An excellent cake doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s carefully planned. Each ingredient goes in at the exact right time and in the exact right quantity.
A cake requires planning, and so does a lifestyle business.
However, what most people do is they try to bake a cake by throwing together random things, and then they wonder why they end up with a black ball that tastes like crap.
Even though building a business is not like following a recipe, it still requires planning, strategy, and goal setting.
Why Less Time is Better
You don’t have to quit your job to start your own online business.
The more time you have, the more time you’ll spend up messing around on trivial tasks.
It’s Parkinson’s law in action: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Remember in school when you had a deadline on a paper. If you were like most people, you waited until the very end to get it done.
If you have two hours a day, a strategy, and a goal, you can focus on just high-value tasks.
If you do that, you’ll get more done than most full-time internet marketers.
But before you can get anything productive done, you have to know where you’re going.
Goal Settings + Planning = Focus
Do you know what you want?
If not, you’re not alone. Most people don’t know what they want at first.
But if you don’t know what you want, how will you know when you’ve arrived?
Do you want to make $1,000/month from your lifestyle business?
When you know what you want, you can break it down into milestones, and then into daily steps.
You know what happens then, right?
You can focus on the tasks that take you closer to your goal, instead of reading blogs, chatting on Twitter, and posting pictures on Facebook.
But Planning on This Scale RARELY Happens
Because it’s hard.
If you have a vague goal, at least you have a reason why you didn’t succeed.
If you want to build a lifestyle business, you have to have a goal, a strategy, and a plan.
In essence, you have to have a blueprint that helps you focus.
This doesn’t mean that you know every step, or even that a recipe for success exists.
It means you have a clear destination in mind, and you plan as best you can.
From there, you take action and deal with life.
“But What if just Writing an Article Takes Me Three Days?”
The more you write, the faster you’ll get.
When I started, I couldn’t write more than one article every few days.
Now I can get an article like this out in about 30-60 minutes.
If writing stops you, then create a podcast, make videos, or use a voice-to-text program like DragonNaturally speaking.
The only limits that exist are the ones you impose on yourself.
“Okay 2 Hours a Day, But How Many Years is it Going to Take?”
Here’s the thing, most people don’t make progress because they’re scared of doing the very things that have the biggest impact.
They procrastinate and look for the easy way. They look for a way to sneak under the radar and avoid the discomfort.
I tried to do that, and it took me a few years to realize that the more I faced my fears, the more results I got.
This isn’t easy, but if you’re sick of shortcuts and want real results, you can build a lifestyle business in less than two hours a day.
And everything you think is stopping you is just an excuse.
When you’re ready to take action, you’ll do whatever it takes.
Baking a delicious cake that melts like butter when you put in your mouth doesn’t happen by accident, and the same holds true for building your lifestyle business.
You need a blueprint.
And you need to know where you’re going. You need to know your end destination.
From there, you break down your goal into milestones and then daily steps.
Excuses will fall to the wayside when you’re determined enough to succeed.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working, have kids, or don’t think you’re a good writer.
If you want to do this, you can, but you have to make the commitment.
Today’s assignment is simple: figure out what your goal is.
The goal should be practical, and specific, but it should also stretch you (i.e. make you slightly uncomfortable).
An example could be: Build a lifestyle business in 2012 that makes $500/month through turning my advice into products and services.
That’s not the best goal, but you get the gist. Write something down and tweak it as you go.
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Joona Tuunanen says
“Here’s the thing, most people don’t make progress because they’re scared of doing the very things that have the biggest impact.”
I believe that to be 100% true. In fact, I am about to launch my own business in the coming weeks and one of the things I have decided to do is this:
“Do things that others are too scared to do or unwilling to do”
For me that means for example shooting videos and putting them to Youtube. In a lot of those videos it will be me talking to the camera in English with my weird accent and making fun of myself.
The impact that I hope all this will have is, that the people who resonate with my content and personality will more likely start following my stuff while others wont. It is a way to identify the right people and focus on creating value for them.
I like the way you think, Joona!
With that attitude you will go far, because even when you have setbacks, you’ll keep taking action.
Wow…something that no one dares to do. That sounds great to me
Ayesha Shabazz says
This is a great article! If you break down a larger goal into smaller goals using a blueprint, you are more likely to reach your goal and achieve success. When doing this, you first want to access your larger goal to see if it’s a S.M.A.R.T. goal. This means determing if it is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound. Then you want to ask yourself the following questions:
1.) What am I trying to accomplish?
