What I’ve been trying to accomplish this summer and build a little bit of muscle on is: Detaching. What I’m finding is that my results GROW the more I disengage online.
Yes I’m still blogging and churning out new content daily. I just do it in a more time efficient manner (timestamping & pre-publishing). But I’ve cut way back on emails, blog/forum reading, stats checking and overall fooling around.
By decreasing my online time to eliminate as much ‘noise’ as possible, here’s what’s improved:
- More purposeful, more focused, more results oriented
- Goals are clearer, less fuzzy
- Content quality and visitor response (more subs, more links, more traffic)
- Picked up offline hobbies that are satisfying and give me pleasure (remember those?), yet haven’t done in many moons
- Time to read more books and gain a wider perspective on a variety of issues (for all kinds of areas: marketing, online business, and other interests)
Believe it or not, you don’t have to follow every blog in your niche. You don’t have to stalk competitors to see what they’re up to. You don’t have to hang out and chat on forums, blogs, emails, IM. You don’t have to know every new SEO tidbit. You don’t have to invest your time into every latest and greatest.
By detaching and removing myself from the online world, I find myself blossoming :shock:. I’ve stopped talking talking talking and absorbing all the noise and tossing around what ifs and ideas, and am now just *performing*.
Here’s the game plan:
Figure out what you want. What you really, really want. Is it money? Is it freedom from a job? Or is it freedom in general? A lot of people dream of owning their own business, but what they don’t realize is that many times the business they’ve bought or developed is just another job. Except with longer hours, more responsibility, less benefits (medical/dental, paid vacation, pension, etc.) and a financial stress that you would not believe. I’ve been there and done that and I’m not interested.
So what do I want? I want to earn money online in a manner that’s as hands-free as possible. If I’m not plugged in, I still want to earn. If I don’t touch a webpage in 3 months, I still want to earn.
Realistic? Possible? The bulk of my online earnings is doing it already, so I’d say yeah :P.
What I Know Isn’t Working Right Now (for me):
Affiliate product sites. Actually I’ve known this for well over a year or so (maybe even two) and that’s why I haven’t developed any new ones. All that’s been happening is a steady culling, flipping sites to SEDO (parked domains) or replacing product pages with actual content (original and on theme). These can sit and age until I decide to use them for some other project. Or flip in the future and earn a buck or two.
I do have some steady performers on hand and they’ll sit and ride it out until the bitter end. I know they don’t have a future, but I’m happy to keep them going until things change.
Aren’t affiliate product sites best suited for my goals? Not really. Links die and expire regularly and need to be checked constantly to be effective. Organic search results are harder and harder to come by. Add to that a new(ish) policy by Commission Junction to kill accounts that don’t remove expired links fast enough, cookie blockers and wipers and adware–it all adds up to too much hassle (for me).
What I Do Know Is Working (for me):
Developing content that people find value in. I know, blah blah blah blah blah. But it’s true for me and this is what I’m riding everything on. Reader loyalty development (ie. subs), linkability, timeless content choices (content that is interesting today as well as 10 years from today), originality.
Long Range Plans:
A mix of monetization methods that include affiliate products (as advertising, not main content) and other ad serving methods.
Product creation and development. This is something I’ve talked about here before and it’s something I’m still very much interested in. Unfortunately it seems I work in negatives, I always know what I *don’t* want rather than what I *do* want. Meh. But I know to suit my goals best, I don’t want to develop:
- Software (far too much involved with customer support)
- Web Dev Services (hosting, web design, scripts)–again far too much hands on is needed
- Blogging (err? Right now I’m using blogging as a platform or stepping stone, but it’s not long term for me)–too hands on again
- Service Based (paid memberships, etc.)
Product creation doesn’t mean you have to step into shady circles. You don’t have to create and package dated information to be consumed by those who just don’t know any better or those you seduced into a trust relationship. But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with recognizing that there are many different levels of knowledge out there and serving well a less knowledgeable market is perfectly kosher.
Steps To Take (Suggestions):
- Figure out what you want. Do you enjoy working with people, blogging hourly or keeping busy with customer support and interaction? Or do you prefer a more removed and detached presence online? Then map out your plan accordingly. Build toward that goal.
- Set an amount of online time (daily) and stick to it. If you give yourself two hours online each day, you’ll be sure to work effectively. If time needs to be stretched, allow it only for critical situations (like new product development, new site development, etc.).
- Set email filters. Check emails daily for the ’emergency’ folder. Things like site monitoring notices, affiliate accounts, Paypal notices, blog comments. Inform friends that you’ll be checking emails weekly.
- Remove instant messaging services or only logon weekly or 1/2 hr per day.
- Detach from forums (posting and reading) and blog reading.
And the big one: Stop working on sites that don’t have a future or don’t show any promise for monetization or serve a purpose for long range plans. Stop fiddling and creating work for yourself and just do what’s necessary to keep things growing.
This isn’t going to work for people just starting online or who don’t already have a base to work with. Everyone has to put in the 8hr – 12hr days to learn the ropes (both the good and the bad). But for the rest of us, learning to work effectively, fine tuning our goals and training ourselves to always ask: Is what I’m doing going to improve my results, get me closer to my end goal? may just be the ticket to get us there.
If what I’m saying here resonates with you, and you enjoyed the books Go It Alone and The E-Myth Revisited, you’ll definitely find some great direction with The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (not an aff link).