Category Archives: Realistic Expectations

Follow The Instructions To The Letter Or Waste Time Trying To Get Back On Track

There is nothing worse than the feeling of taking two steps forward and three steps back… especially when it was self induced and could have been avoided

Today I wanted to discuss the notion of following instructions or failing fast. There is a reason that I wanted to talk about this and it is that I see many people starting online courses planning on building a business and make money online but they fail. They then moan that the system didn’t work and get disheartened as you would expect if a system did actually not work.

The problem is that the systems do work but… and this is a big but… many people never truly follow the steps or instructions which are laid out exactly for everyone to follow. When ever you go to Ikea and buy some flat pack furniture a lot of people take one quick look at the instructions and figure that they know what a screw is and what a hole is and from that and the picture on the box they know how to build the item without need for the instructions.

ikea instructions

One hour later and their floor is still covered in parts they decide to take a look at the instructions and they then experience many ‘Eureka’ moments and as soon as you can say ‘Ikea furniture is hard to build’ they have the item finished. We have all done it once in our lives, some more than others but we do often think we know better and so try and do what we think is right even though we do not actually know what we are supposed to be doing.

Instructions are there for a reason, they are to guide you through from beginning to the end of a plan set out by someone who knows what they are doing. If you fail to follow what is a well thought out plan of instructions then the only thing at fault is you and not the system.

This might sound harsh but it is the truth. Plans are not created by spending a couple of minutes drawing notes on the back of a napkin, beer mat or cigarette packet. No the creator of the plan will spend a lot of time going through the steps that they believe you need to take to get to the place you need to be, the place that the creator is at now… remember this is the successful person that you wish to emulate.

As we have written in the past, the best and fastest way to success is to have a plan, ‘Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail’ Why You Should Start The New Year With A Plan, and that is what a list of instructions are. If you do not follow instructions then the chance of failing are high.

As I work for a company that sells and promotes workable systems and methods to make money I regularly see people who fail and I hear all of the excuses under the sun but most if not all are to blame personally because they did not follow plans correctly. Some were oversights and accidental in their missing of a few vital parts but most are purly responsible for their failure to follow plans because they chose to do their own thing.

Why would you do that? Especially when you have paid out money to learn from someone who is successful? It makes no sense to spend money to learn something only to not follow the well thought out instructions laid out in front of you.

Once you have deviated from the plan and missed out a few vital steps you will end up having to spend valuable time re doing parts and going over the sections you missed including having to make corrections to errors that you will undoubtedly have made.
So, to conclude this short article we Minions just wanted to get across that if you do decide to buy into a system and it comes with a plan please follow it diligently otherwise you will end up losing a lot of time correcting errors and going over the missed sections and that could cost you a lot of money too.

the digital academy

‘Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail’ Why You Should Start The New Year With A Plan

As you are fully aware it is the first month of the new year which means we have a new 12 months to change our lives, change our lifestyles and/or build that business. There is a saying that I love which gets shared a lot on social media at this time of the year and it goes something like this:

“Today is the first page of a new book, you have 365 pages to write the story you want… so make it a good one” … or something like that.

We have 357 days left of 2016 and that is plenty of time to make some great changes and implement new things in our lives which can have positive and lasting effects.

As it is the first month of the year it is a good idea to spend some time writing out a plan of what it is that you want to do and achieve including how and when you are going to make a start.

There is a brilliant saying which goes ‘Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail’ and it is true, if you do not have a plan then you are more likely to fail at the things you want to achieve. If you choose not to make a plan then you are literally ‘planning to fail’.

Silence Is Golden When Planning

It is often said that it is best to write these ideas down on paper using a pen as you feel it more than when you type. The finished plan can be typed up later if you want it typing up. Either sit at a table or relax in a comfy chair and turn off any TV’s and music that you might have playing and any other distractions like mobile phones.

Being alone is best unless you are making a joint plan with a partner, it is recommend that you really enjoy the silence to allow thoughts to come to the forefront of your mind.

It is nice to work with music playing but it can be distracting and it can prevent quality ideas and thoughts to be fully played out in your mind. For example, you might decide that you want to do something specific and you try and work out how and when you will fit it into your plan when a piece of music you really love comes on and before you know it you find yourself tapping your toes, humming or singing away to it and maybe reminiscing good times that the music pulls from your memory.

