The Online Marketing Lifestyle Formula… Part 2
Continued from last post…
Hardware and Location
Want to upgrade your work experience?
Want to get more work done and enjoy doing it more?
Then a simple way to do that is to upgrade the hardware that you’re working with! In all likelihood, you will use this every single day. So why not make sure that it is a pleasant experience and that you are able to get as much work done as possible?
A good place to start is by making an awesome home office.
To begin with, that means getting the right computer that will be powerful enough to handle any software you work with regularly and then some.
Later on in this post, I’m going to talk about the importance of self development: learning new skills in order to advance your capabilities. One example of this is to learn 3D modelling. 3D modelling lets you create stunning 3D logos, video openers and more. It can really add to your repertoire and set you apart from other marketers, or help you to improve your own branding.
To do things like this, you need to have power. That’s why I recommend getting yourself a beefy computer – something with an i7 processor that you can overclock to 3++ GHz and something backed up with powerful graphics capabilities. A GTX 1060, 1070 or 1080 will make your machine highly future proof and will make it powerful enough to play all the latest games too.
As a marketer, you will likely be doing a lot of writing – whether that’s writing blog content or emails. Either way, it’s important to think about how this is going to affect your finger health. You need to make sure you do everything you can to avoid the possibility of RSI (repetitive strain injury) and to do that, you should look into getting yourself a better keyboard.
The best keyboards for writers are ‘mechanical keyboards’. These are keyboards with satisfyingly clicky keys. They last longer than the membrane keyboards found on cheap laptops and they are highly enjoyable to type on. Many people consider the ideal switch for typing to be the Cherry MX Blue switches. I’m also a fan of the rapidfire keyboards that require a little less power and force in order to reach the actuation point.
I recommend trying out a few of these keyboards in store, in order to make sure that you like the typing experience.
Finally, to round out the experience, I recommend getting an ultrawide monitor. Ultrawide monitors have been shown to boost productivity by as much as 30% and this is because they allow for much more efficient multitasking: letting you have multiple different elements on the screen at once without having to keep switching between tasks. This is also ideal for anyone who works with spreadsheets as you’ll be able to stretch them out wide and see lots of columns all on the one screen at once!
A multi-monitor set-up can do similar things but isn’t ideal as it means having a large divide in the middle made up of the monitor bevels. Furthermore, having a single monitor means having fewer wires and cables and taking up less space on your desk.
Tips for a Productive Home Office
With your computer in place, you can now start to design the rest of your office around it. A basic key thing to consider in this regard is that the space needs to be comfortable and somewhere that you enjoy working.
A good starting point is to make sure that the office is a separate room in the house. This is important because it will mean that it isn’t prone to getting untidy or disorganized (things that can prevent you from feeling relaxed while working). At the same time, you should also make sure that your office is decorated with things that you find inspiring or just want to be around.
You’re going to be working here every single day for the most part. So why not turn it into a place that you love to be?
That makes you feel inspired and productive? Some lighting can make a big difference in this way, as can a cool ornament or two.
Try to keep the room tidy and clear too and make sure that you have a large surface to use as your desk and that you have plenty of drawers for storing various items in as well.
Working on the Move
While having a powerful computer and a base of operations can make a big difference to your mental health as an internet marketer, it’s also a good idea to create something of a ‘mobile command center’. In other words, spend some time collecting all the items you’ll need to work productively on the move and make sure that this is also something you look forward to doing.
If you are someone who struggles with staying productive and avoiding distractions – even with the tips we’ve outlined in this book already – then a good strategy could be to try working in coffee shops. Coffee shops provide free WiFi, power and a place to sit. They also provide coffee, which is ideal for stimulating the brain.
What’s more though, is that they are highly conducive to productivity because of their vibe. The quiet chatter of people in the background, the smell of coffee, the other people all beavering away on their various laptops – all of this puts you in a state where you feel ready to be productive.
Better yet, you’ll probably find that it’s hard to get distracted when you’re working in coffee shops. You won’t feel like you should be browsing YouTube or playing games because other people can see you! You’ll most likely get your head down and work and this is a great way to force yourself into that productive state.
I used to work in coffee shops every day of the week and while I would spend a fair amount of money on coffee, I found that I got so much extra work done that it actually paid for itself. Sometimes I would write as much as 30,000 words by working this way! That’s how I cultivated my productive mindset and now I’m able to work nearly as effectively from home.
So, what hardware should you consider getting if you want to create the perfect mobile command station?
