Hey You! You’ve Lost Control in Your Business. Here’s Why, and What to Do About It

control

So you’ve been working on your online business, testing different things, playing with new methods…overall, just trying to make things go a little better.

Inevitably, however, comes the day when you will start having doubts.

 

Don’t deny it.

YES, YOU WILL EXPERIENCE THIS.

It happens to everyone.

 

Pat Flynn’s recent hit – Let Go – is basically about the path from panic to profits and purpose (his own words).

let-go

Corbett Barr – the creator of Fizzle (and the killer of Think Traffic) – has his own two cents to share about overcome self-doubt too.

fizzle

Almost every big name out there faces this. If it didn’t hit you yet, it will. Sorry for being the bearer of bad news.

I did go through this too, by the way. A number of times. Probably a lot more times I’m comfortable admitting.

 

The thing with doubts is that they are not always that relevant to the reality we’re in. Sometimes, we’re simply worried about things that don’t make sense.

Other times, we’re worried because we don’t feel like we’re in control. We’re worried that we’re only a victim of circumstances and everything we do is kind of reactive or even accidental in nature.

not all worries are real
For example, why are you trying to utilize a certain promotional method in your business at the moment? Is it because it’s part of your overall yearly plan of action or something? Or did you just see it somewhere on the internet and decided to give it a shot? If it’s the former, then cool, you rock! If it’s the latter, then welcome to the party, you’re just like the rest of us…

 
 

The goal: re-gaining control

 
 

Re-gaining control is by far the most important thing on my list for 2014, and I think it should play a role just as strong on yours.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve been doing okay, but I feel that taking this to the mysterious next level won’t happen if I’m not in control of my projects and my actions entirely.

So here’s my plan and the approach I’m taking to make it happen. A big part of this is mindset-related, so proceed with caution if you’re more about the direct go-do advice.

 

clock

Taming time

 

Working in the computer era is very confusing and very difficult, even though we don’t have to deal with hard physical labor all day. But maybe that’s exactly the problem…

 

Here’s the deal. If you’re a construction worker then your work and relaxation environments are very separate and distinguishable. Basically, if you’re at a construction site, you’re at work. If you’re sitting in your chair at home, you’re relaxing.

I know this sounds drop-dead basic so far, but bear with me.

Now, when you’re working on a computer, or even worse, the internet is your main work tool then you’re pretty screwed. That’s because distinguishing work from relaxation is virtually impossible.

construction
For example, picture the following two scenarios:

  1. Work. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your screen, browsing through the admin panel of yourdomain.com and typing a message.
  2. Relaxation. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your screen, browsing though someone’s profile at facebook.com and typing a message.

These are essentially the same environments. I mean, the difference for your conscious brain is obvious, but for your primal brain, it’s not obvious at all. This small change – the specific website you’re on, makes it really confusing for your brain to determine if you’re at work or trying to relax.

For ages, we’ve only been doing physical work, and our brains got used to that concept. That’s why physical workers have no problems at all relaxing after a day’s worth of hard work. They can switch in a matter of seconds due to the environment change. We cannot.

 

This whole probably a bit boring story brings me to one conclusion. And it’s this:

If we want to tame our work time entirely, which is the first step to re-gaining control, we need to start using our main work tool (our PC or Mac) for work only.
 

This means no relaxation time by your computer. No YouTube, no Facebook, no video games, etc.

And I don’t only mean the obvious, which is avoiding distraction during your work time. I actually mean not using them at all for relaxation purposes.

Once this habit is set for good, our brains will learn, adapt, and eventually let us be in control when we’re working.

So, the big question is what to do when you want to relax with some internet entertainment by your side? Considering my strict rules regarding your work-PC, the only solution I can see is using an entirely different device for relaxation.

For example, if you want to relax, you can take your iPad, or your spouse’s tablet and sit in this nice chair by the window, instead of remaining at your desk.

 

plan

Planning long term

 

The other building block to re-gain control in your online business is getting into the habit of long term planning.

We all know the basics of constructing a plan. What you do is pick a goal, write an outline on how you’re going to achieve it, and then start executing it. But short term planning doesn’t protect you from falling victim to those one-off techniques and methods that you’ll stumble upon on the web almost every day.

 

It’s just that even despite having a good plan, you are likely to find yourself in a situation where you’re chasing after the new cool method that someone has described on a blog somewhere. So the solution I advise for this is practicing the art of long term planning.
Here’s what you do:

  • Focus on handling the tasks that you’ve planned for first, before going after anything new and exciting.
  • Whenever you do come across something interesting, ask yourself if it has the potential to make the execution of your main plan better or faster. If not, then don’t even bother testing the thing out.
  • In general, focus 80% of your time on executing your core plan and handling the tasks specified in it, and only 20% of your time testing new things.

