Mark’s 11 Tips for Getting Out of a Funk
Regarding this issue of getting out a business funk, this is based on my experience of the last couple of months. I looked back on it and said I was in this funk, now I’m out. What was it that got me out?
The first thing I would say is if you find yourself in a funk or you think you might be in a funk, the first thing you have to do is name it.
Remember, we said a business funk was you don’t feel like working on your business, you’re not fired up about it, you’re procrastinating, you’re not getting stuff done, you’re watching TV instead of working on your business. Does that sound familiar? If that sounds familiar, you need to name it. My contention is you can’t fix something that you don’t realize is happening to you, so you have to name these things to understand that you need to go do something.
This is a really good reason to have goals and to back those goals up with benchmarks and scorecards. That’s something we’re going to talk about a little bit in a future episode, because I’ve decided that I’m going to have a monthly goal report this year. The way I’m going to make that meaningful is I’m going to establish some very simple metrics for myself, and I’m going to share those with you, and we’ll talk through them.
I believe that that’s a really good way to stay on track during the year. It’s what I do in my day job business for myself and my team, and I think it applies very well here. I think one of the reasons that I got off track was that I didn’t have that. I had talked about doing it, but I didn’t follow through in 2012. We’re going to do it in 2013 and I’m going to share it with you; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The second thing I would say is you need to own it. Whatever your funk is, item number two is you need to own your own funk. Your funk, your responsibility. In general, I think it’s a good rule of business that you need to take responsibility for your stuff generally in any case.
I saw a great article on the High Existence blog about taking responsibility that quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself.” You are driving your business, nothing is going to bring you success but your decision to get to success. So I would say that being in a funk ultimately, once you recognize it, is a choice because it’s about attitude. You can choose to have a better attitude.
I think you have to own that and realize that this is your problem to fix, you have the power to change whatever it is that’s impeding your progress. That’s a mindset that you need to get in. It’s the opposite of the victim mindset, “Oh woe is me,” this and that. You have to decide that you own it and it’s yours to change.
The third thing I would say, and I think this is really important, is to spend time periodically reconnecting with your vision. Why is it that you are trying to build an internet business? What is it that you want to achieve? Where are you headed? Who are you trying to help? What does it look like when you help people? And what does it look like when your business is successful? What fulfillment factors does that enable for you?
Fulfillment is an idea that wasn’t talked about several years ago too much with regard to internet business, but that’s really an idea that the guys over at Internet Business Mastery have talked about for a long time. To focus on what it is that you really want to be and what you want to do and have your internet business connected up in that way.
You need to reconnect with that vision. If you don’t have that vision, you need to go get one. What is it that you want to be? I have a very specific vision for what I want Late Night Internet Marketing to be and if I lose track of that vision a lot of my motivation goes away with that loss of vision of what I’m trying to accomplish, so that’s really important.
Number four I’d say is if you’ve got bad habits let’s just go ahead and call those out and try to eliminate them as best as you can. There’s a good article on The Elephant Journal blog where they talk about this. One of their recommendations is just don’t turn on the TV.
If one of your bad habits is that you’re watching too much TV, as in my particular case, don’t watch TV. Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep, maybe you’re not keeping your commitments to yourself, maybe you’re not eating right. Whatever your bad habits are, you need to identify them, call those out, and stop doing them as best you can. Especially if you’re trying to reverse your situation, just stop for awhile. Let’s say that you recognize that every day you’re coming home and you’re sitting down in front of the TV. Just commit to not watching TV for a couple of weeks and working on your business instead, and see what happens.
The flip-side of that is going to be to start some good behaviors. This is also mentioned in the Elephant Journal article. One of the best good behaviors that you could start with regard to funkiness is getting more exercise.
Now, if you’re already a marathoner then this isn’t going to apply to you. But if you’re like most internet marketers you’re spending a lot of time in front of your computer and you’re probably not getting the right exercise that you need. One of the things you can do to work on this is you can go gadget heavy with your solution.
