Blogging, Productivity

It’s Time For A Change In My Business Again – How I’m Increasing My Productivity

By Leslie Samuel

If you've EVER gotten ANY value from ANYTHING I've ever done, I'd really love it if you would take the time to read this ENTIRE post. It's probably the hardest post I've ever written, but hopefully one of the most liberating ones (and I'm not saying that just to sound good).

One of my favorite things about what I do is the amount of people I get to help, both on my Biology Blog and here at Become A Blogger.

I remember when I first started my Biology Blog, I started getting comments relatively quickly. People started asking a bunch of questions and I started feeling like – “Man, this thing is SOOO worth it”. I was helping people with a SERIOUS pain point.

Some people were literally failing and about to give up on their dreams of becoming a doctor (and many other things), but they found my stuff, it helped them, and they were reassured that they could do it.

Can you imagine how that feels?

But then it reached to a point where I was getting sooo many emails and SOOOO many questions that I just couldn't do it anymore. I was spending so much time answering questions that I wasn't getting anymore done.

I was forced to ask the following question: Is it really helpful to spend sooo much time responding to email if the side effect was that my content production decreased SIGNIFICANTLY?

The answer was obvious – a resounding no. So, I did what I knew I had to do. I put my assistant on it 🙂

Ohh mann, let me tell you – that was soo liberating. Not only because it saved me A TON of time, but also because my AWESOME assistant started doing a MUCH better job responding to people than I would, because it was one of the main things she was doing.

The fact was, my responses were getting much shorter and less helpful.

One of the benefits of doing this is that I was able to spend more time working on, and building, Become A Blogger.

Now imagine this – With my biology blog, it's mostly me trying to help the world, and in the last month, the blog has been accessed 57,983 times by 44,835 people.

With Become A Blogger, I get to help YOU, and MANY others like you, so that they can build something like I did and help their own 44,835 people. Can you see how AWESOME that is?

Since I'm a teacher by nature, I personally feel like it doesn't get any better than that. In fact, I think it's based on the exact same concept that Jesus played out in His life. He Focused on his group of 12, while helping MANY others. Then, those 12 went on to Literally change the world.

Now, I'm NOT claiming to be Jesus, but I think He's an EXCELLENT example – moving on 🙂

It has now reached a point at Become A Blogger where the engagement is BLOWING ME AWAY. I love it. No really, I LOVE IT. Just check out the comments on my last post, which had absolutely nothing to do with blogging.

You should see some of the emails I get on a daily basis. It's an amazing thing, and once again – I'm in a place where I truly feel like I'm making a difference in the world and it's exciting.

So, let me say this from the bottom of my Heart – I LOVE interacting with you. I LOVE the fact that there are MANY people who've been reading my blog and getting value from it.

I LOVE the fact that I'm getting so many emails, many from people pouring out their souls and sharing a part of their journey with me.

I feel blessed, and I REALLY do mean that from the bottom of my heart.

However, this weekend was decision making time. I'm at the point where I feel like my content production is not where it needs to be. I don't feel as if I'm providing enough value to you.

I have SOOO many ideas of ways that I can improve what I'm doing right now to help you more, but SOOO little time to actually work on those ideas. Yep, something has to change.

I'm glad you asked. I shared my concern a few days ago on the Become A Blogger Facebook page a few days ago, and I was overwhelmed with the positive responses. I'll be honest – I wasn't sure what to expect. This is what I posted:

I need to find a better way of dealing with all the emails, comments, engagement and overall GREAT stuff that's happening at Become A Blogger. The only downside is that it's taking SO MUCH TIME. Any suggestions? Should I just stop communicating with people? (JK on that last part. all the rest were serious questions).

Here are a summary of the responses:

  • Start sharing some of that responsibility with your Virtual Assistants
  • Don't respond to every single message, only the ones that need a response
  • Only respond to comments left within the first 2 hours
  • People realize you are human, allow yourself honest limits. It's obvious you try to help people.
  • Start charging everyone 🙂

What was clear from the responses was that people were giving input because of the fact that they care, and that they genuinely had my best interest in mind. That's such a blessing. For those of you who responded – THANK YOU!

I've actually taken some of your ideas and will be implementing some of them in the changes I'm making (and don't worry, I won't be charging everyone).

Ok Leslie, what are you changing?

I'm glad you asked. Here's the thing – I still want to help, and I still want a significant amount of that help to be free. Why? Because I believe there are many people who can't afford my help who can benefit tremendously from my help.

So, I'm implementing 3 aspects of change in my business from now on:

Our Relationship

I've come to realize that my responses are best used when they can help multiple people at the same time. For this reason, our communication with each other will be more public from here on out.

There are 2 places that we can communicate with each other directly: Here, at Become A Blogger in the comments and on the Become A Blogger Facebook Page.

The reason for this is so that others can benefit by our exchange. Not only that, but I really believe that this will help to strengthen the sense of community that we're experiencing here at Become A Blogger.

The Community Relationship

I'm not sure if you've noticed this, because it's something I implemented without making a big deal about. However, it is a pretty big deal. I've created a Get Help section of the website. This is a growing knowledge base of answers to common questions that you may have.

