One of the most popular posts on the forum has been the ‘Mastermind Team up Thread’. It’s a really simple idea; post your name, contact deals, and a few other items, to hook up with like minded individuals.
There are some real advantages to working in a small group (notice I said small..more on this later).
- If you team up with someone – you both have ideas that each other has tested. So and so offer worked great on this traffic source, this landing page did well for this niche, etc. It’s almost like doubling your testing budget and ability.
- You can each bring skills to the table. One person might be great at coding but not so well at keyword research. One person might be a great designer, but lack skills in another area. These team ups work great, because each party brings a unique skill to the partnership.
- You can help each other take action. When you have someone else waiting on you to finish a task, or they are putting in more work than you, it can really force you to stop procrastinating.
It’s best to work with 1-3 people. Any more than this and things seems to start falling apart. I’m not saying it can’t work…it’s just usually what happens. When a group is too large, there is usually a few people who just sit back and learn or listen, while the others are busy working. When you are working with just one other individual, there’s really no room for doing that.
There are a few good places to meet other affiliates, and this is something you should actively be doing.
- Shows like Affiliate Summit or adtech
- Various meetups around the country and international
You will be surprised what opportunities come your way the more people you meet, and more connections you make. I’ve known several people who partnered with someone or formed a small group, and increased their income substantially. I would highly encourage every affiliate to create some small mastermind groups and see how much faster they progress.
Ok, so this isn’t a groundbreaking post with cool code or a campaign tip but it is something that’s helped me become a lot more productive which as equaled more money.
I never learned how to type correctly when I was younger. I had a computer but really did more of a hunt and peck style. I spent so many years doing that I could type at a decent speed but my accuracy kinda sucked and there was no way I could increase my speed with my technique.
Earlier this year I got this product called typing master http://www.typingmaster.com/
To once and for all learn how to type correctly. It really sucked at first because I could type like 45 wpm with my hunt and peck style but only about 25 wpm the ‘correct’ way. My fingers also had to relearn what keys they were really supposed to type and not just what I had been doing.
It was a frustrating month or so, but after I went through the course I forced myself to type the correct way in chat, email, forum posts, etc. Pretty soon, I noticed a definite increase in speed and accuracy. An added bonus is that I can type in the dark (like I am right now) and not need to look at the keyboard. I’m not as fast as I would like to be but on a good day I can hit about 70 wpm.
I can say without a doubt, improving my typing speed has made me more productive. I can answer emails, chat, write blog and forum posts, etc. way more efficient than I could before. So, if you suck at typing I think it’s definitely worth working on.
You can test your speed at http://www.typingtest.com/ let me know what you guys get!
In case you missed it here is Part 1 of this post.
Part 1 was dedicated to structuring your work day and getting more done in less time. This post is going to be a few random things I have found really help my productivity.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a terrible morning person. No matter how much sleep I got, or what time I woke up I was always groggy and would have no trouble falling back asleep.
Something that has helped that tremendously is light therapy. The one I use is the Philips golite.
Basically, it simulates early morning light and sits on your desk for 30-60 min first thing in the morning. It took about 2 weeks but I definitely started noticing a difference when waking up in the morning…I can’t say I am a super enthusiastic morning person now, but I do feel like I’m actually awake and don’t want to go back to sleep more now.
Cut the caffeine
Yes you heard me right. I’m not saying cut it out completely, but consider a trial run of backing off it. Caffeine really seems like it does a good job of perking you up…until you live without it that is. What I’ve found is that when I can get off caffeine I get some pretty cool benefits;
- More even energy throughout the day, not so many highs and lows
- Clearer thoughts and more creativity
- Less hunger (when I drank coffee I was always thinking about food which didn’t really help my productivity much)
- When I actually have a bit of caffeine it works a LOT better
Supplement your brain and clean up your diet
This could be a whole post in itself, but I would urge you to do some research in this area if you feel so inclined. There are some great things you can take to get your brain and body running in top form. A few things I would check out;
- A good multi vitamin with extra vitamin D
- Ginseng, Rhodiola Rosea, and other herbs for endurance
- Specific amino acids such as Tyrosine, DL phenylalanine, Tryptophan, etc. for specific neurotransmitter support.
As far as diet, cutting out sugar and processed carbs can go a long way to making you feel better and more productive.
