In the last post, we talked about creating websites and staying focused on turning them into a profitable online business.
Many of you commented about how difficult it's been to stay on track, and to keep yourself focused on just one website or project at a time.
Today, I'll share with you 5 very specific tips that I use myself to stay focused, that I have been using for years as I created my successful online business with multiple websites in a variety of niches, and multiple streams of income...
1. Patience. You're in it for the long term.
The first order of business is to get yourself in the proper mindset. Realize that success is not going to happen overnight. You are building a successful online business, not getting involved in a get rich quick scheme.
Your expectations should be in the right place. You can't expect to study, research, and piddle a bit with a new blog - and be earning a 6 figure income in a few short weeks, or even a few short months.
I have confessed plenty of times in the past that I worked up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week back in the beginning. I have heard other successful marketers say the same – Rosalind Gardner on our recent webinar with her, for example. Of course, the amount of time you invest is relative to how fast you want or need to succeed.
Are you waiting for success to arrive, or are you going out to find where it is hiding? -Napoleon Hill
2. Create a plan, and stick to it.
Even when it's not fun or glamorous or even particularly engaging, you have to follow through with that plan to completion. Business is work, so be prepared to stick it out to the end - or outsource the things you don't enjoy. If you can't invest money for outsourcing, be prepared to invest time to get the tasks done yourself.
Your plan is going to be a loose outline in the beginning. The more you learn through experience, the more you'll be able to fill in the details. Dedicate yourself to your one website, or one project, and commit to seeing it through to profit.
Stay focused. Treat it like a business.
Take the initiative, and you will create your own opportunities. There is no substitute for action backed up by a well-thought-out plan. -Napoleon Hill
3. Avoid the pitfall of unnecessary distraction.
Distraction is a major issue with an online business. It's the nature of the internet with a constant barrage of incoming messages, new products, new ideas and methods.
Here are some of the ways that I avoid distraction and stay focused:
I keep an Idea Notebook and a Master Task List. New ideas should be jotted into the notebook and researched later - not distracting you from your original idea. One major project at a time, until it is running smooth and reaching it's profit potential. Then you pop out the notebook and start on the next great idea.
Your Master Task List should be prioritized. List tasks in order of priority, then start each day by doing the top 3 from the list. I create a mini list with my 3 tasks every morning, and start my day by completing those.
Cool new plugins, programs, updates, themes, etc go on the master task list - in the proper order. Nothing new gets to jump line in front of the 3 daily tasks. Ever. Discipline yourself to work on priority tasks.
When I open my Master Task List to update, re-prioritize or pull my 3 daily tasks I spend a few minutes to scan the list and consider what I can automate or outsource. I'll often pluck 3 tasks for myself, and 3 tasks to outsource..
- Turn off the sound when you're working. It's distracting.
- Turn off instant messengers while working on priority tasks.
- Close your email program. Open it when you're ready to check/reply to email.
- Create rules/filters in your email program, and organize directories.
- Newsletters, offers and other emails get filtered into their own folder as they come in. You can search that folder to find things you need, when you need them.
- Don't buy products (themes, software, ebooks, etc) that you don't need. Buy what you need, when you need it, to accomplish what you're working on right now. Period.
Drifting, without aim or purpose, is the first cause of failure. -Napoleon Hill
4. Stop looking for the Holy Grail of Internet Marketing.
You'll notice that every mentor or marketer has their own methods and tools. The fact is, there is no one right way to start an online business that will work for every model or every market - or even every keyword.
This is the reason there are very few complete blueprints our outlines that teach you step-by-step how to start an online business. And of the few that are available, none of them will work for everyone. They are simply guides to further your understanding of the processes and concepts.
Commit yourself to research and to testing, tracking and tweaking in your own unique online business until it reaches it's full profit potential. Learn the methods of research and testing, instead of simply copying models that may or may not work for you - or in your market.
Use the tools and resources, but be prepared to inject your own unique ideas and go the extra mile to figure out what will work in your own online business.
Good intentions are useless until they are expressed in appropriate action. -Napoleon Hill
5. Know when to admit defeat.
Even after 12+ years in business, I don't have all the answers - and I don't have all the skills. When in doubt, ask for help. There are literally hundreds of forums and communities where people are willing to share their resources or point you in the right direction. My own ClickNewz Forum is a good place to start.
What if you're not sure if your business or website idea will be profitable? The only way to know is to keep at it and see it through. You can't admit defeat if you haven't completed all of the necessary steps. And if you quit before you do, you are not in a position to say the idea was worthless.
That said, the risk with an online business is generally very low. Most mistakes can even be easily corrected. A lot of people ultimately end up with something completely different than what they started with… so a few practice runs is no big loss. Don't be too hard on yourself. Keep at it.
There is also the issue of skills - and of identifying your strengths. You'll learn what you are good at, and what you are not. The things you are not good at, or don't prefer doing (and therefore don't do at all) are things you should outsource. You may have to do them yourself in the beginning, but make it your goal to reinvest in your business through outsourcing.
The bottom line is: ask for help, or outsource tasks you can't do. Don't assume failure or defeat if you haven't truly given your all to the project. That includes correcting mistakes, or exhausting all of your options.
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These are my own methods for staying on track, and staying focused to see a project all the way through from start to profit. Figure out what works best for you, in your environment or with your unique strengths and weaknesses.
It takes self-analysis, self-discipline, self-motivation, etc. But that's all part of being self-employed. You are in control of the outcome, good or bad.
Never mind what you have done in the past. What are you going to do in the future? -Napoleon Hill
p.s. The Napoleon Hill quotes came from Positive Action Plan: 365 Meditations For Making Each Day A Success.
A personal favorite along with Law of Success, Think and Grow Rich, and other works by Napoleon Hill...