Music always pulls up past memories for me, I use music to associate with situations and can remember where I was and what I was doing at specific times in my life based on certain tunes. This is great but it does take your mind away from the task at hand, trust me I know, when the time comes to finish doing your plan for the day you will soon realise that you have only touched the surface and are left with a superficial plan of what you want to do but you had not given any deeper thought to the how or when.

year plan

The reason I suggest that you write up a plan for the rest of the year is that it is far easier to follow something rather than to try and think of ‘what to do next’. Many, if not all, successful people have plans and some of them are very detailed to the point that they plan on what book they will read and when.

Seriously, I kid you not, I recently read an article about past successful people like Edison and Carnegie and they would have their time planned out including their spare time so if they knew that they had an evening spare in let’s say two months time and wanted to read a specific book or draw up a plan they would schedule that into that spare time.

Yours does not have to be so specific and it should consist a fair amount of flexibility as life throws up challenges and complications or you might not yet be ready to ‘start’ a specific task at that time so you need to not fret that you don’t do everything at the right time or in the originally planned order.

What is important is the fact that you have a plan, a plan is like a map, it guides you to your chosen destination and tells you what roads you need to be on and which junctions and turnings you need to use.

A plan can be looked at regularly and it can also be modified but if you do not have a plan then you are more likely to not do the work, a plan is a blueprint and having something visual to look at and touch makes it all more real. It feels like a real plan and not just a mere ‘wish’ or ‘want’.

Working Blind Without A Plan

Occasionally I will sit down to write an article without a plan or an idea of what to write about and I will find that I may be sat for two-three hours staring at the blank screen trying to think up something to write about and I generally waste a lot of time.

Normally though I shall spend some time writing ideas for articles down into an ‘article ideas’ list that I have and I will add some points that I want to include. When I start to think up points for an article idea I also get image ideas and so I add them to the points and when the time comes for me to sit down and write I know what I am doing and I start writing as soon as the document is open.

year diary

Once you have your main monthly goals set out in your plan I recommend that you have a daily planner like this huge 2016 desk diary where you can plan and schedule those tasks to specific days and times.

Another great reason for writing up a plan now for the rest of the year is that you can allow yourself realistic chunks of time to work on projects which can be an antidote to that destructive thinking that comes when reading sales letters for the latest ‘get rich quick’ scheme.

People often start something and expect results to happen fast just as the sales copy hints at but they become disillusioned faster when they do not see any results then give up. At least with a plan if you give yourself six months to test or grow something then you are less likely to be sucked into false claims or give up when you have not experienced what are ‘unrealistic expectations’.

You can give a good amount of time to work at something and also set time targets to have specific things achieved by a date before moving onto the next part of your business building/life changing event.

In the online industry they recommend that you split test adverts, sales pages etc but unfortunately you cannot split test yourself using and not using a plan for the same year but if you have never written out and used a yearly plan before then maybe you should give it a go and compare this year to last year and see which was the most productive and most successful.

Sounds like a plan… right? 🙂

Which Is Best? To Do Lists Vs Time Schedules

This week I read an article on Business Insider by an author who had interview many successful business owners and sports personalities trying to find out what made them differ from the normal everyday folk.

The big thing that he found was that the real successful people did not use ‘to do’ lists as you would expect. It has been thought that people who are seriously focused and ‘get things done’ would be following some kind of plan or ‘to do’ list.

Well it seems that this is not the case, they do have a plan but instead of having a list of tasks to do each day or week they prefer to have a schedule. They set aside specific chunks of time to work on stuff and they stick to these schedules religiously.

These schedules become a daily norm which they do not deviate from, they become their routine and they focus 100% on what they are doing in each specific time slot.

Many of those who were questioned were asked about to do lists and they replied that a to do list does not always mean success because the tasks themselves do not indicate which ones are a higher priority and that human nature means that most people will chose to do the easiest tasks first so that they can cross things off and appear to be ‘busy and productive’.

In fact many people might not do the tasks that are really hard at all; they may do the easy tasks then start on the next day’s easy tasks. If you completely ignore the tasks which are necessary and important because they are hard or a lot of work then you are not going to go forward.

