"I started my business so that I had freedom, but I've never felt more trapped …."
I come across a statement like that at least once a day on a forum post or in email. You start your internet business because of the freedom of being your own boss and working on your own schedule and then promptly sit on your hind-end for 12 hours / day EVERY DAY. No wonder you feel burnt out. And no wonder family and friends are feeling neglected when all you can think and talk about is your business.
Freedom sounds pretty miserable to me if it means freedom from fun and the ones that I love.
So, how do you break free?
Start by taking a good look at your business and getting your goals and priorities straight. Do not worry, it's not nearly as complicated as it sounds. I'll walk you through it right now. Ready?
Grab a pen and a piece of paper or open your favorite word processor. Divide your page into four columns.
Now you're ready to brainstorm. Write everything down as it comes to mind. Do not overthink this. Just start writing.
First, figure out what is working. Whatever it is. It may be one of your websites, your ecourses, a joint venture, a certain marketing method. Where is the bulk of your money coming from, current? (If none yet, where do you believe will be the place where the largest profits will come from?) Write those items in column # 1 under: "Do More".
Second, figure out what is not bringing in money. Is it hanging out on forums or posting classified ads to freebie sites? Is it endlessly checking your stats, or email? What are your daily time-suckers? Write those under column # 2: "Do less".
Third, figure out what could work better. Do you have upsells in place? Are your websites designed to bring you cash from every visitor? Make a list of ideas in column # 3: "Improvements." (If you do not know yet, do not worry. There are plenty of ways to improve your business as you learn and grow.)
Fourth, figure out what can be automated. Which tasks are repetitive and boring, albeit necessary? Many of those types of tasks can be automated with simple tools. For instance, if you're submitting articles to directories by hand, there are tools and services to do that for you. Add these to column # 4: "Automation".
Now that you're armed with your list, it's time to get to work.
Look at your list in Column # 1: "Do More". Those are the tasks that you should focus your energies on. It's a good idea to tackle one or two of the tasks on that list first thing in the morning – every morning. Believe me, it's much more productive than checking out your favorite blogs or logging into twitter. And you'll be amazed at how much you can get done quickly when your mind is fresh.
Look at your list in Column # 2: "Do Less". These activities should be hidden until after you get your # 1 list done, if you do them at all. For instance, hanging out on Twitter is fun, but do not do it until everything in column # 1 is finished for the day.
Now, go back to Column # 1, 3, and 4. Your "Do More", "Improvements", and "Automation" lists.
Look at all of the items that are on those three lists. Now, circle each task that you …
o Can not Do
o Do not Have Time to Do
o Do not Want To Do
Those are the tasks that you'll outsource.
Freedom means a lot of things. It means freedom to do the things that you want to do. However, it also means freedom to NOT do things that you really dislike doing.
For me, it's graphics. I have outsourced all of my graphics since 2001. I do not have the time, patience or inclining to learn how to make my own graphics. I have more important things to do, like write this article and then go on a bike ride with my son. Sometimes when I get back from my bike ride, my graphics will be waiting for me in my inbox.
Now, that's freedom to me.