Starting any business venture can be a lonely path and the question that entrepreneurs most often ask themselves is, am I making progress even though I’m not seeing results? In our analytical society we tend to measure advancement by hard data only and that’s precisely where we trip ourselves up. We get caught up in the empirical facts alone. We need to remember that numbers, charts and graphs only partially show progress. Granted, analytics are crucial to monitor the health of any business but it is not the only way. The more comprehensive and holistic approach to define growth is to look at the bigger picture.
One of the greatest pieces of advice I received from my best friend is: “when in doubt, turn around, look back and see how far you have come.” Ask yourself, are you in the same place you were just a week ago, a month or a year ago? If you’re taking any focused steps at all, you’re advancing. But make sure they’re productive and not just busy steps. Too often I see self-employed individuals whose calendars are filled but whose pockets are empty and whose dispositions can improve. They often boast about how busy they are. This is not growth.
If you know more today and are a better person than you were when you started your journey, then you’re making progress. Most of us, and I’m one of the biggest offenders, want instant results. But, as I look back at just six months ago when I knew absolutely nothing about digital marketing, I feel great about my growth, myself and my journey. Everyone is different and you will have to ask yourself why do I want to do this? When you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and ask yourself is this business right for me, the rest becomes clear.
If someone were to ask you why you’re doing what you’re doing and if you can answer this question joyfully and confidently, then you have made a quantum leap in your life. You have expanded. You have grown from the old one track thinking that the only way to make money is to work for someone else or to work countless hours. Your mind has opened up to other possibilities. That kind of mindset cannot be measured but it is invaluable. That kind of thought jump will serve you well forever. Once you open up your mind, there is no turning back to all kinds of possibilities for your life.
When you shift your focus to success thinking, you can accomplish just about anything. That frame of mind makes you more selective about the company you keep. No more will “settling” minds do for you. You will attract achievers, masterminds and success thinking individuals.
While there are no tools, no scorecards, no way of gauging this kind of progress, it is by far, more important than results that you see on paper. Markets, consumer demand and economies change all the time but if you have a success-oriented mind, what happens in the outside world does not affect your inner balance and you will get through difficult times. When you have that kind of inner power you are a winner and a leader. You have evolved. You have made progress.
Even if your entrepreneurial venture is not where you want it to be right now it will be, so long as you keep your mission and your vision alive. These fuel your growth. All successful entrepreneurs are mission-driven.
Another way to gauge your progress is to look at yourself in the mirror. The fact that you’ve chosen to be an entrepreneur means that you’re courageous. You’ve broken away from the pack. You’re not a conventional thinker nor willing to settle for what the rest of the crowd does. You don’t need hand holding all the time nor to be surrounded by a wolf pack to validate what you’re doing. It takes strength and courage to go solo.
It’s far easier to blend in and go along with the masses for the sake of not sticking out. How is that going to help you on your quest for something better or more meaningful? You alone create your circumstances. The greatest qualities any individual can have, like courage, cannot be quantified. If you gave up the 9 – 5 business model in favor of being your own boss and having geographical freedom, you have made exponential progress in your life. How can this be measured? By the way you feel, by the enthusiasm you have for life, by the kind of people you’re attracting, by your health and your outlook on things.
The ability to get out of bed, even though you were unable to solve a huge problem yesterday, says that you have resolve. It takes strength to come back from a setback. Concentrate on solving your tasks at hand. The reason a laser light is so powerful is that it focuses vast amounts of energy into one single point. Your determination to succeed must be equally strong and focused.
If you want progress in your online business, always offer value by doing these activities :
- Refine the description of your Avatar
- Place targeted online ads
- Write informational blogs
- Update your website regularly
- Check links and forms to ensure they work
- Take seminars
- Join workshops
- Update your follow-up email series
- Send email broadcasts
- Study your market
- Alter ads
- Try new markets
- Seek new advertising platforms
- Stay current on technology that may affect your business
- Follow consumer demand
- Join an online community in your niche
Do something everyday that will increase your chances of reaching your target audience and bring value to your market. Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher said, the journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step. One targeted forward action is progress.
When you stop listening to other voices and trust in your inner knowledge, in your instinct, you have made the greatest progress of all.
The single decision to own your business means that you believe in your idea and in your abilities. This is the most important asset that any human being can have because when you believe in yourself, you’re in control of your destiny. Self-discovery is empowerment.
Now let’s look at the quantifiable hard data. Hopefully you’re using measurable tools, like Google analytics for your website, to analyze results. How is your website or your ads performing? Study these patterns on a daily basis and ask:
- Are people finding your site?
- How many users do you have during a particular period?
- How many sessions?
- Which days tend to have the most visitors?
- Do you see a trend?
- How long are searchers engaging on your site?
- Which pages on your website or blogs are most visited?
- Do you have subscribers?
- Are they growing?
- Do you receive comments on your blogs, videos, website or ads?
- How good are you at follow-up?
If you want to increase your following, tweak your site, your content or your ads. But don’t alter them all at the same time because you want to segment and identify what is working. Digital marketing requires experimenting and trying different paths. It is similar to mining where several shafts have to be dug out until you find the one that yields the valuable ore.
Next time you’re wondering if you’re making progress even though you’re not seeing results, remind yourself that growth is made up of many more things than just numbers. Do you love what you’re doing? Can you imagine doing anything else? Are you happy? Stop defining progress only by how fast your bank account is growing because, ultimately, true success is the ability to spend time as you wish.
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Author, Agapanthus Rising