It’s the quiet panic that leads you down the path of comparing yourself with others. This path only leads you to one place, an avalanche of ‘How I make a grand a month as a blogger’ articles. It is easy to find yourself trawling for hours through Pinterest boards and the like trying to find a quick and easy way to make money, perhaps as a side hustle just to get going. Such pretty pictures and shiny headlines are attractive, but fatal.
It’s just another distraction, and a costly one to you. Working from home is very, very hard when it comes to distractions. You do not have the luxury of a protective bubble, the workspace or office. You have to create a viable working environment slap bang in the middle of real life, and devise a working schedule each day that will advance you closer to your goals in a place where people knock on the door or phone for a chat. Last week a team decided to chuck scaffolding up the side of the building on the other side of the street, right at my window level. That was challenging to my focus I can tell you! Then there’s the housework staring at you brazenly in the face. It’s a monumental task creating a working day in your personal space, and no matter how hard you try, not everyone will always respect the fact you are not just ‘at home all day’, but that you are actually ‘at work’.
You just get a handle on the real life distraction issues, and there they are online, tempting you with pretty stock photographs and promises of riches (not too much, just enough to sound plausible). Without doubt the ol’ webisphere is an incredible resource of information, support and practical help not to be ignored.
When business is a struggle, even though you appear to have marketed yourself well and you feel you are missing something, step away from the computer. In fact turn everything off. When I have those times, and in your first year or two there will be more of them than not quite frankly, I shut off my computer and sit at my kitchen table with a pad and pen (and a sweet coffee!). I don’t like the term ‘troubleshoot’, at my kitchen table I alter my course trajectory! I will sit down and create headings like ‘Client Finding’, ‘Marketing’ and ‘Training’, and attempt to identify my problems and brainstorm a bunch of possible solutions. Once you have a clear mini list of tasks under those headings, then it’s a good time to pop online and research ideas for the problems you have identified. Be specific, then you won’t find yourself trawling for several hours through alluring boards pretending you are conducting market research and being useful. You are not being useful, trust me!
I am willing to bet, like me, you already have a fairly enormous list of bookmarked sites ready and waiting for your attention (but haven’t quite got round to reading them yet). For one week, don’t add to them, go through what you have already and see if there are any useful tips or advice that are usable. Clear that backlog, and from now on, switch off and go to the kitchen table with a clear mind and a blank pad. Don’t forget a brew!