High Potential Earnings: ($1000 per month, on average)
  • Educircles.org / TpT products: Medium Potential Earnings (over $100 per month, on average)

And these are goals that would be nice to have, but have a low probability of happening. Probably.

  • SEOT.ca: Medium Potential Earnings (over $100 per month, on average)
  • SEOTeacher.ca: Medium Potential Earnings (over $100 per month, on average)

SMART GOAL for my 2019 summer of making money online!

  • SMART GOAL #1: My goal is to make an average of $1000 per month from my Product Review Website before Sep 30, 2019 by working at least 20 trees (10 hours) per week on this project 
  • SMART GOAL #2: My goal is to make an average of $100 per month from my Six Cs Character Education Lesson Plan website before Sep 30, 2019 by working at least 20 trees (10 hours) per week on this project. 

I think these are SMART goals because they’re…

  • Specific – I have numbers and targets
  • Measurable – I’m measuring how much money I make and how much time I put in.
  • Action oriented – I’m working a little bit each week on these projects.
  • Realistic – I’ve thought about earning potentials, and the likelihood of getting those targets. I’ve also thought about how much time I can invest in this.
  • Time Bound – the deadline is the end of Q3 2019 (Sep 30, 2019)

How many virtual timer trees do I need to plant for each of my projects?

Green Tree - General

Green Tree
General

20 yellow trees
Product Referrral

18 moon trees
Educircles / TpT

8 Purple Trees
SEOT.ca

4 Banana Trees
SEOTeacher.ca

18 Candy Trees
Splash Pads

What do you spend your time on when you’re trying to make money on the internet?

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