Is there anything better than living life on your own terms and staying in control of your own destiny?
That’s what internet entrepreneurship promises, right?
Location freedom, time freedom, and financial freedom.
A recent survey of the NicheHacks audience revealed that many of you are working 50+ hours a week while trying to build a niche marketing business on the side.
You're not alone.
Some studies suggest that millions of others are chasing this internet lifestyle as well while working full-time 9-5 jobs.
More than 40% of the total U.S workforce will move to some form of home-based online employment by 2020.
But there’s a rarely discussed dark side of this picture which you need to be aware of.
Procrastination, lack of focus, unproductive days and wasted time are some of the most common challenges bedroom entrepreneurs like yourself face.
When you’re not immediately answerable to someone you can easily lose focus and get distracted
There are productivity killers that can seriously hamper your progress as a niche marketer and limit your chance of success.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve faced similar problems at different stages of my career as a work-from-home marketer.
But here’s the good news:
There’s a workaround for each one of them that will also improve your chance of success.
In this post, I’ll share exactly how you can work for yourself, on your own terms, and still get things done while being focused.
NicheHacks Starters Kit <-- right click this link, save as, then unzip)
What You'll Learn in this Post
- How to achieve 10x more every day by making a small change to your routine.
- How to stay more focused and productive and get better use of your limited time.
- One habit that's killing your productivity every day.
- How automation can help you become more productive.
- How to build a business in your spare time around your day job.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
1. Create Systems to Measure and Improve Your Productivity
When you're already working 50+ hours a week at your day job, it's hard to find time to work on your business.
You need to optimize your productivity for whatever time you get before or after work to run your own niche business.
But you can't improve something that you don’t measure.
Which is why you need to use tools and systems that measure your current productivity levels and tell you exactly where you're spending your time.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by creating to-do lists for the next day.
Before you finally shut down your laptop, list down the activities that you want to perform the next day.
Doing so not only gives you a clear direction but also allows you to see how much you got done at the end of the day.
This could be done on a simple piece of paper or an app like Evernote or Google Keep.
However, a more accurate way to measure your productivity is to use a tracking tool like Rescue Time which has been a real life-changer for me.
It not only tracks everything you do on your laptop, smartphone, tablet or any other device you choose but also gives you a clear breakdown of where you spend most of your time.
Here’s a sample snapshot:
33% productivity which is 3.1% higher than the last month! If stats like these don't open your eyes I don’t know what will.
You just need to add your core business activities and potential distractions once while setting up your account, and the app will start doing the rest for you.
2. Eat That Frog and Stop Procrastinating To Achieve More and Stay Happier
You don’t think there’s anything worse than eating a frog, right?
“Eat That Frog” is a bestselling book by Brian Tracy, a hugely successful businessman and a productivity expert.
In his book, he shares this theory by Mark Twain...
That if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worse thing that is going to happen to you all day long.
Your frog is the biggest and the most important task of the day which you’re likely to procrastinate on.
Instead of pushing it down your to-do list, you need to eat that frog every morning (or evening, if you have a day job as well) to get things done faster.
Because research indicates that the longer you procrastinate on a task, the harder it becomes.
Another study by Procrastination and Science shows that serial procrastinators are 70% more likely to be unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives as compared to the people who get things done.
Habitual procrastination may also lead to more complex health problems like heart diseases, depression, and anxiety.
Eating that frog might feel difficult at the start but once it becomes a habit, nothing tastes better.
So try cranking out a difficult or time-consuming task BEFORE you go to work.
And trust me I know:
You get little sleep as it is and it's going to be hard to get up even earlier in the morning.
But even just 30 minutes earlier that you dedicate to your business before you have any distractions from family amounts to roughly an extra 15hrs per month towards your businesses.
And if you think you're tired first thing in the morning how are you going to feel AFTER a full day's work?
Seriously, give it a try...
3. Identify Your Most Productive Time and Make Full Use of It
You're trying to build your niche marketing business while doing a full-time job.
So you need to find time either before or after work to get things done.
But that really depends on whether you're an early riser or a night owl.