If you go there, you can do a search for a particular issue and if there's an answer, it will automatically show up.

IF the answer isn't there, you can go ahead and Post A Public Question. When you do that, ANYONE can chime in (including myself) to answer your questions, and the community can vote on the best answer. It's like a new kinda forum, but easier to manage.

It's quite awesome. Go ahead and try it out.

Also, keep checking back to see if new questions are posted that you can answer, or even learn from. It's a beautiful thing. You can even see a list of “Community Questions” in the Sidebar right now.

Your Support

Ok, it's obvious that you will need some individual support concerning memberships, technical difficulties and other things that are better handled via email. You will still have that option available.

But here's the thing – many times, you may have a technical question or something of that sort and may choose to send me an email. Sometimes I answer them, but many times I end up asking my assistant and then responding to you personally.

Why? Because in many cases, my assistant knows better than I do 🙂

So, my assistants will be responding to emails on my behalf from now on. My main assistant's name is Noemi and my technical assistant is Myreen. They will be the ones you'll be interacting with via email from now on.

It may take a little while to get that going smoothly, but we're up for the challenge. So feel free to shoot us an email, and you'll get a response.

And IF there's an email that only I can respond to, it will be forwarded to me directly for me to deal with.

But Leslie, What If I Want More?

I'm glad you asked, because I have something else that I'm working on behind the scenes. Next week, I will be starting a small mastermind group. This will be a group that will have a MAXIMUM limit of 10 people.

We will get together every two weeks to have an ACTION oriented coaching call, where we talk about our businesses, brainstorm ideas, come up with action plans, get homework assigned, and just really focus on building.

One thing I've seen in my business is that most of my progress has been made with the help of trusted mentors who have guided me in my blogging career, and it has been invaluable.

I KNOW for a fact that by really focusing on fewer individuals but in a more dedicated way, we can all see some serious progress in our businesses.

Ok, that's all I'm going to say for now, but stay tuned for more info, because it's gonna be SWEET (and I'm a little excited).

What I'm Hoping Will Be The Results

There are two things that I hope to accomplish from making these changes.

  1. I hope to have more time to work on producing HIGH QUALITY content to help you build your blog. That is – create content that will inspire others, resulting in positive change in this world.
  2. I hope to increase the quality of our interactions by focusing our interactions on two platforms – the blog and on Facebook. By not trying to be EVERYWHERE, I can focus my energy on being a few places in a better way
  3. I hope to increase the sense of community at Become A Blogger. It's great that I get to know you, even personally. However, I believe that if you all can connect with each other and support each other through this journey, it will be even more powerful.

So, there you have it – but that's not the end. In fact, I see this as an ongoing conversation and I'd LOVE to get your feedback. Go ahead and voice your thoughts in the comments below. I'll be here 🙂

  1. Quite a few bloggers, the bigger names out there, answer emails by creating posts to answer the questions. Rather than take the time to answer personally the one person, an entire blog post is created both helping the person that originally sent the email and anyone else that needs the info. The time spent ends up being new content for the blog and not just time and effort that is lost past the one communication.

  2. Leslie, I have actually wondered just HOW you manage to do it all. I am glad to see that you are getting the help you need and deserve. I know how easy it is to think we can do it all, but it’s really not possible. And you will thank yourself even more when your new addition joins your family soon! I was wondering about this Mastermind group though. How do we become a part of it? What all is entailed? I would be interested.

    1. @happyfoodholly Thanks Holly. I always know I have your support. I’m still working out the details of the Mastermind group and will be sharing that soon.
      Also, I just clicked on the links and they worked for me. Can you try again and let me know. If it doesn’t work, then let me know what URL you have in the address bar after clicking.

    2. @Leslie Samuel  huh, I just tried it again (in Chrome) and it still isn’t working. When I click on the Get Help Section link, it opens a new tab, and the link is as follows: 
      In internet explorer, it just says the page cannot be displayed.
      Can’t wait to hear some details about the Mastermind group!

  3. Definitely one of your strengths Leslie is prioritising and flexibility! (opps – ok two strengths!)
    As a fellow teacher (also used to teach at tertiary level – although not as a professor ) – I also don’t understand how you do all you do! What is great about what you have done here is you have communicated clearly your needs and feelings and offered a win – win solution – hats off to you mate!
    One thing I don’t understand is why noone takes more advantage of your hotline – I mean where else on the net can you literally call up someone and ask a question like that and have such a high chance of actually having it answered in the podcast!
    Insanely awesome!
    Give it a try all!

    1. Why thanks for the encouragement John. I really do appreciate that. And really, I do all that I do right now because I have AMAZING help. You have no idea. They are just awesome.
      In terms of the hotline, believe it or not, being on a show that’s listened to by a bunch of “strangers” can be an intimidating concept for many people.
      Although, I do have a few questions that I need to get to. It’s hard sometimes when I get on a streak of doing interviews.
      Anyways, thanks again for the support!

