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This is part one of a two part series where I want to address some of the common issues that are faced by many Internet marketers. This article will focus on an obstacle I feel is stopping many people from getting started with Internet marketing. The second article will focus on proper business strategies for an online business.
A growing part of my work is private consulting where I help other people with the “sticking points” of developing and growing a profitable online business. The common issues that I help people with are many of the topics I have shared with you here previously such as market research, narrowing your niche and creating a USP. Other areas I commonly help with can include developing customer relationships, product creation ideas, and strategizing.
Recently I had a consult with a young man and it really brought home a few of the main points where I see online marketers failing. I thought I would share the story with you.
Tom (not his real name) is a smart person and he has been dabbling in Internet marketing for a couple of years now. He does not make near enough to quit his day job, but he is spurred on by the small returns his online ventures do make and the success stories of others he reads about. After chatting with Tom for awhile, a few issues became apparent as to why he was maybe struggling with his online efforts.
Like most people trying to make money online, Tom had immersed himself in the vast amount of knowledge available. He was constantly reading, researching and learning. We all know there is no shortage of information on the Internet and sometimes a bit of research can really lead to going down the rabbit hole, so to speak. I am all for learning and researching. But I am also all for acting upon that information and actually doing something with it.
For example, one of Tom’s websites had very little content on it and I quizzed him why that was the case, and he told me the reason was because he wasn’t sure about what traffic source he was going to focus on. He told me he was thinking of doing some videos and putting them on video sites, he also had thought about doing some article marketing to the article directories, and lastly he was contemplating creating a Facebook fanpage. The end result? He did nothing. He just thought about what he should do or could do.
It was like Tom was suffering from a term some people joke about called “analysis paralysis” – where so much thinking is going on that nothing actually gets done. I’m certainly not saying that some thought and planning into your actions isn’t necessary, I’m saying excessive thought and planning that prevents action is not a way to build a business.
Successful Internet marketer Jason Fladlien is known for his expertise in time management (he is the author of Double Your Productivity for Life) and one of his key principles relates to decision making.
Jason says that the ability to make decisions is like a muscle and can be trained and strengthened. If you always labor and hesitate over decisions you have to make, then your decision making muscle will be weak. If you are assertive and take action quickly, then you will build that into your decision making ability, and you will feel comfortable and confident making quick decisions. Like anything it takes practice.
Once great principle Jason has is the 30 second decision making rule. This is something he implements to strengthen the decision making muscle. Jason does have some other rules related to business decisions but he says that this is a great way to get started on making decisions that you can use in everyday situations.
He recalls going out to lunch with some fellow Internet marketers during a seminar and how it took ten minutes to decide where to eat. Jason highlights if the 30 second rule had been applied then they would probably already have been seated at a restaurant and already ordered their meals in this time.
I know the above statement sounds a little irresponsible or maybe even a bit crazy. But people often say the first step is the hardest. And sometimes that first step is just making a decision about what to do. Just make a start, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
I told Tom that he just needed to do something. The fact is all those previously mentioned traffic avenues work. Many people have had success using each of those content methods. Obviously it depends on your market, for example Facebook may not be an appropriate choice depending on your demographic. All you can do is give it a go.
With regards to traffic mediums, you may find you or your audience tends to gravitate towards one of the mediums. But you will never know if you don’t try. That is what is great about an online business, there can be some trial and error involved and that is OK. And while a lot of learning can be gained from researching and reading, the best learning is actually applying the information and giving it a go.
So I told Tom that he needed to pick article marketing, video or Facebook and decide which one he was going to use (I didn’t mind if he used all three, as long as he did something!), and to make a start on getting some good quality content out. And now he could spend all the time he was researching, which was the best avenue, and dedicate that time to content creation and helping his customer base by providing them with some great information.
Well, Tom felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He told me later that the decision had been weighing him down. And it can. Decisions can go around and around in our head and wear us out. However, once we make a choice it can relieve a lot of that anxiety and give us a sense of peace of mind.
There can be many obstacles to starting a successful online business. Knowing what to do can certainly be one of them. Most of us have a general idea of what we have been procrastinating on. So hopefully this article will give you some motivation to make a decision and get started on something you have been putting off.
Unfortunately, the act of not doing wasn’t the only obstacle facing my client Tom. His overall mindset and approach to his online businesses was also letting him down. But I don’t think he is the only one suffering from an ineffective online business strategy. But more about that next week.