Here’s a recent question I got from a blog reader:
What is your personal strategy and mindset for making sure you don’t lose focus on any one of your businesses while creating multiple streams of income? ”
I love this question.
I’ll invent a new term as part of my answer:
The top 20-30% of my priority list is non-negotiable. My spiritual walk, my family, my health, the daily/weekly/monthly “must do’s” to keep my established relationships, commitments and vital business responsibilities in clear focus.
So what about the lower 70-80% of my priority list?
My personality allows me to quickly adjust the lower 70-80% of my priority list from day to day or even hour to hour. I don’t know if that “flexibility of priorities” can be taught or not, but it serves me very well and comes almost instinctually now after doing it for 10 years+.
I find most entrepreneurs don’t struggle with the ability to shift focus from task to task when required (yes – it can be done in a HEALTHY way). Sometimes it feels like a curse to be so easily distracted when performing “lower priority” activities, but I think it’s a gift if you use it with a dose of discipline.
Some specific tips I suggest you keep in mind when managing the lower 70-80% of your schedule:
1) Keep ROI in mind constantly in regards to your TIME
2) Build stuff that lasts…don’t trade $ for hours unless absolutely necessary or VERY profitable
3) Hire and pay great people to do just about anything that doesn’t 100% REQUIRE your presence
4) In regards to #3 there is almost ALWAYS someone better, faster and cheaper than you unless we are talking about “the big three”
5) The “big three” are Creativity, Relationships and Leadership – be flexible, but focus on those once the “top 20%” is covered.
6) If your biz isn’t profitable enough to do these steps it just might be a bad biz model or you are making bad decisions…or perhaps you simply lack…
My definition of Disciplined Distractibility? A focused commitment toward maintaining a flexible enough schedule & a clear enough mind to allow nearly instantaneous shifting of the non-crucial elements of your priority list whenever it’s necessary to do so.
Having DD means you are prepared for the opportunities that inevitably arise all around you…even if it’s a chance to go to the zoo with your kids on virtually no notice (like I did yesterday).
Warning: To the casual observer it looks a lot like flying by the seat of your pants, but the results can’t be argued with!
Care to comment? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
“So, what do you do for a living?”
How do you answer that question? (leave a comment)
As an online “Multiple income stream” entrepreneur, here’s how I answer that question (in general):
“I know how to make stuff happen online. I can generate leads, grow an audience for an idea or a product, or even liquidate inventory. I also teach other people how to do those things for their businesses.”
Answering in such a way has opened up new opportunities for me consistently in each of my three primary online businesses for years.
Or, if I want to keep it simple I’ll simply say, I’m “an internet business author”. Sometimes it’s best to keep it short and send new contacts one of my books if they are interested in more info.
I have been teaching these three biz models for over 10 years, and have been doing them myself for over 12 years. To my knowledge I’m the only one who teaches these three AND does them actively, but the “CES” approach is the secret behind the success of so many students, partners and my own biz.
C: Consult (teach others what works online). You know more than you think!
E: Expand (grow your audience – build a tribe). This leads to affiliate marketing, your own products and new clients (see “C” above)
S: Sell stuff (eBay, Amazon, your own website etc.) A biz model that seems like too much work to many, but is the starting point for numerous success stories including my own. It scares of the lazy and leaves plenty of room for those of us willing to work.
Here’s a recent screen shot of my email inbox (unedited except to protect privacy). You’ll see income for the “E” and “S” biz segments shown here. The “C” income comes in larger checks from clients.
Lately I’ve been running into a lot of people who are of the opinion that “content” or “information” should always be free.
These wandering souls all willingly ignore the ageless wisdom of sayings like these:
I call it a “poverty mentality”. Even seemingly successful people can have it. They have thoughts like these:
To be clear – these are not the thoughts of successful leaders building incredible businesses.
If you add up all the free content I’ve created over the past 10 years of building my businesses and teaching others it would be a virtual library…and I welcome you to take your time and check out my “free stuff”, yet some still complain when I charge a few dollars for access to my latest ideas. It confounds me, but I love how it weeds out the “poverty mentality” followers.
Yes – of course you should use extreme discretion when investing in yourself or your business, and demand refunds on worthless products that were overhyped and wound up under-delivering, but by all means, build relationships with and invest in people who have proven that they know how things work in the real world.
