A very common goal that people have in mind when they envision living the dot com lifestyle is the ability to earn more money while working fewer hours. The monetization of John Chow dot Com started out as experiment to prove exactly that you can make a full-time income with part-time blogging. I think we can all agree that John has clearly demonstrated that this is very much possible and within reach.
But it starts with shifting your perspective and mindset away from how things work at a regular job.
Trading Hours for Dollars
With most regular jobs, you get paid just the same no matter how productive you actually are. Whether you’re paid by the hour or you have an annual salary, you can walk into the office and expect to earn X number of dollars for the time you put in. Running your own online business is an entirely different matter.
That’s because there is a monumental difference between “being at work” and actually “working.” There are tools available to help boost your productivity, but the motivation has to start from within. You have to tell yourself that you will stop wasting your time and actually start spending your time in a more productive and meaningful fashion.
Sitting at the Computer Is Not Working
You might plop yourself down in front of your computer, bright and early at 9am like how you normally would, bashing away at that keyboard and moving that mouse around all the way until 5pm and feel like you’ve put in a solid eight hours. However, it’s quite possible that you simply wasted those eight hours with mindless busywork and you didn’t really accomplish anything.
The time was simply spent “at work” with the illusion of working.
How much time have you wasted falling down the bottomless pit of the Internet, looking at pictures of cute kittens doing funny things? How much time have you wasted clicking from one meme to the next? How much time have you wasted scrolling through FAIL Blog and watching one related video on YouTube after another?
Even though the Internet can indeed be the source of your income and your freedom, it can also be the source of endless distraction. Even when you engage in tasks that seem like they’re useful and important, you could be spending your time ineffectively with busywork.
Are you fooling yourself into “networking” on Facebook when all you’re doing is socializing? Are you checking and responding to your email throughout the day, allowing yourself to shift your focus away from more pressing and profit-generating tasks? Are you surfing through forums looking for inspiration and insight, even if you have no real objective in mind?
Are you reacting to interruptions in a knee-jerk fashion, rather than simply letting unimportant calls go to voicemail? Are you “organizing” your desk so that you don’t have to buckle down and update your blog, work through your mailing list campaign, and boost your SEO?
Be Mindful, Not Mindless
So much of what we do on the Internet every day is a time suck and a waste of time. That’s why you have to treat the time you do spend in front of the computer from the perspective of generating a healthy return on investment (ROI). By spending less time trolling your way around the forums and watching stupid videos on YouTube, you can spend more time growing your business and more time enjoying leisure activities with your family.
There is value in entertainment. Sometimes, watching a funny online is worth the laugh to lift your spirits and brighten your day. Just don’t let these online distractions become a crutch that pulls you away from the tasks and projects that actually matter. Time is the only truly non-renewable resource. Don’t let it go to waste.