Crack Down on Information Overload

“It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you’ve wanted to do so badly.”Charles Lindbergh

By Paul Smithson

Is information overload interfering with your ability to get your Internet business off the ground? If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of data you think you have to wade through, here are six ways to cut through the clutter:

1. Start thinking like an entrepreneur.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned moneymaker, you want to think like a true entrepreneur. That means launching your Internet business with a clear goal in mind.

Do you want to teach people how to expand their vocabularies? Do you want to set up an online matchmaking service? Or would you rather build a business around your mountain-climbing expertise? As we discussed in ETR #2057, first make sure you have something that people are eager to buy. Then, be prepared to stick with it for at least six months.

It can take a while for a new business to start paying off, and you may be tempted to try something else. But instead of jumping ship, stick with your idea and learn how to monetize it.

If, for example, you opened an AdSense site and are only seeing a small amount of revenue trickle in, put more time and effort into accelerating your AdSense learning curve. Don’t scrap that money-making opportunity and go with something completely new. Create a plan to make it successful and work on that plan until it starts bringing in the type of money you’re looking for.

2. Prioritize your task list.

Once you have a plan to follow, you can start breaking it down into manageable chunks.

Prioritizing will help you avoid getting bogged down with too much information. If you really want to read some of that material, make continuing education a part of your day by adding “read a chapter a day” (or whatever you have time for) to your task list.

What you do each day will depend largely on which path you’ve decided to follow with your Internet business. But you’ll need to work on some items – such as traffic generation – every day, no matter what.

Make a list of tasks you need to do to start realizing a profit from your online marketing efforts. Then rank them in order of importance. Your list may look something like this (though it should be more detailed):

  • Build Website
  • Get Paid Traffic to Site
  • Start Search Engine Optimization for Organic Traffic
  • Get 3 Joint Ventures
  • Set Up Affiliate Program

… and so on.

3. Outsource tasks that you don’t need to do yourself.

You can (and should) work on some of the items on your task list simultaneously. But don’t try to tackle too much at once. I recommend outsourcing tasks that you don’t have to (or don’t know how to) do yourself – like turning your e-book into a few special reports or building your website. This will open up your schedule so you can take on more important things that you can’t (or shouldn’t) outsource – like networking, finding joint ventures, and marketing your business.

You can outsource some projects even if you don’t have extra cash. Let’s say you’re a great writer but you can’t design banner ads. Contact a graphic designer and offer to write some articles he can use in article directories to promote his services in exchange for the banners you need.

As your business expands, your task list will grow – and it may become harder to prioritize. Information overload can influence you to super-size your to-do list with unnecessary tasks that won’t contribute to the success of your online efforts. But stick to the essentials. Don’t let anything get on your task list that doesn’t have profit potential or isn’t vital to your success. In other words, don’t do something like set up a MySpace profile page (if it isn’t in your business plan) just because someone said it’s what all marketers ought to be doing.

4. Focus on one success at a time.

It can be hard to figure out what matters and what doesn’t in the grand scheme of things. Will it hurt your business if you’re not split-testing your sales pages? Is it necessary to approach no fewer than five people for a joint venture?

You have to focus on making one area of your online business profitable before you move on to other areas. Don’t start thinking of approaching JV partners until your website is finished, your product is created, and your payment-processing systems are in place.

Don’t get swayed into abandoning your current tasks because someone comes along and says joint ventures are the foundation of multimillion-dollar deals. After your business finds its roots, then you can start looking at actions you can take to complement your business structure and add profitability.

5. Limit the amount of new information you allow into your life.

Too much information and not enough focus can be detrimental to your Internet marketing success. But ignorance isn’t bliss. You have to know how to evaluate trends and stay ahead of the herd. You have to learn how to balance your productivity with enough research to maintain your momentum in the marketplace.

Don’t study everything related to Internet marketing. Choose only subjects that will help you grow your own online business. If you’re running an AdSense site, for example, study related subjects – such as Web design, content creation, and traffic strategies. Don’t get sidetracked by irrelevant topics – like learning how to become a publisher at ClickBank or how to use AdWords.

Set aside time each day or week to study something that will help your online business grow. But don’t go overboard. Instead of sitting down and reading 13 e-books on product creation, get recommendations from people you trust for one must-have resource.

If you feel that you need to know more in order to complete a particular task and move forward, that’s when you go to a respected forum, ask another marketer, or even order one more e-book to get the details.

6. Cut back on the information you already have.

Start by relocating to CD all the unused e-books you currently have. Keep only those you know you’ll use on your computer, and organize them by subject – such as Traffic, Product Creation, and Paid Advertising – so you can easily find and use them as you move from task to task. Archive business opportunities that you’ve paid a one-time fee to join but have never used. Cancel subscriptions to programs you’ve never used but keep paying for every month. (You can always go back and join again if you decide to implement one of those strategies.)

Manage your time properly, avoid distractions, and prioritize your tasks for maximum efficiency and success. Stick to the goals you set for your Internet business in the very beginning. With a plan in place and a limited amount of information, you’ll multiply your chances of achieving them.