Are You Overwhelmed & Not Making A Profit?

I recently received the following email from Layla, and lately I've been getting many similar questions in my inbox and at my discussion forum...

Layla asks: I KNOW that there is $ to be made online through blogging, affiliate sales, and also through developing and selling my own info products. I'm having some struggles though. There is sooo much information out there.

Where do you start? What is step 1, 2, 3, etc.?

I have 5 sites up. I know it is best to start with one, so that is what I'll do, but I have all these thoughts in my head, that I can't get organized into logical sense. What is best to do first?

Is there a step by step guide that states what to do and in what order? i.e. set up email accounts (one for each site or all to the same email?), setup affiliate logins, write blogs, write articles, join niche minded forums, write reviews of amazon books (is this even important & if I do, do I use an alternate identity, so I have one for each site I'll end up setting up?), write blog posts!!! I know this one is important... and, where do I get blog readers?

These are all great questions. And Layla is not alone. You may be feeling overwhelmed too, and wondering if you're on the right track with your efforts to make money online. Even I get overwhelmed with all the options & tasks at times!

First, take a step back and analyze what it is you're doing exactly. Are you really building an online business, or are you simply chasing a million little ways to make money online? There's a BIG difference.

To answer the questions above, we'll start with the step-by-step guide...

There is no one guide that will teach you how to create an online business from scratch. The reason is because every business is as unique as the person that created it. They all start with an idea (which is your part). The publishing model or marketing method you use has more to do with who you are reaching and what you are trying to achieve in that market. There is no right or wrong, or one-size-fits-all method to starting an online business.

Most guides will teach you a very specific model or strategy. This may be something you can use in your online business, or it may not be a match for what you're trying to achieve. For example, if your model is creating info products then you should have no interest in the latest greatest "make money with Adsense" guide.

According to Wikipedia, an entrepreneur is "the type of personality who is willing to take upon himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome". Starting a business online is still starting a business. Unlike a job, a franchise or an MLM - a business doesn't come with a handbook.

Once you know your objective, you can study models and marketing strategies that will help you meet that objective - and even come up with (and test) creative combinations of your own. But in the end all of the risk and responsibility is on you, as the business owner.

Information Overload

Information itself cannot overwhelm you. It does not have the ability to interrupt you, to insist you read it, to persuade you, or to appear on your screen and place a priority on itself. We choose which information to consume - when, where and why.

We each have to take personal responsibility for our "information overload" issues. I get overwhelmed with the sheer number of options and ideas myself. It takes a lot of self-discipline to stay on track, and see a business through to profit.

But if we go back to the definition of an entrepreneur, we know that it's on us. That we have to take full responsibility for the success or failure of our business venture. No matter what others are doing, what's going on in the industry, what you bought that you shouldn't have, or how a certain guru won't answer your email... at the end of the day, your business is your responsibility.

How Many Websites Or Blogs Do You Have?

As we close out 2010, with just a few short weeks left, now is a good time to take stock of the number of domains & sites you own. If you have "5 sites up" and you don't yet have one domain that is making a profit... it's time to choose ONE and focus on that project exclusively until it reaches max profit potential.

I would be completely overwhelmed too, if I were working on five different websites or blogs. Especially if they were all different models in different niches. You really don't want to spread yourself that thin. Especially if you don't yet know what works and what doesn't.

I know you've heard "experts" talking about their multiple niche sites (myself included). But keep in mind that each project was given full attention in the beginning, and the people that successfully run more than one business... can afford to outsource - a lot. That's not something you do in the beginning, as you're not yet in a position to assume the risk or expense.

Getting Organized & Creating A Strategy

The first step in creating an organized strategy is to know your goal. You come up with a business idea, which has a specific objective. Once you know the end goal, you can work backwards from there to create a strategy to achieve that goal.

Some people like to create mind maps, others use lists. Again, there is no right or wrong method. Once you know what you need to do, and in what order, you simply discipline yourself to get up every day and work through your list and work toward your goal. Once you do this, you'll find there is much less distraction - and less potential for Information Overload.

