Categories : Online Business Strategy, Planning and Structure Vision & Mindset


Lack of Focus

Is lack of focus ever a problem for you? It certainly is for me!

I go through periods of high productivity and also through periods when I can't seem to get much done that moves me forward to my goals.

Of course, part of the problem may be burnout.

When I have gone through a period of intensive work or stress, I find that focus can easily be lost through tiredness or simply too many conflicting priorities.

That being the case, you and I may just need a holiday or an extended break away from your work, although it always comes with the possibility that you will return to an even bigger problem!

Unless I am doing a job that I absolutely love doing, and it fits in with my overall purpose, I often find myself derailed by distractions and doing just about anything other than what I should be doing.

The other problem I have is that I can't remember where I left off the previous day.  So, if I don't finish a job within the day, I find that often the job will either not be completed​ or will drift through inefficiency or difficulty in getting started again!

I've therefore been giving a little bit of thought about what I should do about these sorts of problems.​

Recently, I started to get traction with the info marketing business model and, together with my partner Chris Cole, we successfully launched the Hangout Cash Code and managed to get over 500 sales in a short space of time using affiliate traffic.

We concentrated very hard on giving outstanding value ​to our customers post purchase but even so we had a high attrition rate with our email list.  By this I mean that we saw a significant drop in our email open rates and click rates.

I put this down to a number of factors:

  • we didn't email as much as we should have done post-purchase to solidify our relationship
  • we didn't have either an automated or planned follow-up campaign for the post launch period
  • ​in retrospect we promoted products that I personally regret promoting - some of these to reciprocate to our affiliates (- this is the main problem with affiliate traffic in my opinion!)
  • our email marketing lacked sufficient copywriting skill - this is not something I ever really studied enough until recently.
  • buyers generated by good affiliates get hammered by a lot of offers and it is difficult to get your messages noticed. 

As a result of all this, although we generated over $6,000 in sales, after we had paid out affiliates, the return on our investment of time and effort was disappointing and was not improved by our ineptitude in the follow-up process.

We then created another product that personally I was never really enthusiastic about and this was a comparative flop and, in retrospect, it was always going to be that way.

As a result of these difficulties and after some disagreement on the design of our next product, I decided to take a break away from product creation to 'sharpen my axe'.

I have been working on improving the following areas:

  • creating a list from paid traffic and I have bought a list building plugin to help me to do that
  • I've been studying some products on email marketing to improve this aspect of my business
  • I've been studying some traffic techniques other than affiliate marketing to see if I can create a traffic source that is independent of and supplements affiliate traffic.

​I have to admit that during this period, I have also sometimes wondered whether I want to continue on my current track because I have put in incredible effort without reaping the returns that I should have done.

I think this latter is because I have not been working hard enough on creating a rinse and repeat system.

I have therefore also been systemising my info-marketing system and creating a check-list of tasks to follow.​  (This will eventually be a new product about product launches!)

The other killing factor is that frankly I have massively over-delivered with all my products.  I think this is a mistake because, by giving too much information, I ​am simply over-whelming my customers with content and exhausting myself in the process.  

The lesson from this is that in future I need to focus on providing extremely high quality in small concentrated doses that are easy to implement, rather than thinking that by providing quantity I am giving more value.  

In this case 'less is definitely more' if my content is easy to consume and put into action by my customers. It will also be easier to create if I can create the whole product in one sitting or, at worst, in one day.

The other area that I need to focus on is putting more time into researching the market prior to creating my product to reduce the risk of turning out a product that just won't sell!​

Also, post launch, I need to spend a lot more time on proactively marketing my product rather than hoping my affiliates will do this for me.​

As you can see from the above, I have recently gone through a period of some soul-searching for fresh answers to some pretty big shortfalls in my marketing skills.

During this period, I have felt a lack of focus which is because I have not been working to a concrete plan but following where by instinct took me to find solutions to my short-comings.  ​

I am now going to try a two pronged approach to list building:

  • continue with the info marketing/product creation model but hopefully with a more focused and high-quality approach with a view to increasing my list of buyers.
  • whilst trying to build a list through driving paid traffic to a sales funnel on my blog and then following up with my list through high quality email marketing that drives traffic back to the high quality content on my blog.

It could be a mistake to try to implement both these methods even though they are complementary to each other - we shall see.

To increase my focus, I am going to: ​

  • work to a plan with a check-list of actionable steps
  • I'm going to keep my self accountable by reporting progress and results on this blog
  • I'm going to set deadlines and use my Action Enforcer productivity software
  • I'm going to remind myself daily about my short and medium term goals that will be written down in the SMART format i.e. Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related.
  • I'm going to systemise everything so I can optimise my systems and also outsource some of the tasks.

Hopefully, this will enable me to gather momentum and hit the New Year running at full speed ahead.

If lack of focus is a problem for you, hopefully you will have got some ideas that you can use yourself to get back in the flow!​

Download Powerpoint slides for 'An Iron Will'


Mark Salmon is an internet marketing consultant. Mark creates digital information products about starting and building an online business. Prior to starting his online business, Mark was a corporate banker based in the UK, then ran a business consultancy for around 8 years before deciding that his future was internet marketing. You can connect with Mark at: Mark's Google Plus Page Mark's Facebook Fan Page Mark's YouTube Channel Mark's Blog

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