What is it about this business that causes people to take on too much? It’s something we had a problem with in the early days, until we got focused and on track, but for some reason it reared its ugly head again and we found ourselves back in that position all over again. For some weeks we were finding it difficult to stay focused on any one thing. Things just weren’t flowing as well as they should and we knew it was because we had been taking on too much. When this happens the work-flow becomes scattered and you start to spread yourself too thin so nothing of any consequence ever gets done.
As we were discussing this the other day Wanda said “I wish we had only built one website when we started – things would be a whole lot easier now.” And that in a nutshell is what it’s all about when it comes to being a successful internet marketer. If you can manage to focus on just one thing you can’t help but be a success. The more you take on, the longer it will take for you to make money and the less time you will have to do anything.
We not only had our niche websites but this blog, the new review website plus constant requests for interviews, joint ventures, the public domain projects we were working on, products we needed to write reviews for, constant emails to answer and on and on it went. We were even in the very early process of creating a membership site of sorts. No wonder we were feeling burnt out and a little frayed. As a result we seemed to be stuck in the same place with nothing really moving forward. Our earnings pretty much stayed the same even though we were doing more work.
Another sign that things weren’t flowing was that we would tend to flag after lunch and we really had no enthusiasm to get back to work so we would end up watching a video or going shopping, not that there is anything wrong with that, but it doesn’t help your business.
We knew something was wrong. But fortunately this time it was easy for us to figure out what that was because we had been through it all before when we were first struggling to make money online. Back then we were working on all of our 20 or so websites at the one time and it didn’t work then so why were we essentially doing a similar thing now? Go figure!
You’d be hard pressed to find an internet marketer who isn’t taking on too much. In fact, for some reason many internet marketers take on so much that they often work longer hours than they would if they were in a regular 9 to 5 job. I don’t see the point in that. One of the main reasons we came into this business was for the freedom it could give us. To me, it is more important than the money.
So ultimately we don’t want to be spending long hours working. Fortunately for us working on this business is an enjoyable experience for the most part so we don’t really consider it work. However, there are other things we would like to be doing so we don’t want to turn it into a 60 hour a week job.
Now this is just our story but I know that the majority of people reading this post will be experiencing a similar thing. Its hard not to because although making money online is simple, we make it as complicated as possible. And all those complications hinder our ability to make it all work.
In it’s simplest form, making money online involves choosing a product or service (your own or someone else’s), creating a page to promote that product or service and getting traffic to that page. What makes it complicated is how we approach it all. Instead of keeping it simple we do everything we possibly can to make it difficult. And the reason why it becomes a difficult process is that we don’t trust the process to begin with – we don’t trust it because it takes a while for that process to see results. In other words, it takes a while for it all to start making money.
So what happens with most people is that they create a website to promote a product and work for a couple of weeks getting traffic to that page but they don’t see any sales. Everyone tells them that they can make money overnight on the internet so why aren’t they?
So the doubt starts to set in and they think they are doing something wrong. So that website is ignored as they go out and find out what they can do to fix it. They end up on a blog or a forum and everyone is giving advice about which method works and which doesn’t. So they’ll buy another ebook, or two or three because each one has a better method for making money online. Only each one of those ebooks tells them something different so they are already confused as to which way to go.
By this time the first website is totally forgotten and they have three or four more websites on the go. Everyone says to add lots of content but there isn’t enough time so they go and buy some plr content and spin it or they get someone on an outsourcing site to write a hundred articles for a dollar a piece. Of course you aren’t going to get much for a dollar an article but who cares if the quality isn’t there – its content and Google loves content right?
By this point they have given up on backlinking because it is too difficult and time consuming so they start to look for easier ways. So they will happily pay a monthly fee to be part of a backlinking blog network that essentially gives them poor quality links or they will invest in various different plugins that will automate the system for them or pay someone to get them thousands of backlinks overnight.
Now they have 20 or 30 websites going because it is so easy to get them up and everyone says that the more websites you have the more money you will make but that’s not working either. Fortunately there is plenty of helpful constructive advise on the forum they regularly attend and someone says that they really only started making a decent income when they had over 100 websites. So off they go and spend hours building more and more websites.
