Staying On Track – From Start to Profit

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..

Also:

  • 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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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

Best,

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...

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. This is a really helpful post, Lynn. Thanks so much. I am so easily distracted. ( :P ) So tips #2 & #3 really stood out for me. :)

  2. And this is why you and your blog totally ROCK!

    If this post struck a cord with you as you read through it I'd recommend that you print it out and post it on the wall next to your computer screen.

    Even experienced marketers can get impatient from time to time. We can lose focus from our plan. We can allow distractions into our lives. And sometimes we become too attached to a project that it's hard to let it go and move on.

    This has been absolutely priceless advice Lynn. You are an incredible coach and leader.

    Scott Tousignant

  3. HI,
    Really it's very useful for everyone and they way you organized the post is excellent, even those Napoleon Hill statements are added the beauty to the post.

    Over all my experience after reading this post is awesome.

    Its one of the best post,I have seen till today.

    Good work

  4. Teen Blogger says:

    Great post.

    Having patience is very importent. You need to plan for long term and not only for a few weeks. Blogging is not a easy task and can take a long time and hard work before seeing some results.

  5. Randy Cantrell says:

    Thoughtful. Timely. Helpful. Encouraging.

  6. So simple and yet so hard.

    But then "work" and "business" aren't meant to be all play.

    Enjoy your play in short breaks. It's work that makes money for your business!

    Dan

  7. Syed Akram says:

    As you mention from the above article nowadays people are easily been distract than before when they try to start online business. Being FOCUS is the KEYWORD here.

  8. Excellent advice as always Lynn. Thanks for the link for Nap Hill's Positive Action Plan - just ordered it!! :)

  9. Nelson Swett says:

    Thanks Lynn. I'm using I've read this a couple of time to keep me on task today. One of those days that anything and everything is conspiring to distract me.

  10. Juli Johnson says:

    Hi Lynn -

    Really great post - this quote especially really struck me:

    "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."

    So true, and it applies to so much more than Internet Marketing.

    Juli

  11. Hi. I recently discovered your website and already I'm learning so much. Thank you for sharing so much relevant and important information. And you're right about be distracted. It just seems there is so much to learn and not enough internet hours to learn them. Your suggestions really make sense and we could all use a reminder to stay focused.

    • Keep in mind that you only need to learn what you need to know to accomplish what you're working on right now. Everything else goes on the back burner. ;)

      It takes A LOT of self-discipline (speaking from personal experience, of course!) but it's the only way to get things done and stay on track.

  12. Wow! one of the most insightful posts I have seen in a while. We are constantly pursuing new dreams and ideas, but this has reminded me to stick it out.

  13. Tom - StandOutBlogger.com says:

    Wow! one of the most insightful posts I have seen in a while. We are constantly pursuing new dreams and ideas, but this has reminded me to stick it out.
    BTW I love your blog!

  14. Adriana Copaceanu says:

    Thanks for the great advice: I really need to work on #3. I have lots of trouble with the sound on my computer getting me distracted all the time.

  15. Very true...the bottom line is "Be disciplined...work hard...there are no short cuts"...and these rules apply to every avenue of life of course...not only internet business.

  16. Most of us don't have patience and easily quit especially if they observe from the first 2-3 months their income is not accumulating.
    I understand now that it's a long term goal.

    • I like that saying when you lose something - that it's always the last place you look. It reminds me of the stories they tell about the "gold rush" where they found places that people quit digging just inches before they would have struck it rich.

      We had to "tough it" the first 3-4 months when I started my first business. I'm glad we did, and that we didn't throw in the towel, because that was what ultimately got me where I am today...

      I can't imagine achieving anything truly great in as little as 90 days. Even weight loss or fitness - lasting positive change takes time and effort.

  17. Regarding distractions I made a drastic change recently.
    I moved my office from the 2nd floor to the basement. Now i cannot look out of the window anymore, watch the neighbors or count how many green, red or white cars drive through my street. I also don't hear the kids so much anymore. It is really a much better work-atmosphere.

    Regarding planning: If you set up sites for making money, than you should treat it as a business. For all projects I set up a kind of business plan, covering the original idea, market data, competition, monetization goals, technical requirements and budget. This plan gets reviewed periodically and sometimes needs adjustments. but it is always a good starting point.

    Regarding the Holy Grail of Internentmarketing, I say that you should follow people who are practicioners of Internetmarketing and not follow the so called gurus. There will always be a new and better way to reach your goals (in the end everything converts to money), but following each and every new tactic distracts you easily from your original goals.

  18. Oh yea, #3 is one of my biggest struggles.

    Great post and the book is now added to my Amazon list.

  19. Thank you for all the great comments and the feedback! To add to the topic, I'd just like to say that it DOES get easier, but it still requires being consistent and persistent. Fortunately with enough self-discipline these things turn into habits, and become part of your routine and system...

  20. Great Post

    I am also guilty of starting new projects earlier than I should and leaving the old ones in dust.

    I have found it helpful to write down the essential 3 tasks that I have to do everyday in front of me on the wall behind my computer, as this reminds me if I am getting distracted.

  21. Annemarie O'Bea says:

    Your wonderful blog post came just at the perfect time. I've been struggling with focus and dealing with my mom being ill. Needless to say I haven't completed much. But I'm struggling to get back on track and focus. I've always admired yours lynn, and I know it isn't always easy for you too. So thanks for these words of wisdom...as always just at the right time!

    You rock lady!!

