As we bring 2015 to a close here on Coffee Break Blogging, I wanted to take a break from the usual programming…. and just talk to the general idea of growing your online business.
… Especially if you feel you are lacking for time.
I’ve gotten that feedback from many people – including some Lab members. Short on time, not enough time… and for this reason they put their business goals on hold and go put out fires.
And I get it. Jobs, kids, family. Life can be a messy business sometimes. 🙂
So, in this situation, how can we continue to make headway on our business and not put the whole thing on perpetual hold?
In this episode, I share my thoughts on expanding your “sphere of influence”. It is the idea of being able to spend time on those other things…. AND your business at the same time.
I also share a few productivity tips – and the underlying reason for each – to help you make more headway with your business.
Hope you find this episode helpful.
So today, we are going to take a little bit of a hiatus from what we have been talking about. We have been talking here about monetization, so to speak; about making sales, about generating revenue. And we are going to continue on that track. But here is what we are going to be doing… We are going to take a little break today, we are going to talk a little bit about how to make progress or how to grow your online business when you think that you have got no time.
And I am injecting this in here for a couple of reasons: One is because I have been seeing these feedback coming from many different people; including some of my Lab Members. The other thing is that we are heading into the Christmas break here and so I am going to be taking a little hiatus, myself. The next episode is going to be kind of a little pit stop episode; so to speak, that will be more clear when we get there, and then we are going to take a little bit and come back in going full steam ahead in 2016 with Coffee Break Blogging. So we are going to have a lot of fun with that.
When You Are Short Of Time
Now, I want to talk about how to grow your online business when you feel like you are short on time. And the reasons why you could be short on time are actually pretty obvious, and that most of us are experiencing it every day. But perhaps you are trying to grow an online business to create that side income or potentially replace your main income but you have to do it while you have a job. You have a full time job or a part time job and obviously, it takes up a good chunk of your schedule… there is really no getting around that part of it.
Perhaps you are like me, and you have children. You know, kids! They are massive time sucker, are they not? 😀 Especially if the kids are staying home or something like that, it can be a real big source of time taken up, it takes time away from your online business. Perhaps you are taking care of a relative; there could be a number of things that you have going on in your life that can take your time away from your “other” intentions, one of which, I hope, is to work on your online business.
And the thing is, when this is all going on, it is really easy to put things off. And this is some of the feedback that I have been seeing out there. People say, “I’m going to launch my business in April of 2016” these kinds of things… I have a lot of Lab Members that are coming in to the program all the time, but I do, of course; like any membership program, a lot of people cancel as well. And I always ask people why they cancel. And one of the most common reasons I get is that they are short on time. They are lacking time. And they always tell me they are going to come back into the program later when the time is better for them and guess what… I never see them again. 🙁
And so, I look at this as a provider of training and I look at it as a symptom, not so much a cause. So there are things I am going to be doing inside the Lab to help alleviate this. But at the same time, I have to look at what they are saying. They believe that life is complicated and therefore, they have no time to work on this other intention of theirs.
So what I want to do is give you what I would view as a little bit of a lull of productivity. I don’t even know what you would call this, but it is just something that I want to share with you today…
Validating Your Intention
When you have an intention to do something, then taking your attention off of that in order to deal with other things is essentially the same thing as deciding that your original intention was not valid. It is basically kind of going the opposite direction.
Now let me put this into perspective…. I mean, I could easily draw this, but… Let’s say that you have intention A. You have like, this “goal” and we will just call this “A”. And that is something that is important to you that you want to get done.
But then your life throws at you other things. All of a sudden you have got B and C that come up. And maybe B is your full time job and C is your kid or D is something else; some other little fire that you feel you need to put out. The instinct is to take your attention off of A and go and deal with B, C and D, right? That is what most of us do. And then we will say, “Well, let me go get these things handled then I’ll come back to A.” But actually, when you do that; by removing your attention off of the original goal, you are essentially changing your mind. You are kind of running counter to your original intention and for that reason, you are usually assassinating it, you are usually killing it off when you do that. It is allowing external factors that you think you are not in control of, to dictate how your time is spent. And that is really what it is.