In the first link I shared below, you'll find a 10-step checklist to follow that will get you started in the right direction. You definitely want to do things strategically, and not just be all over the board doing a million little things that may or may not even be necessary - depending on your business model.

What To Do First

There are some things that you should do, regardless of your model. Obviously you must choose a niche (a topic) and a market, and decide how you are going to serve that market. You'll want to register a domain name for that business.

Once you register your domain name you should set up profiles or accounts at a number of places, including: Gmail, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Even if you aren't planning to use Gmail or YouTube right away, you want to secure your alias or business name at these sites. You may choose to use them in the future and find the name is already taken. I learned that lesson the hard way. ;)

Related Posts You Should Visit:
(I hand-picked these for you)

If you're overwhelmed with your online business, and not yet making money online, consider the points in this post and also take some time to study the posts I linked to above. Now is a great time to analyze where you are, and where you want to be as we head into the New Year.

Next, see: What's Holding You Back From Your Goals??

Best,

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 15 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. Hey Lynn, you have some great advice and if you're overwhelmed it really is about stepping back, getting organized and creating a strategy. That's really the only thing that has worked for me. I'm all too familiar with being overwhelmed, not a pretty site :-(

  2. Great advice Lynn! I so understand that overwhelmed feeling when you get the urge to start one site after another to chase a dollar. It can cause more stress than you really need.

    Lynn there really should be a lot more folks like you who really want to help people succeed!

  3. John McNally says:

    I like simple rules Lynn, so your advice about sticking with one site if you already have 5 or more, struck home.

    I have 10 sites, none making money, but I have already decided to concentrate on my blog, which I enjoy. I'm just working on increasing traffic first, then I will have to decide what to do with all my visitors. :roll: Like you said, one step at a time.

    John

    • An objective - a long term goal - would be a good starting point. That way, everything you do will be in line with achieving that goal. A lot less un-doing that way (spoken from personal experience -lol).

  4. Wow! Excellent post. What I personally like about this is that it really gets to the heart of the matter - that we are totally responsible for our own success (or failure). We are all unique and so there is no "cookie cutter" model that will apply to everyone.......such an eye opener for me. And although it seems so obvious after reading it, sometimes we spend all our time trying to find the "golden ticket" that we fail to do what is needed to succeed. Many thanks Lynn

    Alexia

  5. Hi Lynn. That's great advice!

    When I first started out with internet marketing, I too was all over the place, wanting to make money, since the possibilities were (and is) so many.

    Realizing that I needed to focus more, I made a schedule to help me organize everything. Now I know that I have to write three blogposts every Monday and program stuff Tuesday and so on. I also use a todo list, since lists help me remember ideas that I can't work right now.

    Regards, Jannich

    • Same here, Jannich. I have lived by lists from my very first day in business all the way up until now. I have a master task list on my computer, but I keep a daily list on my desk with the priorities for the day (taken from the master list).

  6. I am in the same boat as Layla. I have numerous websites and don't know where to go next. But I have finally decided to focus on one of my blogs. Ignoring distractions is a struggle for me. I purchased 31 days to a better blog. Will stay strictly with it. Wish me luck
    judi

    • Good luck, Judi! :D

      And distractions are an issue for ALL of us. The very nature of the internet is endless interlinked distraction. So don't feel bad. It takes a lot of self-discipline to stay on track.

  7. Hi Lynn,

    One of my biggest problems is trying to decide whether to go with several tiny passive niche blogs / marketing (like, Elvis Bobble Heads ;) ) for the purpose of keeping my personal responsibility to readers on the low side and keeping my own life simple and manageable.

    OR...

    Go all out with an authority type of blog / model like you have here, but that would require tremendous responsibility to "My Readers" and I would hate to let people down.

    Last year (July-ish 2009) when CJ and me made that video for you about your "Small Wonder" video Camera review, we were suddenly SLAMMED with so much attention that it kinda scared me. It was FUN!!! But it made me think that our "Authority Blog" had the potential to become a big responsibility to people who are genuinely looking for serious advice... I can't take this responsibility lightly. If I do it, I MUST do it right. Right? :)

    So I guess this brings us to the other problem... The "Fear Of Failure" huh?

