How to Stick to Your Small Business New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s Day has come and gone…and with it, your resolution to quit your job this year and become an online entrepreneur, affiliate marketer, freelancer, etc.

Maybe you lost your drive when you realized just how much work was involved in building a website, securing clients, or just brushing up on good grammar.

It’s easy to let life’s little details get in the way of loftier goals. However, a big reason why loftier goals are not achieved is because we are intimidated by them. They seem so big. So unattainable. So far away.

Rome was not built in a day; it took centuries of careful planning and non-stop effort to complete.

Likewise, you too can achieve your small business new year’s resolutions. Here are some ways to go about it.

1. Create a break-up plan.

Spread out this year’s calendar on your desk and create tasks for each month that are broken down into yet smaller tasks for individual weeks or even days. For example, if your goal is to become a blogger, you can create the task of building a website in January. Then, you can fill out the month of January with smaller tasks like researching a domain name during that first week, buying your domain in the second week, getting hosting the third week, and so on.

Likewise, if your goal is to be an affiliate marketer, your prospective goals could be to pick a product niche in January, set up a Google AdWords account in February, and generate landing pages by March. As outlined in the previous example, each month’s goal would be broken up into smaller weekly tasks.

2. Download some apps.

I used to thumb my nose at apps, but their presence on your computer and/or phone and (possible) push notifications really help you stick to your goals.

RescueTime, for example, analyzes what you are doing online and generates a report for you so you know which activities are fruitful and which are eating up your hours (e.g., cute cat videos). Asana enables project management by dividing your goals into deadline-driven tasks that become glaringly overdue if you slack off. Zapier provides you with a choice of 500+ e-commerce apps that can be integrated through this service, preventing you from repeating tasks.

3. Become accountable.

Find an accountability partner (or partners) that has similar small business new year’s resolutions and make a pact with him/her to check in with each other every week. While this is an easy step to brush off, studies indicate that accountability is the single biggest reason why people lose more weight in weight loss groups than those going it alone, or why people actually read books in book clubs.

4. Create a group.

If you require more accountability, or if you’d like to get support in a group setting, then creating a Facebook and/or LinkedIn group might be for you.

There are several advantages to having and being part of a social media group. For one, you obtain encouragement and advice from a host of different individuals. Many of these individuals are operating businesses similar to yours and can help you along on your journey. Other individuals may be starting out and can share in and commiserate with your frustrations.

5. Get into a habit.

Whether it’s 7 o’clock in the morning or 7 o’clock in the evening, a time needs to be scheduled for when you are working on your small business…and nothing else. Otherwise, a million other errands and intrusions will take over your life and never give you the time of day.

Consider the time you spend working on your small business to be like a new part-time job. Set aside an hour, or even 30 minutes, for this business each and every day. Then, do your utmost in your designated time period. When your time runs out, you can take a well-deserved break…at least until tomorrow.

6. Don’t overload.

It’s easy to get bogged down by resources such as webinars, e-books, tutorials, podcasts, etc. when you first embark upon your entrepreneurial career. While some information is good to know, too much reading and research lead to information overload.

The problem with information overload is that it puts you into a vicious cycle of over-researching and reading, becoming exhausted and/or overwhelmed by the material, and then retreating from your scheduled tasks for a few days. This wastes a lot of precious time you could otherwise be spending by building your business.

The cure for this issue is to research and read the material that directly answers your immediate question- but no more. So, if you want to understand how to control AdWords spending, read only about that subject matter and not anything else (e.g., how to sell product X using AdWords).

7. Define success your way.

You gain nothing by feeling envy over the progress and accomplishments of others (except insomnia). Don’t look to others to define your success (or failure). Instead, define success your own way.

If your sole accomplishment this month is getting two comments on your blog post, take that as a win and strive for even more comments next time. If you finally figured out how to use WordPress, reward yourself with a movie or a nice steak dinner. And avoid the Debbie-Downers who will never see your accomplishments but only where you’re wanting.

Setting up and growing a small business is not for the faint of heart. So pat yourself on the back when you cross off your weekly/monthly goals. You deserve it for sticking to your new year’s resolutions.

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