2.) When do I want to accomplish this by?
3.) What results am I looking for?
4.) Why am I doing this?
The ‘how’ is answered by your blueprint; your plan. Success comes in the implementation of that plan. In other words, start with a SMART goal, plan to achieve it and expect success!
Excellent point, Ayesha. The more specific the goal, the better.
And I’d also add to be open to changes to your goal. Set it, take action, and see what life brings.
Maria Brophy says
Henri, I love your posts. This one in particular – I’ve always believed that if you don’t know what you want, than you can’t get it!
Goal, Strategy, Plan: sounds simple, but sometimes I forget to focus on one thing. Thanks for the reminder!
Keeping it simple and still productive! Practical advice, thanks man!
Simple and practical is what I’m all about 😉
Sunshine Conkey says
Well seeing as I will be moving in exactly 9 weeks to Alaska, I am certainly ready for a change. I will also need lots of focus & planning to figure out how I’m going to survive in a location that I have never been to; without a set job or home (as of right now). Sure I would love to make a business that brings in $1,000 a month but have no real idea on how to go from $0.00 to $1,000 in a month just to keep myself from having to sleep in some homeless shelter or snowbank.
Setting the goal is just the first part, the second part is figuring out how to get there, and one of the best ways to do that is to find someone who’s doing what you want to do, and ask them how they did it.
The information is out there.
Scott Vong says
I agree. Active goal setting and planning is an excellent way to achieve goals. Having a clear life purpose is also essential. If you have a clear purpose, you will automatically work on your goals. This is a great post.
Yup! And the clarity comes from specificity also, which is why having a blueprint is as important as the big goal.
Thanks for stopping by, Scott!
Scott Vong says
Thank you for the wonderful post. 🙂
Sunshine Conkey says
Yeah, well I only have 9 weeks to figure this out. I am moving to a location with no friends or family that I can stay with…while waiting to figure this out later. No homeless shelter that I have ever stayed at before would let you spend your days blogging and taking photographs (to sell). They ‘make’ you go get a 9-5 type job and follow their shelter rules…which doesn’t leave time for an online business….no matter how good someone’s goals might be.
Scott Vong says
If there’s a will there’s a way.
If you are truly passionate about your blog topic (and it helps people in some way) and photography, you will find a way to make a full-time living. It may take months or years to reach a sustainable income, but it will be fun and enjoyable if it’s your true passion.
If the shelter does not allow blogging, then perhaps living in a shelter is not the best option. Ideally, you want to work on your career as much possible. If a shelter says you can’t blog, then it’s not the best place to live.
Maybe you can work with the shelter. Perhaps you can volunteer for an organization in exchange for the privilege to stay there. Then you can spend your free time blogging.
View the problem as an exciting challenge. It’s an opportunity to grow and exercise the power to create what you want in life.
I once heard a wise man say failing to plan is planning to fail. I believe that is very true because I have not seen anything that has been achieved in this world that does not have some level of planning. We should treat starting a business like baking a cake as you rightly stated Henri. Thanks
Durotimi Ireti-aul says
Henri, this is one of the best articles have read this year. So touching and truth revealing. This write up is addressing my issues. Truth be told, success is achieving one goal at a time. It will never happen without a clear cut strategy and plan and even if it happens, it will not last. When we face our fears, the real world we desire comes close. Thanks.
Love this site!
My #1 problem is this. I can’t decide if I want to start a niche site (I already have my keywords picked out, site structured, etc.) and fill it with content and monetize, OR if I want to start a blog filled with some of the same information (and more) but less keyword focused. My life goal is to create multiple streams of 95% passive income, so I can live my life and take care of my beautiful son (single mom here). Option one would have me focused on affilliates/adsense, etc. Option two would encourage me to create e books and such as well as some affilliates/adsense, and would be a little looser/freer in direction.
I’m stuck right there. Gah!
Why can’t you do both?
Start a blog, use both keyword focused content and not-so keyword focused content. After a while, blend in affiliate offers and your own products.
Problem solved 😉
Thank you for replying and hello!
That sounds simple enough 🙂 I just wonder about one thing…If I use the blog format, isn’t the three tier structure out the window, and is that OK?
PS: I just want to gush about you and your site(s) again…you’ve been the kick in the pants I needed to get things going! Thank you 🙂
Not necessarily. You can link to your most important content from your sidebar (thus emulating a three tier structure).
It doesn’t have to be perfect, so I wouldn’t get too hung up on it.
Thanks again, Crystal!