This is a guest post by Christina Crowe.
It's late at night and you're still tapping away at your keyboard, writing up a post for your blog. The clock is ticking and you know that time is running out.
How am I going to pay the rent this month? You wonder, as you can feel the precious minutes tick away, slowly draining and never to return.
You pick up the pace.
You can feel minutes turn into hours as you continue to write long into the night, this time working on an ebook to sell to your readers.
You recently got laid off from work. Unable to find a job, you decided to try your luck as an entrepreneur. However, it hasn't been going well. It has only been 3 months since you got laid off, and you've already gone through all of your savings. To top it all off, you're barely making any money at all with your business.
Somehow, you have to make this work.
After a while, you finally decide to turn off your computer and call it a night. You pull the covers up over your body and try to sleep, only managing to toss and turn throughout the remaining hours of the night as countless worries flood your head. Before you know it, the alarm goes off and it's back to work again.
Does this sound familiar?
Long sleepless nights of writing, only to seemingly not make any progress, and all the while wanting a better lifestyle for yourself is something many new entrepreneurs struggle with.
I sure did.
A year ago, I came to the realization that I wanted to make writing a part of my life, so I became an entrepreneur and got to work. However, the transition from working a 9 to 5 job to living the entrepreneur life isn't an easy one, especially if you have bills to pay and mouths to feed. In reality, it can be a downright challenge.
Every day was a struggle, and I had the constant fear that, after all the work I put into creating a successful business, I just wasn't going to make it.
But I loved to write, and I used this love to guide me and give me the confidence I needed to continue making progress so that I could one day live out the lifestyle of my dreams.
I've made mistakes along the way that I'm not too proud of. But I've also accomplished way more than I thought was possible and soon will be able to add an ebook to my list of accomplishments, something that fills me with excitement and pride.
Along the journey, there have been moments where I was literally jumping out of my seat in excitement and times when I could do nothing more than relinquish my fears into a box of tissues. But, by re-envisioning my future, setting a plan, working to achieve my goals, and celebrating my accomplishments, I was able to create a clearer road map to my future and make new milestones.
I still sometimes live those sleepless nights—the constant agony of not knowing where my blogging career would take me or if my business would flourish or fall flat. However, I've learned not to wallow in my fears and instead embrace my challenges, for it's the only way I'll be able to improve and shape my future.
So can you.
You've come a long way from working a 9 to 5 job to starting a business so that you can work at your own pace. Even if you aren't living the above scenario exactly, you know the feeling. You want to get far in life and make progress, but something keeps pulling you down. Your struggle to progress has proved fruitless. It seems as though you aren't getting anywhere. Months pass you by and you still feel as the day you first got started.
You can't make progress doing what you're doing, with nothing to look forward to and without a clear direction ahead. In order to enjoy your life, you need to have a plan.
Imagine Your New Lifestyle
Are you really satisfied with how you're living now, or can you make it better?
Once you've decided that there's still room for improvement, envision how your ideal lifestyle would look like. Better yet, put a time limit on it. What are you doing 5 years from now? Are you married with children? Are you traveling the world? Get as detailed and specific as you can. Do you have a house near the beach, with a large spacious office in which to work? Are you only working 4 hours a day and spending the rest of your time with family?
How would you truly enjoy your life if you could live it however you wanted? Write it down. Print the description if you want to, and put one copy in your bedroom and the other in your office. Look at it as soon as you rise each morning and the moment you walk into your office.
Set Passive Income Goals
Make a plan as to how you're going to acquire your ideal lifestyle. What tasks will bring you closer to the life that you want? Start with yearly goals. What do you need to accomplish this year in order to achieve your ideal lifestyle?
Work your way down.
Once you have your yearly goals set, set goals that you'll accomplish in 6 months. You should list no more than 3 to 5 major goals. Each goal that you set should bring you closer to the life that you want to live. If you want to travel the world, you'll need to figure out where you'll go and how you'll finance the trip.
List your goals for the next 3 months. All of the goals that you list should interlink and compliment with your yearly goals. By breaking down your goals in this manner, you'll have a clearer understanding of what needs to be done.
Finally, what are you going to achieve this month? Write it down, but this time be more specific. Start planning out your day to day routine. What are you going to do today? How about tomorrow?
Take advantage of planners. The planners over at Productive Flourishing have especially helped me organize my day, and I feel as though I'm also more productive as a result. Make use of planners and you'll be surprised with how much you can accomplish.
Don't just plan everything out and hope for the best. Complete the tasks that you have planned for the day.
Every time you complete a task, cross it out or put a checkmark next to it. At the end of each week, look over the tasks you've completed and see how many you were able to get done. Some days you might not be able to get to them all, so don't be discouraged if you didn't complete as many tasks as you had hoped you would. Just get them done tomorrow.
If you find that completing so many tasks has made each day more stressful, try tweaking your plan. As you progress, you'll have a greater grasp of what you can accomplish when.
Keep at it and don't give up. Look at your lifestyle description if you get stuck. Above all, remember why you're working and don't lose sight of your dreams.
Analyze How Much You've Progressed
As you complete tasks, you get closer to achieving the lifestyle you envisioned. After every week or after your first month, take a look at your progress. Are you progressing? If you're not, rethink your plan.
If you are making progress, try recording it into a graph that you can look at while you work. A good way to do this is to make a graph for each goal you intend to accomplish. So, if you plan to make $5,000 a month in passive income, fill in the graph as you make that income. Not only will this help you to analyze whether or not your tasks are effective, but it will motivate you to keep working as well.
Keep progressing and tweaking your plan as you go along.
Celebrate New Milestones
When you reach a specific milestone, like earning that $5,000 for the month, reward yourself. Don't just keep working. Give yourself something special, like a day off from work, a new computer or a fancy dinner. Rewarding yourself will inspire you to work harder to achieve your ideal lifestyle, and you'll get there much quicker.
You should also stop to think about how you can do better next month. Pat does this nicely in his monthly income reports. There's always room for improvement, so think of ways in which you can improve and achieve even more.
If you're worried about the slow journey ahead, you'll be amazed with how time flies when you're being productive and getting work done. Before you know it, you'll be living the lifestyle of your dreams. Best of all, you'll have so many accomplishments to be proud of.
Stick with it. Success comes when you least expect it.
Christina Crowe is a freelance writer who spends most of her time writing for the Web, reading fiction and striving for her ideal lifestyle. Check her out on her freelance writing blog Cash Campfire.