  4. I like your train of thought, and look forward to seeing and connecting with the range of options you put into practice. The internet is a paradoxical environment where we feel we can be in contact with so many people at the one time, but we often want to be recognised as an individual. So many comments fall into that category, looking for an affirmation. No one individual can respond to that need, so the challenge you have set yourself is to find the way to continue to offer the energy and enthusiasm that comes from your personality, without actually having to be in direct contact with everyone, or feeling you are letting people down by not responding personally to their need. Your connection with Yaro Stark is a good model, as he definitely carries a similar quality and integrity in the presentations he does. Can’t comment on Gideon because I haven’t come across him yet.
    I like the master group idea, but it is immediately confronted with the same issue. Everyone would like to be in the master group with you. An evolving network of master groups might make sense, beginning with each member of your master group becoming a member of one other master group, and those groups then take on the responsibility for 10 other groups, and so on. So your master group begins the process of developing discussion, training and mentoring strategies for the evolution of a network of master groups that allow many people to be closely connected to their own small group of individuals that are committed to helping and supporting each other. You might really change the world in some fascinating ways with such a network!
    A further thought and encouragement. The model you operate on is Teaching. I believe it is the strength of your approach, apart from it being your passion and obvious area of competence. The internet business model is almost entirely based on Marketing, and I am sure we have all gone through so many emails and promotions and programs that are full of enthusiastic marketing and motivation, and been very short on detail and quality content. I trust you will take responsibility for ensuring the continuation of education as the core model. Out in our single existence as we connect to the world through the internet, enthusiastic encouragement that we can achieve what we are wanting to do is great, but I want to know how, and like many people, would love it if there was some-one looking over my shoulder every now and then who was able to say, “why don’t you try it this way”, “this is how you do it”, “here’s the information you need”, “here’s a new idea you might find helpful”. A master group network might just be able to do that, but each member of the group will also need to learn/be taught how to be a learner and a mentor. Which seems right to me, after all, we are all learning, and we often learn best what we set out to teach. Master groups must be about mastery, which only comes from learning and perseverance.
    I look forward to observing and participating as your new direction evolves, and encourage you to ensure that  the essence that is your quality and integrity is not diluted. This is not about ego or hanging onto your baby, it is about understanding your uniqueness, and gathering around you the people who can bring that same quality to the process, along with their uniqueness.
    I salute your vision, enthusiasm and commitment. More power to your blog!

    1. @Graham Forbes Wow, that’s some powerful stuff Graham. I LOVED the idea of the mastermind group becoming mentors for other groups. That’s definitely something I will be thinking about seriously for the future, depending on how this initial group goes.
      In terms of the educational aspect of what I do – I just can’t help but carry that on. In fact, I will be doing MUCH more of that in the future, and that’s all I’m saying for now. Just stay tuned 😉

  5. Hats Off to your work ethic mate !!! 🙂
    I completely understand your situation and respect the changes you have decided to undergo. I have always believed that one needs to have a perfect balance between personal and professional life. There is no point getting sucked into long working hours and end up being exhausted. Working Hard is a belief that one will acheive what he/she wants but Working Smart means one is more likely to reach his/her goals. And, by mentioning the changes you plan to undergo, you have given a perfect example of How to Work Smart (to achieve your goals effectively).
    Also, having an individual who an impersonate you, without you actually being in direct contact with everyone, so that people don’t fell let down by not receiving a response to their comments is also awesum.
    Hats off to Noemi and Myleen for their great work and support 🙂
    Now, Just hoping your assistants don’t complain of the extra work load, considering the amount of emails and comments you receive :p :p (Well, just kidding about the last part)

    1. @Leslie Samuel Yes yes, they will be helping out. “Impersonating” a wrong word…Sorry
      Looking forward for more such great posts and learning from them 🙂

  6. Whatever you have to do, we support you Leslie. I’ll take whatever advice you have to give in any form you have to give it! As long as we still get to see your sweet smiling face!

  7. Hi Les, the thing is that all of your posts are good, very good. For some of those posts people need time to implement your strategy or ideas. Then sometimes it feels as if nothing is happening. I have those moments too but then I say to myself “keep going, keep going”! But of course when you blog is growing that fast, at some time, whether you like or not, you need some assistance. So for me, I’ll try to leave all my questions in the comment box from now on. However, tomorrow I’ve one question I’d rather ask you personally by email.
    Thanks for all your hard work, keep in touch.

    1. @Hans Hansen I definitely understand that Hans, and wish I could answer EVERY single email without taking ANY extra time. Unfortunately, I haven’t been gifted with that supernatural ability 🙂
      But yes, I’m still here to help out as much as I can, and as much as it makes sense to do, given my job and soon coming bundle of joy 🙂
      Wishing you all the best!

  8. Leslie this is AWESOME! I’m SO glad you’re overwhelmed lol. not seriously I’m so glad you and the become a blogger community have reached reached this point where you’re ready to implement BIG changes and produce HIGH QUALITY content. You know i’m all about quality- i love high quality 🙂 So i’m super excited to see what you’re already working on 🙂
    [BIG HUGS] and MUCH success!

  9. Hey i have another comment. I hope that maybe in your future plans that you will teach us more about how to build membership sites. Because that’s where my mindset is headed. I’d like to learn more about that 🙂

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