Look for a computer with great engineering. This should be something that is beautifully made and joyous to hold and work with. Look for a high resolution display and a comfortable keyboard. Again, you need to want to work on this and to feel great when you do.
I highly recommend the Surface Pro line of devices from Microsoft, or their Surface Books. These computers have high resolutions, they run quickly with decent specifications and they’re very light and convenient. The ability to write on the screen with the stylus creates a lot more possibilities for design work and also means you can sign off Word Documents and PDFs.
Things like this are small, but they make your business look that much more professional and they make you feel like a better worker too. When I upgraded from my old HP to a Surface Pro, I found myself really looking forward to getting into cafes to work. What’s more though, I could now run software like Illustrator and make proper vector images to use as logos.
Likewise, I was able to start sketching designs and I could learn coding in Unity.
The hardware made me feel more professional. It gave me more belief in myself. It extended my capabilities. And for all those reasons, it helped me to start doing better work and earning more. You need to spend to accumulate, and if you can invest in better tech, you will earn more!
This is similar to the approach taken by investors. Often, traders will be encouraged to splash out on expensive items and the idea behind this is that it actually makes them more likely to become big earners! Sounds strange, but by acting like a success, you’ll often find you become one.
How to Afford Better Tech as an Internet Marketer
But what if you can’t afford better tech like this? Even as an investment? One answer is to take out a loan and a great way to do that is through PayPal. If like most marketers, you are currently getting paid through PayPal, then you’ll be able to get a loan through the website called ‘PayPal Working Capital’. This isn’t the cheapest loan (a credit card loan is a better option in that regard – especially one with 0% APR), but the great thing about it is that there’s no deadline and the interest is agreed up front as a single fee. That means you can take your time paying it off. Better yet, the repayments are taken directly from your earnings as they come through PayPal.
So, if you normally earn $100 a day and you need to pay back your loan in instalments of 10% of your earnings every day, then you can simply start earning 10% more until the loan is paid off and not even feel it. Better yet, if you struggle to find work or business goes slow for any other reason, you’ll not face penalties or see damage done to your credit score.
Better yet, you can also claim all of this back on your tax as expense. That means that you will get 30% off of the cost of new laptops, new software or anything else that you use to upgrade your working experience and work flow. And even better is that this also applies to the interest you’re paying, essentially cutting a third off the cost of the loan.
The great thing is that most internet marketers like technology – after all, that’s why you probably became a marketer to begin with. So, using these tips, you can now start getting all kinds of awesome things that you’ve always wanted – a smart new phone, a great computer, a fancy keyboard, a beautiful monitor – and not feel the impact financially!
I’m about to take this even further by building an ‘office pod’ in our garden. This is a beautiful installation that will become a home office and let in plenty of light. It’s free standing, made of glass and it will give me lots of space to add a large desk and lots of tech. It’s tax deductible, I can buy it through PayPal working capital and it will add a lot of value to my property – so it’s a no-brainer!
What to Wear for Internet Marketers
We’ve talked a little about how to upgrade your tech and how this can make you a better digital marketer. But now I want you to consider upgrading your wardrobe too.
This is important for when you meet with clients in person – and especially if you’re a marketer who likes to find clients in the real world a lot. It’s also great for attending networking events. But you know what else?
It’s also important for your own sense of achievement and for the ‘law of attraction’. They say to ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ and this is very true. If you currently work unshaven in stained t-shirts, then you aren’t going to feel your most productive.
Think of the film Limitless about the man who takes the brain-boosting drug ‘NZT’ and uses it to become a highly successful trader, author and eventually politician. What’s the first thing he does when he takes the pill? He tidies his home, gets a haircut and puts on a suit.
Just like taking breaks, this feels like an indulgence but it is crucial to doing your best work. I recommend taking some time out on a coming weekend and using it to upgrade your wardrobe.
Should You become a Digital Nomad?
Working in coffee shops can make you feel more productive, prevent cabin fever and put you in an environment where lots of people are all doing similar work.
But how about taking this to the next step? How about working while you travel and living the dream? So many of us wish that we were truly free and able to see the world but as an internet marketer, you really can. Imagine being able to see stunning glaciers, views from incredible mountains, the northern lights, the Full Moon Party… imagine sitting in a café watching the world go by while you work on your laptop.
That is the dream of being a digital nomad and as an internet marketer, this is something that you can very easily accomplish. But is it right for you?
Nomads: Know Your Options!
Becoming a digital nomad in many ways feels like the ultimate way to ‘make the most of life’. We only get one go around on this planet and in that time, there is so much most of us will never see. There’s a world out there filled with different cultures, incredible sights and adventures and so much more.
