The Checklist Content 3

Speaking of TIME – If you’ve been following my blog, you will have noticed a rather large gap since my last posting and this is due to two reasons, the first being time and the second being stamina.

It is very important for you to find some way of relating to the fact that your time is finite, limited, in short supply, and very valuable. Whenever you schedule one or more tasks to complete you have be aware of exactly what you are committing yourself to accomplish and you have make a plan that allocates your time to these.

For example:-
•    You have reviewed the demands on your time thoroughly.
•    You have decided which demands on your time you will give up, such as some of the TV you watch.
•    You conclude that after taking everything into consideration, you have three and a half hours each day that you can devote to your business.
•    Except for Sunday, so this leaves you with a net of 6 x 3 ½ hours available each week for a total of 21 hours.

Now consider, that’s 21 hours you have available for your business project and; for the sake of argument, you are going to spend half of your time on working in the business and the other half of your time working on the business – there is an important distinction you must make here which is that you are doing little if anything to direct (work on your business) while you are working in the business (creating product, shipping product, sales, shipping, accounting, customer service and any other administrative work).

If you are careful to allocate your time equally between these two tasks, you will devote over ten hours to each but, allow your attention to be drawn away by non-business related interruptions and you will not fulfill your plan to spend a full ten and a half hours a week on each task.

Even worse, if you take on any additional task or tasks, the time you have set aside to work on and in your business will diminish accordingly. If you take on one task of equal size, you’ll only have seven hours of time left for each of your existing projects. If you take on two tasks now you’re down to five hours a week you can set aside.

Worse still, your efficiency working at any of the tasks will decline and you will become less productive because you’re dividing your time into smaller segments. Remember, multi-tasking is a myth, you can really only devote yourself to doing one thing at a time.

I can’t stress enough how critically important it is for you to become viciously protective of your time. You can only accomplish tasks through the close and careful management of your time. If you fail to recognize the importance of this, you will fail at anything you set out to do.

Next I’ll share a few thoughts on stamina.

To be continued.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at May 17/10

The Checklist Content 2

Suggested items for your checklist continue with the subject, time, a critical resource in short supply for all of us.
2.    How much time do I have available to devote to my business?
Just as you did when answering the question regarding how much money you have available to invest, you must be equally honest and thorough in examining how much time you will have available to devote to your business.
a.    Guessing will not be acceptable. Hoping will not be acceptable. Intention will not be acceptable. You should know at the outset, before you embark on your business journey, that you will need every moment you can reserve for working on and in your business. In my last blog I made the error of stating that in project planning, a rule of thumb is that it will cost four times as much as you expect. I meant to say that it will cost twice as much as you expect – it will take four times as much time as you expect.
b.    I’ve taken three professional time management business courses over the years. I learned a few things that were useful but nowhere as much as I needed to learn. The reason comes down to the fact that many time management courses focus on your management of tasks. The real culprit is ourselves, and the management of time must focus on how we use time. So, you must learn to manage yourself first in order to be successful at time management.
c.    For the purpose of working on your own business, you must begin with your planned use of time. It isn’t enough to say that instead of watching a particular thing on TV, you’ll work on the business. It isn’t enough to say you’ll work on the business every Wednesday and Saturday. You will have the best chance at success only when you plan blocks of time for specific tasks in advance and viciously stick to your plan, day in and day out. This means that you are going to have to become very self-protective of your time. This means that, unless there is a medical emergency, that unless the house is on fire, you must stick to your plan. Interruptions for lesser concerns are not to be tolerated; diverting your attention to minor concerns is an inefficient approach to managing your time. My experience is that when I am focused on one thing to the exclusion of everything else, I am in “The Zone”. Any interruption during this state and it takes me up to twenty minutes to get back in “The Zone”. Interruptions can be very costly for you, they steal your time.
d.    The first steps you must take include making a very, very honest self-assessment of how much time you are going to have available in a given day. Activities such as working at your main job, family time, eating, and worship are very important and you must recognize these in your plan and make honest estimates of how much time you must allot for each of these activities and any other activities that are important in your life.
e.    If you think that you could forgo some activity, a golf game, a dinner out, watching TV for hours on end, you must build that into your plan and do it. Thinking you might save some time if . . . Not good enough. Make plan you commit to stick with, it is the only way make this work for you. The time you schedule to work on your business is sacrosanct, which means, too valuable to mess with.

