This is a guest post by Glen Allsopp.
Why are you really here?
The obvious answer would be to read Pat's excellent content, but I want you to dig a little deeper. Why is it that you spend so much time reading blogs each day looking for new nuggets of knowledge that you can hopefully apply to your online ventures?
The reason I ask is because introspection is the one of the most important things you can do to build a profitable business. Online or offline. I know that many of you will run successful projects online already and are here to take things to the next level, but I know others use resources like this as a way to procrastinate and try to have everything perfect before you actually start taking action.
I know, as I used to do the same thing.
My Own Mission
It took me three years to make a living online. Three whole years before I could quit my day job and work for myself. Yet, in the 10 months since leaving my job, I've built new properties that could have replaced my job income alone. Doing the same thing in 10 months that I could only achieve in three years is quite a difference.
Of course, I've learned what works and what doesn't along the way and I can now really streamline the process to building successful websites. But there's more to it than that. You see, in the first three years that I was building websites, only around 25% of my time was actually taking action.
The rest of my time would be spent doing things like:
- Reading blogs looking for more nuggets of knowledge
- Buying ebooks that promised to teach me the secrets
- Signing up for services like Aweber even though I had no use for them at the time
- Watching videos of those who had made it and seeing how they did things
- Following different trends and constantly starting new websites
Instead of just focusing on what I knew and continue to take consistent, quality action, I kept searching and searching and searching. It was until I had this realization and went from 25% action to 85% action that I started making money.
Can you relate to that? I hope so.
Log Down Every Single Thing You Do Tomorrow
Or whenever your next “typical” day is. You don't have to write down what you had for breakfast—this is not a food journal. Instead, I want you to record your activities. So that might be chatting on Facebook, spending 9-5 at work, leaving comments on blogs and being active on Twitter.
Whatever actions you take tomorrow, I want you to record them. If you're anything like me, when you look back over this sheet, you'll be disappointed. You'll see that you somehow managed to keep busy throughout the entire day, but you didn't actually get anything done.
Nothing that is going to take your business further forward, anyways. If you don't like the results, the worst thing to do is worry about it. The best thing to do is be happy because unlike hundreds of thousands of people out there, you've probably realized where you can improve and you'll now want to take action.
Working With The Results
If you spend most of your day taking solid action that will provide results for you, then congratulations. You're one of the few. On the other hand, if you're like I was and see that actual work only takes up a small portion of your day, you can improve upon that.
One key thing I realized is that I was working on things that didn't interest me. A good example is when I started a celebrity blog just because it was easy to drive traffic to them. I had no interest in celebrities, but I was writing 3-4 articles about them every single day just to try and make money. It wasn't long before I slipped down to 1 article per day then nothing at all.
It's so easy to follow the trends online and work on things that you can see are making money for other people, but that's hard. Your work online does not have to be difficult, it should just be in a direction that you enjoy. I love writing articles about marketing and what seems like minutes can actually end up with hours passing by. That's a real passion.
If you're not working on things you love, change that, right now. If you don't, then don't be surprised if you're in exactly the same position next year as you are in right now.
You should also find in your log areas that are completely pointless to your day. If you're building up a Twitter profile but don't even have a website, you're probably wasting time. If you're wondering why your blog isn't making money and you haven't tried selling ads or creating your own product, you're wasting time.
Look at your log and give yourself an honest assessment. Only then can you start to make headway.
I'm Not Saying Learning Is Bad
I'm consistently making a five-figure income online every month but you'll still see me leaving blog comments and reading websites like this one. Reading blogs or buying ebooks is never a bad thing, but you must put into practice what you learn instead of becoming an information junkie.
I recently picked up a copy of Tribes by Seth Godin [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: Pat earns a commission if you purchase through the link.] and sat down to read it with a pen and paper by my side. Within a third of the book I had already taken 3 pages of notes. I could not get enough of the great information in there.
I continued to read the book at night, with no form of note taking available, and didn't get anything from the next third. Not one note to take away. It's not that I don't think they were there, it's just that the way I was prepared to take in the content and was reading for the sake of reading.
If you're going to buy ebook after ebook or read blog after blog, actually apply what you learn from them and make sure you test things for yourself rather than blindly following ‘leaders'. You'll probably get to the point where you realize most ebooks are rehashed junk and blogs with quality information like this one are rare to find.
In fact, I went from having 136 blogs in my feed reader, to just 15.
So why are you here?
Glen is the author of a blog called ViperChill which covers the topic of Viral Marketing. He helps people build remarkable websites that people naturally want to talk about.