Note: This is a guest post written by Bruce Stevens
Thousands of people start up Internet marketing or blogging for an income every year. It looks like a great way to make money, and there are plenty of stories online, in the newspapers and on TV about those successful bloggers and marketers raking in big bucks. After a few weeks, or even a month or two, many of those hopeful new entrepreneurs find themselves thinking it’s all a big lie.
Is it really possible to make money blogging or marketing online? Yes, it really is. The money is out there even in trying economic times. In fact, consumers are buying more online than ever before. Finding that out can be a little disheartening for a blogger or marketer who is struggling to make a few meagre dollars a month. If that’s you, and you’re wondering what the secret formula is, keep reading.
The Bottom Line is Time
I’m going to give you the secret right now. The secret I’ve learned as I developed my own successful Internet business. It’s all about time management. Whether you are starting your online business while working a day job, or going to school, or you are dedicating your full-time efforts to your new business—time management is the key. The biggest problem online entrepreneurs have is losing track of time. It’s true of beginners and experienced marketers alike.
How easy is it to sit down and just click on your email to give it a quick glance to see what’s going on, and end up spending two hours before you realize it’s happened? It’s too simple to check up on your favourite forums, or read some gossip columns, just to keep up with current events, and look up to see the whole day is gone.
Stop it! You have to be a boss in your business, and as a boss you have to keep your employee (you) on track. Set a schedule and adhere to it. If you are beginning your online business in your off hours from your day job, get up an hour early, and actually work. No playing games, no forum chatting, no messaging friends or checking emails for anything other than work. After your time is up, then, if you have time, you can play.
If you are going about your new Internet business as a full-time job for real income, then you have to make yourself a “job schedule” and stick to it. Internet marketing is fun, but if you expect to make real money at it, you have to spend real time at it.
Time Management for as You Gain Followers
After a few weeks I realized that my own business was growing, and I was really making money at this. The time management I had employed to create a schedule and keep me on track really worked, but now I had to keep up with those who were following me, and also had to watch the income from various sources I was affiliate marketing through.
This created another form of problem. I was not only running out of time each day answering comments and tracking sales, I was also getting disorganized and forgetting to write articles to support my site, and then when I did write them, I’d forget where they were published. It was time to bring in the big guns.
This became really necessary when I opened my review website. People were buying my Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker and other products from my links, because I had produced many helpful articles and posted them in various spots online. Those inbound links not only got me good rankings on the search engines, they got me customers. The trouble is, I didn’t know where they were, so it was getting harder and harder to know what marketing tactics were effective, and what was just wasting my ever decreasing time.
I started out using a spreadsheet, and that worked for awhile, but then as my sales for the Weber outdoor smoker and various other items soared, I needed a way to organize my time to make sure everything kept working correctly.
That’s when I found Action Enforcer Software. This gave me hours back in tracking what I did in the past as well as what needed to be done in the future. It also had a timer so that I could alert myself if I ended up spending too much time on a project, or heaven forbid let myself get side-tracked by email or a friend’s messaging.
The software also helps me keep track of the amount of research I do, and how much time I spend on it. When I blog about my Weber smoker, I visit a lot of sites. I can track those in my spread sheet, or use the Enforcer so I don’t end up spending hours on one article on smokers. It’s also important to provide relevant information on your products to your readers. I find when I provide information on how to smoke meat in a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, I get more sales. Why? It’s because now the reader feels comfortable with how to use a new appliance because of my article, and also because I may just have whet their appetite for smoked turkey.
I also use a spreadsheet to keep track of all of the best image sites so I can go and get good royalty-free images for my smoker. Having good pictures with my article is important to me because it makes the content look nicer, but I’ve noticed that my sales are stronger when I include a picture of the Weber smoker with the article on smoker recipes for outdoor smokers. You don’t have to stick with just one type of logging program. Set up your own spreadsheets for simple tracking, and use big all-encompassing programs like the Enforcer to track time, and more complex scheduling.
Time Management as You Grow
As you get bigger and more popular you may find that like I did, it was getting more and more difficult to write enough content even on my own blog to keep it up-to-date. Guest bloggers can be your salvation. They can produce the content that keeps you current, saving you tons of money. All you have to do is let them add a link to their own blogs in their bio after the post, and you get fresh content that keeps you relevant in the search engines, and keeps your visitors happy. Lots of blogs will let guest bloggers make up their own articles as long as it meshes with the subject matter pertinent to their blog. I like to ask guest bloggers to write about certain subjects, such as my Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker. That way, I also get SEO with their posts.
As you grow and expand, it will become second nature to you, and you won’t have to remind yourself so often to get back to work. However, don’t let your “boss” take a vacation. It’s easy to slip back into your old habits.
Note: This guest post is written by Bruce Stevens, creator of the review site; http://hubzz.net has plenty of experience in effective time management. He often offers tips on his blog http://rocketrider.net