Part-Time to Get Focussed

This year has seen significant change in my work life.

In the day job I’ve experienced a change of managers, team, office, a split to a new company, responsibility and ways of working.

And I love it. It feels good to have that motivation back, that I was lacking during early 2009, as I continued to perform two roles as a tester and another as Director of my own business.

Significantly I’ve been doing the day-job as a part-time employee for two months now.

I only work in my career role for three days a week.

This means that the time spent in the office are focussed and demanding.

I get asked all the time how part-time life is treating me.

Generally I’ve found that I don’t like working at home alone for consecutive days in a row. I can handle two or three back-to-back but beyond that I yearn to get back in the office atmosphere around people.

And mentally I am still fine tuning the balance of my working weeks. Starting the weekend early on Thursday doesn’t make for a productive Friday.

When I started working part-time I pinpointed three areas that I would focus on and look at over time to see how successful it had been. I also had hard numbers for each so could actually measure any progress.

  • Sleep
  • Profit
  • Engagement

Sleep

Having two jobs is very time consuming and I found that the thing sacrificed the most was my sleep.  Updating voucher codes or fixing WordPress issues at 1am isn’t pleasant. Basically I wasn’t getting enough sleep.

Now with the aid of the Sleep Cycle iPhone app I can measure my sleep and I target the prescribed 7 hours. After 67 nights my average sleep per night is 6 hours 15 minutes. A huge improvement and I now have more energy to get me through the day and a few extra gym sessions.

I rarely do work beyond midnight now. Work can often wait until one of the four days I’m at home. I use my last hour of the day to wind down at the casino.

Profit

With all the changes at work I felt I had to make the decision to leave completely, do a sabbatical for up to nine months or work part-time. Carrying on as was, wasn’t practical. I couldn’t squeeze everything that needs doing in my own business into evenings and weekends.

Staying as was, also meant that profits would have nose dived as the sites that make money were updated infrequently.

A six month review of this year shows my commissions are up £5,000 on the first six months of 2009 from the retail side plus a few grand more from gambling merchants. The total figure makes for a nice salary.

I have the spent the last couple of weeks just auditing how efficient I am at working and with a simple spreadsheet I’ve found that I’ve only got 50% of the available voucher codes on my ShopCodes site at any one time that I could have. That’s actually really good to know and provides focus.

Engagement

There are lots of benefits of networking. You learn new skills, tricks, get new contacts and have an excuse to party in new places.

I specifically chose to have a Friday off work so that I could use the long weekend to travel around more and get to more events.

Previously visiting the a4UAwards or Affili.net poker evening would mean taking one or two days holiday and I’d find that by the time I get to the second half of the year I’d run out of holiday days to attend late summer or christmas events.

Now with an extra 104 days in my armoury I can get to a few more.

Also by engagement I’m thinking of  the relationships that I have with people online.

I’ve always got up to 3,000 unread emails.

I’m always dealing with my accountant, weeks after he wants to.

Now I measure these. Focus on them. Improve on them.

Scratch2Cash Affiliate Program – An Itch to Write Off!

Scratch2Cash are an itch I have the pleasure of no longer doing business with. I received an email at the weekend from their Market Budget Analyst to invoice them for any money they owe me from 2009 for their accountants.

Knowing that I’d referred a $3,500 paying customer I logged into the NeoGames Partners account to check on my total commission. The Scratch2Cash email included the caveat:

If the amount is less than 100 EUR, we are not obligated to pay, as disclosed on the affiliate agreement listed on the website. Any amount under the “Minimum Amount” (100 EUR) will be written off.

I’ve never read anything so ridiculous. Now I owe lots of companies less than 100 Euros and I just can’t write that off.

“Fitness First, you know that £38.75 you want off me for the couple of times I enter your gym, well I’m writing that off!”

“British Telecom, you know that £39.47 I owe you just to have a landline, well I’m writing that off!”

When I questioned this via email , they replied that they were closing my account.

Since you unfortunately were not able to bring us €100 or more of traffic, we will close your account.

Imagine if a reputable affiliate network chose not to pay you because you’d only made one sale – but not only that, not give you the opportunity to make more sales so that you could reach their self imposed payment tier?

Affiliates, you have been warned. I’d write-off the Scratch2Cash affiliate program today.

Still have that itch? Don’t Apply Now!

Time to lose the comfort blanket?

It’s that time of year where you do your reflecting on what you could have done previously and what you should be doing more of in the coming months. I’ve been reflecting and thinking every single day this year.

2009 has been a good year for my site ShopCodes, such that my accountant said to me before Christmas, “You need to lose your comfort blanket”. He was referring to my full time day-job.

To put it into context the turnover and profit, since Halloween passed by and the gift shoppers arrived, is exactly the same as what I earn as salary in my well paid day job.

For my business over 91% of my turnover is profit as I don’t withdraw a salary as a Director and the 9% goes on Internet and networking costs.

And with not withdrawing even much as numberswiki.com

dividends from the business, there’s enough in the rainy day pot for my accountant to say, “you can pay yourself a substantial salary for at least four years”.

And what if the business starts to suffer from more competition or other threats? “Start looking for work after two years”.

During early 2010 it’s all change in my full time job. Change of boss, job title and location. The office we’re moving to is on the same street I currently live. I’ve a fear that I’ll get cabin fever working, living (also exercising, drinking and gambling) in the same place.

But that’s also now the fear I have if I decide to leave my ‘comfort blanket’. I’ve never liked change and previously it was about financial security. Now, it’s about cabin fever.

So there’ll be more reflecting from me for a few months yet.

Video Highlights Google Love

It may not get me extra traffic or indeed more commission but it does make my results stand out from yours.

If you search for “argos voucher codes” or some other combination like “argos promotion code” within Google, my ShopCodes Argos page is either bottom of page one or mid page two but what is striking is that the search engine has chosen to display an Argos video clip more info

integrated into my results listing.

Argos Video on Shop Codes

So even on page two, it stands out from the crowd. And if the result were say fourth on page one, those below would probably get ignored as your eye is drawn towards the image.

So merchants start making those videos available as I’ve a feeling a few more affiliates shall take my lead and display them.

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