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7 Tips for the Overwhelmed Online Entrepreneur

Keller Hawthorne | June 2, 2009 | 12 Comments
Preparing Your Business for Success

7 Tips for the Over-Whelmed Online EntrepreneurOh boy, I hear ya! Thousands of ideas and only 24 hours in a day. How do you find the time to implement all of your ideas? And if you do, how do you find the time to make each a successful venture?

Within each online business model lays hundreds of individual activities that require your attention. For ecommerce stores, there’s adding products to your website, sending new product arrival newsletters and dealing with customer service. For blogs, there’s writing posts, responding to comments, and maintaining relationships. And every online business venture requires SEO, marketing, advertising, traffic building, etc.

When I think about all of my to-do’s, I become completely overwhelmed. I tend to fill my plate up a little too much. I enjoy being busy and can’t help starting new things. I’m an official “Website Junkie” and “Business Junkie,” so any excuse to design a new website or create a new business and I’m off and runnin’.

Here’s My Overwhelming List of To Do’s:

1. I opened on May 8th and it has kept me very busy with content writing and relationship building. Twitter, FaceBook, Digg – all of these new social network profiles require nurturing from me. I also want to make sure I keep an open dialogue with my readers, which means responding to comments each week and maintaining good relationships.

2. My ecommerce stores require customer service from me every day. They also require new products, newsletters and web design/seo tweaks.

3. I’ve been in the process of opening a new store for two months now. I have everything set up for it as far as dropshippers, hosting, SSL certificate, domain name, design, etc. I just haven’t had the time to add products to it and officially launch the darn thing.

4. I continue to gain new web clients every week though I DON’T really market my web design company. I’ve never optimized my website, KBH Web Marketing, because I’ve always received my clients through word of mouth, which has worked well for me since my time is limited.

With service related businesses, you can only earn as much as you can bill in a day. That’s a glass ceiling I prefer not to be stuck under. Affiliate marketing, blogging and ecommerce each allow you to earn money in your sleep.

Yet, my client base continues to expand, especially since launching And since I LOVE designing new websites, I can’t help but accept new clients. I am also in the process of transferring my web marketing website to WordPress.

5. I sell my own handmade jewelry online at Etsy, but I haven’t had time to create any new pieces in months!

6. I have another blog in the very beginning stages of development, but it remains my special secret right now :-). It will require me to learn WordPressMU and BuddyPress – a whole new bag CAN of worms. [Is that the saying? Bag of worms doesn’t sound right to me. Hum…] Thanks to Richard for the phrase clarification :-).

7. I’m planning on launching a membership site in the near future that focuses on one of my online specialties (again, it’s a secret right now). This idea is actually dependent on the launch and growth of, so it will take some time.

Didn’t See Personal/Social Life In the List?

Yeah, me neither. Um, yeah, well – I have to spend some time on those things too. But, I’m a workaholic, so they tend to come last (I will happily lose sleep to work). But, this doesn’t make my friends/family very happy, which leaves me with more work to do on relationship building!

You’re Stressing Me Out!

You going nuts too? It might appear I am close to losing my mind, but I actually am able to handle my life – for the most part :-) – with the following techniques.

1. Focus on Your Top Income Streams First

The first thing I do every morning is process orders/deal with customers. Why? Well it’s not because it’s fun that’s for sure. It’s because that’s where the money is!

You might have a million awesome ideas for creating new income streams, but you MUST continue to nurture and maintain your existing ones. If you have paying customers, they must be made priorities in your life. If you have paying clients, they need to be attended to in a timely manner.

Try not to put your existing income streams on hold for potential new ones. And if you must, put in extra work time that day to make up for it.

2. Learn to Estimate Your Time

This is one I’m still learning to do. How many times have you said, “I’ll just quickly post a new Tweet before I start working on this project,” and then end up spending an hour on Twitter managing your followers and checking out people’s websites?

If you need an hour every day for a certain task, be honest with yourself about it and schedule it in accordingly. Track how long it takes you to perform your daily activities so you know how much time each requires from you.

3. Take a Lesson from Your Weekday Underwear

Remember those? On Monday you wear your “Monday” underwear. Of course, if you’re overwhelmed, you usually end up wearing your Monday underwear on Friday :-).

Try designating each day of the week to a particular project or business. If you have several online businesses, make Monday your Business A day, Tuesday your Business B day and so on. If you just have one online business, designate Monday to website maintenance and SEO, Tuesday to content or product development, Wednesday to marketing, etc. And once you do, try to stick to it!

You can easily become distracted when attempting to accomplish 10 completely separate and time intensive tasks in a day.

If you make everything a priority, you end up making nothing a priority.

4. Be Honest With Yourself and Others

If you don’t have the time to accept a new client, DON’T! You don’t want to spread yourself too thin. If you’re trying to do everything at once, you won’t have time to do anything right.

Remember, it’s not just about dealing with customers, performing services or writing content. It’s about providing THE BEST customer service, DETAILED and THOROUGH services and OUTSTANDING and MEMORABLE content. Don’t let lack of time steal your talent. If you’re well known for designing the best WordPress themes, ensure your reputation stays intact by allowing yourself time to continue being the best.

5. List, List and List Again

We all know this, but it bears repeating. Write down your to-do’s and get that junk out of your head! Trust me; they’re only making things worse floating around up there.

Often, we become overwhelmed when we feel a lack of control. If you have ten things you know you need to do this week, write them down so you can regain control. So, when that thought pops up, you can tell it that it has already been prioritized and you will deal with it later.

Lists also help us to REMEMBER the other 99 million things we want or need to do.

6. Get the Five Minute Tasks OFF Your List

How many of your to-do’s seriously only require 5 minutes or less of your time? Need to make a dentist appointment? Do it NOW and get it off of your list! These 5 minute activities clog up your lists and can drive you nuts. If you need to, assign one half hour a day to all of your 5 minute tasks. And assign that half hour in the morning so you won’t “excuse” your way out of it later.

7. Leave Learning for Later

This one is probably the hardest for many online entrepreneurs. Every step of your online venture requires learning (or outsourcing to someone who has already done the learning). But learning can be extremely time intensive. And it usually adds ten more to do’s to your list since through your learning you will learn about other things you need to learn about – wow, bad sentence, but I think you get my drift.

Try to move your to-do’s that DON’T require learning to the top of your list. Knock those out before you dive into new waters. This will help relieve stress, leaving you with a clear and open mind that’s ready to learn!

If one of your top priorities requires learning, but you just don’t have the time, ask for help. It may be time to begin outsourcing some of your projects.

8. Bonus Tip: Give In Every Once In a While

Sometimes, you just aren’t in the mood to do deal with something. In some cases, we have to forge through these feelings and get to work. But, sometimes it’s ok to just do whatever it is you want to do.

If you already have 10 businesses that need work done, but you’re really excited about a new business idea and can’t keep it off your mind, go ahead and work on it a little! If you just can’t wait to create that new website design or learn about that new social network, give yourself a break and indulge your craving. Just remember, moderation is KEY – just like junk food.

What Tips Can You Give a Fellow Business Junkie?

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