My dirty little secret

Shh…don’t tell anyone…but I’m guilty of one of the biggest sins out there when it comes to growing a successful virtual service business. What is that, you ask? Here it is, short and sweet: Not making my own business growth a priority.

Like so many of my peers and colleagues, I spend so much time and effort working in my business (getting clients, servicing said clients) that there’s no time left to work on my business (if you’ve read Michael Port’s book, Beyond Booked Solid, you’re probably familiar with this concept).

For me, working on my business means creating passive income streams in the form of information products. I’ve written so many articles that can be combined and fine-tuned into highly informative e-books and e-courses, it’s not even funny. Combine that with all of the ideas floating around in my head that I haven’t quite taken the time to wrestle down onto paper, and there’s a gold mine of information products just waiting to be written. I bet you’re the same way, too. I think it’s about time to put pen to paper and start getting those ideas out there!

For you, working on your biz might mean hiring support staff or growing a crew of subcontractors that you can outsource work out to, giving you more time for marketing or business building or however the heck you choose to spend your new-found free time

But here’s the real secret: Without deadlines, we’ll never get it done. That e-book I’m fired up to write or the webinar that’s already forming in your mind will slowly start to fizzle until it’s a distant memory, unless we take steps to put things in motion.

I know, I know, it’s a dreaded word, deadlines. But they’re a necessary evil if we want to have any hope of a smoothly running society. Without deadlines, you might never have graduated high school or gotten married (after all, there’s still a deadline to order flowers, schedule the hall, etc.) or any other important accomplishments you’ve made in your life. In those situations, we always had someone else cracking the whip and waving deadlines in our faces, but once you start your own business, it’s all you. You’re the boss, the master of your own destiny. And without deadlines, you will never, ever write that book or create that webinar.

That fact became sorely clear to me last night as I chatted back and forth with a friend via email. I mentioned some e-books I’ve got in the works, and she asked me about an e-book I’d talked about writing last year at this time. Hm, let’s see, where have I gotten with that? Absolutely nowhere! It’s still a figment of my imagination. So, right then and there, I decided to make my goals a reality. Are you with me?

Alright, so the first step is to chunk the most looming project into pieces and set a deadline for each one. The pieces of an e-book might be:

1) Drafting an outline
2) Gathering your materials
3) Writing the darn thing, a chapter at a time
4) Creating a cover (or hiring a graphic designer to create it for you)
5) Crafting a killer sales page
6) Announcing your product to the world

    Of course, each step will include a lot of mini-steps, but that’s a good start. Go ahead, put together your own short list of action steps for your next project.

    All done? Cool. Next, we’ll assign a deadline to each step. Maybe the first deadline is next week, because it’s not too complicated. The second deadline is two weeks later, because it might be a bit more time-consuming. So on and so forth until, finally, you have a launch date for your e-book/webinar/new business model/whatever you’re going for.

    Here’s the most important part: We have to stick to our plans like glue! We can’t let anything get in the way of us and our goals. If client work or other must-do tasks pick up, we’ll have to see if there’s something else we can outsource (like handing off the bookkeeping to a VA or the laundry to a grumbling family member – they’ll thank us later, when the money’s rolling in :)).

    I’ll be putting together my action plan in the coming days and announcing the launch date of my upcoming e-book – a scary move, but my goal is to hold myself uber-accountable! What about you? Feel brave enough to step up and share your launch date with the world too? If so, please do so in the comments section below…would love to have a friend out there to share in this journey! 🙂

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