If you are a professional blogger, you might think that your biggest challenge is attracting a sizable and engaged audience. If you are an affiliate marketer, you might think that your biggest challenge is zeroing in on the perfect set of keywords for your search engine marketing campaign. If you run an online store, you might think that your biggest challenge is convincing website visitors to click the “buy” button.
The Real Problem Is Closer
And while these are all legitimate challenges and ones that you will need to overcome on a continuous basis if you hope to succeed, they don’t represent the most difficult thing about making money on the Internet. Opportunities abound and the online world is there for the taking. You just have to take it. By far, the single greatest challenge you will face as an Internet entrepreneur is yourself.
Or rather your desire to do something else, anything else, except for the actual work that will move your online business forward and put more dollars in your bank account. This is all due to the simple fact that when you work for yourself, you and you alone are responsible for everything. There’s no supervisor or manager breathing down your neck.
Surely, you’ve experienced difficulties with staying focused already. When you have a typical 9-to-5 job with actual deadlines for what needs to be completed by what time, you have an obligation to get the job done by that time. When you work for yourself — whether you’re a blogger, affiliate marketer, or an e-commerce store owner — there’s nothing that actually *has to* get done right this moment. You don’t *have to* do it today.
It Can Wait
It can always wait.
There is always tomorrow.
And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
This persistent opportunity for procrastination means that you will rarely feel any real sense of urgency. If you don’t write up that blog post today, you can always do it tomorrow. If you don’t go through your analytics to see what long-tail keywords are bringing in the most traffic, you can always take a look at them later this week.
Opportunity Cost and Delayed Gratification
But each time you push your tasks a little further into the future, you leave money on the table. Every time you decide to binge watch a few episodes on Netflix instead of working on your online business, you leave money on the table. Every time you troll around on Facebook to cyber-stalk your ex, you leave money on the table. Every time you forget about your marketing plan for a few minutes so you can play some Pokemon GO, you leave money on the table.
Both the online world and the offline world are abound with distractions. You can feel like a hyper-active dog with your attention being drawn to anything that moves in your peripheral vision. Oh, your phone just got another notification. Oh, your open email client is showing an unread message. Oh, your kitchen is beckoning with a cupboard full of junk food waiting to be eaten.
There is always an excuse. There is always something else to do.
Freedom from Work or Free to Work?
The misconception that people have about the dot com lifestyle is that you can just set it and forget it. People think that when you make money online, you don’t actually have to really work anymore. While there is some truth to that, in terms of doing what you love and putting automated systems in place to handle the nitty-gritty, you still have to do some work.
The dot com lifestyle isn’t about avoiding work altogether. It’s about having the time freedom to work when it works best for you. And therein lies the personal responsibility and accountability that is necessary to make this work. Do you really want this? Then it’s up to you to make it happen.