The Power of Focus

August 19, 2012

Like all children growing up during the ‘50s and ‘60s, I had to find ways to entertain myself. One of my favorite things was to use a magnifying glass on a bright sunny day. When I held the magnifying glass at just the right height over a leaf, or piece of wood, it would focus the sun’s rays. If I held it steady, in a matter of seconds I could set that leaf on fire, or char that piece of wood. I got pretty good at it, and even burned my initials in a few places.

I had forgotten about that little pastime until a couple of weeks ago, when I began to think about my progress (or lack thereof) in the journey towards reinventing myself.

As you know, writing is my path towards reinventing myself. As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe I have been given a talent for writing, and I have a deep desire to ‘get the stories out’.

I began searches on the Internet to get some advice on how others have achieved this. Here is what I learned:

In this day and age, you have to be a very good writer to get people’s attention.

Amazon will be known as the company that forever changed the paradigm for ‘authors’ by making it easy to bring a book to a massive marketplace. Amazon has completely cut out the entire ‘middle man’ process of agents, editors, and publishers, and allowed authors to self-publish in a matter of hours (once the book is written of course) instead of years.

However, the downside to letting almost anyone publish a book, is that almost anyone can publish a book! There are literally millions of titles available. Many of these are being written and published by Internet marketers as a quick way to make a buck rather than as a real piece of literary fiction or non-fiction.

Okay, I have to admit that Amazon has become my personal version of ‘crack’.I have had the Kindle Reader apps on my phones for some time, and about a month ago I bought a Kindle Fire. I ‘liked’ Kindle Nation Daily and Pixel of Ink on Face Book and constantly get posts about the newest free books available. Of course, they are free, right? And if not, then they are very inexpensive. So off I go browsing through the titles just to see what the latest book is, or who the hottest new author is.

The problem is, I suspect that I am spending more time browsing for (and downloading) books than I actually do reading them! And this relates to exactly what this blog post is about….but I see I have gotten a little off track here….

Not only do you have to be a really good author, you now have to be a really good marketer.

That’s right. Now it’s not enough to just write well; if you are going to get people to notice you on Amazon, or in any market place, you have to be a good marketer. And how do you do that? First, by establishing a website about your book (or yourself); then establishing a blog that has links back to your website; then making sure your blog has a place for visitors to post comments, and perhaps put links there to THEIR websites; then visiting other relevant blogs and posting comments there, with links back to your website; then, through something called “Social Media”, build a community of people who are interested in what you write so that you can let them know about your book and have an audience that may even just buy it;

I subscribe to several Internet marketing sites. One of them is called Strayblogger (Internet Marketing the Smart Way by Nate Rivers). In a recent email that I got from him, he said this:

Now depending on how long you’ve been trying to build your online business, you may or may not be aware of all the elements that make up online marketing… such as:
• Copywriting
• SEO
• Backlinking
• Article marketing
• Social media
• Press releases
• Paid search
• PPC
• Facebook ads
• Media buys
• Email marketing
• Sales funnels
• Optin forms
• Squeeze pages
• Keyword research
• Market research
• A/B split testing
• Product creation
• Site metrics
• Site analytics
…and the list could go on.

So now you have to become, if not an expert, somewhat knowledgeable about buying a domain name, creating a website and finding a place to ‘host’ that site, how to get rankings for your website in Google and other search engines, and learn how to get your information on Twitter, and FaceBook, and LinkedIn, and Google+1, and on and on and now you have to write good, original content for your blog so that it can get rankings because you don’t want to be past page 2 on Google searches (all the while writing your book or books) and……so what were we talking about? Oh that’s right, the power of focus.

• There are lot’s of ways to make money on the Internet.

There are literally billions of people on the Internet every day. The number of users will double (by some estimates) in the next five years. The Internet has truly created a world-wide marketplace.

In addition, there are new ways to make money over the Internet being created every day. We no longer simply buy, sell, or trade physical items. We now also deal in information and services.

Go to Google and search on the phrase “ways to make money on the Internet”. Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait….I’ll check my emails while you are gone.

Back? Good…how many results did you get? Google tells you, along with how long it took to get those results. When I did it just now I got 306,000,000 (in an impressive .26 seconds). Now understand, this is the number of websites that mention ways to make money on the Internet. Some of the sites have many different ways in which to make that money. For example, some of the first sites on the first page say things like “40 ways to make money on the Internet”, or “top 10 ways to make money on the Internet”, and on and on…so there’s plenty of ways.

The problem is with so much information freely available, and so many people finding ways to get you to buy THEIR method, you are bombarded with information and ideas, and methods, and techniques, and…..now what WERE we talking about….oh, the power of focus.

Do you see where I’m headed with this? Do you see how much information is out there and how easy it is to get distracted by it all? If you are a regular Internet user (and the stats are that 60% of those who are over 65 are Internet users) I am sure you have experienced it yourself. You get on the Internet to check on one thing. Then something else gets your attention and you think, “That looks interesting”, and you click on that link then something else seems interesting and before you know it an hour has gone by. And you can’t remember what it was that you were looking for in the first place!

So in my opinion, if there are more cases of attention deficit being diagnosed it’s the Internet fault.

The whole point of this is that focus is critical if you are going to make real progress, whether it’s on the Internet or not.  Life presents us plenty of opportunities to lose our focus.  Don’t let it.  Focus, focus, focus….set deadlines and stick to them.

In my next blog, I’ll address How to Get Focused. Right now I’m too unfocused to do it!

 

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