The successful people prefer to do whatever needs doing in an allocated time; instead of focusing on a list of tasks for them their focus is having a time to get things done in, no matter what the tasks are.

Obviously they will have a plan of what they need to do otherwise how would they know what needs doing and in what order but instead of the actual list being their main focus throughout the day they prefer to give it their ‘all’ in short allocated time slots.

It kind of makes sense when you think about it, if you had a to do list for the day but had no time schedule or structure you would have a relaxed approach to the working day picking and choosing what tasks you do and when. This is where those harder but important tasks are overlooked.

If however you had a stricter time routine where you knew you had only 2 hours to get the new website live for example then you would use that time to do whatever needed doing to get the site live. Once those two hours are over then you know that you move onto something completely different.

Knowing that when the time slot is over you can move onto something else is also powerfully motivating. Unlike an open all day to do list which seems to be never ending, having time slots feels like you have just few specific things to focus on during the day and when that time is up it is over for another day.

Yes there probably is a lot of tasks to be done in that time slot depending on what the time slot is for but the successful people work 100% focused on the tasks at hand and try and get them all done in that time frame and it is finished so they can forget about them.

It is a bit like having a shopping list, that list is in effect a ‘to do’ list but of items to get, it is a ‘to get’ list and you can only use that list when you go shopping. So if you planned to go shopping between the hours of 2 and 4 one afternoon you would not worry about the list until you got to the supermarket and then you would focus all of your time and energy on getting those items, paying for those items, bagging them up and then getting them home.

Once you have got everything you no longer worry about the things on that list, even before you have got home and put the shopping away the list is redundant and no longer thought about.

This method can be used to make general life better, you might not want to build up a successful business but you could be wasting a lot of time and feel that life is not taking you to where you want to go.

Maybe you need to dump the to do lists and focus more on time slots and build a weekly schedule. Getting up at 7 am everyday no matter what happens or how you feel could do more for you than a to do list. Deciding what night and at what time you do the shopping could also be a huge benefit to your life.

Many people think that a strict time schedule is too ridged and robs life of its flexibility but this is often not the case. Being too flexible and relaxed means that a lot of valuable time is wasted and a lot of important things never get done and this can in fact be far more detrimental to your lifestyle than being rigid and time strict.

If you get things done efficiently you generally find that you have a more relaxed life with the opportunity to be more flexible. Non-productive people can often get overwhelmed, the things they need to do become a big drama when they are left to the last minute which really robs them of the flexibility they crave and results in them ‘getting their knickers in a twist’ as we say.

Here is an example time schedule for one day in the week (based on someone working from home with a life similar to mine)

  • 7AM Alarm clock goes off,  get out of bed.

  • 7-8AM Gentle Yoga, stretching or meditation

  • 8-9AM Have shower, get dressed and have breakfast.

  • 9-10AM Go to office and answer emails and messages

  • 10-12NOON Work on new article for website including researching, writing and making screenshots.

  • 12-1PM Lunch

  • 1-3PM Record video, edit video, add to websites.

  • 3-5PM Social media sharing and interaction

  • 5-6PM Dinner and wash pots

  • 6-8PM Read, watch videos and research industry news

  • 8-9PM Go to supermarkets and do the weekly food shop with the better half

  • 9-11PM Chill in front of the TV with the better half

  • 11PM Bed

Parts of the time schedule will be the same for most if not all the days of the week such as the time I get up, do my exercise and eat but other things such as doing the weekly shop or recording videos might be a once a week thing so those tasks will be replace with other tasks on different days.

You might even chose to plan a lay in at the weekend, the idea is not to make your life restrictive and rigid to the point that it is miserable but make your lifestyle a more positive one which works better.

Successful sports people will go to the gym, the track or the swimming baths every day at the same time and practice their craft come rain or shine. Nothing stops them bar serious incidents, it is this schedule and sticking to it which turns them from people who enjoy a sport to a serious contender and a winner.

Knowing what they are doing each day at each time takes away the guessing that most non successful people generally do each day. A lot of people will spend their days trying to decide what they should do at set times of the days or even worse, do nothing and just idle the time away while wishing that there life was different.