Recently, as a lot of you know, I’ve been using a FitBit. The cool thing about the FitBit is it tracks your amount of steps during the day. You can set a goal and you can compete with your friends. Pat Flynn and a bunch of us do this together and we kind of go back and forth and give each other a hard time when we’re not getting our steps in.
It’s really motivational and really cool. But it’s passive – the device itself is passive, it just counts steps. I have seen that the Jawbone people have come out with a new version of their device called The Up. One of the things about The Up that’s really cool is that if it detects that you’ve been idle for too long it vibrates. This is a bracelet that you wear on your wrist. If you’ve been idle for too long it vibrates and says, “Hey dummy, get up.” So that’s pretty cool.
In any case, you need to start some good behaviors and that’s tip number five for getting out of a funk.
One guy who mentions this particularly is Michael Hyatt. I think I mentioned this last week, Michael has a really good article on his blog and I have a link to that in the show notes as well, it’s called How to Get Out of that Funk.
He talks about this conversation that he had with his wife one time when he was on the road and he told her, “I’m just not feeling this thing. I’m about to go speak and I’m not feeling it.” This is kind of a short term funk that Michael was in. She told him, “Go for a run.” It wasn’t even really clear that he had time to do that, but he did it anyway and it turned everything around for him. One of the things that Michael quotes in his article at MichaelHyatt.com is a quote from Tony Robbins, which I remember hearing years ago. Michael mentioned this too, I remember this from a long time ago.
Tony says, “Emotion is created by motion.” What he means by that and what he goes on to teach is that if you’re idle and sedentary that’s going to create one set of emotions, but if you’re fired up and moving around that’s going to get you to another place. So item number five is to create some good behaviors, which almost certainly is going to include exercise.
Another thing you can do that’s a good behavior is you can declutter. That’s a really good behavior. A lot of times if you’re feeling overwhelmed as part of your funk a lot of that overwhelm can come from clutter. Let’s call that 5-B, you can declutter your space and I think that can help a lot.
Tip number six is take the time to celebrate some of your successes. When I was deciding what I was going to do about this podcast and so forth, I went back and looked at some of the things that I had accomplished. The list of the things that I was supposed to accomplish and hadn’t was massive and it was not making me happy. But actually I had done a lot of stuff. I looked back and I had done stuff and accomplished some of my goals, it really wasn’t all bad. But I hadn’t taken any time to really celebrate those.
This is a thing I teach in my day job for teams is when you have success you need to celebrate it – we teach managers that. That’s certainly true for yourself. If you have a little something that goes right or goes well you need to celebrate that success. You don’t need to go out and buy a new Porsche just because you had some success, but maybe take a break, maybe do something fun with your spouse, treat yourself to some kind of meal that you don’t normally get to have.
Whatever it is, go ahead and celebrate your successes. If you can couch those celebrations in terms of goals where you say, “If I’m able to achieve this then I’m going to go ahead and do this,” then that’s one of those examples where you can stay out of a funk by keeping those motivators, those carrots, in front of you. That’s tip number six.
Tip number seven is if you don’t have enough of your own successes to celebrate, review the success stories and case stories of others. There are a ton of these. Once a month the Internet Business Mastery guys have a success story on their podcast where they interview some guy who’s just killing it. Pat Flynn will often times interview someone who is doing really well.
There are all kinds of interviews with people out there that are having some success. Go find people who are doing what you want to be doing, successfully, and listen to them talk about how much success they are having. It will pump you up and you can celebrate their success or visualize yourself in that same successful situation and that will really help you. That’s tip number seven, look for those case studies that will motivate you to go to the next level.
Tip number eight is an obvious one, connect with your support network. Particularly, connect with people that cheer you up. There’s an article in Psychology Today about how to pull good things out of others. It talks about how you can use your support network in a way that will be uplifting to you.
So if there are people in your life that you can confide in and tell them what’s going on in your life and they support you, those are the people you want to connect with. Particularly with something like internet marketing you want to avoid the people that say, “I told you that internet stuff would never work.” Stay away from those people and seek out the people that will say, “You just need to get in there and get after it.” For me that’s my wife. I told you this last week, she is really helpful to me. That’s tip number eight, connect with your support network.