Being on the top of the mountain and knowing every new technique out there is very trendy these days, but try looking at it from an old-school perspective… Let’s take Nike as our example. Do you think that the overall man-hours spent in that huge company is on new technique and idea development, or on simple sneakers-assembly? Since we do have Nike sneakers in the stores all over the world, I guess it’s the latter.

So there you have it. These are my two main methods for re-gaining control. And I really do intend to implement them as soon as possible.

The benefits can be huge. I’m sure of it. No one has ever gotten to the next level by just going through the motions and dealing with their business on a day-to-day reactive basis. The real success is about being in control of your business and your career as a whole.

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Hey You! You’ve Lost Control in Your Business. Here’s Why, and What to Do About It | newInternetOrder.com

Why Launching a Blog “For Yourself” Doesn’t Work – a Failure Case Study

fail

So a while ago, I launched a new blog. Something that was built because, and I quote my very first launch post:

I write this blog purely for myself. {Name} is something I want to start and participate in from now on. I’ve created this blog to document my progress, nearest plans and goals.

I even went on to say that:

[...] I don’t intend to focus on things like SEO and promotion. Essentially, I don’t care how popular this blog is or will be.

Quite strange, right?

A couple of words of explanation before I get any deeper into this, just so you know why I’m even sharing this story here.

The “whats”

  1. This was a purely personal project. This means that I indeed didn’t want to grow a community around it. I mean, I wouldn’t mind, but this was nowhere among my goals.
  2. This was my attempt at running something not-business-related alongside my everyday efforts in other areas.
  3. The project was about improving some aspects of my life and documenting the progress along the way. You could call it a personal development project.
  4. I won’t disclose the name of the project here because right now, there’s a fairly ugly imposter site under the old domain name and it does focus somewhat on the same idea. So, I’m guessing someone took the domain over once I didn’t pay to have it kept online.
  5. The site was live for 12 months.
  6. I published a total of 4 (!) posts.
  7. I didn’t stop pursuing the thing that the site was supposed to document, I just stopped writing about it.

What’s in it for you

Now, the most important question here is this: What’s in it for you and how can you learn from my unfortunate mistakes?

Here are the things I’m about to discuss:

  • Why I think that writing a 100% personal blog is very unlikely to stand the test of time.
  • How to find out if you’re heading towards failure or not.
  • How to launch a personal blog better.
  • When is a good time to pull the plug on such a site.

First order of business:

The problem with “I will just write” mindset

The number one thing I did badly was having an “I will just write” mindset.

I mean, I had the idea for the project pretty much figured out (I still have), but when it came to my content writing plan, there wasn’t any. I just thought that since I am engaged in this whole thing, writing something about it every other day wouldn’t be a problem. It was.

(And I’m really sorry because I know that this post might be a little harder to read due to the fact that I’m not disclosing what the project was about, but I don’t think it’s necessary here. After all, it’s the blog we’re talking about here.)

The thing I learned from this is that you always need a content plan, or in other words, a plan on how you’re going to create content exactly. And “exactly” is the keyword here. If you don’t start with such a plan, you’ll almost certainly fail.

How to stay motivated on a daily basis

clock

The main problem with personal blogs (at least in my opinion) is that the only audience is you. This has many consequences. One of which is that it’s really easy to slack off and don’t write anything for a week or so. After all, since it’s only you reading then nothing bad can happen anyway, right?

What I’m trying to say is that it’s a bigger responsibility to write for your online business website, and therefore, kind of easier to stay motivated. You have audience. You have views. You have revenues. In the end, not publishing content has a direct impact on your bank account. For a personal blog though, none of this applies.

The way to fix this is to cheat. More precisely, to cheat yourself into some daily work. You can do it by creating a habit of writing in the morning. In other words, every morning, right after breakfast, you write a blog post.

Creating such a habit has many benefits and ending up with some fresh blog posts is only one of them. For instance, it’s a great warm-up and a superb method of waking up and getting over the morning slowness.

(This isn’t a new idea from me; I actually shared it in one of my guest posts.)

The funniest part in all of this is that even though I do a lot of my writing in the morning, I seem to forgot about the idea when creating content for that personal blog. I think that by doing just this one thing alone – writing something in the morning – I would probably be able to run the blog consistently, instead of having just 4 posts on it.

Getting caught up in the setup process

Another problem I experienced was that, for some reason, I spent a lot of time on the setup itself. I mean, this was supposed to be a personal site from the start, so I really don’t have a clue why I spent hours looking for the perfect theme and set of plugins. It makes no sense to me now that I look back.

The correct way of doing this should be to just have the site launched on a default WordPress theme (really), which these days is Twenty Thirteen (the new theme in WP 3.6).

The only reason I can see why I didn’t do it like that is because I was worried that someone might find the blog and think that it’s shitty because of the default theme. A stupid worry, I know.