If you are a person who uses to do lists you might want to take a few minutes and look at how you use them.

  • Are you using them effectively?
  • Are you doing the easy tasks and ignoring the others?
  • Are you finding them long and demotivating?

If so then you might want to drop them and start to use a time schedule instead.

I shall bring this to a close and say that if you want a more productive and enjoyable life then you might be better off using a time schedule. The benefits that result from managing your time better might just surprise you.

Scalability Is The Only True Way To Go Forward Online.

So today I want to discuss scalability and why I think that this needs to be an important mind set for many people trying to build an online business. We get to meet and talk to many people who have spent a lot of money and I do mean a lot of money on products that promise the earth when it comes to making money online.

They have sales copy put in front of them that tells them they could be making thousands of pounds or dollars in a few days … and they can build up this unrealistic expectation (which I discussed in last week’s newsletter) forgetting that without any previous knowledge or work that those things are very unlikely to happen. I mean would you trust a plumber to fit a boiler if he has never been trained or shown how to do it?

It would be unrealistic to assume that after a week or a month that you would be competent enough to carry out tasks it would take a professional years to learn. Imagine doing just one driving lesson when you have never driven a car before and then expecting to pass a driving test with flying colours the following day. It isn’t going to happen so you shouldn’t expect fantastic result straight away from any online business.

As I said we have met a lot of people who have spent thousands on products hoping to make thousands back in days or weeks and they then disclose to us that over the years they have bought more than one product costing thousands and have never made a penny back.

One such person recently declared that they have not made a penny during the seven years of trying one expensive product after another yet when you say to them that making £50 a month is very achievable they are not interested.

Tell them that the £50 a month can be made without a lot of investment and that the following month it could grow to £100 a month they are still not interested. Even though, and this bit always gets me, that £50 is more money than they have made online over several years of trying and buying products.

Imagine making £100 a month for seven years… that would be a total of £8,400 which would be the price of one maybe two of the products some of these people have bought previously. But they prefer to spend the £5,000 on a product hoping to make it back within a month and get nothing for years rather than work at something that could grow at a steady rate.

The first £50 might not be easy but it is easier to achieve than £5,000 a month and it is also scalable. Once you have mastered how to earn £50 you can then double it and start to make £100 a month. This is something that you work at, your intention is to keep doubling your money and growing your progress.

The sales copy that we read are great with their big promises of thousands of pounds and dollars washing into your bank each month but it very rarely happens that way in most industries. Even successful coffee shop and fast food chains started out with one store. They would usually be in debt up to their eyeballs with large overheads to deal with and having to put in a lot of hard work.

They grow because they set targets and scale up; they may open a second store and then a third and then maybe a fourth followed by a fifth and sixth together. They don’t go out and open a store in every town at the same time and expect the first month of trading to have millions flooding in to them. It would be nice wouldn’t it?

The internet has given us a lot of freedom that many offline businesses just cannot compete with. A website can be a lot cheaper than any store front, digital items do not require a large warehouse to store them in and we can sell to people all over the world with minimal staffing. We can easily utilise social media by sending a lot of free traffic to a websites and generate sales within seconds, something an offline business cannot do.

So why do people think that earning a few relatively easy pounds or dollars a week for a very small if any outlay is a bad thing yet they are prepared to spend a fortune buying products that they know very little about and expect to gain thousands back fast?

When I first started in this business I spent a lot of money and I also did a lot of hard work researching information which was free. I made long term goals and was always suspect of anything promising to make a lot of money fast.  I am still here today and in no way wanting to return to the life of an offline job.

What I have seen over the years… is that a lot of good money can be made fairly fast if you know what you are doing but to get to that point of ‘knowing’ you learn in little amounts and then you scale up both your money and your knowledge.

You should never underestimate the power of the long term goal or the power of scaling up knowledge… what you should underestimate is the sales copy saying that you will make loads of money today especially if you have no idea what an internet browser is!

Expect To Have Realistic Expectations

Ok so this is not the kind of post that you were probably expecting. But I like to ‘keep things real’ as the ‘yoof’ of today like to say.