    • Thanks, Annemarie ;) Sorry to hear your mother has been ill. Family always takes priority. My daughter has been sick all this week and it's really hard to focus on anything else. Even when she's resting and I sit down to work for an hour... I find myself distracted still. So I can imagine how it's been on your end.

  22. Distracted? Who me? Never :-p

  23. Hi Lynn,

    What a timely reminder for me amd for lots of others too...

    I have printed your words of wisdom and have it on my desk where I can read it often.

    Thanks :)

    Joe

  24. Awesome advice, Lynn! Especially the part about turning off the sound, closing your email, and especially closing your IM. It's easy to ignore an incoming email, it's difficult to ignore a window popping up in your face.

  25. I find it really helpful to set my mind in a specific goal I wanted to achieve. I do it one at a time, finishing short term goal to accomplish the long term goal in time. It is good when you have some intense preparation in both mind and body. It really helps when you condition yourself by thinking that the task that you will be undergoing is not that easy and it may take some time to achieve it. Open mindedness, patience, acceptance and a positive attitude get me on the right track.

  26. GailJ Richardson says:

    Lynn, I have printed this out and have it where I will be able to see it everyday.It is so easy to get impatient and then I think,am I doing all I need to be doing to get to where I want to be. Nothing worth having comes without hard work.Thanks so much for this post and for all the help and encouragement you give everyone. I hope your daughter is feeling better soon.

    • Thank you Gail. She is recovering still, but doing much better. Glad you enjoyed this post. It's not easy staying on track, but definitely gets easier once you create "good habits" ;)

  27. Charles Tillett says:

    Great Post Lynn,Defintly words to live by.

  28. With your words above, you've built the "better mousetrap" for effective time management not only in internet marketing, but in any business endeavor (with a few changes to tailor the post to the applicable business). If your thoughts are followed digently, the follower will have found and implemented the "Holy Grail of Internet Marketing." Thank you for providing these insights.

    • Ahh, good point Nicholas. I often say "while everyone else is out searching for the magic solution... I'm quietly working away and actually making money online!" :D

  29. Wendy Merritt says:

    Lynn, you answered a few questions I had about where does my time go! Thanks for sharing your viewpoint and shedding some much needed light on my not-so-profitable schedule. :)

    Blessings,
    Wendy

  30. Linette Daniels "The Business Doctor" says:

    If you think this is great information, you should listen to the interview I did of Lynn about a week ago. She really gives a generous peak behind her productivity success. As always her insights are awesome. http://ProfitandProductivity.com/lynnterryinterview

  31. Free Article Directory says:

    Great post. I agree with all 5 points, especially the Holly Grail of Marketing. You cant get rich over night. You cant be ranked in the top 100,000 websites over night. The beginning is hard, and requires alot of time, but everyone who has succeeded has put in the time. Has come across road blocks. There is no one method written that will work every time. You have to be flexible and adjust as needed. Thank you for the post. I learn something new everyday from your posts.

    Your new fan :)

  32. At what point though do you decided that this niche you are working in is not going to be profitable and you have to just move on? I started my first campaign in June, I have a website, a blog, 5 lenses, hundreds of ezine articles, 3 hubpages, and hundreds of backlinks, but only one sale (October 28th).....at what point to you accept defeat and move on? Or do you move on?

  33. Angelina Wang says:

    Hey, very good post there. :) The "Master list" tip is exceptionally useful and I'm making one right now. :P

    I was sorta floating around blindly 'cos, yes, I'm taking the 30dc course but I was reading so much outside info(in order to learn, familiarise and understand at least some of the "techniques" in IMing), I got a little sidetracked. Plus, no "Traffic Bug" for me. Too many people got their domains banned by Google and other places. Socialmarking all the way, man. Saves my money too. =P

  34. Thank you Lynn,

    Focus and staying on task from start to profit is one of my weaknesses. In a skills assessment test I took, it said I never finish one thing before starting another. I have found this true my whole life. If I just work on the top three things on my priority list, at least I am going to be focused on the right stuff for that day.

    • Don't feel bad, Clay - it's one of my weaknesses as well. Overcoming that lack of follow through is the source of inspiration for these posts - it's coming from personal experience. ;) You can do it!

  35. Hugh Fraser says:

    Lynn,
    I love the way you can take some thing that is every bit complicated and break it down to make it appear so simple a child can do it!

    Hugh

  36. Very impressive. I really appreciate your sharing attitude.

  37. I started my first campaign back in October 2010 and since than I have been sticky with my efforts. I have now started seeing the results So essentially I know, it would take some time before I am actually making enough money. :)

  38. Michelle Rudge says:

    Oh why couldn't I have found this post when it was first posted almost 2 years ago?! I struggle so much with staying focused, but here's the crazy part... I didn't realise I was losing focus! I thought that my sites were just failures because I had the wrong keywords or something. I didn't keep adding content and backlinking and pushing through to get them ranking well in the SERPs.
    Ach, lesson learnt. One site to number one. That's the goal now and no losing focus till we're there.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] you will stay focused on one project at a time, taking that project all the way from start to profit. This is quite possibly one of the most difficult things to achieve, given all of the ideas and [...]

  2. [...] Terry gives so much on her blog… she helps everyone. Even if you are a complete newbie and don’t have the first clue where to start… make her your first stop. She will put you on the “fast track” in no [...]

  3. [...] Staying On Track – From Start to Profit [...]

  4. [...] the primary lesson, and indeed the way Lynn does it herself, is to take a project from “start to profit”. This slogan of hers is a constant reminder to remain vigilant, put on the blinders, and see things [...]

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