Most of us will never experience any of these things, other than when we’re playing Skyrim (which is not the same!).
Instead, we spend out days typing away on a computer and our evenings sitting in front of the TV. Meanwhile, we get older and miss out on conversations with strangers on bars set by the beach…
When you put it that way, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would not want to become a digital nomad. For the right type of person, this is a truly wondrous experience.
But there are downsides to being a nomad too. For one, this means saying goodbye to all your creature comforts and it means moving away from family and friends. Being constantly on the move means not being able to take a warm bath, or watch your favorite boxset back-to-back. These might not be things that look great on Instagram but they are still things that many of us enjoy and rightly so!
If you will struggle with that and if you’ll struggle with not being able to see your best friend, then being a digital nomad might not be for you. Likewise, if you want to grow your business as quickly and well as possible, then you might do better to stay at home. And if you’re in a relationship, if you’re a parent, then it will be harder too.
But here’s the thing: being a digital nomad is just one option. This is just one example of ‘lifestyle design’ and actually, there are many other ways that you can enjoy the benefits of working online and being self-employed.
For example, even if you don’t decide to travel constantly, you might just decide to travel a little more. How about going for lots of shorter holidays throughout the year? These days, you can get very affordable flights and stay in Air BnB, so it’s affordable. And because you can continue working as you go, you can more easily afford the trip. This way, you can still experience lots of new things and see the world – but without feeling like you have nowhere to call home!
Another option is just to enjoy your own local area more. Working in coffee shops is one thing, but what about working at the local library, on the beach if you live near one, or in an outdoors café? How about in your own garden?
I lived in London, England for 4 years and during this time I would work by the docks sometimes, I would work with views of Big Ben, I would work in huge museums… I was constantly finding new places to work that would give me inspiring views while I typed away. When I lived in Bournemouth before that, I would often sit on the beach and work there – or in the bars near the beach.
All this punctuated by regular trips with my friend who was also an internet marketer! One of my favorite working memories was sitting in a café in Zadar, Croatia and drinking beer while listening to some amazing music (Schiller, it turned out).
It was lightly raining but warm and we could see people outside passing on the cobbled streets and mountains in the background below. More recently we worked in a Swiss chalet on the side of a mountain!
Creating Work/Life Balance
No matter how much you like your work set-up or how efficient and productive you become, you will still need to consider ways to manage the balance between work and play. This is something that a huge number of self-employed people struggle with and it’s easy to understand why.
The first and biggest issue here is that when you do work like SEO, writing or web design, you have the opportunity to effectively earn unlimited cash. Want more cash? Then work a few more hours! It’s that simple.
But in doing this, you are now creating a situation where you feel ‘guilty’ any time you relax and let yourself become calm.
Another problem is the fact that you are working online, which means people can contact you at any time of day. This becomes even more of an issue if those people happen to be based in other countries where they are operating by different time zones!
So, what can you do?
Setting a Budget
From reading the advice that we’ve shared so far, you might already have noticed something of an irony starting to emerge.
You want to be freer and to have more spare time but the best way to do this is actually to place more restrictions on yourself! By creating a more disciplined work schedule for instance, you give yourself more time off and let yourself clock out earlier.
Similarly, creating a budget for yourself can ironically help you to feel freer. Look at all of your regular income and outgoings and then decide how much money you need to get by. Likewise, think about how much you’d ideally like to save each month, how much you want to spend on treats for yourself and how much money you need to set aside for tax.
This is an important and useful point to consider right now: tax is going to be one of the big stresses you face as an internet marketer or anyone who is self-employed – so get it out the way by setting that money aside immediately.
In fact, a big tip I should share at this point, is to have multiple accounts. Each time you get paid, split the money into a bills account, saving account, tax account and allowance. That way, you’ll be able to avoid spending too much and not affording rent, or forgetting to put aside enough for tax at the end of the month.
Oh, and always calculate your tax as soon as possible so you have time to save the amount you need.
This might sound like a tangent but there’s a point to it: it allows you to decide how much you need to earn in order to get the lifestyle that you want. This in turn means that you know how many clients you need to hire and how much you need to charge and that means that you can then decide how late you need to work.
In this way, you are setting your own ‘wage’ and that means you are setting yourself targets, rather than creating a situation where you feel the need to earn money indefinitely and never stop!
Separating Work and Play
This means that you can now set an amount of work you need to do before you sign off. And ideally, you should also set a time at which you will stop working every day. This might be dictated by other life commitments, or it might just depend on how long it takes you to do the work you need to do.