f.    It will prove more difficult to begin with but your objective should be to schedule specific blocks of time to accomplish specific business tasks and, if the task is not complete when your allocated time runs out, you have to stop! Yes, stop and go on to the next thing you have scheduled to do. Eventually, you will learn to appreciate how much time you lose when you allow your attention to be diverted due to an interruption. You’ll also learn to plan more efficiently.

g.    A last point I want to emphasize is that multi-tasking is fiction; it doesn’t work well for anyone. Your conscious brain works most efficiently when all of its attention is focused on one task and one task only, to the exclusion of all others. You will reach your peak efficiency at any task when you devote all of your attention to that task alone.

Unless you are willing to seriously try this, you will greatly increase the chances of being unsuccessful in creating a successful business.

To be continued.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 30/10

The Checklist Content 1

Let me emphasize here that I am blogging on a variety of subjects; which taken together, provide you with some guidance and will help you to build a business that is suitable for you and one that stands some chance of lasting. Your success all comes down to how much effort you put into this activity. You can do everything right and still not make it or, you can make a lot of mistakes and still produce a successful business because you learn from your mistakes and make great corrections along the way.

If you are expecting to become rich overnight, you are in the wrong place, if you expect to make lots of money in return for doing nothing; you are in the wrong place. If either of these expectations describe you, please do both of us a favor and Go Away.

That said, let’s take a look at some of the items you might want to include on a checklist for the purpose of deciding which business you want to pursue. Understand that these are only going to be some of my own suggestions and ultimately, you will need to define criteria specific to you and your situation. Even then, you may overlook some critical element that should have been on your list so it is critical that you treat the content of your checklist as very important and key your success or failure.

1.    What $ do I have available to invest?
You need to be very honest about your answer to this very important item on your checklist. You have to critically assess what money you have to invest before getting yourself into the position where you have spent money on a business startup, only reached the halfway point, and find you require thousands of dollars more and have nobody & nowhere to turn to for the money. This will likely result in you losing everything you’ve spent and that is not a good thing.
a.    If you have money to spend, plan your expenses wisely. Plan to spend only what you need to and not more. Have contingencies, reserves, so that you don’t put yourself in a tight spot. A rule often quoted in project planning is that it will cost four times what you initially estimate. I’m not saying that it will have any application here but, plan for costs to be higher than you think; build in reserves so that your progress won’t be stopped along the way to success.
b.    If you have a very limited amount of money, make a very detailed and careful budget before you spend anything because you can easily spend all your money and have nothing to show for it if you aren’t careful to plan with the resources you are limited to.
c.    If you have little to no money, you must choose a business that requires no investment of money up front, a business you can start up with the computer resources you have today, don’t take on any financial obligation that will require you to pay out money in the near term. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll be raking money in real soon and are in a position to take on debt you can’t afford today by thinking you’ll have the money to pay it on time when payments are coming due.
d.    Keep in mind that you are always going to incur some costs so don’t get caught up in any “no cost” schemes. It might only be some small items like registering a domain on the web so, be honest about this; if you can’t trust yourself . . .
e.    You really must make up a plan where you will not need the business to pay you anything for, say six months, I would advise even longer but, at least six months. Many people starting a business find themselves as an unpaid employee for a year or more because expenses are going to be larger than income until your business is established.

To be continued.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 29/10

The Checklist Pt 2

You may have doubts about using a checklist but consider the following:-
•    When you are going away on vacation, you or your spouse will normally prepare a list of things to make sure you bring along, a list of things you’ll need which you’ll check off as you pack.
•    When you take your car in for standard maintenance, the mechanic will use a standard checklist to make sure everything that has to be looked at for the checkup is reviewed.
•    A pilot has a checklist they go through before taking off – the purpose is ensuring safety.
•    When you take your car in for an annual inspection, they use a checklist; a very long one, in making sure that all potential problem areas get looked at.

So, why wouldn’t you prepare a checklist for something as important as choosing a business to start? The “think time” you invest in creating a list of 12 to 15 things that you are going to apply to any possibility will repay you many times over by helping to steer your choice towards a business that suits you.

Is a checklist a guarantee of success? Certainly not! There are just too many things that can go wrong but, by starting down the right road to begin with, you’ll be off to a much better start and greatly improve your chances of making an informed choice.

