Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Staying Focused And Following Thru

A lot has been covered with the 3 major search engines as of late with the CPA Marketing Series so like you, I feel as if even I may need to take a break even if it is just for a few days. We will resume the Series soon with other great places to advertise and even get into the web placement and email marketing side of things with CPA offers. For now I would like to talk about a question that was asked in the forum just awhile ago.

Whoopie: I have a shedload of ideas and things to try. Maybe it’s the AS and ADHD, but I’m having a *really* hard time pushing things through. I have … far too many ideas on the go at once, and I’m not covering all the bases I need to and therefore not seeing the results that I should. It’s not that things aren’t working, it’s that I can’t focus to push them to work even better – if that makes any sense.Anyone else have this? How have you dealt with it?

I and every other Entrepreneur/Marketer have and will experience this. This is just the nature of working online. I remember when I first started out it seemed like the only way to make money online was to write and ebook or promote one. Being online for 3+ years now, things could not be any farther from that. As a matter of fact, I’ve made my living by not even following that business model. It’s a good way (obviously for some) but not the “be all, end all”.

Even today with all my organization one could come into my home office and conclude a hypothesis just from looking around or observing how I work one day that I am on a collision course for a business breakdown. That’s not saying I am disorganized but to someone who would have the opportunity to view me work, I would imagine that would be their assumption.

It does not matter how detailed my schedule gets. I have things that pop in out of the blue everyday. I get sidetracked. Shit happens and it’s a fact of business, especially when you are the business. I dont discourage organization and schedules, as a matter of fact, I highly encourage but it’s only going to be as good as you treat it. If you have 10 money making ideas flowing thru your head here’s what I would do.

  1. First off I look at all 10 ideas and write them down on a piece of paper. I put in projections and goals, and I do my best to determine a time-frame to hit these.
  2. Now I have an idea of what my goals are for each idea and how long it SHOULD take me to achieve them, I can now decide which idea I want to take on. For organization purposes, I only take one idea. Which idea is entirely up to you and how you want your business to run. If your in need or just want quick money, then obviously you want to take on the idea that has a goal that is going to be reached in the shortest amount of time possible. If your looking for more stability and long term business benefits because your already making money (or for whatever reason) then obviously you would shoot for the idea that has a goal with a longer extended time frame to reach.

It’s really tough to try and do 10 things at once especially when we see the dollar signs in our head. Typically for people who are new to having an online business it seems better to generate 10 sources of income from varying directions. I really dont believe this, not at that point anyway. Focus on that one thing and get it down before you try moving on.

Once you get something working for you though, the trip does not stop there unless you want it to. I can relate to my jobs I used to work. I was competitive and always worked hard to be the best at what I did. Much like a money making idea, these thoughts should carry over. The harder you work, the more effort you put towards it, the better chance you may get a raise (online this means scaling more income). Dont ever stop working on something that is making you money. Always try to improve it until you come to a point where either:

  1. Your comfortable with the income it’s bringing
  2. The niche dies in terms of demand

When working online we tend to take things way too far into perspective. This is not necessarily a bad thing because if you really take your businesses seriously then this is a crucial part of the fundamentals to building a long-term and stable model. Overlooking, over-thinking and even over analyzing though can be real time wasters. Personally for me, it comes down to the two things stated above. Either I get comfortable with the income and move on to something else to add, or I completely kill the model. If I dont come to either of those two points then I dont stop working.

Information overload is a huge factor in wasted time. Now that so many Entrepreneurs and Marketers are blogging you have to face an information crisis each day that you go to check your feed reader. What do I do this in situation? Personally, I’ve cut the amount of feeds I read daily. I used to consume anywhere from 75-100 by scanning headlines but nowadays I am reading anywhere from 20-25. As I evolved into a Paid Search Advertiser a lot of the blogs I was reading became absolute shit in my eyes. Even so, a lot of the Pay Per Click Information that I was reading was shit as well. Cut the fat from your daily reading habit. If you chose that one model to follow, then cut all the other stuff out and only focus on the information sources that help you in relation to the model your chasing.

What are your thoughts? How do you approach so many ideas online these days? What do you do that keeps you on track?

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10 Responses

April 16, 2008

I say, think about where you want to be in a year. If you can work on a small project that might bring in $80/day and take 1 month to deploy — or work another project that has potential for $800/day but could take 6 months to deploy.

… It would be nice to be pulling in $80/day while simultaneously spending 6 months building that more ambitious effort.

And those annoying ideas that pop into your head in the middle of the night? First Google the heck out of it. Its probably already been done. If not, whiteboard it until another day.

April 16, 2008

That’s a great post, Ruck, cheers for that. Loclhero had some good advice in the forum as well.

As I mentioned in the forum thread, I like your idea on writing things down and putting timescales on them, Ruck. I’ve always got my laptop handy, I think I’m going to have to learn to start jotting down the distractions and then spending no more than 10-15 minutes putting a timescale on them.

Hopefully that will satisfy the urge to do something about the idea, and at the same time, give me something to look at and work through later on.

Thanks again,

April 16, 2008

Excellent post Ruck. The focus thing is something I have to really work at – I get distracted very easily (growing up I was the kid who played with his Hot Wheels & HO scale cars while creating slides for my microscope). I’m doing better at it this year thru slightly better organization by using “current” & “on-hold” folders, broken down by niche and $ making method. But I still have to fight with myself to work on 1 project at a time. Right now I’m diverging from that rule – I have 2 projects (at 2 different stages) I’m working on now.