Number nine is an important one, and this was also an impact for me is this latest funkification-situation. You have to manage your stress.
There’s an interesting article on Huffington Post – I’m not a big Huffington Post, to be honest with you. Is that sacrilege, can you be an internet guy and not really care for the Huffington Post? Don’t tell them I said that. I just don’t love it, but there are good articles there occasionally.
There’s an article by Brant Secunda and Mark Allen about New Year’s Resolutions. One of the things they talk about in that article is that the impact of stress can be really huge. There are six types of stress that they talk about in this article and they say that this is one of the keys to really getting yourself right is to manage these six types of stress.
They talk about cortisol and some of this other stuff that comes with stress. Stress can affect your weight, it certainly can affect your health, so you want to make sure you’re managing stress. Whether that means getting exercise, which we talked about before, I think all these things are probably linked up together in that way, or maybe something more like meditation.
Whatever it is for you, manage your stress and that can help you stay out of funks and to get out of a funk if you’re in one, particularly if it’s stress induced. In my case I told you there were particular stressful situations going on in my life during my funky period, so that was definitely an impact for me, and I think that could be an impact for you as well.
Number 10 is probably my personal favorite. Don’t focus in, focus out. Don’t make everything about yourself, help other people. Help other people work through their own funks. Seek out people that you can help, seek out people that you can help in your niche. Whatever it means, be outward focused. That can really make a big difference.
Excellent points on this were made on the University Survival blog under the student topic section. The example they give is Jared, the Subway spokesman, the guy who “eats fresh.” He’s made this testimonial on behalf of Subway and he’s helping people achieve the goals that he has achieved and holding himself out there at the same time, which gives him more motivation to maintain his own goals.
The example that I give is this quote that I always quote from Zig Ziglar, “You can get everything in life that you want by helping other people get what they want.” Simply put, if you put other people first a lot of things fall into place and just work. So tip number 10 is help others and don’t make everything about yourself.
That brings us to tip number 11. Tip number 11 is a special kind of tip, it’s a general business tip for internet marketers. Lean on your mastermind group.
Now, in order to lean on your mastermind group you need to be in a mastermind group. I definitely recommend whether you have a paid mastermind group, a free mastermind group, or if you just hang out someplace, lean on those people. Those are people that you’ve already shared your goals with, those are people that are driving you to have goals that you’re accountable for, and those people can help you get out of your funk, they can help you detect it, and they can help you with all of the steps one through 10 above this one.
I hope that you get a little something out of this that you can use at some time in the future. I hope this helps you get out of a funk if you’re in one now, or in the future. I hope it helps you avoid a funk that might be coming that now you’re prepared to deal with and avoid completely. I hope you enjoyed that and thanks.
Building an Online Business When English is Not Your Native Language …
That gets us to the next topic that I want to cover and this is a discussion that started on the Facebook fan page. I guess it was a private message, so maybe you guys can’t see this. Facebook totally confuses me. If you want to get a hold of me, sending me a Facebook private message is going to be the least reliable way because the user interface is so bad usually I can’t even find the darn things. But, I found this one and it’s from Shadi Mahmoud.
Shadi had been asking me some questions and then he asked me this question. He wants to start an online income. Like so many people, he ran across Pat Flynn’s blog and then visited my blog. But he doesn’t really know how to get started online and he has a particular problem. There are a lot of things that he feels like he can’t do because English is not his native language. It’s often said, and I think it’s pretty true, that English is sort of the language of the internet. So he’s worried that since he’s not a native-English speaker he won’t be able to write good enough content to be successful as a blogger. He says he wants to build up a blog and sell it when it’s popular. He wants to know where he should start learning and reading about this.
I have some thoughts on this, but I also have the resource. The resource is a pretty good post on Problogger from last year, sometime around October, it’s called 7 Golden Rules of Blogging in English for Non-native Speakers. It’s by a guest blogger named Michael Schuermann of the Easy Hiker blog.
He goes through these seven golden rules and basically he talks about the fact that, first of all, you need realize it can be done and you can do this thing. If you’re not a native-English speaker you can become a blogger. He talks about some things that you need to do, like understanding your limitations, avoid translating, and some other tips that he has in order to get this thing done.
