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November 10, 2017

How Time Traps Almost Caused My Online Business to Fail

Way back in 1999, when I first decided to launch Marketing Words, it was just me… all alone. There was no Marketing Words team at that point. Like practically every other home-based entrepreneur, if I didn’t do a particular task it didn’t get done.

For the first few years, I continued to bang my head against a wall trying to make everything happen. Between:

  • Bringing in clients
  • Writing the copy
  • Processing payments
  • Doing the accounting (YUCK!!)
  • Filing quarterly tax returns (YUCK!!)
  • Marketing my business
  • Creating new products
  • Learning what I needed to know to keep up with new developments
  • Sleeping, eating, breathing, and
  • Spending time with my family and friends…

… I had no energy, no patience, and no time. I was making good money, but felt like I was working 32 hours a day.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, I think the majority of entrepreneurs feel this way at some point. In fact, this sense of utter overwhelm often causes business owners to abandon their dreams and resort to finding a “real job.”

That’s the point I was at somewhere around 2004.

I’m not a quitter, but I absolutely believe in switching gears or implementing new options if I think they will help. People who know me well have heard me say this repeatedly:

This isn’t working. Now what else can I try?

I had to do something fast because my levels of frustration, concern, and even resentment were rising daily. So I started to identify where my primary sources of stress were coming from. Also, I took a look at what I was good at and really wanted to be doing every day. It all boiled down to sorting out what gave me energy and what zapped my strength.

Truthfully, I had several time traps that were dragging me down. These were some of the biggest:

Time Trap 1: Administrative Work

Do you have any idea how much time you spend every week on phone calls, emails, bookkeeping, organization, project management, and so on? Most people spend hours on these tasks and never realize it.

Yes, they have to be done, but it dawned on me that I didn’t have to be the one who did them.

Finding a virtual assistant (VA) was one of the best moves I ever made in my business. I was able to hand off tasks including approving Facebook group requests, creating broadcast emails, answering customer emails, creating newsletters, creating promotional emails, etc.

That freed up about 5 hours per week that I could spend on growing my business.

Time Trap 2: Technical Issues

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a world-class technophobe. I cannot stand setting up landing pages, installing shopping carts, updating website plugins, backing up my site, adding tracking pixels to pages, and anything else that falls under the dark umbrella of techy stuff.

My massive sigh of relief was heard around the globe on the day (many years ago) that I hired someone to be my Tech Master. Not only did it save me another five or so hours per week, but it eliminated a bucketload of dire oppression.

Chances are, you have never seen anyone who struggles with this more than me. Granted, I can learn, but I just don’t like it. Something always seems to go wrong.

The fact that other people can do this seriously faster and better than I can was reason enough to outsource it. Yes, I have to pay them, but that actually costs less than having to learn how to do it myself, messing it up three or four times, throwing my hands up and walking away with a headache only to come back and bang my head on the same wall tomorrow. Sheer stupidity!

Time Trap 3: Growing My Business (aka Shiny Object Syndrome)

This takes a lot of time and is a never-ending, ongoing process. Have you ever heard of Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS)? Have you ever seen the movie “Up”? One talking dog named Dug would be focused on a task only to have a squirrel run close to him, to which he would stop in mid-sentence and shout, “SQUIRREL!” His focus would be blown and he’d have to start over.

Growing my business was like that for me. I’d find a training product or conference I needed and two days later something else would show up in my email or on social media. That new product would snatch my attention away from what I was currently working on and I’d never finish the course. I had so many half-completed training products that it wasn’t even funny.

What was even more sad was that — because I hadn’t finished the material — I never implemented the strategies. My money and my time were both wasted.

Getting my priorities straight, identifying what was important for me to do right now, and finishing what I started before moving on to something else were things I had to work on. Once I managed to get these under control, learning, implementing and actually seeing results came much easier.

How did I do it?

A combination of outsourcing, prioritizing, and knowing what needed to be done (and when).

I didn’t do it alone. The folks at MyNAMS helped a lot. They used to hold conferences twice a year in Atlanta (for small, online business owners). They taught all sorts of excellent business information. Now MyNAMS is strictly online, but I still love their material.

Watch this video — Eliminate These 4 Time Traps That Keep You Overwhelmed — today and start weeding out frustration and ushering in productivity, progress, and profits.


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Karon Thackston is president of Marketing Words Copywriting Agency helping Amazon sellers, eCommerce site owners and content marketers rank higher, convert better and make more sales.

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