Either way, you now have the ability to draw a line under a day’s work and then stop.
And now you must be absolutely strict when it comes to not responding to emails, not taking on more work and not squeezing more in. Remember, down time is what will allow you to work more productively when you return to work.
And after all, what’s the point of being a successful entrepreneur if you never have any time to enjoy the spoils of your success?
Another tip to this end is to separate work and play by having a separate work phone and separate work email. This way, you won’t be tempted to answer messages when you’re not working.
It really is important not to make exceptions here. Once you make an exception once, you can be sure that your clients will think that you should always be available to answer messages or to ‘just quickly finish this bit of work’. They will be sure to take advantage of your free time if they can, which is not because they are malicious, but simply human nature.
This must be an iron clad rule and if you do end up working extra hours, don’t let them know!
Not reading the emails is also very important. Even if you don’t respond to an email, just knowing it’s there can be enough to make you stressed and prevent you from being able to properly relax and enjoy your work.
The evenings and the weekends are the time that you are going to use to work on other aspects of your life. This is when you’ll build your strength in the gym, it’s when you’ll develop yourself as a person by travelling, meeting people and reading. It’s when you’ll recharge your soul. And it’s when you’ll develop relationships and friends. If you are struggling to find a relationship as an internet marketer, then consider whether you’re giving yourself the opportunities you need to meet them!
You might find it can be stressful knowing that you’re probably getting urgent messages that you can’t see. The answer to this is just to be up-front and honest with your clients. Tell them that you won’t answer except for during set hours. Let them know in advance when you plan to go away. And if you’re still concerned, set up an autoresponder to ensure they’ll get the memo.
When You Need a Little More Cash…
One of the great things about being self-employed though is that aforementioned option to earn more money as and when you need it: to be able to afford whatever you need, just by working a little longer.
This might seem like a big thing to sacrifice if you are forcing yourself to work set hours but you can have your cake and eat it yet again. In this case, the option once more comes from the restrictions you’ve placed on yourself and the fact that you have a set budget.
You know how much you need per month, you know how much you earn per month. Thus, if you find yourself lusting after a new toy or wanting to go on a holiday, you have two options:
1) Save money in your ‘daily’ budget until you have enough spare to funnel into that thing
2) Work over time just to afford that one thing. Once you’ve earned that amount… stop!
This way, you can have anything you want. Just another amazing advantage to being an internet marketer!
Managing and Finding Clients – How to Charge More and Work Less
If you are an internet marketer with clients (rather than marketing your own stuff), then you’ll have another tricky thing you need to manage: the clients.
Because in many ways, having a client is just like having a boss and that means you have the same commitments and the same requirement to follow instructions and work to someone else’s timescale. At the same time though, a client doesn’t come with a contract, meaning that they could stop offering you new work at any time.
This creates a difficult situation where you need all the clients you have, just in case one stops working with you. At the same time though, that means you need to be available when they need you, meaning there will inevitably be times when they supply you with too much work and you end up breaking your back to try and get it all finished.
The question is how exactly you deal with this. Another issue is the ‘difficult’ client. Sometimes, you will get clients that expect too much from you and you will find that clients constantly have problems with your work. Sometimes, they will simply be rude! This can make life very stressful, so again, you have to find a way to deal with that problem.
How to Remove Difficult Clients and Make Your Life Much Easier
The first thing you need to do, is to learn how to deal with those difficult clients and thereby make your life easier.
The key here is to have the strength to turn down work. This is something that can be very hard to do and especially if you are an anxious personality type. But it’s also very important in order to prevent yourself doing unlimited amounts of work.
So, what kinds of clients do you turn down? One is the type of client who is making your life hellish. If you keep having to make changes to work that is perfectly acceptable, if you are dealing with rude emails or unreasonable expectations, then you are better off dropping those clients. This is important in fact., as you will ultimately be spending more time on that kind of work while getting less done. Instead, focus on clients that keep things simple for you as that way you can complete more and maybe do more for them. Work for the clients that deserve your work.
This changes the whole mentality too. When you are willing to refuse work, you remember that you don’t have a boss. You are working together because you have mutual aims and complimentary skills and resources. If a job is too big or you don’t like the way it is being carried out, then be ready to say ‘no thank you’.
Always be polite though. No matter how rude or unreasonable the client is, being rude back is unprofessional and it will burn your bridges in case you ever need future work!
