Many years ago a successful colleague said to me that he had learned to stop doing things that didn't make him money. From my perspective trying to operate on a shoestring budget, that sounded good to me.
Turned out it's harder than I thought to know when what you are doing is making money for you, or is just a waste of time.
Oh sure, you can get into tracking conversions, quantifying return on investment, monetizing web traffic and audience attention, and split testing, and other bean counting. But that's not my style. And I bet it's not yours either -- few of us learned how to do all that between classes in psychopathology, naturopathic therapeutics, and advanced coaching methods. (But that's definitely something to outsource to a virtual assistant or bookkeeper)
Any solopreneur business is a game of trial and error. Making errors is important because they provide juicy information.
For example, years ago I spent a trial period of about 15 months doing the conventional networking thing, joining business groups, making the rounds of meetings, collecting business cards, doing the follow up. I got one client from that effort.
On the surface it would seem that that was a colossal waste of time. An error in judgment to think that my introverted personality would be magnetic enough to cause business connections to flock to me for therapeutic coaching, like I was a Northwest version of Dr Phil.
But over the years, that one client became a good referral source. She sent me a dozen or more clients who I never would have met without her intervention.
Moral of this story is: even when you can't see the return on investment of schlepping to another breakfast meeting, don't underestimate the potential money-making value of making a good impression.
(And I'll say more about ways to maximize that initial good impression in a future post)