Letting Go of Distractions

14 Feb
Please Note: This post was written in 2012. With 20/20 hindsight and all, my views and opinions may have changed since, so please keep that in mind as you read!

Have you ever felt like you were holding on to something that distracted you from doing what you really should and wanted to be doing? I am not at all talking about things like facebook, twitter, TV or other small things like that (though those can be the ultimate distraction).

These last few months I have been giving my whole online business some thought and concluded that I needed to get rid of a lot of things that keep me “busy” but are not helping me get to where I want to be 1 year from now – or even 6 months from now.

My Profitable Distraction

One prime example is the search engine marketing services I used to provide to website owners. It was a great service – customers loved it – and I had great success with it. In fact, providing these SEO services is what allowed me to quit my offline business and start working full-time online.

I had systematized the entire service to a point where I had a virtual assistant manage the entire system for me with about 1 hour worth of work per day. And that included customer service (responding to emails, etc). It was going pretty solid – with my highest month being around $6,000 in profit – JUST from selling the SEO services.

It doesn’t really matter where you live in the world, $6,000 per month is a decent income to have coming in whether you work or not. Especially if – like in my case – it came in month after month without me really having to do anything. In fact, if I had walked away from it, it would have continued to bring me in a half decent income for months and years to come.

But getting back to what I was saying earlier: It was nothing more than a distraction to me – keeping me from what I wanted to be doing online. Sure the money was alright, but providing generic SEO services is not something I wanted to continue doing – even if it meant minimal work on my part.

Knowing Your Limits

Google was starting to make some major changes to it’s ranking algorithm and my once overnight miracle service wasn’t quite as powerful as it used to be. The service was still great, but I just did not want to continue providing a service if I didn’t full-heartedly believe in it myself anymore.

So at the beginning of this year (January 2012) I got rid of the generic SEO service completely. I cancelled all subscriptions of incoming payments and shut down the entire system – retiring it for good.

I still do a lot of SEO and probably forever will be known as “the SEO guy” but I mainly do it now for my own sites and a select few clients who have bigger budgets to work with.

It would take a few posts to explain in detail why I stopped providing SEO services, but the short version is: as long as I have customers, I will put their sites as top priority (before mine). Now that I have less than 5 client sites to work with, I have plenty of time, energy and resources to focus on my own sites.

Setbacks are Setups for Comebacks

Was letting go of a medium-range 4-figure a month income stream really a wise decision on my part? I like to think so. Here is why: If I keep pushing my own sites like I have been these last two months, I should be in the 5-figures a month range before the end of the year – and that from just a handful of my many sites.

Oh and get this: it would be without staff (or some of the other expenses that came with running the SEO services for customers) – which means more cash stays in my wallet.

So here is my challenge for you: is what you are working on today getting you to where you want to be a year from now? Are you holding on to an ultimate distraction just because it gives you a sense of security for the time being? Maybe it’s time to cut loose the safety boat you are dragging to conserve your energy, time, and resources, and bring the big boat to the shore.