Now, here is the thing… When you are designing your life, you get to decide where your energy is directed. You do not have to let life dictate these things for you. I know it often seems this way; trust me, I know how it feels. But at the same time, we have to realize that if we have that original intention, we need to NOT take our attention off of it. Okay? It is actually a smaller form of a person who is going to allow these external factors to take their attention off of a goal that they have got.
So instead of removing your attention from A and going off and putting out fires in other places, it will be a better route to actually expand your ability to pay attention to many things at the same time; to expand your sphere of influence. We all have this circle of influence around us and some of us have different sized circles than others. Some of us, we tend to only control our own personal space, maybe just to our rooms and a few people around us. And things outside of that, we tend to close our eyes and think that “Well, that has got nothing to do with me.” Other people have much larger spheres of influence where they just instinctually are able to influence a lot bigger space until you get to the point where there are people running companies, things like this… And that is a much larger sphere of influence. So you can almost think of the circle around you. And that circle has got a particular radius way out from you and that is how much you can influence in any given time.
Well, instead of shrinking or keeping things the same and just moving this circle of influence around, so to speak, why don’t you exercise the actual expansion of that circle of influence? Actually expand how much you can do at the same time. Now, does this sound harder than it should be? Maybe. You might think, “Well, yes… Sure Dave, you can say I’m just going to go out and start expanding my circle of influence and do more things”… But I can tell you, it actually is a skill that you can practice. This is a skill you can get better at if you constantly pay attention to it. This is not one of those things where you are in doubt with certain things at the moment of birth and you are stuck with it. That is not it at all. You can totally practice this just like you can practice playing a musical instrument. The skill that you are going to be practicing here is to be able to put your attention on more things simultaneously. If you have ever sat back and paid attention… If you have ever experienced paying attention to kids; and you have got your two kids or whatever and you can deal with those kids. Now all of a sudden you are in a situation where you have to watch other people’s children as well. And all of a sudden you now have to pay attention to a lot more kids. Well, you can do that, right? Or you just kind of find a way. You find a way to do that. You can pay attention to more things simultaneously than you probably think. You just have to practice it.
It’s Either You Do Or You Don’t
So going back to the original thing, you decided that you wanted to grow an online business. Instead of taking your attention off of that thing in order to go put out fire in other places, while you find a way to span your attention among other things to include this original intention… So that means that you are like… Okay these things come up, this job, you have got your kids… But you do those things simultaneously with growing your business. Now it could be that you have to take a little bit of time away from the original intention but the idea here is you do not let it go to zero. You find a way to span your attention among multiple, parallel paths at the same time. I hope I didn’t lose you there. I am trying to put in as clear a terminology as I can.
So let us take this back to the realm of our online business… If you intend to actually do it, if you intend to grow this business, then you have got to put attention on it. It is either you intend to grow it or you don’t. I mean, if you are not really being serious with yourself and you say “Well, I kind of want to grow an online business and I would like to make a side income but” then you are really not that serious about it and you can prove that by the fact that you are not doing anything; well, then stop kidding yourself and just go away. I mean, if you are not going to do it, then do not do it. Stop wasting your own thought just dreaming about it. Now if you intend to do it for real, then you need to find a way to keep that intention moving forward despite other things that you need to do. You just have to do it. Okay? Otherwise, you are never going to get anywhere.
Now let us give you some more concrete tips on how you can actually pull this off. How do you keep forward movement on this intention of growing this business even though you have got fires to put out in your regular life?
A Few Tips To Make It Work
1. Create A Plan Of Action
Even if only for the next week or the next month. Most people who are working on their online business is like they are constantly trying to figure it out as they go even into the short term where you say, “Okay, I going to dedicate the hours between 9 pm – 11 pm to my online business.” And then 9 pm comes along and you sit down and you don’t even know what to do with yourself. And that is because you do not have any plan. You set out no task, no goals. You have not even stated what your real purpose is for that time. And so, you are rather aimless and you end up going nowhere.
So what you need to do here is create that clear plan of action that clearly states “This is my purpose.” State it. Write it down. Print it out and tape it up next to your computer if you need to. And then you work out the exact task that you are going to work on. Now, keep in mind… You can have this purpose be large, like this is the ultimate thing I am shooting for; but more important than that is to know what are you going to be working on, on that particular week, or that particular month. Because then, when you sit down to work on the business with the time that you have got, you are not wasting time trying to figure out what to do with yourself. You actually know exactly what to do, there is no confusion to it and therefore, you are going to make some real progress with that available time. I want you to remove all doubts and all confusion on what you are working on by planning it out in advance.