So there’s the resource and I think that’s a good place to start. Shadi, you can take a look at that.
The other thing that I would say is the thing that concerned me a little bit about Shadi’s message to me was my interpretation of the message was he was coming at it from the approach that he wanted to make money online and his main motivation was money – and that’s fine – and he wanted to know how he was going to be able to do that with this limitation.
The thing that concerns me about it is often times I get feedback from people who are just trying to figure out how to make money – and a lot of times that doesn’t work out for them, for whatever reason. I think the reason is typically that if you’re looking for a way to make money and that’s your primary motivation, with a barrier like language it’s going to be hard enough to make money that it’s going to be hard for you to be successful.
Much better if you can imagine the business that you want to have, without considering the money, what is it that you want to be, do, or have in terms of a business, how you want to help people, what you want to accomplish, what you want to achieve. Much better if you can start with that and figure out what are all the great things you can do despite your language barrier limitation that, depending on what you decide to do, may turn out to be an asset. Much better to come at it that way and then let the money come out of that than the other way around.
That’s my two pieces of advice for Shadi. One is check out the Problogger article. The second thing is be sure and consider this issue of what is it that you really want to accomplish. Use caution if your top line item is to simply make money, because sometimes I’ve found (personally) that money won’t be enough motivation to sustain you for the long haul.
Wrapping Things Up
That brings us close to the end of the show. I’m still getting back in the groove of things and judging how much content to have for each episode. Don’t worry, I’ll be back next week. Here’s sort of what I’m thinking. I have four episodes that I’m going to do each month and, as I discussed last week, I definitely like the idea of one episode per month being a feedback episode. I think we’ll try to do that next week.
I have some stuff I need to catch up on with some feedback that has come in during the funk period, so if you have additional questions or feedback and you want to send that to me I would love to hear from you. Click the Talk to Mark button on the website or send email or a sound file to email@example.com, or call me on the voicemail feedback hotline at 214-444-8655 to leave me your questions. Do you want to know what I think about a certain thing, a topic of interest, or something you’re struggling with? Let me know. No question is too silly. Maybe you don’t know how to get started, just holler at me and we’ll work it out, it’s no big deal. Just give me a question and I will try to answer it on the show.
We’ll do one of those each month. I definitely want to get back to doing an interview each month and we’ll try to do that. The logistics of that can be a little complicated due to the day job limitation, but we’re going to try to do that. Then the other two shows will be marketing related directly with 10 tips for this, how to do that, or my experience with this and that, and so forth.
Regarding that, one of the things that I’m considering,… I’m friends with Jeremy and Jason over at Internet Business Mastery, as you know. They had a big influence on me and a big influence on Pat Flynn, they’re good guys. I check out all of their products – I was a charter member of The Internet Business Mastery Academy – and I have done an evaluation of their new course, which is their Micro Site Profits course.
If you want to check that out you can go to LateNightIM.com/msp and that’s my affiliate link for that product. It’s not an inexpensive product, but it’s really good and from talking to Jeremy and Jason it’s something that they plan to stick with for a long time. It has an incredibly active private Facebook group where all the members talk to each other and help each other through problems, Jay particularly has been very active on there. So I think it’s a really good product.
One of the things that I’m thinking about doing is building a site following their system and blogging about the results. Obviously I’m not going to do it in a way that gives away the course, I’m not going to create that much content and the course is massive. But I think it would be interesting to go through steps and see what kind of results I get and talk about that on the podcast. So that will drive some content for the podcast as well, look for that.
We’ll also keep up with things like the Corn Sheller site, it made another $50 in December. I didn’t touch it, I haven’t touched it in months, and I certainly didn’t touch it during the funky period. We’ll keep talking about those kind of internet marketing topics and you can influence that strongly by sending me feedback on stuff you want to hear about.
So that’s what I have for you this week. I hope you’re having a fantastic new year. Do some goal setting, do some planning, put some actionable stuff, measurable goals, make smart goals, put that stuff underneath your dreams and ambitions and you will like the results.