It’s 2011. We now have a fresh start on a brand new year. Perhaps this year you’ll finally build that Internet business that earns a full-time income. If you’re already successful online, maybe you’ll learn how to enjoy life more.
No matter what your goals are for 2011, I feel you can achieve them by doing specific things every day. Specifically I recommend developing 42 “Internet lifestyle” habits in the next year:
#1. Work Ridiculously Hard: While I often live the proverbial “4-Hour Work Week,” this was the result of many months (even years) of hard work. If you want online success, create a work hard/play hard mentality. Success doesn’t come from a few hours of effort each week. It happens when you roll up your sleeves and bust your butt to get it!
#2. Focus on ONE Internet Business: There are too many bright, shiny objects on the Internet. All promise a full-time online income. My advice is to focus on one major business model at a time. Once you find something that works, keep working at it!
#3. Carefully Select your Niche: A successful Internet business starts by picking the right niche. Be prepared to spend at least 2 to 3 years in this niche. This is how long it typically takes to build a massive group of followers who buy the products YOU create (or promote).
#4. Become an Authority: In every niche, people look to thought leaders as information filters. Your job is to become one of these leaders. Think like an investigative reporter. Figure out something long before it’s revealed to the masses. Do this again and again. Ultimately, people will look to you when they need help on a specific niche-related problem.
#5. Reduce Information Overload: Just like it’s important to become a thought leader, it’s crucial to minimize the number of “gurus” you follow. Too much information leads to paralysis by over analysis. Carefully select who you listen to and ignore the rest!
#6. Create LOTS of value: There’s a lot of information on the Internet. But there’s not a lot of quality information. Most content on the web doesn’t do its primary purpose – Help people solve their problems. It doesn’t matter if you’re an affiliate marketer, blogger or product owner; the key to building a loyal following is to offer lots of value BEFORE asking anything in return. Make your value better than anything else offered in your niche.
#7. Charge Premium Prices: It’s okay to charge a higher price than others. Remember you’re giving lots of quality information that can’t be found anywhere else. Even in a recession people will pay a premium price for something that really helps their lives.
#8. Create Recurring Revenue: Recurring monthly revenue is the holy grail of all online income. The greatest feeling in the world is to market a product one time and get paid each month. Find a recurring revenue stream and promote it heavily.
#9. Have a Command Center: Create a space that’s completely dedicated to work. Keep everything you need within this space. Don’t do anything else in this area. It’s called a command center for a reason. When working in this area, you’ll be in control of all aspects of your Internet Empire.
#10. Work Offline: Being connected to the Internet 24/7 kills your productivity. The best work often comes from grabbing a laptop and going somewhere that’s not connected to the Internet. Almost all of my writing is done in places where I don’t have online access. This one productivity secret saves me hours of time each month.
#11. “Mind Map” Large Projects: A quick way to advance an Internet business is to complete a large product – Like writing an information product. And you do this by mind mapping in a brainstorming session. Just use a large sheet of paper and within an hour you’ll have LOTS of ideas to create a successful long term project.
#12. Don’t be Perfect: Do your best, but don’t fall victim to the “perfection mindset.” No product is perfect. No blog post is perfect. And no email is perfect. There will be flaws in everything you do. Deal with it.
#13. Adopt the 80/20 Mindset: The 80/20 principle can change your life. Analyze every aspect of your life and figure out which 20% of your actions are bringing you 80% of your positive results. Then concentrate on these activities. Focusing on the important things in a business can bring incredible results.
#14. Focus on Core Genius: Know what you do best and focus on that. Don’t get bogged down with trying to do everything yourself. Hire outsource workers and have them do stuff that’s not part of your core genius. These could be areas where you lack expertise or are important, but not critical. With this extra free time, do the things that bring the biggest results in your online business.
#15. Analyze Outsourcing Opportunities: Look for ways to streamline an Internet business by outsourcing. Each week take 30 minutes and analyze everything YOU do. Look for activities that can be passed along to somebody else. Keep doing this till you’re only working on the things that really matter.
#16. Use Time Blocks: Ditch the daily to-do list. The only things that go on a calendar are appointments and action items that must be completed on a specific day. Otherwise, schedule time blocks where you work for a set amount of time. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish by setting boundaries on your time.
#18. Prioritize: When you wake up in the morning, do the most important thing first…then the second. So on and so forth. If something comes up in the middle of the day, then you know you’ve completed the mandatory items on your checklist.
#19. Create Systems: Everything in your business should have a system. This eliminates all guesswork and wasted time. The great thing about systems thinking is you keep tweaking your processes till you’ve achieved maximum efficiency.
#20. Track Everything: Successful Internet businesses are built by knowing what works and what doesn’t. The key is to measure (and manage) everything. Track affiliate campaigns. Track each type of web traffic. Track email marketing messages. The list goes on and on. My point is to have statistics that measure everything you do online.
#21. Know your “Reason Whys”: With an online business, always understand your “whys.” Why should people buy your product? Why should people trust your recommendations? Why do you have an Internet business in the first place? Develop the habit of always asking why in every situation. Don’t limit it to work—question things in your personal life, too. Do you really need to do them?
