MSMP 73: Liam Martin on Time Management

When COVID-19 made remote work more mentally possible for many businesses, the tools necessary to maintain and sustain that remote work, like Zoom, thrived.  Today’s guest for the Mads Singers Management Podcast, Liam Martin, co-founded Time Doctor, a SaaS that has also continued to do well during this strange global period.  If running Time Doctor wasn’t enough, Liam also runs a conference called Running Remote, a business he started in part just to find out the answers he needed as he continued to grow and scale a remote company.  

If you don’t know about Time Doctor, it’s a way for any business to not just track time for work, but also analytics for how long it takes to do a task and what was done.  Among the fascinating facts that Liam and his team have discovered over the years?

  • People who go onto Facebook during the workweek are more productive
  • A 32-hour work week is optimal

We found out that Liam himself works pretty close to that 32-hour week, spending roughly 66% of his time on podcasts or speaking at conferences.  I loved hearing that, as it’s such a far distance from the mentality that pervades some of my coaching clients who are newer in entrepreneurship, who tend to think of their productivity in relation to hours, ergo, more hours, means more productivity.  Wrong.  What really matters is doing a few things very, very well.

That attitude also matters for your subordinates.  Liam shared a fascinating story about how he incentivized his team not just to chase any backlinks, but links with great authority.  By no longer using sheer numbers of backlinks as a KPI, but rather the Domain Authority (DA) score of each particular backlink, the team was able to up the quality of what they were getting at a fraction of what they would get if they hired someone: on average the Time Doctor team was paying $32 per backlink for DA of 50 and higher, whereas agencies routinely charge $350 for DA of 60+.  A 10X value, and keeping that value in house?  That’s the sort of stuff that builds great businesses.

This discussion of time management also led us into a discussion of the unhealthy #hustle culture, and why working 100 hours a week (or more) doesn’t make you some productivity hero, but only more likely to burn out and take your team down with you.

Later in the pod Liam also shared a story about how he was able to narrow down his search for a COO type to exactly 87 people in the entire world that publicly had what he was looking for.  It’s inspiring to see effective time management at every level of Liam’s thinking, especially in recruiting.

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Speaking of time, that’s likely to fly by as you listen to this pod, one of my favorite discussions of this year.  Enjoy!

Key Learning Points:

 

  1. Liam notes the importance of tracking how much time you’re spending with your clients - 2:50
  2. Mads shares the importance of KPIs, particularly as you scale - 9:30
  3. Liam talks about Dunbar’s Number and how technology can help us stay connected as a tribe - 10:15
  4. Liam shares how many hours a week he works, and a number of hours a week he knows will end in failure for everyone involved - 12:26
  5. Liam pushed back against #hustle culture - 14:10
  6. Mads notes that it’s not about hours you work, but about doing a few things really, really well - 16:45
  7. Liam gives a case study of how he and his team improved the quality of the backlinks they were getting - 20:30
  8. Liam shares his predictions for the near future of remote work - 25:30
  9. Liam shares a quote from Napoleon that guides how he gives out orders and assignments - 30:18
  10. Mads talks about process documentation and the fact that the faster this is created, the faster a company can grow - 31:45
  11. Liam shares another fascinating case study as to how he brought in an A player from Wordpress to level up his team - 36:22

 

Connect with Liam Martin:
Running Remote’s YouTube Channel (pro tip - Liam personally manages this page, so it’s a great way to get a hold of him)