    Sorry for writing such a big comment, but hey, it's been a while :P

    Thanks Lynn!

    Staying Boosted!,

    Gary.

    • If it helps any, I'll confess: I miss my simple life when I was a quiet super affiliate under a pen name. I still have some sites I manage that way and they are my *favorite* projects to work on. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  8. Great stuff. I have been overwhelmed for some time cause I tend to think how great some new thing is going to be before I completely evaluate how much more additional work it will take to be really good.

    • That's a common issue, Steve. It's one of the things I keep in mind before investing in any product or project. Not just how much it's going to cost in terms of dollars, but also in time, to see a return.

  9. I love your take on information overload. I'm addicted to learning, myself, but what you said about not allowing new information to sidetrack us really hit home. We are all responsible for how we spend our time, and if we choose to spend it reading yet another free report, then we're probably not going to get where we're going very fast.

    Thanks for the reminder. I needed that!

    • I love learning as well, and I do have to stay on top of things as a blogger in the IM space. So I like to set aside specific time for that - for reading, studying, blog surfing, etc. An egg timer helps a lot in keeping me within the time slot and not spending the entire day consuming information... without creating any. ;)

  10. I end up giving myself information overload at least once a week despite my best efforts not to do that, and it always reminds me to take a step back, re-evaluate my to-do list and focus on my goals.

    I pruned back my domain addiction in 2010 and I'm loving it so far. I used to have nearly 50 domain names, now I have less than a dozen and a few of those are just affiliate redirects that I use in article marketing. It's so much less stressful to not have all that "stuff" weighing on me.

  11. Dafni Kokotovis says:

    You are just so right. For me the same problem... so many ideas and not knowing where to start.
    Thanks for this inspiration. I will focus on one project now.

    Cheers from Holland covered with snow :-)

    follow me @dafnikokotovis on Twitter

  12. This is spot on, Lynn! :-)

    I don't really suffer from an information overload anymore (I must have learned most of the basic stuff when I used to buy more im products - so buying them actually paid off!). Now I suffer more from work overload! :-)

    If you start working with your sites, you gradually learn to create better working habits and practices. You just have to get started with something on your list.

    • That's true, Satu. It's always a work in progress. I have grown every year right alongside my business - and continue to even now. From becoming better at time management and self-discipline, to better organization systems, to managing outsourcing. You just have to grow & evolve with your business!

  13. One should realize the fact that businesses doesn't run on emotions(build up from the hype or personal experiences). This is one of the reasons due to which most fail and blame on internet marketing efforts. You should question yourself what are you passionate about?..This can be useful to filter your confusions and choose the perfect option.

  14. I agree with you and others that not trying to keep several properties afloat without significant outlay for outsourcing will result in two things: failure at all of them and probably your early demise from this planet-LOL!

  15. This is wonderful advice. I work as a freelance writer and many of my clients are in Internet marketing. So, information overload comes with the territory. While I am trying to turn my blogging adventure into a business, I do tend the get overwhelmed with what I read for my writing clients. I will keep this advice in perspective when I attempt to press forward with my "passion". Thanks!

  16. It's funny because for the last few weeks I actually have focused - on this site - and was in prime position with Christmas coming up. My Bigfoot toy site was #1 on Google, Yahoo and Bing for "bigfoot toy" and I was getting well over 100 unique visitors per day...

    Then last Thursday I was gone from Google - kicked down to about #280 (Happy Thanksgiving!). The site will still make me a little money due to Yahoo and Bing, but not really the reward I was hoping for....the good news is I think I know what I did to get Google mad and will be able to avoid it in the future. Anyway - time to focus on something else, I guess...

    • I don't know what you did, so I can't speak about that specifically, but it's very common for a new site to show up high in the search results and then tank until it gets more aged & established. Algorithms don't have emotions of course, so it's likely a matter of linking strategy if it is indeed a penalty.

      In short term promotions where rankings are an issue, Google Adwords can be profitable. Facebook PPC advertising is an option too, if you're interested in trying your hand at some campaigns.