#22. Master the Phone: The phone is for YOUR convenience, not everyone else’s. As a society, we’ve been programmed like one of Pavlov’s Dogs. Phone rings, we answer it. If you’re in the middle of something important, don’t pick up the phone unless it’s an emergency. Most phone calls aren’t emergencies. Usually a person can wait an hour for you to call back.
#23. Write Short, Succinct Emails: All correspondence should be minimal. Whether you’re starting or answering an email, get to the point right away. People don’t want your life history. They want to know what immediate action should be taken after reading your message.
#24. Limit Email Time. Depending on the nature of your job, schedule specific times when you check email—possibly once in the morning and again later that afternoon. Otherwise, you’ll waste half your morning handling your inbox.
#25. Do Productivity Checks: Set reminders on your phone or computer to alert you three times per day. Each time it goes off ask yourself, “Am I being productive or just staying active?” Eliminate any wasteful “busy work” habits that do no good.
#26. Take Action: Making plans is necessary, but stop over-planning things excessively. Take action on your major projects without having to worry so much about planning. Get out there and go.
#27. Keep an Idea Pad: Begin carrying a small idea pad everywhere you go. Some of the best ideas strike at the weirdest moments, so you never know what you’ll come up with when you’re in the middle of doing something else. Develop the habit of recording everything that goes through your head—no matter how simple or how silly. Million dollar ideas come at the strangest moments, so you’ll want to remember yours.
#28. Keep a Journal. Get a notebook and begin the habit of recording your inner-most thoughts and aspirations on a daily basis. You’ll be able to look back on things after the fact, and it’s a tool you can use to solve some of your major problems.
#29. Write For Dollars: Set a word minimum for each day. Get up in the morning and don’t get up from your desk until you’ve achieved at least this minimum. Success on the Internet comes from creating lots of quality content. The best way to get your “best stuff” out there is to write every single day.
#30. Stake the Time Vampires: Don’t allow people ramble in your presence. You don’t have time to listen to them drone on and on, so ask them to get to the point when talking to you.
#31. Learn Constantly. Carry a book on personal development or business everywhere you go and develop the habit of reading whenever you’re doing nothing. Quit killing time with gossip magazines or your Blackberry while you’re in a waiting room or commuting on the train—learn something worthwhile.
#32. One Hour of Success Reading. Make it a priority to read about a topic that’s niche/online business related for one hour each day. Go to the library or Barnes and Nobles and find a book about your current field or a business you’d like to break into.
#33. Give up the Television. Can you even imagine how much more you could accomplish without your daily dose of the boob tube? Give up the YouTube videos, too—they’re just as bad.
#34. Make your Own Rules: The best part of the Internet lifestyle is you get to make the rules. Don’t do the things that society wants you do. Take a look at most of the successful people today. They did well because they did things differently and made their own rules.
#35. Have Fun: Work goals are great, but it’s also important to incorporate fun activities/goals in your life. Make a bucket list and start crossing things off!
#36. Use The Cloud: The greatest benefit of the Internet lifestyle is location independence. You can work anywhere in the world with the right tools. One of these tools is what’s known as “The Cloud.” Using sites like Drop Box releases you from the burden of being tied to a specific location OR a computer.
#37. Travel Somewhere: Even if you’re happy at home, go visit a new place at least once a year. Experiencing a new culture is a great way to break out of a rut. Lack of time shouldn’t be an excuse. In 2010, I visited eighteen countries and was still able to manage three online businesses. What did you do?
#38. Get Out. Don’t let cabin fever get the best of you! Spend a little bit of time each evening doing something outside your house. You can walk to a park, go see a movie, listen to live band, meet up with friends, or even sit and read a book at a coffee shop. It really doesn’t matter where you go. Just get away from the computer!
#38. Associate with Positive People: Surround yourself with success minded individuals. And if don’t have any in your life, use a site like Meet Up. Here it’s easy to find mastermind and Internet marketing groups in your area.
#39. Keep it Real: Be a real, genuine person to your audience. Talk about your life, experiences and what you’re like as an individual. The days of hiding behind a computer screen are long gone. Now is the time to connect to people.
#40. Network for Dollars: Success in an Internet business often comes down to who you know. You can create lots of income by getting to know the “movers and shakers” in your niche. Set a weekly goal of contacting (and interacting) with ten or more people in your niche. If you don’t know them already, send a quick email ask one simple question. Then take things from there.
#41. Quit Procrastinating. Make a list of the major projects happening in your life for the next few months, and do one thing to move forward each day. Doing a little bit every day is a lot more effective than putting things off till the last minute.
#42. Start Today: We all have dreams and aspirations. But we often let fear get in the way of achieving them. Don’t sit on the sidelines thinking about that “big thing” that’ll change your life. Do something! Yes, you’ll probably make mistakes. But who cares? The important thing is you’re taking action.
What Internet Lifestyle Habits Did I Miss?
Well, that’s the list of 42 Internet Lifestyle Habits you should cultivate in the next year. Do these and you’ll have lots of success in 2011.
Now, it’s your turn. Is there a habit I missed? What habits have you found helpful in your own life? Comment below and add to this list!Take Action. Get Results.