Before I get started with this weeks’ topic I’d like to offer you a very special invitation.
This is going to be of special interest to you if you are struggling with the product sourcing aspect of selling online.
On Tuesday 9th May I will be hosting a live webinar where I’ll reveal my 5 step system for sourcing profitable products to sell online.
It’s completely free and will help you overcome lots of the obstacles that can so often trip people up.
For instance, I’ll talk about:
- Choosing which items to sell,
- Where to source products at the best possible prices,
- How to approach suppliers
- How to determine whether an item will make a profit, before you actually list it.
These are all essential pieces of information that you need to know to ensure your success, so I urge you to join me.
As I’ve said, it’s absolutely free and you can secure your place here.
What do I actually do?
Now even though I’ve been self-employed for a good twelve years now, I still find it difficult to explain to people who ask what it is that I actually do!
I know it might sound a bit strange not being able to give a simple job title or description but I have so many different hats and do such a variety of things each day that I find it hard to put myself under one single umbrella!
I mean – what am I? A business consultant, an owner of online businesses, an owner of multiple websites, a mentor, a product sourcer, a writer, an editor, an author, a company director…
So, you can see why it’s really difficult for me. It’s not like I can just say “Oh yes, I’m a gym instructor” for example! Everyone knows what a gym instructor does so it’s all very straightforward.
Me, on the other hand, well I get asked ‘So, what do you do?” and I immediately start procrastinating, try to change the subject, become tongue-tied, my pulse starts racing and I end up saying “Oh, I do a bit of this and a bit of that – business consultancy, selling products online that sort of thing…” which makes me sound like Del Boy and I’m sure conjures up images of me selling knock off handbags from the back of my car!
This will kill your business
This week I got into conversation after a class with a couple of new gym-goers and during the course of the conversation, the inevitable question was asked. I stumbled my way through a vaguely acceptable answer ending up giving the usual not very flattering image of myself to which the response was:
“Oh, so you work from home. Isn’t that really difficult with so many other things to distract you? I’ve tried that and I just couldn’t make it work.. ”
And “I’d love to work from home but I don’t think I’ve got the discipline or the motivation…”
Both, I have to say, very valid points. But strangely, I find it fairly easy to motivate myself these days – job title or not – but I think that comes with practice.
Anyway, the conversation got me thinking. If you run your own business then you’ll probably have heard similar rumblings to the one above at some point. There’s a reason why some people struggle to imagine keeping their full focus on work with the cleaning, laundry, television, games console, books, magazines and everything else all vying for attention.
To be honest, staying focused with all of those distractions around is of course going to be genuinely difficult.
I’ve been there myself – I have days when I just can’t concentrate because I’m thinking about preparing dinner or I’m short of time because one of my children needs picking up from a school club or I’m almost at the end of a really good book and want to just read that last chapter.
But do you know what one of the biggest killers of the home business is?
It’s so easy to put off essential work tasks that need doing because you’re focusing on something else, even if that something else is ‘the housework’.
The problem is, a bout of procrastination is commonly followed by a bout of negative thoughts, which in turn can lead to more procrastination, and more negativity, until we’re left thinking that it’s not only impossible to keep our minds on the task in hand, but that we’re not even capable of completing those tasks at all.
It’s a vicious cycle, and one that can be very difficult to overcome even with a positive mindset in place.
So, whether procrastination is something that you suffer from regularly, or just something that hits now and then when a particularly boring task needs doing (yes it happens to us all), these tips that I have found really helpful in the past, will help you now.
Get rid of the guilt
If you do find yourself drifting away from a job that needs doing to take care of something less important, or even if you find yourself staring into space for a few minutes, don’t beat yourself up about it.
Making yourself feel guilty will just make it harder to get back into what you need to be doing, so instead smile and put the moment behind you.
What just happened doesn’t matter, it’s in the past, what matters now is getting back into the work that needs doing in the present.
Don’t make your ‘To Do’ list so long it’s unachievable!
I am so guilty of this! My ‘To Do’ list is usually as long as both my arms, but if I’m really honest with myself then it’s doubtful everything on it is absolutely essential – I just like making lists as it helps me feel in control.
When you have a multitude of tasks to do you can often start to feel confused as to where to start, or overwhelmed with a feeling of being unable to complete everything that needs to be completed. If this sounds familiar, here’s what to do.
Look through your ‘To Do’ list and put stars by the tasks that really do need doing and choose just a few of them. I use a highlighter to separate the most important tasks on my list.
The ‘To Do’ list for your day should consist of around five items to save you from that feeling of drowning under a mountain of work.
If you then complete those five tasks with time to spare then you can go back to your longer list and choose another couple of tasks.
Manage your distractions. That means Facebook OFF!
Unfortunately, this step isn’t always possible, but you should try your very best to remove any distractions from your area.
If you’re in the middle of a good book, make sure it’s not sat looking at you on your desk!
If you’re working on your computer on a task that doesn’t need the internet then turn your email alerts off and close your Facebook page otherwise every time you hear the ping of an email or a message you’ll be tempted to have a look.
Clear the clutter from your desk so that you don’t start fiddling around with ‘stuff’ instead of working.
I’m sure this will sound familiar, but you’ll know the triggers that tend to distract you, so banish them from your presence as much as possible. Also if you feel the familiar sensation of your attention starting to wander then stop everything, remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and draw your focus back to the task in hand.
It’s often the tasks that we really don’t enjoy that are the ones we procrastinate most about, so how about offering yourself a reward when you complete a task.
“If I finish this task I’ll take 15 minutes off to read a chapter of my book.” or “As soon as this is done I’ll treat myself to a coffee.” You know the type of thing.
Use a reward that’s relevant to you and is something that you actually desire; this will keep you striving to finish the task to earn your treat.
You’ll need to be disciplined so as not to allow yourself your reward prior to completion of the task, but if you can get into the habit of rewarding yourself for particularly big challenges or tasks that you really don’t want to do, you’ll soon find yourself more able to deal with them and get them done.
Set achievable deadlines
Tasks can tend to slip when there isn’t a specified date for their completion. To me, deadlines are everything because I work so much better that way.
The thing is, deadlines create a sense of urgency that makes us work on those tasks sooner than those that don’t have deadlines. Some tasks such as posting orders or answering emails will come with their own intuitive deadlines, but make sure you also put deadlines in place for jobs such as researching and sourcing new stock or getting your accounts in order.
You might want to create a calendar using a program such as Google Calendars to keep track of your deadlines, so that you can see at a glance what you need to be working on and what can wait.
Whatever happens, it is essential that you don’t let procrastination be the force that stops you achieving all that you would like to achieve within your business.
By managing your mind you will find yourself able to stay on track of even the most mundane tasks that need doing.