So making or not making a checklist should not be considered an option; instead, make it a priority to prepare a checklist you will use as you review the possibilities. And, even if you know what business you’re going into, I recommend that you still prepare a list, in this case, a more detailed list of specifics that you want or don’t want to become involved with.

A checklist that benefits from you having thought your situation through may prove to be the most valuable tool you have.

To be continued.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 27/10

The Checklist

You should have a checklist, one that helps you to make decisions that are in sync with whatever your desires and objectives may be. There is no value to making decisions that don’t support your goals. Bad choices will cost you time, they will cost you money, and it may take you a very long time to get on track to growing the business you want.

Savvy investors; a very small minority, employ a checklist of criteria they have prepared as the result of having to make decisions about what to invest in and what not to invest in over the years. Their checklist becomes the blueprint they apply to every decision they make. You may not have heard this before, and the reason is probably because almost everybody buys, invests, and makes choices that are emotionally based.

They take an action because it “feels right” or “everybody’s doing it” or “this is the chance of a lifetime”. You can choose to “use your gut” in the choices you make but, first, have a checklist of conditions a choice must meet before you spend any time thinking further about it.

It is very important that you understand that what works for me, or for Tom, or Dick or Harry, isn’t necessarily what is going to work for you. The checklist you are going to prepare will be one that addresses your situation, not anyone else’s, yours and yours alone.

Any checklist you prepare must include criteria you define with respect to your skill set; the stuff you know how to do well; stuff you are prepared to learn how to do well, and stuff you don’t want to do. You may or may not be able to manage others well based upon your experience.

Don’t allow yourself to take on staff if you aren’t a people person. You could learn how to become one but the cost to you of learning how could far exceed any benefits and could postpone any success you might enjoy for a long time.

To be continued.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 26/10

Finding Info-Product 4

The delay in following up on my last blog has been as the result of finding out that we had very little time to act on an opportunity to take advantage of an opening that became available for my mother-in-law to move to a senior’s residence. My mind and my attention have been elsewhere.

So here’s the thing. Operating your own business, especially when you’re just getting started, usually demands all of your attention, and then some. If events conspire to steal your time and attention away from your business, your business will suffer. Your business requires your full attention and it won’t permit you to take any time for other things without some loss of continuity; my blog for example.

I’m not saying this to discourage you but to make the point that the simpler your business plan is to begin with, the easier it’s going to be for you to manage it during the start-up period. Your start-up will require your undivided attention for anywhere from months to years and the length of time it’s going to take is up to you.

Under ideal circumstances, you want to devote every waking moment to managing your business and growing it to a level of success where it begins to give back more than it takes from you. The more labor intensive your business is, the more it demands from you in time and effort. Many offers suggest that you can make money instantly, become rich overnight and it happens rarely.

Starting off by selling someone else’s product reduces the up front effort required of you to devote to your strategic creation of a business online. Offering one or more products that are created and being fulfilled by others can be very profitable for you, and enable you to learn while you develop and grow your business.

You can expand your business to include one or more products of your own creation or even get into physical products later on. You are going to find it easier to expand an existing business than it will be to set up an entire business from the outset.

Next, I’ll expand on making up a checklist you can use as a guide.

To be continued.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 24/10

Finding Info-Product 3

I know, I’m getting scattered in providing information but I want you to have the benefit of any useful information that occurs to me as I’m writing otherwise, it might be a long time before I think of it again.

Not only do you need to be assured that an entrepreneur has a good product which you can sell, you want their help, their guidance and also some assurance that you will be paid for any contacts you send their way.

There are a number of sites that offer you an opportunity to find good sellers with info products you can sell. One of the best established is Quoting from the wording the search pulls up,
“ClickBank is the Internet’s leading retailer of digital products. Whether you’re looking to sell, promote, or shop for digital goods.”

I suggest that you check them out yourself and decide if they have anything that “speaks to you”, i.e., products that would interest you and fit with any of your areas of interest.

You have an advantage when you choose someone operating on an established site such as ClickBank. ClickBank is big, they are an established business, ClickBank is only interested in supplying sellers, buyers and affiliates with a good experience. (The same as Google.)
They have a lot of rules governing the behavior of people selling product and will constantly weed out the people that do not comply with their very detailed and comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts.