I invest regularly in my own future success and I always have. I’m taken more seriously, get more attention, build stronger relationships, have more pride in myself and am ultimately more successful because of it.
Having worked now with literally hundreds of entrepreneurs at all levels of success I’ve started noting some trends and patterns. I’m gaining the ability to know who will and who likely won’t be succeeding any time soon.
One of my best rules of thumb is this.
WHO DO THEY BLAME WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG?
In other words, there are plenty of people, trends & obstacles we COULD blame, but those of us who survive are the same ones who know exactly who/what to blame when it all goes bad.
You have two choices when it comes to the blame game:
You can either blame your own lack of EFFORT, WISDOM or DISCRETION, or you can blame No One and chalk up the lesson as one you needed to learn on your way to your next success.
Any other party, person, business, government official, family member or even weather event that you blame means you aren’t quite ready for the big leagues. You are letting yourself off the hook.
Blaming someone or something else for a failure means your focus isn’t on the prize. You’ll be easily derailed again soon.
So, think of your last few failures (we all have them). Who did you blame? Your answer tells me a lot about your future.
Let’s have a blog comment contest! Below is an email I got from a reader along with my response back to the sender. I need you to read this and leave your comment as part of my “comment contest”!
What ideas would you submit to this cowboy to help grow his business? I know I have very creative blog readers from past experiments like this – let’s prove it again!
Here’s the email I got a couple of days ago (edited for content and length):
I’m a former professional bull rider. With a lack of coaches, there is a huge need in our sport for training and education to get bull riders to think and train like athletes. This is also a great opportunity for ministry.
I am writing to you to see if you could possibly help me and my partner develop a training/educational system to help bull riders. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.
Please contact me at ##### if you have any interest or would even consider this. Thank you so much. God bless.
Below is most of what I replied back to Mr. Peterson – what would you add?
I charge $750 per hour for coaching, but I’m not convinced you need to take that step just yet. There’s plenty you can likely do on your own to get things really rolling.
- I noticed on your website that you have a free newsletter. That’s great, but there’s no incentive for your visitors to join it. You need to offer something like, “Free report: Three things you MUST do before you get on a bull again.” – join our mailing list today to get this and other free video tips.
- There’s not much “social proof” on your site. What are your credentials? What success have you had? I need to see testimonials and awards all over that first page. The entire purpose of that page is to get the visitor to 1) believe you are the best with social proof, awards and pics 2) make them want your free offer 3) give them a great reason to give you their email address for the free offer. After that you follow up slowly over time and “close the deal” with a far bigger number of students than you are getting now.
- Learn, study and LOVE email marketing. It’s your ticket to the next level.
- read my 101freemarketing.com book & the SilentSalesMachine.com books. FULL of ideas to get things rolling for just a few bucks spent.
- I’m honored you contacted me! Thanks and God bless your MINISTRY!
So, what would YOU add to my advice? There’s plenty else that could be said…but I’m waiting to hear from YOU!
I’ll be looking over all the comments left on this blog post and I’ll be choosing a few winners for “most creative” and “most helpful”. The winners will get recognition in an upcoming newsletter and quite likely a tip of the hat from a real cowboy.
UPDATE A COUPLE WEEKS LATER: Time to choose a winner from among the reader comments submitted!
It was difficult for me to pick a winner here (I decided to go with JUST ONE) because there is literally NO bad advice in the comments my readers have left on this article! It’s just more proof of how incredibly creative my readers are! Well done.
Each of you deserve recognition and I encourage all who read this post to check out the incredible ideas in the comments section of this blog post. That being said, the most powerful single idea among them all (in my opinion) was this one submitted by Rob Walling, “…if it was me I would look to partner with someone who is either an authority or recognizable from that industry…”
Why did I choose this tip? Because the FASTEST way to get yourself in front of your target audience and flood your business with targeted leads is to find someone who already has the attention of your niche target audience and then find a way to create a “three way win” with them. If you can do this while growing your email list, you have virtually GUARANTEED your success. For more info on “three way win” strategies and email list growth strategies check out my other blog posts in the “finding customers” and “email marketing” sections.
Big congrats to Rob Walling for his winning idea – Your instincts have earned you a big cowboy YEEHAW!