By this time a year has passed and they still aren’t making much money. The hundred websites aren’t working since there is no time to backlink to them and you can’t really afford to continue to pay some backlinking company or blog network to get backlinks for you and you realize that those links weren’t much good to begin with. Plus the amount of time it takes to maintain them is quite draining and there is really no time left in the day to spend with family or friends.
By this time they are almost ready to give up but another email turns up in their email box with yet another method of making money online and it only takes an hour a day and they can be making money within weeks. It is totally different to what they have tried so they create a whole new website thinking that this will definitely be the one that makes it for them and they do everything it says in the ebook and three weeks later they still aren’t making any money. So they start to doubt the process again and forget that website and start looking for other new and easier methods to make money online.
Do you see how we’ve come full circle here? This is what I like to call the ‘affiliate marketers never ending cycle of doom’. I don’t think there is anyone out there who hasn’t gone through it and you can go through it over and over again for years and years. It’s a never ending cycle of creating more and more websites, buying ebook after ebook and going from one money making method to another without experiencing much success.
What to do if you know you are taking on too much
To be successful at all of this, you really have to be self aware. In other words, you need to step back on a regular basis and take a look at what you are actually doing. In most cases you will find that you are taking on too much. But it’s not only that, you will also find that you are never giving anything you take on a chance to really work.
Imagine that if instead of going through the affiliate marketers cycle of doom the fictitious person above focused on only one website for a whole year. Or even better, what if they focused on only 5 product reviews for a whole year. Most people would never consider doing something like that because they think it is too risky. What if none of those 5 pages ever ranks or what if the product I chose doesn’t sell? Yes, there is always that risk – unfortunately there are no guarantees in this business but I think most of us would agree that if we spent a year on just five pages of content you would see some magic happen.
If like us you are finding yourself with too much on your plate then here are some tips to help you get through it:
1. Spend a few hours writing out exactly what tasks you do on a daily basis. (I actually like the Action Enforcer software for this as it gives you a report at the end of the week that tallies up your tasks and the time spent on them so you know where you are spending most of your time.)
2. Once the list is written, take a look at it to see which tasks you are doing that are helping you to move forward with your business and which ones are just time wasters. You can set up two columns for this.
Time wasters are usually things like hanging out at forums for extended periods, Tweeting for hours at a time, Facebook, tweaking website themes, reading blog after blog, answering emails and so on.
‘Things that help you move forward with your business’ include things like backlinking, writing product reviews, reworking product reviews, writing content, and even more backlinking.
3. The ‘time wasters’ should really take up no more than an hour of your day. Anymore than that and you are wasting your time UNLESS you are actually making money from doing these things.
The ‘things that help you move forward in your business’ column should take up the majority of your time. If you want a simple easy working life then all you need to be doing on a daily basis is either writing really good content/product reviews and backlinking. It’s simple and you don’t need flash and fancy tools to do it. All you really need is just patience and a good work ethic.
Each individual task you undertake during your working day is either going to help you to move forward or it is going to waste your time. So as you work during the next week think about whether the task you are working on is actually helping you to move forward or not.
4. The next step is too look at the number of websites you are working on at the one time. If it’s more than two then that is too many. However, looking at your websites is just one part of the story. To really reduce your workload there is a better way and one we have spoken about in a previous blog post. What it involves is focusing on pages rather than websites. This works particularly well for people with multiple websites. In a nutshell it involves finding five pages on all of your websites that are getting the most traffic and reworking them to provide better quality content and then backlinking to them to increase the traffic even more. You can read about it in more detail here. When you start focusing on pages instead of websites things happen a lot faster. Life is also a lot more relaxed as you have more time in your day and things are a lot less frantic.
What did we do?
Since determining that we were taking on too much we decided that we would go back and start to work on one website at a time. We are tidying up some of the old ones and focusing on pages on those sites that are getting a bit of traffic. We are reworking those pages to provide better content and are choosing quality products to promote.
We have also put a hold on all interviews we are doing (except for ones already scheduled) and have decided not to create any membership sites or work on any new projects for the time being. We will continue to write for this blog and send out our newsletter but our primary focus will be our websites. So essentially we have less on our plate.
As soon as we made that decision, we both felt a tremendous sense of relief. And funnily enough since making that decision our income has increased. It’s like the universe has confirmed to us that this is what we should be doing. We also are back to enjoying the work and will happily work all day.
We have our focus back and it’s a great feeling.