2. Make Those Decisions Ahead Of Execution
What I mean by that is – any decisions that you need to make, research that you need to do, anything like that; do that first with the eye of then making that decision and then when you go in to execution mode; that is what you do. Okay? Where I see people really fall down on their faces is when they sit down and they say “I’m going to go do something on my blog.” And then they are trying to figure things out as they go and then that leads off into “Oh, shiny!” And then they get off to all these distractions and before they know it they are really overwhelmed and they didn’t get anything done. The way to handle that is to separate your decision making from your actual execution. And this goes back to my first tip and that is creating that Plan.
3. Schedule Your Time As If It Is An Appointment With Yourself
This is something that I do and I find this very successful; especially in my business, other than consulting calls sometimes; it is not as if I have a lot of scheduled appointments. But what I do is I set appointments with myself. I say, “Between the hours of 2 and 3 in the afternoon, I am working on X.” And that is what I do during that time. It is on my calendar, it is an appointment and I do not allow anything else to conflict with it. And so, I recommend that you do that as well. Actually schedule out that time. And of course if you got these other things in your life, like a job or kids or whatever, you are going to have to schedule around those things. But the idea is not to let it go to zero. You need to span your sphere of influence and do all these at the same time.
4. Hire A Mentor
Now, it might seem a little self-serving to say that; but I am going to give you the exact reason why I believe it is actually really important…
This world that we are in, tends to operate in pairs; as the base quantity, I should say. This is why societies tend to do better when there is a firm foundation of marriage. It is also why businesses that have partners tend to usually grow better. And it is because; even if you can do a lot as an individual, we tend to operate better as a minimum of a pair. If you have a larger group than that, it can work as well if you have got some good organizational capability in there, but at the basic, it really works better when you have got pairs.
And for those of us who are working as individuals, you can create that pairing by hiring a mentor or a coach. Because many of us do not have a business partner. I don’t have a business partner. But we need to work with other people sometimes. And it could be by way of a coach, it could be by way of joining a mastermind group; whatever it might be you have got to have those other people because this is the way the world ticks.
It is almost like an energy flow like, if you were to look at the laws of energy and electricity, you will see that no electric pole; like a terminal on electric, as soon as it sees another terminal, then the electricity starts to flow between them, right? By itself, it doesn’t do that much. But when you have got that second terminal, all of a sudden you have a current between them. And then things happen. And I think we can take that analogy and take it into us as individuals and realize that each of us are a terminal, so to speak, kind of we have got that potential. But in a lot of times, in order to unleash that potential we need to have a second terminal there. And then you have got the current flowing between you guys, and then things can happen.
So if you are a solopreneur or you are just working on creating this business on your own, I would recommend that you hire a mentor, get a coach, at the very least get a mastermind group because we tend to do better in pairs.
Now to that end; and this is why it could easily be seen as self-serving; is that is if you want to hire a mentor, you can essentially hire me by way of joining the Blog Monetization Lab. Now, you are not going to have me as your direct one-on-one coach inside the Lab, although there are options for that if you like, but you can get access to me as well as every other person inside the Lab and you can bring this capability to the growth of your business. You can have a mentor, even though I will be doing it with a lot of people at the same time; and you can kind of have a mastermind group all in one, inside the Blog Monetization Lab. Not only that, even if you are on a budget, that is a very affordable option for you because if you go to hire a one-on-one coach, it is certainly going to be a lot more expensive than that.
So again, with that in mind, I would recommend you head on over to the Lab and check it out if you are not already a member. And if you are already a member of the Lab and you happen to be here right now, be sure to utilize the community, if you are not. I know we have some Lab members who would like to lurk out there in the outskirts, but come on in and participate; ask me questions, because like I said, the world tends to operate as a minimum of a pair. You do not want to be a solo terminal, you want to get that current going between you and somebody else and that is how things are going to grow for you.
So with that being said, hopefully that wasn’t too long and rambling for you. I will see you on the next episode of Coffee Break Blogging; which is going to be our last one for 2015 and then we are going to do some really cool stuff for 2016. And we will talk about it then!
See you soon! 😉