The no. 1 sign you’re just about to fail

The toughest part of facing failure is probably noticing that it’s coming your way in the first place. Or scratch that. The toughest part of avoiding failure is to notice it’s coming your way.

For a business, failure is very very easy to spot. Essentially, if you don’t have money, you’ve failed. For a personal blog, it’s not that obvious.

There is one thing though. If you’ve been running a personal blog and the following two things have occurred then you’re close to failure:

  1. You didn’t publish anything for a long while, and
  2. You broke the silence by publishing a “sorry I’ve been away” post.

The thing with “sorry I’ve been away” posts is that they are often your very last posts on the blog, despite the fact that they are the posts where you usually promise to get back to regular postings.

This is exactly what happened to me. I published my “sorry I’ve been away” post in April 2012, after 7 months of inactivity (the period between my post #3 and #4). This post has then become my last post ever on the site.

So the lesson for you is the following: If at any point in time you feel the need to publish a “sorry I’ve been away” post, your site is in serious trouble.

This moment is a good opportunity to make a decision. Should you pull the plug? Or should you keep going after slight re-evaluation of your goals? (A question to answer on your own.)

Conclusion

The lesson for me in all this is that personal blogs are not as easy as they seem. And even though it can be argued that there’s no such thing as failure with them, the fact is that not posting anything for 7 months and then abandoning the blog altogether is a failure by every definition.

I guess the main, in-the-nutshell, takeaway from the story is this: Treat your personal projects and blogs just like you’re treating your main business. Just because they are personal, doesn’t mean that they are unimportant.


Why Launching a Blog “For Yourself” Doesn’t Work – a Failure Case Study | newInternetOrder.com

Revealed: Why Being Productive is Only as Difficult as You Make It – New Hub Page Launches

Productivity is the Achilles heel for many online entrepreneurs, and especially if you’ve worked a standard 9-5 job before going on your business journey.

To be honest, productivity was a tough thing for me too. In short, I wasn’t always a productive being, to say the least. Just a couple of years ago (or so), I had my lowest-performance period. I was lucky to have done 2 hours of work a day, and the work I was able to accomplish didn’t get me anywhere anyway. Not cool.

bored

Anyway, I got better, thanks. But this is not due to any magic-bullet solution or a wonder product I bought. No, nothing fancy about my story. I just changed my mindset, learned a few things, and devoted myself to staying productive by using various techniques and setting new habits in my workday.

Although I’m still no guru on productivity, I think I can show you a couple of my tricks and explain how and why they work. I do believe that everyone can learn how to be productive, regardless of how incapable they might feel at times.

The hub

Long story short, today marks the launch of my new hub page on how to get and stay productive.

The hub takes you through the whole process by linking to other posts on this blog and on other blogs where I had the privilege to guest post.

I wanted to make this hub ultra-friendly and easy to grasp by using various images and visual representations, so I hope you’ll have great experience with it (feedback more than welcome).

What’s your story?

Yeah…what’s your story? I mean, how would you describe your productivity? Do you feel productive during your everyday work?


Revealed: Why Being Productive is Only as Difficult as You Make It – New Hub Page Launches | newInternetOrder.com

How to Mess Up Your Online Business in Just 7 Simple Steps

puffIt’s funny how easy it is to mess up something that you’ve been building for months or even years. Although maybe funny is not the word I’m looking for… Peculiar – that’s the one!

Anyway, today it’s all about taking a broader look at our businesses and our personal behavior as online entrepreneurs. All this so we don’t have to witness our efforts go down the drain one day.

Quite surprisingly, most of the serious business-related problems are of internal nature rather than a result of some external happenings. In other words, WE are the most common reason of our business’ failure. It’s not the competitors, the market, the audience, or whatever else you might be thinking of.

This list is exactly about these internal problems that lead to the failure of your online business. In short, it’s how we can prevent ourselves from ruining our businesses.

1. Thinking you’re unique

I don’t know who am I stealing this expression from, but one of the most predictable aspects of human nature is that we all think we’re unique. And even more predictable is the fact that when you were reading the previous sentence, you got the impression that it was still about other people because you are truly unique nonetheless.

Well, here’s the thing. We’re all much less unique than we think. And the same thing goes for our businesses.

Chances are that no matter what your business offers, other people already came up with a similar idea in the past. More than that, they are probably still here figuring out how they can outperform you. So, the only way you can succeed is not by thinking how my business idea is going to make me win, but how my execution of the idea is going to make me win.

This is an important mind shift and it actually makes us much more aware of the situation we’re in. Once we abandon the idea of being unique, we can focus on other much more important down-to-earth aspects of running a business.

2. Tomorrow

Time flies. Like hell it does.