My own productivity levels rise with the sun and go down as it sets, and in my own experience it's much easier to put in a couple of hours before work than after your day job.
But it’s different for everyone so there’s no fixed rule here.
If you think you can find a couple of distraction-free hours before work, then early morning might be the right time for you.
But if you think you can concentrate better after everyone's gone to bed at night then be a night owl.
Being a morning person, though, I do recommend that you try an early morning routine for at least a month and see how it goes.
Source: Fuzzy Science
Several studies show a direct relationship between productivity and getting up early, which is why some of the most successful entrepreneurs are early risers.
For example, Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, gets up at 4AM and conquers the day even before most people wake up.
Glen Alsop (ViperChill) was a night owl who forced himself to become an early riser.
The results were staggering.
But whether you’re an early riser or not, identifying your most productive time, and making full use of it, is the key to success. It’s like applying the 80/20 rule to your daily schedule.
4. Follow a Set Routine To Get Your Mind Working
All of us have the same 24 hours in a day.
When you're already working at a 9 to 5 job, there's little time to work on your own business since most of us have family commitments as well.
But some people still manage to achieve much more in that time than others.
No, it's not magic.
It's called time management and following well-defined routines.
A study by The University of Maine shows that following fixed daily routines improves your brain’s ability to focus on the task at hand and perform at the optimal level.
According to Harvard Business Review, having fixed daily routines is a common trait of successful people.
So what exactly do I mean by routines?
The objective of a routine is to structure your day for maximum productivity and work-life balance.
It allows you to live a normal life and not drown completely in the bottomless sea of IM (which can easily happen and ruin your family/social life).
Being an internet marketer means you can work whenever you want.
But for the sake of consistency, it’s better to fix your working hours or time slots for work.
More specifically, I believe it’s important to set an end time for your workday which acts as a deadline and gives you a sense of urgency to complete your daily tasks.
Your routine should also include designating a separate room or place in your house for work.
It’s even better if you could work from a local library, a co-working space or even a coffee shop.
5. Plan Ahead, Set Goals and Focus on One Task at a Time
As a part-time niche marketer, you have limited time to work on your business.
Which is why you should never start working without clear goals.
Otherwise, you’ll always find yourself behind time, moving in different directions without achieving anything at the end of the day.
Or you might fall victim to the shiny object syndrome (something most beginner niche marketers suffer from) and waste money buying new courses or MMO programs instead of working on what you already know.
These are common problems for wannabe niche marketers who don't have clear goals.
Having SMART goals, on the other hand, gives you the luxury of planning ahead and identifying the most important tasks that you need to perform every day.
Source: New Found Balance
A study by Massey University (Switzerland) established a direct relationship between goals, focus, and self-motivation.
The clearer your goals the better you’re able to focus on the task at hand (something most people working from home struggle at).
For example, as niche marketers, most of us need to create content on a regular basis.
Smart marketers have months of content planned ahead for them (like we do here at NicheHacks)
They identify the keywords they want to rank for, or the audience they want to target, and list down at least 2-3 months of blog titles in their editorial calendar.
The same goes for other marketing objectives like guest blogging, social media posts, link building, or anything else related to your business.
It all needs to be planned in advance so that you have clarity about your immediate and long-term goals, even if it means spending the first 1-2 days of every quarter doing this activity.
Without a plan and SMART goals, you'll remain distracted and keep on chasing shiny objects resulting in loss of focus.
Which is the last thing you need when you only have a few hours a week to work on your niche business.
6. Automate or Outsource Repetitive Tasks to Save Time
I’m a huge believer in the 80/20 rule which is why I keep mentioning it in my posts.
For a part-time niche marketer, it's a real life-saver
There’s so much to do it’s sometimes hard to prioritize and focus on the most important tasks.
Which is exactly why you need to filter your tasks through the 80/20, also known as the Pareto Principle.
Focus on the 20% of the most important activities that bring 80% of your results.
Automate or outsource the rest.
As marketers, you can completely or partially automate 3 main areas of your business.
- Email Marketing and Autoresponders
- Social Media and Content Curation
- Landing Pages and Sales Funnels
Tasks such as content creation, editing, formatting in WordPress etc. can be outsourced to professional bloggers and writers.
