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Stop wasting your time....
Copyright 2005 Richard Grady

One of the things that almost all online entrepreneurs are guilty of is wasting time. Running your own business on the Internet usually means you will be working from home. This means that you have no boss watching what you are up to and no staff seeing that you aren't doing what you should be.

If you run any kind of Internet business from home, I can almost guarantee that you will be wasting time at some point during your working day. I am extremely guilty of this myself - in fact, I have been doing it for years! For the last seven or so years of my 'working for someone else' life, I worked from home. It was a bit like being self-employed but I knew I was going to get paid at the end of each month. Boy could I waste time - so many better things to do than work - watching television, playing computer games, going out to lunch :-) Of course, when I was employed, it didn't really matter as long as I got the job done. Nowadays my time-wasting could be the difference between success or failure of a particular project and that could mean less money in my pocket :-(

So here are a few tips that I hope will help you avoid wasting time online and that will, hopefully, help you run your Internet business more efficiently.

1. Stop checking your sales stats every five minutes! I know how tempting it is to login to Clickbank, Adsense, Paypal or your credit card processing account just to see how your sales are coming along and I also know that many people waste a huge amount of time doing it. When I first started out, I would sometimes login to Clickbank several times a day just to see the numbers growing! Remember, looking at your sales won't make them increase - a watched pot never boils (or was it a kettle?). Whatever, check your sales stats once a day. Nowadays I tot up my sales every morning for the previous day and that's it. Takes me about ten minutes but if I were doing this five times a day I would manage to waste nearly an hour!!

2. Same goes for your web stats - don't be checking to see how many visitors you have had to your site in the past hour, it won't increase your sales. Once your site gets to a fairly constant level of visitors each day, I really don't see much need to check your web stats any more regularly than once a month (unless sales start dropping off, in which case you might need to investigate the reasons).

3. One of the biggest timewasters for me and many of my colleagues is forums. Forums can be invaluable sources of free advice and if you find a good one - like mine :-) - they are great places to 'hang out' with your online friends. However, if you do find a good forum, it is all too easy to spend half the day browsing through posts and chewing the fat with other forum members. This is nice to do from time to time but it won't pay the bills. Therefore, try and limit your visits to forums to one or two a day. Spend fifteen or twenty minutes catching up with what is going on and then get back to work.

4. Don't start a new project until you have finished the current one. I know how distracting the Internet can be and I know how great ideas can come along just when you are in the middle of doing something else. If that happens, write the idea down and come back to it later. If you just jump from one idea to the next without finishing anything, you will never get anywhere. On a similar note, don't try and work on several projects at once - stick to one thing at a time - get one website/eBook/auction listing/whatever completed before moving on. Starting and stopping projects is not an efficient way of working and if you run your business in this way it will ultimately take you more time to complete whatever it is you are doing.

5. Most online marketers work from home and that will often mean that there are distractions around you in the form of family or friends that drop in for a cup of tea simply because they know you will be at home. You need to be strict with both friends and family and politely explain that if you are at your computer, then you are at work. If you had a 'proper' job, you wouldn't be stopping every five minutes for a tea and a chat so why do it when you are trying to run your own business?

6. Resist the desire to revamp your websites every month. I know how tempting it can be to give your site a brand new design - you soon get bored of the sight of your site (if you see what I mean) if you are looking at it everyday. Just remember that most of your customers won't be looking at your site everyday and therefore they won't be bored. There was a time when I would re-design my sites every couple of months (mind you, back then they needed it!) but now that my sales have reached a consistent level and I know that the sites do what they are supposed to, I rarely give them a complete makeover. If they ain't broke, why try to fix them? Note that I am not talking about updating content here - adding new content to sites is key and should be part of your normal business practice but there is no need to change your logo or the site layout every couple of weeks.

7. Work smart and don't try to do everything yourself. Many of the tasks that an Internet marketer has to do can be done by someone else - programming, web design, copywriting, even writing an entire book. Utilize the services of freelancers on sites such as www.eLance.com and www.Scriptlance.com You will often be very surprised at how little it costs to hire someone and it could be far more efficient (both in time and money) to pay someone else to do a job rather than doing it yourself.

Hope that helps and remember, TIME IS MONEY - YOUR MONEY!

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Richard Grady has been helping ordinary people earn online since 1998. He writes a free newsletter which is published every two weeks. To subscribe (and claim your free gifts), visit: http://www.thetraderonline.com/newsletter.html