The problem with Internet marketing is that, despite what you’re often promised, results don’t happen overnight.
A lot of people, a lot of my friends, have dived into the industry thinking that it’s going to be easy money in an instant. They get to work from home, even work from no home 😉 and just sit back and watch the cash roll in.
For those of you who, like me, have been ploughing away in IM for some time, you’ll know this just isn’t the case.
And I think the main contributing factor why so many people fail is a lack of time management.
Back when I was still a kid fresh out of college, I sold credit cards for a living. The pay was measly, I hated my job (I wasn’t very good at it) and so there was no self-motivation. The only reason I woke up every morning and showed up at work was because I was accountable to my boss. I had someone above me breathing down my neck, giving me deadlines, giving me direction and so I followed. And got things done.
When I decided to get into IM it was tough.
It took me 6 months to complete my first product which was a World of Warcraft guide. Six whole months to write one PDF file. After work. When I felt like it. Which wasn’t every day…
Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time available.
What that means is if you give yourself a month to do something, you’ll probably take a whole month to do it. Whereas if you give yourself a week to complete that same project, I guarantee that by hook or by crook you’ll find a way to get it done.
When I started I didn’t have time management.
I worked when I wanted. And so I slacked. And strayed. And it was only when my job really pissed me off that I’d go back to my online projects.
So here’s the lesson of the day: learn to manage your time.
When you’re self-employed, whether online or not, the temptation to take long breaks and finish work “later” can be overwhelming.
I get it. You get it. Now it’s time to change things.
Yes, I know the main pull of IM is not only the promise of passive income, but also the freedom it supposedly allows you. Scheduling your days to incorporate work doesn’t sound like much fun. But what you get in return is a direct reflection of what you’ve put in.
Want more? Work smart.
Let’s step aside from IM for a moment.
Now I’m now trying to show off or anything, just bare with me because I do have a point to make when I say I always park valet.
And it’s not because I’m rolling in dough or enjoy flashing cash. The reason is because I feel the time it takes to drive around a packed parking lot scouring for an empty space, getting frustrated, getting stressed, trailing people walking out of the mall, and losing a spot to that idiot who always cuts in at the last minute… is simply not worth it.
Time is valuable. Time is currency.
The time wasted looking for parking is worth so much more than the $10 I pay for valet.
It’s all about how much you value your time.
Here’s another example. One that may hit home for a lot of you.
To set up a website from scratch, from getting a domain to adding content, takes me around 10 hours. Now if I were to outsource the tasks, it would cost me approximately $150.
That’s 10 hours vs. $150 (for an almost instant fully-functional site).
Now you may be thinking, why bother paying $150 for site that you can set up on your own? It’s all about economies of scale. If it takes me 10 hours to set up one site and 5 hours a month to maintain it, how many hours do you think I’d spend working every month if I had 5, 10, 15 sites?
My time is worth more than that. And better spent on other projects, on brainstorming sessions, on coming up with new ideas to move forward. And so is yours.
Menial tasks. Technical tasks. They’re not worth your time.
Here’s the kicker. Kindly take note:
Know your strengths, outsource your weaknesses.
So back to time management…
I set up a weekly schedule of all the tasks I have to do. Goals, meetings, deadlines. And also all the fun stuff. I block out time where I can chill, go to the gym, hang out with friends and so on. In fact, the fun portion of my schedule is always the first thing I add. Everything else works around it. That way I rarely have to cut out my fun time.
Now the great thing about IM is that you get to pick and choose the things you do. So I make it a point to only give myself tasks that I actually enjoy. I’m not a programmer. I hate writing code. If there’s technical work that needs done, I outsource. That’s free time for me.
Again, I will actually schedule my day so that I have a block of time to outsource. And if I don’t even feel like doing that, I’ll block out time to speak to my VA to outsource for me.
More free time for me.
Also, work around your body clock. Being your own boss means you don’t have to do the 9-5. Unless you’re a morning person, then by all means, start work early. Personally, I think I’m at my most productive in the evening. So I schedule my work day to begin after lunch.
And stick to this.
A daily routine of starting work at the same time is not only a physical reminder that you have to get things done, but it has positive psychological effects too. It will serve as a mental reminder that it’s time to work. It’s what will separate “office hours” at home from a regular weekend or holiday.
Now I’ve mentioned this before, willpower is a limited resource. As long as you feel that you are sacrificing something you enjoy, you will eventually stop doing it. So don’t sacrifice the fun stuff. Break up your work day. Take naps, schedule pit stops, and add fun things in your daily routine.