      • Thanks Lynn. Crazy at it sounds, as of this morning its back to #1 for the keyword phrase. I "un-did" the changes I made last Wed. - before the site crashed. I'm familiar with my sites bouncing around some, but this is gonna give me gray(er) hair! :)

    • One of my sites took a bad hit as well - and it seemed that other shopping/product-related websites took a bad hit as well just before Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

      I essentially lost all my Google traffic on that site as it went from 300 uniques per day to 15 on the 17th. It stayed there until yesterday where traffic increased to around 30 visitors, and today my pages went back to where they were in the SERPS before the 17th.

      Ahead of me in the SERPS during those horrible 2 weeks were the big shopping sites which is ok, but auto-blogs where the only keyword match was to the non-domain part of the url also blasted in front of me from absolutely nowhere.

      Is your traffic back up again as well?

      • Hi Henrik,

        Yes - my site was only shelved for about a week. I wonder if this is Google giving a tip of the hat to the big retailers? It seems a bit coincidental on the timing with Black Friday and all.

        But I did make some changes the day before the drop, and undid those, so maybe its not a conspiracy!

        Bill

  17. Thanks Lynn! I do allow information overload to happen. It's a work-in-progress for me! I also love your paragraphs on creating a good strategy. I agree - it always starts with our goals.

    • Strategy is super important. When you know your end goal, such as how you're going to serve your market and how you're going to profit from doing that, you can then create a solid strategy to make it happen. Once you have that, it's just a matter of waking up every day and doing the tasks to bring it all together.

  18. I have an e commerce store, niche sites as well as a blog I could very well try to be an authority with. Keeping all doing well in the search engines takes most of my time. I would like to try a mind map, because I wanted to start something new in 2011. Do you have any resources for this Lynn?

    • I use and like the iThoughtsHD app on the iPad. On the computer, Freemind is a popular free software. Bob "the teacher" Jenkins has some free training on it, I believe. Yes - here's the link: http://www.discoverfreemind.com

      Now that you know what needs to be done, and how you want it done, you should start outsourcing your link building and content development for SEO so that you can focus on other things. ;)

  19. Great article! In the USA, taking responsibility for ones own decisions and actions is a lesson many parents are neglecting to teach their children these days, as their parents neglected to teach them. This is a life lesson that needs to become ingrained in every individual. Once people can quit playing the "blame everyone else game" for their own decisions and actions, the better off they will be to make the necessary changes in their lives that they need to make.

  20. One of the greatest secret of the online world is not more information and the latest program, projects and membership site. It is all about you!!! You are the one who create the result that you got! The more you can focus, the fastest you can make a profit. It come down to the people and organize skill you've develop. Definitly NOT the technical part that makes you money.

    Try this, write down all your thoughs on paper, vomit all the ideas and project in your mind on paper. Then just choose 1 to complete in the coming week.

    You can have everything you want, but not everything at the same time.

    • "but not everything at the same time" <- this is true. And it's true of anything you want out of life whether that's a successful business, weight loss, getting in shape, a certain lifestyle, etc. There is always a process involved in achieving something great, and it's that process that builds character that will be required to manage & enjoy what you achieved.

  21. Lynn, you're my hero!

    I'm still relatively new to the IM space - launched my site in April. But I've found that the most valuable skill I have is the ability to take action. I don't let fear stop me, I just go for it. All the knowledge in the world can't take the place of action. Good or bad, failure or success, it's all good feedback and keeps me moving forward.

    • Taking action is HUGE. And you're doing awesome for your first year! ;) I've always been one to "do now, fix later" and while that hasn't given me perfect results... it has given me results. Enough so to create the lifestyle I wanted and raise two children, even.

  22. Excellent advice. You've just reaffirmed and better clarified what has taken me 11 months to learn. I only wish I had this sort of information earlier...

  23. Lynn thanks for the advice, I had 2 websites and it is much less overwhelming now that I am trying to just work on 1

  24. Hey Lynn!

    For me, taming the "information overload beast" is a major
    challenge. With everyone and his/her third cousin building
    mailing lists using all manner of enticements to "opt in", my
    in-box was stuffed to the saturation point on a daily basis.

    Now, I limit myself to only those subscriptions that serve my
    goals, and enhance my personal learning curve needs. Kind
    of elitist maybe, but sanity is a good thing :-)!