In the mad and deafening world of internet marketing advice and online business systems there are many people who like to try and sell you the next big thing online saying things like you can ‘make money starting today’ which in many cases is true… if you have a fair idea of what you are doing online and kind of know ‘some stuff’ but if you do not know the online equivalent of your ‘arse to your elbow’ then you cannot expect to be making money today no matter what the sales copy says.

The sales patter is designed to generate maximum sales by highlighting the benefits of a product and what the best scenario is going to be.

No one is going to try and sell vegetarian sausages by saying that they are ‘dry and taste of cardboard’ are they? No they are going to sell them as ‘a healthy alternative to meat and fat free’. Would you buy something that had ‘dry and taste of cardboard’ printed across the box? No me neither and I am a vegetarian.

All marketing is trying to excite us about their products but this can cause us to have some seriously high expectations, often created for us by the sales copy or by our own understanding or needs.

We should all be pretty down to earth with our own expectancies really. I know full well that a few squirts of Lynx Body Spray is not going to have the women falling over themselves to date me, even if the advert portrays that their smell is irresistible to all women… it isn’t and it doesn’t work like that, trust me I have tested it regularly 🙂

We need to be more realistic in our expectations especially when it comes to trying something new or business related, as the saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and neither were many businesses. Very few people apart from a super intelligent savant can learn something new in a few hours or a day and become proficient in it.

No one learns to be a bricklayer in a week or start driving a car after the first lesson and we all know this so why do we not apply the same sense of logic and realistic expectation to online business ventures.

For me this is the stumbling block, many more people would be successful if they stripped their minds free of the expectations that they read in the sales copy and instead replace them with something more down the lines of ‘This is new information and a business venture… this will take some time to master and maybe to profit however I am building a business… I will make it work’

Anything that is tried briefly and thrown away just will not work, people do this all the time, they try things and then give up, not because systems do not work but because they have an unreasonable expectation and when that expectation has not been met they give up saying things like ‘the system is flawed’ or ‘it just doesn’t work’.

The only thing that is flawed is our thinking and our expectations of a product whether we have been manipulated to expect more by the sales copy or just our own badly conceived expectations we cannot and should not expect success so quickly and we should not quit so quickly either.

It is harder when the results you were promised doesn’t happen in the time frames as suggested and you are continuingly paying out for access to a system or information but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work or that you cannot or will not succeed.

Quitting early does though, I am not saying that you should carry on for years paying for stuff that has not given you any results but think of this for a minute… as a joiner I could earn a lot of money a year from my skills, but after 6 months of training at the age of 16 I was still not competent enough to do most jobs.

Had I quit I would not have the skills I have now that can make that money. The same thing happened when I invested in screen printing equipment, I spent nearly £2,000 on the equipment including T-Shirts and ink and I had no formal training. I had to teach myself after watching videos on YouTube and reading a few books. Eventually I had mastered it and was making money printing and selling T-Shirts on eBay in my spare time.

When the first T-shirts I printed came out bad I could have quit and sold the equipment but I didn’t, I persevered.

It has been several years and several thousands of pounds worth of training that has brought me to this point where I can make money online from anywhere in the world doing many different things… and that is because I did not expect to be successful too quickly and I didn’t quit. I saw this as a business and a new set of important skills that I needed so that I could move forward.

I would decide what I spent my money on, it was a balancing act and I chose to put my available cash into learning. I stopped going to the pub and I even stopped buying clothing until I needed it. I chose the long term gain; I didn’t expect results fast even though at times I needed them.

My expectation was for the long term, yes there were a few things I spent money on then cancelled when I knew that they were not for me or that I couldn’t spend the time on them.  There were also a few really awful systems out there which were doomed to fail because of what they did and I could see that because of the new skills I was beginning to develop.

So I guess the theme of this newsletter is to say that you should not blindly follow what is said in sales copy and reset your expectation levels to ‘normal daily life’ and not go throwing in the towel as fast too.  Depending on what it is you are trying or the cost of the product but you should give yourself at least 3 months before checking any progress and making any fast decisions.

In fact I would say give yourself at least half a year to see some kind of results whether they are financial or personal. You might be surprised at what you would have achieved, what you have learned and where you are at after the first 6 months…. The new skills and knowledge that you have gained could be life changing but not in the way you first expected 🙂