Chris Rock – one of the best stand-up comedians of our time (my opinion) said one interesting thing:

“When you have a career, there are not enough hours in a day. But when you have a job, there are too many hours in a day.”

Even though the way he says it still makes it funny, it’s as true as it can be. And the quiet killer in this whole thing is the mindset of doing things “tomorrow.” And I don’t mean that consciously planning things to be done at a later time is bad. No. I mean that treating the practice of postponing things as a way of solving them is nothing but walking on thin ice.

Tomorrow never comes. If you want to get something done, get it done today.

3. Too much focus on education

We obviously need some business education. But the keyword here is “some.”

Information overload really is a plague these days and it’s really REALLY easy to get completely lost in consuming yet another blog, another article, or another e-book. And you do all this without actually taking any action along the way.

This is something I was guilty of doing at the beginning of my career. I felt like a shark in a suit… like I knew everything there is to know about business. The only problem was that I had nothing to back up my “expertise.” I’m quite embarrassed to admit that it took me way too much time to get out of this mindset.

Anyway, in short (catchphrase definition):

Disregard education, take action.

Which brings me to:

4. Pursuing the next big thing

This was my other problem some time ago (damn it, I don’t know what I was thinking back then).

Basically, anyone who’s just getting into business or is experiencing some sort of difficulties in business later on (in general) is very prone to any “magic-bullet solution” that’s being advertised to them. This is a consequence of focusing too much on education. Quite simply, by going after a lot of information every day, you will inevitably stumble upon some magic-bullet solutions sooner or later.

The simplest way of not getting tricked into believing that this particular thing is going to save your business is to ask yourself a question: Does it sound too good to be true? If so, then it most likely is.

5. Acting like you’re a big shot

In any business, no matter what your niche is, you will come across different types of people. There are people who are just starting out, people who already have a position on the market, people who actually are big shots, and a small number of top players – the rock stars.

Now, for some reason, almost anyone who’s somewhere in the middle of their journey thinks that they’re a big shot already (it probably has something to do with the idea of being unique). And sadly, I can see this happening all the time.

Just to give you a simple example, if you’re a little guy, writing to Darren Rowse and asking him to exchange guest posts with you won’t probably play out all that great. Another similar scenario is reaching out to Neil Patel and offering an email marketing cross-promotion.

The thing is, if you’re just starting your pursuit of online business greatness and you want to do something with the big guys, you will have to offer them significantly more than what you’re asking for in return.

6. Disregarding your peers

I wish I knew this earlier, but growing together in a small mastermind group or even with a close business contact is significantly easier than doing it alone. Whatever stage you’re at, find your peers, reach out to them and propose some kind of cooperation that will benefit all of you. Create a syndicate or something, I don’t know.

The idea is that once you are all big shots, you will have a great team to do business together, instead of having to look for new contacts from scratch.

7. Believing; without taking action

Last but not least, I want to tackle this “law of attraction” bullshit. And I don’t even have the energy to elaborate on this. I just have one thing to say, here goes:

If anyone thinks that all they need is to believe in success then it serves them right…

Here’s a better idea, one that actually works: Don’t think. Do.

Okay, I should probably apologize for making this sound a bit negative. But I’m really sad to see people who can’t find any results in online business purely because they spend way too much time researching things, planning things, believing things, learning things, buying things, content-marketing things, thinking about things, postponing things and so on.

As counterintuitive as this might sound, sometimes doing things first and thinking later really is the superior way.


How to Mess Up Your Online Business in Just 7 Simple Steps | newInternetOrder.com

If You Were Interested in The Essentials of Online Business, Where Should You Go?

EssentialsHonestly, if I were to start all over again with online business, apart from the fact that I would be seriously scared due to all the things I’d have to get familiar with in a short span of time, I’d also need a clear and understandable starting point.

And when I’m talking about starting an online business journey, I don’t simply mean launching yet another business. What I actually mean is building everything from the ground up, including your knowledge, expertise, learning the essential skills, getting familiar with the tools, having the right mindset, creating a business launch blueprint and so on. In a word, lots of things to do.

You may have noticed that I’m releasing quite a bit of new resource/hub pages here as of late, and this post follows the trend announcing yet another similar page (it’s not the last one, by the way).

I’m talking about this:

Things you can find inside:

  1. Launching your first online business step by step.
  2. What the most common online business models are.
  3. Where to get some essential tools.
  4. How to build the essential knowledge and skills.
  5. How to start building your mindset (probably the most important thing).

With that being said, this hub page is the shortest one to date. This is purely intentional as I really wanted to focus only on the essential stuff and no by-the-way content, so to speak.

I guess that’s enough advertising for the page. I hope you’ll enjoy it and that it’ll help you get started with your online entrepreneurship adventure. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them here.


If You Were Interested in The Essentials of Online Business, Where Should You Go? | newInternetOrder.com