As an avid forum poster, I often see posts about how other people have finally quit their jobs to pursue internet marketing. This is great news for them — to finally be their own boss, to have the entire day for themselves, and to start their own business.
On other days, I’ll also run into posts that talk about the difficulties and frustrations of making money online. These are people who have either recently started out or are people who have been at it awhile and haven’t seen the results they have hoped for in the beginning. It usually boils down to a “mentality issue” they have. One that I do see often is a lack of focus and consistency. For example, many people in internet marketing will post something like this:
How Do You Keep From Going Nuts?
How do you sit in front of a computer for extended periods of time, all the while staying focused and productive?
I have to say that this seems like the most difficult thing for me.
Basically, I have never been good at focusing. I had terrible grades in high school (much better in college, thank you adderall) due to the fact that I could never sit long enough and focus on words on a paper. Yes, I know, we all have ADD, but for me it has been a real challenge and I’ve come along way.
But now I find myself getting very frustrated because when pent up too long and working too hard , I begin to get restless, anxious, etc. At times, normal situations where I am supposed to be having fun, I find myself distracted. I’ve tried going out and having fun, exercising, etc and find these to be helpful but I think that I need to take some bigger steps to keep a fairly normal life.
So, with all this in mind, how do you stay mentally healthy and productive while spending extended hours in front of a computer screen?
I think many people who start out (or are still doing this) have this problem. It doesn’t matter if you’re an IM veteran like John Chow making six-figures a year or a newbie making a few cents a month from AdSense, we all get the distraction bug from time to time.
The great thing about internet marketing is that anybody from a 16-year old high school teenager to a 50-year old retired construction worker can enter IM, but that’s also like a double-edged sword. Not everybody will have the focus and discipline to pull off a successful business.
I’ve been interested in productivity for a long time and narrowed my niche down to focus.
Questions that I ask are what makes a person able to sit down and write a 6000-word article for five hours straight, compared to a person who has trouble leaving a relevant comment on a blog that takes five minutes to read? Why is it that a person can buy a product and implement it for seven days, while another person can buy a product and totally forget about it after receiving a “seven-minute high” from watching a video clip guaranteeing them $3,000 a month?
These were the questions that I was interested in, not just for internet marketing, but for any kind of work in general.
I can relate to this because as a graduate student, I also faced similar problems with focus. One day I was fed up and decided to go online to search for information regarding how to focus better. However, the search engines listed websites that I felt were irrelevant to focus and had many distracting ads that were counter-intuitive to helping a person focus better.
I decided that I could create an resource, not just one article or a web page, but a website that would be solely dedicated to helping people like ConquistadorO stay mentally healthy, become more productive, and focus better.
Some of the websites that I saw had been there for a decade and if I wanted to see something new out there, then I would have to do it myself and not wait for someone else to create a website on focus. So that’s what I did. In March of 2011, with no budget and no identity, I launched a website to help people focus better.
Just like everybody who begins IM, I had many challenges as well. There are too many gurus out there who want to sell you an “easy way out.” If you’re not careful and you have a credit card, you can be easily swayed into buying product after product, eventually realizing that a month has passed and you’re just stuck in the same place without having gotten anything done.
I think one of the reasons the majority of people get stuck is because starting your own business seems easy and even fun on the surface, you don’t realize how many “hats” you have to wear along the way. Here are some examples of different things you will most likely have to be good at:
- Creating articles, posts, podcasts, or videos for your audience
- Creating or using someone else’s product that fulfills a market’s needs, designing a sales page, and making graphics for product
- Choosing a website template and tweaking HTML or CSS to make website look more appealing
Search Engine Optimization
- Doing on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and building backlinks
- Going on web 2.0 sites like Google+, Facebook, Twitter and building relationships with people in your niche
In the world of IM, at one point or another, you will have to be a creator, a designer, or a promoter. There are so many things that you must be that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and want to do two, three, or all of these things at once. I think this is where people run into most of their frustrations. People are desperate to see results, so they will rush the process by dividing their attention to doing multiple things at once and end up getting nothing done.
When I realized I wanted to buy hosting and a domain name in March of 2011, I began writing nothing but content for the site in the beginning of February.
During March, I set up my website and did web designing. I have always seen myself as a writer, and definitely not a website designer, so looking at any type of code scared me, but I learned by asking experts in forums like WordPress.org and my theme’s forum. Most people are helpful if you just ask.
In April, I researched everything that I could about focus and finished writing an e-book on it. I was able to add it to my website and proud that I was also able to get it out there.
Since May and June, I’ve been trying to do SEO and website promotion including blog commenting, forum posting, and now guest posting.
Sitting down and focusing is difficult for everybody, even more so now since technology is more advanced, making information more easily spread to the world at faster speeds. But like anything else, it takes practice. You are not given a skill by reading a book.
Although I can’t speak for everybody, here are some tips I’ve learned along the way to help me focus better and to help beginners or people who are struggling in IM:
1. Be exactly clear what you want to get out of internet marketing. It could be making $10 a day in passive income or $5,000 a month in passive income; it could be becoming the best blogger in the world in your niche or moving away from your home and not being financially dependent of your parents.
2. Identity your situation right now. Be as honest with yourself here. The closer you are to the truth, the less resistance you will encounter when achieving what you want. For example, I’m a graduate student who is on summer break right now. I realize I will not have this time come September so I know I have to work extra hard now to prevent frustrations that I might face in the fall.
3. Break down your goal in realistic segments. By realistic, I mean taking a chunk of your goal that’s not so easy so that you feel nothing when you accomplish it, but not so hard that it’s impossible to do. You have to find that balance in between. For me, I dedicated one month or about 30 days to either content building, product creation, website design, or SEO.
4. Focus on doing one thing at a time. Once you’ve broken down your goal, the tasks ahead of you should be less intimidating and doable. Get rid of all distractions, and just pay attention to one thing until it’s completed. You’ll be tempted to try and multitask, as it’s part of human nature, but remember that studies have shown multitasking to heavily reduce one’s efficiency. If you fall off track, don’t beat yourself up. Just gently go back to what you were doing. Again, like anything else, this will take practice.
5. Focus on your progress. Progress is everything. People complain because of what they don’t have, but aren’t grateful for what they do have. If you are always worried about what you want in the future but don’t have right now, that is a 100% formula for frustration. Any type of progress you’re doing today is looking at what you have in the present moment and that is a 100% formula for satisfaction. Aim for progress and aim for growth because these are the things that remind you of how far you’ve gone and how much better you can get.
As long as you know where you are right now, know where you want to go, and take action every single day, you’ll eventually reach your goal. You may fail many times, you may have to changes courses, and you may take longer than you first expected, but at least you’ll have results backed up with your actions, and not another story to tell people.
I hope my experiences will help other newbies out there who are currently facing difficulties and frustrations trying to succeed in this crazy world of internet marketing. Stay focused and continue taking action.
Hulbert Lee is a graduate student who has a secret obsession with internet marketing. But at heart, he is a writer, and he hopes to help others learn how to focus better so they can achieve success in the world of IM. If you have time, please visit his website over at http://howtofocusbetter.com/.