The other kind of client to remove from your workload is the kind that only ever makes very small orders but involves a lot of communication to get them. I have a rule that any client that wants a Skype meeting is probably someone who enjoys ‘playing’ business, rather than someone who is genuinely a good business partner. Keep communication down and productivity up. Do this by seeking out good clients who have a good working style and by keeping your client roster lean.
How to Work Less and Get Paid More
Another reason to avoid swamping yourself in unfathomable amounts of work, is that this will give you the freedom you need to take on new projects that pay better. If you are getting paid a certain amount for your work and you have a little more bandwidth to complete more, then you can place adverts that don’t need to be desperate. In turn, that means you can charge a little bit more and it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t get any takers.
Now, once you have several clients all paying a little bit more, you can go on to start getting your existing clients to bid for you. Let them know that your rates have increased and that you now need to charge X amount.
This is scary to do but it’s also completely reasonable and normal. And by putting your rates up, you’ll be able to earn more or work less. Maybe both!
Try negotiating even if you don’t have extra work too. The worst case scenario is that people say no, in which case you just carry on as you are. If you’re nervous about doing this, then a tip for internet marketers is to try offering more for that increased amount. In other words, don’t just ask for more money and sour relations – explain how your service is improving as a result.
Setting Realistic Expectations
Another tip for internet marketers that want to avoid being swamped with work, is to set realistic expectations. In other words, don’t promise a client you’ll get them to the top of Google because that’s not something you can guarantee. And likewise, don’t promise to complete 10 videos for them per week if that’s more than you can accomplish.
A benefit of the business is that you can sell a lot of packages with different services and products involved. You don’t need to write hundreds of thousands of words, or to build countless links: you can simply change the package to reflect the kind of work that you are best at and that you personally like doing.
One last tip is that in order to save yourself from a scenario where all your clients have left you, try to find a few clients that want more work than you can provide. Find a few that will be flexible and take on more work when you have the time. Finally, keep a list of your old clients so that you can use that in order to offer deals and incentives to get people to hire you. If work is slow, then you can message your old clients and let them know about your discounted packages!
And if you do get more work than you can handle? The best answer is often to outsource or automate. This might mean just giving your work to someone else and paying them slightly less than you are getting paid in order to write it. This is where you can start to build up a roster of freelancers, which will give you more spare time to work on other things or relax and which will give you the satisfaction of ‘being the boss’.
Tools can also help you to complete work more quickly, as can finding ways to reuse old materials.
Finding Meaning in Your Work
Now you should find yourself enjoying a much better work-life balance and earning more money while earning less. Maybe you’re using this new found freedom to travel, or just to relax a little more!
But what you should also be doing, is taking a step back from your business and deciding on where you want to take it and how you want to grow it.
If you are currently doing link building work for people every day, then chances are that you’re going to find yourself feeling rather frustrated and bored with that work pretty soon. It’s not rewarding because you don’t know where you’re going with it and because you’re not doing things you love.
One way to fix this is to go more niche. Instead of being an internet marketer, how about positioning yourself as a ‘fitness internet marketer’ or a ‘fashion internet marketer’. In this way, you help yourself to stand out a bit from all the other marketers and at the same time, you’ll now be writing about things you love, dealing with other websites you love and reading about what you love!
Another tip is to develop yourself. We discussed this briefly already but as you start to add new skills to your roster, you’ll be able to expand your own services and to grow yourself professionally. You can this way charge more, impress your clients more and get more sense of reward from what you do. Learn to program, learn to design, learn to write – all these skills will make you more well rounded and open up new doors for you.
Similarly, look at other ways you can generate income, look at ways you want to grow your business and consider using your marketing skills to create your own brand.
This might mean having a brand for your own business. You’ll feel much more pride in what you do when you have your own business website, your own business name and a reputation that you’re proud of. Plus, this can help to bring a lot more clients to your business without you having to get out there and find them.
Think about expanding too. Look at how you can grow your business, take on new clients and perhaps outsource more of your work – or get in-house staff!
Or alternatively, how about running your own blog? This can work as a brilliant showcase for what you can do, or it can be used to build trust and authority if you are writing about the subject of internet marketing.
Most of all though, having a blog will give your business new direction and help you to feel as though you are making progress. You can even feel like something of an internet celebrity, which is a great bonus of working online!
By now, I hope you have some strong ideas and incentives to start changing the way you run your business.
That means changing the way you handle clients, it means making sure you aren’t spending hours procrastinating every morning and it means turning your health and your happiness into top priorities.
Internet marketing is a job that can give you immense freedom, financial success, mild fame and an incredible sense of satisfaction. To get there though, you need to work on your business as well as in it. The journey starts here!
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