In many ways, the launch of Ultimate Book Blogger v3 has been amazing. But in some ways it’s actually been pretty bad, and has highlighted a few things that I need to change about the way I do business ASAP.
1) I need a staycation… Like, now
I’ve been working practically 24/7 the last few weeks. My schedule, seven days a week, has been:
- Wake up
I see myself turning into a workaholic. And normally I don’t mind that, because I love what I do. But ever since UBBv3’s launch, things have been in overdrive.
I went from averaging 1-2 support tickets a week to about 5-10 a day. And the support tickets themselves went from simply answering questions to actually fixing bugs, which takes significantly more time. And I get it, that’s the nature of the job. I released a totally new product (well, the same product re-coded) and it’s going to have bugs that need fixing and new questions that need answering. THAT’S OKAY! I’m certainly not scolding people for submitting tickets. That’s perfectly okay and I’m here to help.
But I didn’t properly plan ahead for this. I should have cleared my entire plate while I focused on UBB, but I’m working on UBB in addition to several client projects. It’s all starting to weigh down on me. It’s hard to keep up and other areas of my life that I love (like my blog) are suffering because of it.
- I have no “me” time.
- I’m working too much.
- I’m getting stressed.
- Things frustrate me more easily.
- I’m getting snappy because of said stress/frustrations.
I need a solid week-long break at home
Not a vacation. I don’t feel like I need to go anywhere, and I do have a few mini vacations coming up. But vacations in themselves can be exhausting. I just need a week of time where I can relax at home, maybe finally install Inbox Pause or whatever it’s called, and just do nothing. Or whatever I want.
In reality, I probably will work during this time, but it will be things that I love and want to do. For example:
- I want to finally re-code my newsletter plugin. Not just to sell, but for me as well to use on my own blog.
- I’m working on a new Small Business Contracts plugin that I want to use on my own site. (Though will probably release it as well.)
- I want to play around with coding more themes.
Yes these things are still kind of work, but they’re things that I WANT to do. They benefit me as well because I want to use them on my own sites and my own blog. But these are the things that have fallen behind in my to-do list because client projects and support tickets have taken priority.
Sometimes the idea of a break is daunting in itself
Taking a break from work can be healthy, but it’s also incredibly scary. You know why? Because let’s say I do take a week off and activate Inbox Pause. Well I know that when that week is over, I’m going to have 150+ new emails I have to wade through. I feel like I’ll spend the next week after that playing catchup.
When does it end?!?
How do you handle vacations/staycations? What do you do about the huge inbox that awaits you when you return?
2) I need to take weekends off.. FOR REAL!
I tell myself (and my clients) that I take weekends off, but I don’t. Not really.
Typically I don’t do any client work on weekends, but my entire weekend is still spent doing work of some kind. That might be coding UBB, responding to support tickets, creating other new products (like Amanda), or sometimes secretly doing client work.
This needs to stop.
My biggest weakness is support tickets. I feel like I need to answer them all AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. But I need to set some actual business hours and stick to them. I’m going crazy without some “me” time. Maybe it’s some irrational fear that people will hate me if my response time is more than an hour.
- I need to put office hour times/days on my website and make it clear that I won’t be responding outside of them.
- I need to stop working on “work” on the weekends.
3) I need a schedule
I don’t particularly like schedules. I’m very much a “do whatever, whenever” kind of gal. But I think I actually need a schedule or some kind of structure. Maybe something like:
- Monday: Client work
- Tuesday: Pre-made products / support tickets
- Wednesday: Client work
- Thursday: Pre-made products / support tickets
- Friday: Accounting / client work
Right now my schedule is more like:
- M/T/W/T/F: Do client work, but then drop everything as soon as a new email/support ticket comes in
Maybe I’d get more done if I had a stricter schedule. What do you think?
4) I’m switching to yearly licenses instead of lifetime
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. When I first started my business, all of my products were released with lifetime licenses. That means someone pays one time, and I support them forever.
When I was only getting one support ticket per week, that seemed perfectly feasible. But when it came time to upgrade the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin, it became painfully evident how unrealistic it was.
- I basically wasn’t getting paid to put in 100+ hours to re-code UBB.
- Since I had 700+ customers to support all at once, I got an onslaught of new support tickets that I basically wasn’t getting paid for.
- I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of people I had to support.
The industry standard in WordPress is to have yearly licenses that need to be renewed. I’d thought about this before but never went through with it. Now, of course, I see the error of my ways.
Yearly licenses help support the future development of a product. If people are renewing their license keys, I’m receiving more compensation to develop the product in the future. It’s easier for me to spend more time supporting my customers when I’m being paid regularly for it. It’s more sustainable.
So this step is one I’ve actually implemented on all my plugins. For new purchases, customers will receive 12 months of free support and automatic updates. After 12 months, they’ll have the option to renew their license key for another year. Whether or not they choose to renew, they’ll have lifetime access to the plugin itself. But they’ll only get support and automatic updates if they have a valid, in-date license key.
5) I need to stop doing small projects
I’m looking at the sheer amount of work that I have, and I think it’s time for a change. Here’s what I’d like to see my business go:
- Primary focus on pre-made products and web hosting
- High paying, long term client projects on the side
A lot of the things that weigh me down are the small projects. Things like:
- Oh yeah, I can fix/do that for you for $50!
- Yeah I’ll code that for you for $125
- Sure, I can migrate you to WordPress for $99
I find that these projects are starting to feel like they’re not worth my time. Or more accurately, they take my time away when I could be spending it doing the things I want to do more (like code that damn newsletter plugin!).