    All the best,

    Jon

    • I don't think it's elitist at all, Jon. It's exactly what you should be doing. After all, you're trying to build *your* business - not everyone else's business.

    • There's imo nothing elitist about choosing to unsubscribe from zero-value mailinglists.

      Over the past few months I've been massively unsubscribing from mailinglists and have been very selective in joining new lists.

      And I have even done something that I would never have done a few years back; subscribing to get "the bribe" and then immediately unsubscribing because I know that what will follow will be purely marketing with no immediate value to me.

      And now I'm at a point where I sometimes wonder if there's something wrong with my email because I now only receive very few emails per day.

      It's gone from an overwhelming amount of useless marketing to a manageable amount of useful newsletters and other subscriptions.

  25. Hi Lynn,

    Great info! However, I'm looking for that 10 step check list you mentioned in this post and I can't seem to locate it. Where exactly did you say it was? You mentioned it was the first link after that paragraph, but the first link is a link to another post of yours.

    Thanks

  26. Hey Lynn,

    This came at exactly the right time for me. I have just hit a wall. I have quite a few websites and none making any real money and now know that I need to pick one to focus on. That has been hard for me.

    I feel a lot like Gary does. Should I focus on small affiliate niche sites or go the route of an authority site.

    I kind of liked the idea of remaining anonymous in the beginning.

    Any suggestions on evaluating which site might be worth putting the time into? Which one might be more profitable? Like by looking at stats or opt-ins?

    For instance, I have a site in the dog training niche and it gets opt-ins but no sales. it is a pr2 and has been up for awhile. But, now I look back and feel like the dog training niche is so competitive... Don't know if it is worth my time...

    Thanks for all of the great wisdom. You Rock!

    Best,
    Susan

    • Hey Susan,

      I would choose the site/niche that you are most passionate about and/or enjoy working on most. It may be the niche, it may be the model, and you want to figure that out.

      You might really get a lot out of watching Paul's video, especially from the middle to end, in this post:
      http://www.clicknewz.com/2593/courses-video/

      Would love to know if that turns on any light bulbs for you!

  27. Thanks for the great Info .... I am starting this internet business journey and I am kind of the same situation. I don't know if I am doing something wrong ... or is only a metter of time.

    Could you please give me any comment or advice about my business ???

    • Hi Carlos,

      What is your website address?
      How long has your site been live?
      How many unique visitors do you get per month?
      Where is that traffic coming from?

      Happy to help! :D

  28. The best advice found in this article:
    >> The first step in creating an organized strategy is to know your goal.

    Most people have an idea and simply run with it as the Internet makes that easy to do. Get the idea down in writing, and secure domains as noted. Then make sure you have a growth plan. What looks good today, 3 months, 6 months, etc. and what you expect at each stage. Make sure you have a plan for each, including resources, both internal and external, and marketing. Internet marketing in and of itself encapsulates a broad range of strategies and tactics. Not all may be necessary or suitable for your target customers.

    Great ideas fail due to a lack of planning. The plan can be simple and it can change, but be sure to put some structure behind the idea.

    There's lots of great resources (including this blog) to get started on your own. As you grow and budgets allow, hire an Internet marketing consultant to help take things to the next level. Just be sure you are clear what the next level actually is.

  29. Great advice. It's important to remember that there is no magic solution to building a successful online business. You need to concentrate on the niche you know best and offer good, useful advice etc to get people to visit you.

  30. Sam A H says:

    Hi ... I have domain names from Godaddy, hosted at Hostgator and I have GetResponse Autoresponder. What is next. I also want to know what can I do with the domain names that are kept idle. Thanks

    • Hi Sam A H,

      The domains you have idle you can just park until you're ready to do something with them. Now that you have your domain names and host account, you need to change your name servers from Godaddy's to the name that Hostgator has for you.

      After your change your name servers, you typically need to wait 12-24 hours for the DNS changes to propagate world wide. During this time, you will notice that your domain name is still pointing to your domain register. This is OK. Just be patient, it will change. Once it is all settled, your domain name will now be pointed to your web host.

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