A pretty good book on diet, supplements, and lifestyle for brain health is The UltraMind Solution
A lot of people love to listen to music while working, and this can really help get you focused. I really don’t think the type of music matters, only that its something you enjoy listening to.
Of course there are songs to buy, but also some cool stuff to check out at places like:
Some people really like ‘brainwave music’, which uses different sounds to stimulate parts of your brain. One popular person in this area is Jeffrey Thompson
If you are going to buy some brainwave music, get the actual CD and not the mp3 version (totally archaic right?!) The reason is that (supposedly) some of the special frequencies used in this music are lost when the compression to mp3 happens.
Hopefully one, or a combination of the stuff above, gives you and extra boost of productivity.
Productivity is the sometimes elusive, but always sough after skill people want to develop. When you work for yourself, as we do in affiliate marketing, productivity is not just something to shoot for…it’s an essential skill to develop.
Being ‘productive’ can mean the difference between just earning a living online and becoming a big player. With a few tweaks and enough self discipline, anyone can increase their earnings and sometimes even lower their workload in the process.
Before I get into the meat of this post I just want to clarify what I mean by productivity. I don’t mean developing some plan to work more hours, or pull off a string of 20 hour work days. I’m talking about organizing your workflow so you can get more done in a shorter amount of time. This whole idea of ‘grinding’ 24 hours a day sounds cool, but in reality I can guarantee anyone that works even 15 hours a day is usually not that productive. I hope to show you how to get more done in 5 hours than an average affiliate does in 15.
Step 1 – treat this as a job
This is one that I admit to struggling with. In a perfect world, I would stick to a schedule and to-do list day in and day out. This sounds easy in theory, but is harder to implement because one of the things we like about online marketing is not being held to a schedule. Really, this is just something we have to get over. Start out by blocking out your work and some personal time. This doesn’t have to be super rigid at first, just get in the habit of some sort of routine. Humans need some amount of structure in their lives, and when your working for yourself this task is up to you.
Step 2 – Start using lists
I am a huge fan of to-do lists. I find I work much faster and efficiently if I make one each night for the next day. This could be done with something as simple as pen and paper, but there are some tools I like to use;
Evernote – Much more than a to do list, I use this for organizing notes, ideas, projects and more.
Workflowy – A cool free list program that works on kind of a tree structure.
Mind mapping is something I have never really got into, but some people swear by it. A couple programs to check out are;
What I do is make a list as my last task of the day, for what I want to accomplish tomorrow. Super easy, and it really helps.
Step 3 – Goof off, but only a little
How much time do you spend chatting, checking starts, email, Facebook, or reading forums and blogs? If you’re like 95% of affiliates its way too much. Still, that stuff is important but most of us do it way too much. Most of us would benefit from making some rules for these tasks. When your making your schedule to check these things, keep in mind why your doing it, what your getting out of it, and how important it really is.
You could make a schedule and reasoning along these lines;
– I will check my email once in the morning and once at night. The world isn’t going to end if I don’t check it for 8 hours.
– I’ll browse Facebook once while I have my morning coffee…I really just want to read people stupid statuses a little, anything beyond that is a waste of time.
– Depending on my campaigns, I won’t check stats all day. Your not going to increase your conversions no matter how much you reload the page.
– I will take an hour or two once a week to read through my favorite blogs. Nobody is going to write some super $1m secret your going to miss out on, I promise.
– I’ll actually turn on and off my chat. Not just go invisible, which leads to ‘ well, I’ll only answer it if so and so messages me’. Honestly, the biggest affiliates usually do not use an instant messenger, read forums, blogs, etc.
You can also use some tools for some extra help staying on task. A couple to check out are;
Leech Block (FF Extension)
Concentrate – For Mac
Step 4 – Stop Multitasking
Multitasking is one of the worst things you can do as an affiliate. As productive as it sounds, it’s the exact opposite. Things like having multiple monitors seems great because you can have more programs or windows open, but all it really does is dilute your focus and attention. Most people just have chat or social media sites open in their second monitor anyway. Some people won’t agree with me on this, but try it for a few weeks and see what you think.
Focus on one task at a time. You’ll find you work faster, and with greater accuracy than if you try to do two things at the same time.
Step 5 – Further reading
Check out this blog post from Zen Habits about productivity, really good stuff.
Read about the Pomodoro technique
The 2nd part of this post, I’m going to share some gadgets, supplements, and other goodies for even greater productivity.