I see that you’ve got Microsoft Word open and that you’ve got your WordPress Dashboard up, ready to make some changes to your website. But I also see that celebrity gossip website that you’ve got minimized in the task bar. And don’t think I didn’t notice that you spent over an hour on the internet marketing forums and that the only real thing you accomplished was telling *other* people how important it is to take action.
Truth be told, I’m beyond sick of that expression – “take massive action.” Reading posts on an internet forum is technically an action, as is buying yet another info product to read through and pretend like you’re going to implement. Sure, you’ve done something, but realistically, you’ve done jack s*** to actually grow your business.
Now, I know it’s Friday and you don’t want to have to work hard. After all, you’re an internet marketer – shouldn’t someone be brushing off your beach chair so that you can lie back and sip your margarita?
Maybe if you’re Joel Comm… But for the rest of us minions in the internet marketing world, success takes hard work and real action. And I’m not here to sell you on the dream – I’m here to whip your butt into shape and help you figure out exactly what you need to do to succeed.
So let’s talk action for a minute. Yes, I know – it’s supposed to be “massive.” But how about we try to determine whether or not we’re taking *useful* action before we try to ramp it up and make it massive? Taking massive un-helpful action only means that you’re wasting more time that could be better spent actually growing your business…
Of course, determining whether an action is useful or not requires a thorough analysis of our business models, so obviously, your results may differ from mine. It’s also important to remember that actions can be either directly useful or indirectly useful. For example, making email contact with a blogger you want to work with in the future isn’t immediately useful, but it can help grow your business in the long run.
The first question we need to ask ourselves when examining any given task is, “How does this action relate to my earnings (or your traffic, your subscribers – whatever metric you’re trying to measure)? Does it directly boost my earnings, indirectly boost my earnings or have no relation to them at all?”
Based on these criteria, the following are some of the direct actions and indirect actions that benefit my business:
* Writing content for my websites and my blog
* Building the backlinks that help my site get ranked well
* Leaving blog comments to build traffic and connect with other bloggers
* Filming new videos for my Youtube channel
* Adding new messages to my “Awesome Marketing” email series
* Conducting market research to uncover new niches and keywords
* Reading internet marketing forums
* Buying and reading info products (unless I implement them right away)
* Researching new tools or products to buy
* Checking my Google Analytics stats (again, unless I actually do something with this information right away)
Now you try… Of all the things you do in a day, which tasks directly help your business grow and which ones play more of an indirect role (or worse, do nothing to help you at all)? Be honest with yourself. Checking to see if you’ve added any new Twitter followers in the last two hours isn’t really serving your business goals!
Generally, I like to aim for an 80/20 balance. That is, 80% of my time is spent on directly useful tasks, while the remaining 20% is spent on jobs that don’t have an immediate benefit – and I suggest you do the same. A good to-do list manager can help you ensure you’re staying productive and meeting these goals.
Over time, you’ll probably find that a few of your “directly useful” tasks benefit you more than others. And once you know this, it’s fine to ramp up your investment in these areas. But until you’re crystal clear on what these tasks are, stop pretending like “taking massive action” is going to help your business grow in any meaningful way.
Do you know what tasks most directly affect your business’ bottom line? If so, share any tips and tricks you have for ensuring that you only focus on useful tasks in the comments below!