April 16, 2008

Excellent post. This is a topic I have struggled with and have seen many other bloggers in IM discuss. For a while I though I was developing a serious case of ADHD. Then I realized, like you mentioned, that it is just the nature of working online. Learning how to effectively manage information overload.

Focus has been difficult for me in the past. I have been developing a business plan based around internet marketing and that has helped solidify my focus. Choose specific areas of concentration is key, and then having the discipline not to jump ship when you read another great blog post somewhere.

Analysis paralysis is something that I have struggled with as well. I struggled with the concept of spending the time to write a business plan, thinking that I was over analyzing things. Yet in my case I will be seeking outside investors, so I determined that the business plan was needed. To combat my analysis paralysis I have set deadline for this plan to be developed, so it doesn’t become a never ending thing.

One idea I have used to help with organization is using project software. Applications like Basecamp or ActivCollab are great for organizing information and collaborating with employees and clients. There are many opensource alternatives that work great. You can organize information into specific projects and then assign tasks and even track time. My intention is to run my whole business on these types of platforms.

April 17, 2008

I have tremendous problems staying focused & getting way too many things open and running on my desktop or offline. What I started doing was setting a timer every 15 minutes and started on one task. When it went off, was I still on that task until it was completed? After getting that down I moved it to 30 minutes. Sounds silly, but I needed that kind of discipline.

April 17, 2008

@yebot – Excellent thought process. Couldn’t agree more.

@whoopsie – I’ve pretty much stopped looking for new ideas. I wont pass one up but I tore myself from forums and a lot of blogs just because of everything floating about. A laptop and notepad on the desk is great for making notes and bookmarking things but in the end I usually throw away the paper and delete all the crap I flooded my favorites with.

@Xray – 2 projects at once can be a daunting task. Here’s a personal example. I am/wanting to create an awesome affiliate directory covering everything I know or can find on the planet. Serving as a resource first to blog and forum participants I had the idea to go all out and try to take on the task to making it THE premiere resource on the web.

On the flip side, I am engaging in one of the biggest and most work fulfilled businesses ever in helping out the rest of the Convert2Media team in establishing our own CPA Network. Creating the affiliate directory is an idea for my personal side of Affiliate Marketing whereas owning a CPA Network is the long-term business model of leveraging and helping thousands of affiliates from across the world. Crazy stuff and damn easy to get sidetracked.

@ Brandon K – I believe ADHD is a requirement nowadays online :), Project software is an excellent way to be organized. I’ll be sure to check out your resources. I can tell you aside from income and filing software I got to find something better than Google Docs. Looking at it right now I am sharing alot of documents with affiliate managers across the web as a personal affiliate and as a network owner. Stuff gets nuts!

@ Matt L – I’ve been there Matt. Shifting the focus from Social Network Spamming…I mean participation to PPC marketing was a rough time for me. I got bored of research, creating keyword listings and all that jazz. I would find myself just screwing off for 3-4 hours of what was supposed to be my productivity time. I should have got a watch but the networks making it harder for affiliate marketing was the ultimate wake-up call to get my ass in gear.

April 17, 2008

Keeping in touch with the community and industry news is very important in this business. But again, it’s sort of a necessary evil. I mean, blogs, forums, rss feeds CAN sometimes be highly valuable and build up your knowledge and creativity.

But at the same time – they are huge timewasters holding you back from actually DOING what we’re here for in the first place: to make money! :)

I’m trying these days to balance my time carefully when it comes to forums, blogs/feeds. I try not to spend more than 20-30 minutes a day skimming my favourite forums (including this one), and 15 minutes or so checking out my 30 or so feeds.

I also want to make it a habit to turn off instant messaging and other distractions when I wanna get some sh*t done.

Also – check out It’s a small widget that installs on your Windows desktop and acts as a stopwatch you can set for miscellaneous tasks. Having that clock ticking down in your face, telling you that you have spent X amount of minutes and have Y minutes left to complete your current task is a motivational kick in the butt! ;)

April 17, 2008

Those are some large scale projects. I wish you all the best with them — I’m sure you will be very successful with both!

My 2 projects are short & quick – that’s the only way I can work on them at the same time. One is a continuation of an seo campaign in a niche I stumbled upon late in the Christmas shopping season. I had fun with it and made some money, so adding a new few platforms on authority sites is easy to do. The other is catching some Clickbank commissions from an IM product launch. Ordinarilly I wouldn’t touch one of these, but the guy behind it isn’t one of the “usual suspects” in IM, the product is very timely, the subject is something I keep up with and made money from, so it’s something I can get done w/o a lot of hassle.

@Yebot: I like your thinking on this. On some level, my brain is going thru the same process which helps me to organize projects into the 2 folders I mentioned.

One thing that has helped me a lot this is to get off the computer, grab a pen/pencil & a note pad and go for a walk, a drive or do some chores and THINK.

January 24, 2009

I know this is an old post for you guys but it is a good one. I was running a google click campaign with a cpa item. For three months I was knocking them dead. My Ad was landing .01 to .02 a click. Each sale was 12.00. About every 1.00 to 2.00 I was nailing a sale. I was loving the 200.00 to 300.00 it was bringing every month. Then Bam as usual a cpa ad went out. Man I was frustrated because it was such a good adwords ad.

June 16, 2009

Its important not to get caught up and to stay focused on what you want to do. To comment on what XRay said, I know someone who uses his xbox tactic to be productive. That is, he does about an hour and a half of work on the computer and then he plays shooting game (halo I think) for about twenty minutes straight. Hey if it works for him! Haha but its generally not a good thing for most people, as they might just be thinking about playing xbox the entire time they are supposed to do work.