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Making Money Online: Unplugging to Get Things Done

Posted by on 2nd Mar 2009 | 9 comments

I updated my Twitter account for the first time in nine days this morning. I didn’t realize it had been that long. I unplugged last week – as in – minimal email interaction, no social networking and no blogging (except for paid gigs).

I did so to hunker down and finish an ebook me and a co-author have been working on. As I said in my post to my Twitter account this morning, at first, it felt strange to unplug like this, then it felt downright exhilarating – freeing! I didn’t miss it at all, which should probably tell me something (ie, social networking is really not for me at all).

I like Twitter because it requires minimal effort.

So, what is the point of this post? Well, that to make money online, you have to be super focused. Let me tell you a snippet of a story which drives home this point. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll go over a few guidelines for unplugging to get things done “the right way” (I did it all wrong).

“I Want to Make Money Online, But . . .”

I was talking to a friend this past weekend about my latest ebook. I was explaining to him what it was all about, how hard I’d been working to get the thing done and how lucrative it was – which is why I was so anxious to get it done.

He was like, “You’ve convinced me to write an ebook; publishing is very profitable.” I said, “Yeah, it is. The writing is easy; the marketing takes tons of time.” And, we kind of left it at that.

Want to Make Money Online? Watch How You Spend Your Time

Later on, he was telling me about a two-hour video he watched online about the 911 commission. Actually, he’d watched two of them. This friend also happens to forward a lot of jokes, inspirational sayings and things of that ilk around. I delete them because I really just don’t have time during the day to devote to these types of things.

The more I listened to my friend explain the videos about 9/11 that he watched, the more I thought to myself, this is why most people never make money online – or achieve the dream of working for themselves. They waste too much time.

Time Is Your Number One, Make-Money-Online Resource

TIME is a precious commodity. As Benjamin Franklin so eloquently said, “If you love life, don’t waste time, for that is what life is made of.” I thought to myself, this guy spends an awful lot of time online but he doesn’t use it productively.

In finishing up this latest ebook, it took every second of my day to get it done. Writing is hard, time-consuming work. It leaves little time for surfing aimlessly, watching YouTube videos or chasing down the latest 9/11 conspiracy theory.

I’ve been self-employed for many years and have earned my living almost completely online the last three years or so. If there’s one piece of advice I would give to those who want to work for themselves and/or make a living online it would be this: look at your computer as an ATM machine.

Don’t stand around simply looking at the key pad (ie, aimlessly surfing). Put in your PIN code (sweat equity) and wait for the dollars to flow out. You’re going to get the PIN wrong plenty of times, but if you keep trying different combinations (ie, different, legitimate, well-thought-out, online business ideas), you will hit upon the right combination.

Then, you can go to that ATM and pull out dollars any time you want.


Freelance writer and web entrepreneur. Learn more at InkwellEditorial.com's "About" page.

9 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by simon on 2nd Mar 2009

    Yes you are right, time is everything. I keep trying to do too much, then get nothing done properly. Its also very easy to get sidetracked when working online, so many distractions I sometimes think its better to work offline.

  • Posted by Marketing Guy on 2nd Mar 2009

    I couldn't agree more with this post. When I am doing desk or online work, I really need to be disciplined about work and playtime. Sometimes I have to go as far as recording how I spend my time every 30 mins and relating that to my billings. It usually makes for a frightening review.

  • Posted by Cassie on 2nd Mar 2009

    I love that analogy at the end! :)

    The trouble is that there are so many distractions when working online. It takes a lot of discipline to drown out all the extra noise when you should be working, but if you work hard enough and you're focused enough, it's completely do-able. I just go through all my motivational factors in my head each morning and that's usually all I need to get started with my work day.

  • Posted by Trent | Home Busines on 2nd Mar 2009

    I also very much agree with this post. When I am online I always feel like I am "working" but a lot of the time I am really just wasting time. There are times when hours go by and I haven't done anything productive at all. Just being online doesn't mean you are working. If you want to make money you need to "unplug" from all the distractions and actually do something productive!

    Btw… Loved the ATM analogy!

  • Posted by lisa on 2nd Mar 2009

    thanks for sharing. i have tried that also.. :)

  • Posted by truby on 5th Mar 2009

    Great post! opening emails can take a third of your valuable time away in a snap. "Information overload" is the hardest to have control over. We are constantly learning but never take action = time wasted!

  • Posted by connor on 31st Mar 2009

    Some really good advice on this blog. It's so easy to get sidetracked when surfing the internet, i'll see something completely unrelated to the task at hand and before you know it I've spent and hour reading a blog about taxidermy – just because it peaked my curiosity. Keeping focus and managing your time effectively is the most important aspect of running an online business.

  • Posted by Jon on 26th Feb 2011

    Its hard work and long hours! yes focus great points.
    Some people buy a time clock seriously put on a suit punch in start working
    I had to learn this when I first started (;

  • Posted by Make Money Online on 30th Mar 2011

    I totally agree with you. If you only spend your time doing the right things online you will most likely see profit. For me this is kinda hard since I am studying in college at the same time, but my goal is to be almost financially independent within 2 years when I am down with college.

    The hardest thing for me is to get started with something, once I have started it gets really easy since I like doing what I do online. I usually spend way to much time on StumbleUpOn, YouTube and various forums when I could have been making money instead.

    At the moment I am setting up goals, both short term and long term to be able to spend my time on things that matters. For me it's all about balancing college and making money online which can be quite hard. While college gives me a pretty good chanse of getting a well paid job in the future, Internet can give me a residual income doing what I love.

    Anyways, thanks for the article! =)
    //Alexander Wulkan.
    My recent post How to secure online income streams