There are very few events that are quite as life-changing as becoming a parent for the first time. You experience much more of a dramatic shift than when you move out for the first time, when you get your first job, or when you get married. Everything changes. And going through this experience with Adalynn (yes, she has her own blog) has strangely provided me with renewed perspective on the professional front too.
Everyone Has Opinions and Advice
Is co-sleeping a good idea or a bad idea? Should you force your baby into a specific feeding schedule or should you watch for her cues and offer on demand? Should you bathe her daily or will that dry out her skin? Ask a hundred people and you’ll end up with two hundred different opinions on how best to take care of a baby. And a lot of this unsolicited advice will come from parents and non-parents alike.
Making money online really isn’t all that different. Everyone has a pre-conceived notion about this industry and if you were to ask a hundred “experts” for guidance, you could end up with hugely disparate opinions on how best to earn a living on the Internet. And that’s okay, because after you listen to what everyone has to say, you just have to choose the parts that work best for you and your situation.
What may have worked for earlier generations may not be as appropriate or applicable today. My dad never changed a single diaper. I’ve changed more than I can count. Gender roles change and so does the nature of Internet marketing and online entrepreneurship.
You Gotta Keep on Your Toes
Especially for the first few months of parenthood as a work-from-home dad, I found myself being pulled away from the computer on a moment’s notice because of a crying baby or an emergency diaper change. It was (and still is) difficult to gather together a few moments of reprieve. I have to continually adapt to the situation.
And you’ve got to be ready to leap into action on a moment’s notice. Earning your living on the Internet works in exactly the same way. Things can be going smoothly for a while, but perhaps your mail server just got hacked. Or your website is down. Sometimes, you just have to drop everything to keep the business going.
When You’re Focused, Nothing Else Matters
I can be tired. I can be worn out. I can be frustrated, sleep-deprived and angry. But when I hear my little girl giggle and see her smile, none of that matters. I realize that all this hard work and all this effort is worth it.
While I wouldn’t be so quick to equate human life to an online business, it is true that your online business can feel like your baby sometimes. And when you put in all that effort and you get so focused on growing it, seeing those little glimmers of hope, happiness and success remind you why you’re keeping your eyes on the prize.
Conventional Work Hours Don’t Apply
Newborn babies typically need to be fed about every two to four hours. That means they also need to have their diapers changed every couple of hours. That also means that they’re probably crying every couple of hours too. This wreaks havoc on any semblance of a normal sleep schedule for new parents and it means you need to be creative in figuring out when you can get in some real work time.
I found myself waking up early to get some work in. I found myself staying up late to get some work in. I found myself skipping lunch to get some work in. The concept of a regular nine-to-five just doesn’t work when you’ve got a newborn there.
And guess what? You may not need to “feed” your online business every couple of hours and it may not be “crying” for your attention, but you can be awfully creative and flexible in when you choose to work on it too. That’s part of the beauty of the dot com lifestyle, really, because it means you can run your errands and do your regular life things on a Wednesday afternoon when everyone is at the office. Then, you take care of business on a Sunday morning when the malls are overcrowded.
Just When You Think You’ve Figured It Out…
To be fair, I’ve only been at this “new dad” thing for a few months, but I can already tell you that the learning curve has been steep. And every time that we think we have figured everything out and we’ve established a reasonable routine, things change. She doesn’t like being held that way anymore. She doesn’t sleep that way anymore. She doesn’t want to eat that anymore. So, you adapt. You change. You adjust.
I don’t need to tell you how quickly things change on the Internet. With Google algorithm updates, new social media best practices, new affiliate marketing strategies, new online products and services, and so much more, you have to be prepared to change. To adapt. To adjust. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow.
But it’s oh so rewarding when you get it right. Just like fatherhood.