In his audio e-book, 10 Habits to Swell Your Bank Account, Mike Green cites “discipline” as one of the 10 bank-account-swelling habits. I once received an email from an online marketing friend, which stated something to the effect of “how hard do we work? If people think earning money online is easy their crazy. Don’t burn to much midnight oil.”
Self-discipline is a crucial factor in developing business success. Whether you are online or offline you’ll need to develop some level of self-discipline. As I was reading Mr. Green’s e-book I began to think about the factors or “disciplines” that make up business self-discipline.
I think the first discipline is developing an understand that you’re home business, your entrepreneurial project, your online part-time business is a job. It’s one more form of employment but you’re working for yourself, your family, your partners, or other shareholders. Those of use who work 8-5 or are employed by others get up every morning, go to work, do our job, and receive our paycheck. You need to view your self-employment in the same manner. There will be no profit without regular, sometimes monotonous effort.
The second discipline, I believe, is consistency. Have a time for everything and everything done in it’s time. Set a time to perform administrative tasks such as maintain the books; set a time to engage in management tasks such as meeting or being with employees and do it. Set times to develop goals and budgets and do it. Be consistent in your projects, endeavors, and campaigns. If you decide on a given marketing campaign be assured one of the factors that will determine the success of the campaign will be your willingness to be consistent in your marketing. Consistency develops brand awareness, product/service recognition, and credibility.
Consistency also means answering every business inquiry, every phone call, every email, every fax, every phone message in a timely and customer friendly manner. This builds trustworthiness and credibility which over the long term will serve you very well.
For those who work from their homes, consistency tends to be difficult thus it’s important to develop a work area and a work schedule that integrates with your family, friends, and other engagements. You then need to hold the line and be consistent with that schedule and area.
For example, I check my email in the early evening and I make sure to inform my kids that I’ll be with them when I’m done and not before. I also work on my website in the late evening hours and my wife know that rarely should I be interrupted. I also keep a fairly consistent schedule concerning how often and when I write articles; how often and when I visit online forums; and when I read articles and research pertaining to my online business.
Which brings me to the third discipline. I believe the third discipline making up self-discipline is ongoing learning. Whether you’re in business online, offline or both you should be making a disciplined effort to stay abreast of your chosen field of business. You should be reading articles, reading research, engaging in discussion with professional colleagues, and in generally always attempting to grow your knowledge base.
For my business, “Consumer Thinking.com” I read at least one academic journal article per week; I read at least one online business/marketing article per day and I read at least one ebook per week. This is in addition to the three hardcopy books I have going.
This practice provide me with several benefits.
1) I always have material for writing fresh articles;
2) I always have fresh information to use when I’m visiting online forums;
3) I always have fresh material for developing new information products; and
4) I am assured of quality, relevant content for my monthly ezine.
By always expanding your knowledge base and increasing your learning it helps you develop credibility and legitimacy in your chosen field, profession, or business.
The fourth and final discipline that I’ve identified is the discipline of sacrifice. Every successful entrepreneur and self-employed business person I know and know of have engaged in the discipline of sacrifice. They’ve given up entertainment for extra marketing; they’ve sacrificed sleep for quiet hours to be creative and productive; they’ve sacrificed leisure time for learning. If you plan on being successful in business you’ll need to give up a few hours in front of the television or fewer nights out at the bars and clubs. If your focus, vision, and business are worthwhile the sacrifice will be worth it.
There is no avoiding self-discipline if you plan on being successfully self-employed. You’ll need to sacrifice, be consistent, keep learning, and view your self-employment as a real job. Combining discipline with patience, focus, and passion tends to lead to success.