By using a company like ClickBank, you are deciding that you are going to trust that their experiences will make it cheaper and easier for you to find good entrepreneurs selling good original product that will take you seriously enough to help you learn how to become a good affiliate by providing you with the benefit of their experience when it comes to selling their product.

This is good advice that you will benefit from.

To be continued.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 16/10

Finding Info-Product 2

127,000,000 is a very big number and far more searches than you or anyone else will review. Most people won’t go beyond the first page, some might go a page or two further and one or two might review the first 100.

Whenever you get back a huge result like this, you can narrow your search by being more specific. Your review of the results returned the first time will provide you with a good idea of what results came back that are not of interest to you and help you become more specific in your search wording.

You are eventually going to find that your searches return people offering to sell you something to help you find people looking for affiliates, people looking for affiliates to sell their stuff and a whole lot of stuff in between.

You want to be discerning (don’t jump at the first thing that seems good), there is a huge amount of stuff for sale on the web and a very large percentage is a waste of your money. The only way you are going to learn to distinguish great from good from a complete waste of money is to experiment and to find people who give you good advice as to whether or not to buy in to a particular story.

It is no different from day to day life – we all learn from our mistakes but if you can learn from the mistakes others make you can get wiser a lot quicker and it don’t hurt so much.

It can be more difficult to make choices on the web because you are offered so many places to enter into any business dealing with. You have to find somebody good, somebody knowledgeable, someone you can trust, and be guided by their recommendations and suggestions.

My approach is to search for the best of the best and to trust only the people that they trust. In other words, learn from the experience of others, it can cost you less.

More coming.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 16/10

Finding Info-Product 1

So where do you look for product that you can sell online and be paid to do it?

When searching for anything online, a lot of people use keywords, words that are very specific in describing what they want. You can do this too; however, you can also ask a question. In this case, a person selling someone else’s product is termed an affiliate and, I’ve no doubt you could search under any term you can think of and get some result.

I entered, “I want to be an affiliate” in my Google search box and Google returned 117,000 finds. By putting your question in quotation marks, Google returns only those finds that contain this exact phrase

A quick look at the top results indicates that many of the finds are courses or coaching people are offering to sell you so that you too can be an affiliate. For now, keep your money close. Before you decide to buy a book or a course on how to do this, consider the following-
•    You need a blog or a website.
•    You need one or more products to sell on the website.
•    Sellers want affiliates – they are not considered competition.
•    A good seller will provide you with marketing information for you to use on your site to promote their products.
•    You need to create a process that attracts people to your site.
•    You are interested in attracting people that have an interest in the type of product you have available,
•    You want to minimize window-shoppers. The curious folks that may be interested to see what you’re selling but have no intention of taking their hands out of their pockets – they are not buyers.
•    Attracting Traffic is a whole skill set in itself so I’m not going into any details at this time.

You can refine your search by getting more specific. I typed in
info products to sell
but not in quotation marks, and Google returned 127,000,000 finds.

More coming.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 16/10

Online Information Products Pt 4

You may be in the position where you have ideas for one or more info-products but don’t have the confidence, or perhaps the time required to get a product of your own up and running just yet.

There are products available where you can buy the rights to sell and distribute the product and you get to keep the money. Searching for a product you can buy the resale rights to may suit your current situation much better than slowly working to create and finalize your own.

One advantage is that you can start learning some of the various aspects you have to manage as an online marketer. Another is that you get the opportunity to start your business without having to spend a lot of money up front.

Disadvantages can include-
•    You may not be able to find such a product that suits your objectives and beliefs.
•    You probably are committed by the seller to make no changes to their product – you will have to sell it in an unchanged form.
•    The product will often create a link back to the originator of the product; a condition that will limit the quantity of new contacts you’ll add to your own list.
•    Many such products are out of date; something that happens quickly on the web, and as such, may be providing some stale information on the subject.

All things considered, this is a way for you to get started with a product and learn about the marketing side of selling online and make a few bucks as you go. Maybe you still have no idea what to create and sell and, if so, this may be just the ticket for you.

However you decide to proceed, keep in mind that you are lending your name to supporting this product and that the credibility you establish on the web lives on with you in any future business activities so, take the time to be discerning. If you start off being an affiliate marketer for someone selling sex aids, it may come back to haunt you if you later get into a business selling, oh let’s say, children’s books.

More tomorrow.

An original blog written by Tony Neilson and published at April 12/10