This post is presented by Mike Collins from WealthyTurtle.com.
Since I’ve been building websites since 2004, you’d probably assume I had managed to build quite an online empire for myself by now.
That was certainly the plan.
Back then, if you had asked me where I’d be nine years later I’d have said that I would be drinking beer and grilling dinner for the family while living off my passive income. I envisioned dozens or hundreds of websites each generating a steadily growing income.
Unfortunately my plan was bit ambitious and I learned the hard way that earning a living online isn’t as easy as people think it is. Sure, anyone can launch a site and make a few bucks through advertising or affiliate programs.
But to take the next steps and build a real business you need something that eluded me for far too long.
Where I Went Wrong
Time and again I’d get an idea for a new website or project and I’d get incredibly excited. I’d eat, drink, and sleep my new idea, imagining how successful it would be. I’d start building the site and creating content for it and maybe I’d even make some quick money from it.
But then I’d suddenly lose interest. Maybe I realized that the topic wasn’t something that really interested me or that it was going to take a lot more work than I had thought. Or maybe I’d get another idea and that would take over all my spare thoughts.
Time and again this cycle repeated itself and after years of work I was left with a bunch of half-finished projects that no longer interested me. Sometimes I’d have a small niche site that worked at first but then quickly faded as I stopped paying attention to it. Other times I’d lose interest before even building a site! I had a bunch of domains registered on obscure topics that didn’t interest me at all.
After Google’s algorithm changes wiped away most of my traffic and revenue, I realized I was doing things all wrong. I had thought that by building many sites in different niches I’d protect myself in the event one site went bad. After all, everyone always says not to put all your eggs in one basket, right?
But all my jumping around from one site to the next got me nowhere because I never spent enough time on any one site to really make an impact.
I had no FOCUS.
Eventually I learned that if I was going to succeed I needed to focus all of my energy into just one site so I can build it into something really special. I let most of my other sites fade away and now I spend most of my time on Wealthy Turtle.
Don’t get me wrong. I still feel the temptation to launch a new site every time an idea pops into my head (I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to Pat Flynn’s podcasts on my iPhone during my evening commute and each one I listen to gives me another new idea to file away) but I’ve learned to suppress the urge and stay the course.
I still have plans to build more sites and I even have a few domains registered for when the time is right. But those will be on standby for the foreseeable future so I can devote all my energy into making Wealthy Turtle the best it can be.
Tips for Staying Focused
If you’re like me and find yourself jumping around from one thing to the next, here are some simple things that you can do to help keep yourself focused.
Apply the Pareto Principle to your business and you’ll see that 80 percent of your results come from only 20 percent of your efforts. You need to figure out which activities are producing the most results and focus on them while pruning away as many of the less productive activities as possible.
For example, you could spend hours tinkering with your site’s design, but how much will it really impact your bottom line? Couldn’t you better use that time to create your own product to sell?
If your time is tight you can always outsource work that doesn’t fit into your schedule. There are plenty of skilled writers and graphic designers that you can hire as freelancers. Online publishers can also outsource things like social media sharing and carnival submissions. Tasks like these are simple but time-consuming and they usually fall into the 20 percent category.
Getting rid of clutter is another way to stay focused. My home office used to be a mess and my business tasks would get mixed up with bills and other personal stuff. I gave the room an overhaul and organized everything to keep them separate. Now when I sit down at the desk I’m in “work” mode and I can ignore any distractions.
Lists are something I just can’t live without. I’m constantly scribbling down notes with article ideas or a list of tasks I need to complete. This is a big help for me because once the kids are all in bed I can sit down and just go down the list of things to be done. Before I started using lists I’d have trouble getting started and more often than not I’d end up reading emails or chatting on Skype instead of getting any real work done.
Finally, you need reminders to keep you motivated. I’m not talking about more “to do” lists or pop-up reminders here. What I mean is you need something to remind you of the reason you’re building a business to begin with. It could be a picture of an exotic beach you hope to live on when you’re a successful business owner. Or perhaps some quotes that inspire you to keep going.
For me, it’s all about the family. My motivation is to give them a better life and to earn enough online that I can quit my job and spend more time with them. So naturally I have pictures of my wife and our 3 children, but I also have some other random pictures that motivate me or remind me of an important lesson. One is a series of screenshots from an episode of The Simpsons. The other is an old Calvin and Hobbes comic I saved. They both serve as a reminder to keep going but not to lose sight over what I’m working for. In other words, they keep me focused.
Mike Collins is obsessed with building sustainable streams of income online and achieving financial freedom so he can live life to the fullest with his wife and three amazing children. Read more about his adventures at WealthyTurtle.com