Source: Switching from Job to Business
Chelsea wrote a detailed guide on hiring a virtual assistant to manage other tasks that are important but do not require your direct involvement.
For example, finding or creating images for your blog posts, scheduling content, organizing and prioritizing your emails, managing your social media groups or pages and responding to comments on social media.
All of this costs money, of course.
You might not have the resources to outsource everything right now, but do it whenever possible so that you can work on your business instead of working in it.
When you have full-time job, family commitments, and everything else that life throws at you to deal with, on TOP of running your niche business, the 80/20 rule is a lifesaver.
7. Time-Cap Email and Social Media To Minimize Distractions
Emails, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. are all key platforms for niche marketers.
You can’t make a living online without them.
But they can easily distract you from your core tasks and eat up your
Email, in particular, is not only one of the biggest time-killers for online marketers but also a major source of distraction if not managed properly.
Studies suggest it takes almost 90 seconds to regain focus after reading 1 email.
And of course, most of us read more than one email every time we check our inbox.
One way, to counter email and social media distractions is by time-capping both these activities.
You can’t work without them, but you can limit their usage to only certain hours of the day.
I personally recommend checking emails only after you’ve achieved your top priority goal for the day.
This allows you to stay focused on your own agenda and follow your own plans.
Author and management consultant Julie Morgenstern has written a complete book on the topic “Never Check Email in the Morning.”
“Once you check emails in the morning, you won’t be able to recover for the rest of the day.
Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless... there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.”
Another management expert, Craig Jarrow, recommends checking email only twice a day.
Once early in the morning AFTER you’ve set your own agenda for the day, and once in the evening to catch up on anything important.
I apply the same rule to social media as well.
In fact, I recently deleted Facebook from my smartphone and only use it on my laptop when required, which has significantly reduced the time I wasted on the platform before.
I know Stuart does the same...
He doesn't take his phone with him when working on his business, he mutes chat apps and messenger programs, and blocks distracting websites.
For example he only has 10 minutes per day to spend on Facebook by using the StayFocused app for Chrome to limit his use.
When you're working a full-time job this is 100% essential as every minute counts and must be put towards your niche business.
8. Make Physical Exercise a Priority to Stay Energetic
If you’re like me, and most other home-based or part-time niche marketers, you spend a lot of sitting on your couch, office desk, chair or bed (depending on where you work).
Research shows that’s not a really good idea.
Sitting for 8 to 12 hours a day increases your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by 90% EVEN when you exercise regularly.
World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for death of people all around the globe.
Source: Business Insider
On the other hand, regular exercise and physical activity increases your energy levels, stamina, motivation, and improves your brain’s performance.
But even if you don’t want to be a bodybuilder, do make a conscious effort to remain physically active throughout the day by walking around the house in every 30-40 minutes.
Having hand weights on your desk next to your laptop or somewhere that you spend a lot of time can help get some simple exercise in.
It doesn't only help with fitness but also with keeping you focused and productive.
9. Go Outside, Meet People and Network With Fellow Marketers
I’ve been working from home and making a full-time living from my laptop for more than 4 years now.
Needless to say that I love the freedom, the comfort, and the money.
But I’m an extrovert and the only reason I sometimes miss my corporate job is the chitchat with office colleagues, going out regularly for lunch with friends and just having a more active lifestyle.
It can be lonely working from home.
And no matter how many Facebook groups or Twitter chats you join, there’s no replacement for physically going out and meeting with people.
Doing so regularly not only freshens up your mind, but also helps you identify new opportunities that you can use as a niche marketer.
Search for other local internet marketers, freelancer and other related professionals working from home in your town, and meet them from time to time.
I’ve been doing that for the last 2 years in my city, and it has helped me and my business in a number of ways.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
Ready to be More Productive When Working From Home?
The tips I’ve shared in this post have worked for me over the last 3-4 years and made me more productive.
But now I want to hear it from you.
What productivity challenges do you face while working from home around your day job and other commitments?
How do you manage your limited time successfully?
Tell me more in the comments and let other NicheHacks readers help you.