Beating The Curse Of The Mosquito Mind
By: Ian Traynor
Some people call it the "butterfly mind". I call it the "mosquito mind". The effect is the same. Results are not achieved. It's a common phenomenon.
People with a "butterfly mind" skip daily from one task to another, sipping the nectar from each before moving on to the next task, leaving the first one unfinished.
With internet marketers in particular, the effect is more pronounced. As each tasty eBook or software is placed in front of them, they leap onto it, drinking deeply of its exhilarating blood. "Ah", they say, "That's good. Just what I've been looking for. That's what's going to make me a load of online income!". But, before they can do anything about it, along comes the next irresistible offer. And away they buzz. They've got a bad case of "mosquito mind".
Now that's fine for mosquito's; that's how they survive. One juicy hunk of flesh after another to feed on. But it's not a good strategy for marketers.
Two Mosquito Mind Examples
What prompted me to write this article was a couple of emails from my subscribers after I'd shown them another "juicy hunk of flesh" (and it was a damn good offer!).
Nadine emailed me saying: "A few weeks back it was (guru's name deleted) audio course on "X", then it was (2nd guru's name deleted) conference and now it's (deleted again!) great package. I know it is all learning but it slows down the journey - Can you provide any advice on sticking to the straight and narrow. It is difficult when things suddenly arise...The other problem is: How to fit it all in. Unfortunately - it is all v. interesting."
Chris was even more direct. He said: "I will not be in the position I'm in today come December '06. I have 22 domains sitting dormant and tons of stuff I could have and should have been selling by now. I purchased my last two products today until I start to see an actual income from the web."
Ostrich Or Squirrel?
Under these circumstances, it's understandable why Chris is saying "Enough!". But is the answer simply to stick your head in the sand and ignore new online marketing developments? Should you adopt the "ostrich" approach?
I would say "not". Developments in the online world, particularly in internet marketing, move so rapidly that it's easy to miss out on new ideas, new products. And many of these "one time offers" and "fire sales" really do present opportunities which you'll never see again.
Personally, I adopt the "squirrel" approach. When I see something which looks interesting then, funds permitting, I'll buy it. And, like the squirrel, I'll store it away until I have the time and the opportunity to use and exploit them.
Just how I store them away is crucial to my strategy. I'll explain why and how in a minute. But first..
How I Train My Mosquito Mind..
.. or how I get things done. It's simple. I have a plan. I monitor what I have achieved. And I have a routine.
No, it's not some complex business plan (although I do use spreadsheets). And it doesn't involve any time management strategies (don't have time for those!). I just have an annual profit target (a realistic one). And I divide it by 12 to give me a figure I need to earn each month. That breaks the annual target down into manageable chunks, and it forms the basis of my spreadsheet.
At the start of each month, after deducting my fairly predictable income streams, such as my Google AdSense income:
* I try to work out what tasks I need to perform to achieve my monthly income target. Mentally (I'm poor about writing my plans down!), I allocate about 50% of my time to these tasks.
* Then I think about stuff which I need to develop that's going to earn me cash in the future. I try to set aside 25% of my time to those development tasks.
* The remaining 25% of my time I leave unallocated. I have to leave space to exploit opportunities which simply arise and can't be predicted. And there's routine stuff such as customer support, admin, feeding the cat (!) etc.
Every morning, before breakfast, I feed my spreadsheet system with my income and expenditure details from the previous day. This system tells me immediately how I'm doing as far as my monthly profit target is concerned. This really helps me to focus my attention on the priority tasks of the day. I set myself a goal of which tasks I intend doing that day.
Then I get on and do them. It's as simple as that. Just break your goals down into small chunks. The annual target becomes a series of monthly targets. And the monthly target becomes a series of daily goals. And it works for me.
But what about all that stuff I've downloaded in the past months and years and just "squirreled away"? How do I make use of all this software, eBooks, reports? Let me tell you..
How I Find My Nuts (That I've Stored Away)
One of my hard drives is almost fully allocated to stuff that I've downloaded. I've just checked it now, and I reckon that there's about 6 Gb of material that I've accumulated over the years.
Now there's some sort of organization in the system. I've got folders for "software", for "read only - don't distribute", "free to sell", "give away - don't resell" and so on.
But that tells me nothing about the content of these files. I know that there's database-type software that allows you to record details of everything you've downloaded and where it is. But, quite frankly, it takes too much time to enter the details of everything you download.
I have a much simpler system - and it starts right from the moment that you are downloading a file. I'll share my secret with you...
Many online folk offering downloadable stuff (free or paid-for) give rather obscure file names to their files. Ignore these. When you click the download link and get the "open - save - cancel" prompt, click on the "save" button and then, when you get the "save file" dialog box, navigate to where you want to save the file and the change the file name!
If, for example, the file name is something like "ftemol.zip" and you know that the product name is "Fortunes Through Email Marketing Online", save the file as something like "email-marketing-strategies.zip" (I assume that you know what it's all about before you decided to download it!).
Now, in the future, when you're trying to find resources which deal with the "email" topic, you can use your "My Computer" or "Windows Explorer" to navigate to your main download folder, open up the search facility and, in the "Search for Files and Folders" facilities, type in the "Search for files or folders named" box: *email*.*
You may be surprised at what you find. I know that I am. Frequently! I've found some gems that I'd completely forgotten about.
So there you have it - my way of beating the "mosquito mind". Maybe you'll find a better way. What works for one person doesn't automatically work for another. But if you are plagued with a runaway brain, you could try some of my tactics.
© 2007, Ian Traynor.
Ian Traynor has been building and running websites since 1996. His "Marketing Magic" website provides tons of free advice and help on all aspects of online and offline selling and marketing. Sign Up on "Marketing Update" newsletter - and get access to his subscribers' free Download Library. Ian is also the Principal of the Newbies School of Internet Marketing.