Goals Update: Productivity for January

Quick productivity update:goals

Amazon affiliate sites: Still don’t know what I’m doing. However, I’m clearly doing something right because my earnings have gone from around $5 in November/December to around $40 in January. This is all from one site. I have other sites, but I’ve just barely gotten content on them. I’ve done very little promotion.

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5 Ways Work-at-Home Parents Can Keep from Going Crazy

The last few days have been family time. My hubby works out of town for roughly 30 days at a time. He was in for a few days before leaving again. Baby A has been clingy, too. Partially because Daddy was here and now he’s not, I think, and also because Baby A is learning new skills and needs to touch base frequently.

All of which is to say that I haven’t been that productive in the internet marketing or freelance writing arenas. I don’t have a lot of progress to report on any subject. But the past few days have left me pondering some things, so I’m going to share.

I’ve wondered how many IM “gurus” and/or success stories were the primary caretakers of someone who needs a lot of care-taking. Little ones, elderly parents – a big motivation for many people who want to work from home is to be able to provide care for someone while still earning money.

Being a work-at-home parent (or other type of caretaker) adds an extra layer of complication to the IM puzzle, though. You’re trying to figure out what works in terms of making money. You’re starting from scratch, so there’s a lot of different jobs to do. You probably don’t have the money to outsource much of anything. You’re trying to find time to learn as well as do.

On top of all that, you’ve got to work with other people’s needs and schedules. You’re probably not putting the hours in that you would if you weren’t taking care of those people. And if you’re trying to juggle a job outside the home on top of all of the above, you’ve got even less time to devote to building your IM career.

It’s not a bad thing, but it is a thing. As they say.

As I’ve been navigating the work-at-home mom world, I’ve come to some realizations about my new life. I figured they might help other people on the same road:

    • You’re going to get less done than you think. Plan accordingly and don’t sweat it. I know how much I can do if I’m left alone. It’s so tempting to plan based on that amount. The only problem is, I end the day frustrated and worried because I haven’t done what I thought I should do. The truth is, some days I get plenty done. Other days, not so much. The baby doesn’t sleep. I spend half the day trying to straighten out a snafu with the bank (that was today). Things happen and I just don’t get done what I wanted to get done. The solution? Give myself looooonnnngggg deadlines and be ready to adapt. Take lots of deep breaths. Remember that in the end, it will all work out.
    • Keep your priorities straight. When I die, I want “Beloved Mother” on my tombstone, not “Internet Guru”. I want people to say of my sons, “They’re good men.” That comes from me walking away from the computer, no matter how much I still have to do, and paying attention to my family. In the end, it’s more important for me to be a pull-up bar for the baby or to help the older one figure out his college textbooks than it is to get that blog post done. Besides, I can always write the blog post later. Sleep is for the weak.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for or accept help. I’m a proud woman. I don’t like admitting I can’t do it all. But sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I need to ask for advice on why something isn’t working rather than try to figure it out for myself. Sometimes I need to get someone to watch the baby for a bit while I finish something up. I’m not ashamed to give help. Why should I be ashamed to get it?
    • Have an evolving “to-do” list. With so much going on, when I do have time to work, it’s easy to get frazzled. What do I do first? Where do I start? Keeping a “to-do” list of tasks handy is the only thing that keeps me on track.
    • Learn to prioritize things that have to get done soon versus things that can wait. Things move on my “to-do” list. Sometimes they shift upward if they need to get done sooner. Sometimes they shift downward if they aren’t that important or there’s no rush. I like to finish what I start before starting something new, but – well, see the first bullet point. Sometimes I’m not done with something before something else needs to be done. I work on the priorities and try not to sweat it.

Does all of this mean I don’t want it enough? That I’m not going to be successful because I’m not driven enough?

Maybe? I mean, only time will tell. But I’m reminded of the story of the tortoise and the hare. The one that kept plugging along slowly is the one that ultimately succeeded.

What do you think? Do you have little ones or older ones you care for in addition to your IM career? How are you handling it all?

Experiments in Overcoming Fear

I’m getting a little tired of saying “my info product is coming along – almost done!” so just take that as read. I thought I’d talk today about something I’ve been turning over in the back of my mind recently.

Testing. As in, testing things out. Trial runs. Experiments.

I’m often hesitant to try new things out. Social things especially because I’m a classic introvert. But really, if it’s new and outside my usual habits, I approach it cautiously.

What am I afraid of? Messing up, mainly. Getting it wrong. Not succeeding.

When I left my teaching job to be a work-at-home mom, that was a HUGE new thing. Writing for a living? Getting involved in internet marketing? Really big change. Taking those steps I have to take to be successful are often hard. I’m hesitant. I think of all the things that could go wrong. I fret about not already being an internet millionaire (okay, not really, but I do fret about whether I’ll ever be able to replace the income I lost when I decided to stay home).

But lately, I’ve been working on a way to overcome some of that hesitation. I’m working on not thinking of all the reasons why something won’t work, why I can’t.

Instead, I’m setting up experiments. Sure, there are a billion reasons why this blog may never be read by anyone except the spam bots and Google crawler. But I can spend some time testing different things: blogging frequently, commenting on other blogs, commenting in forums, writing an info product and using it as a “hey, I’m here!” kind of tool, venturing into social media… I can try those things and see what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s the key: if something doesn’t work, it’s not my failure. It’s not a waste of time. It’s data.

Data is useful. Getting data makes me successful no matter what the outcome of the experiment.

With data, I can do more of the things that work. I can either tweak or stop the things that don’t.

Most importantly, because it doesn’t matter if what I try works or doesn’t – it’s all data, after all – I’m not stopped by fear of failure.

As a result, I can keep moving forward. If something doesn’t work, okay. Try something else. Then try something else. It’s all an experiment. I succeed even if the method I’m trying fails.

So what’s something you’re experimenting with these days? Anything I can do to help? Let me know in a comment or email.

Info Product Creation, Tumblr Tycoon, and Other Bits and Pieces

Busy, busy, busy. That’s how it’s been around here for the past few days. I’ve worked a lot on my info product. Not done yet, but good progress was definitely made. I think I’ve got most of the writing done. Now I just need to make some templates, put it all together, and of course proof and edit it.

I’ve been poking at my Amazon sites, too. Getting them set up, organized with categories and stuff. I’m doing sort of a mini-case study that’s connected to both the info product and the Amazon sites. It will be interesting to see how that all works out.

Work may slow down a bit towards the end of the week or early next week. Hubby will be home. His job has him out for roughly a month, then home for about 4 days before he’s gone again. Naturally, I try to give him most of my attention when he’s here.

Once he’s back on the job, I’ll most likely be doing a review of the Tumblr Tycoon training that came out recently. I meant to review it as I was going through it the first time. It was so easy to get set up that I had it going before I remembered to review anything. So I think I’ll see how the first Tumblr I set up does in the week or week and a half that it will be up, then set up a second one as I’m doing the review. I’m liking it so far, but the real question is, will produce results? I guess we’ll see. Have any of you tried Tumblr Tycoon?

The baby’s taking a late nap, no doubt dooming me to be up until 1:00 am again. While he’s sleeping, I’m going to try to get some work done on the templates that I need. As I said, busy, busy, busy!