I’ve been thinking. There’s a very fine line between productive dedication and pissing your hours away with a harmful addiction.
I was laying awake in bed the other night with my laptop open. It must’ve been about 4 in the morning and my mind was focused on calculating and forecasting various stats based on the day’s conversions. You can say what you want about being dedicated to the job – but in this case, it’s nothing to be proud of. And you know why? It’s a small time attitude.
It’s not dedication to lay awake with your stats open. It’s an addiction to staring at numbers that are out of your control. You can press F5 until you’re blue in the face but I’ve never known refreshing a page to optimize a campaign or increase sales.
I’m honest enough with myself to know when I’m wasting my own time. But some affiliates just don’t get it. They will suffer from this addiction, this tendency to measure every last milimeter of their success. But the reality is that if you’re aiming for the stars, you’ve gotta keep climbing and not dwell on the steps along the way.
One of the things I’ve taken a look at recently is the value of my productivity. It’s no secret that I work long hours, day and night, through most of the week. But it’s a very fine line between dedication and addiction. I wonder how many other affiliates have felt themselves slipping in and out of those very distinct states of mind.
Dedication is persevering with a campaign because you know it has potential, giving it time to succeed, and using what you’ve learnt to your advantage.
Addiction is making the same mistakes over and over again, refusing to learn from them. You might work a 16 hour day but if you’re doing a half arsed job of the tasks that matter and failing where you’ve always failed before – that’s not dedication. It’s an addiction. You’re not smart for spending your entire day working if you wake up and have less of an advantage than you did the day before.
I’ve spoken to some affiliates who work ludicrous hours and get nowhere. I believe it’s because there’s a great myth in this industry. The idea that you should “just keep trying stuff until you find something that works”.
That’s such bullshit. Tell it to a Heroin junkie and see how far it takes him. It encourages the small time affiliate mindset of “create a campaign, watch it bomb, create another campaign, watch it bomb harder”. You don’t get anywhere by throwing shit at the wall. And even if you do, the chances that you’ll have learnt anything to take forward are slim to none. Success requires meaningful research, sensible planning and execution that isn’t rushed with the burning need to get rid of your zero sales columns before 5pm.
Too many affiliates are addicted to the images in their heads of an offer converting like a wet dream and helping them to live happily ever after. In search of the one campaign that’ll make them millionaires, they’ll walk straight past many of the opportunities that the dedicated affiliates are seizing.
One of my favourite quotes can be applied directly and used as a towering warning sign to anybody thinking about getting in to affiliate marketing:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If you’re sitting there now, tired from working too many hours and not seeing the progress that you want – you have to ask yourself, are you spending those hours wisely? Are you really dedicated to exploring the opportunities that are open to you? Or are you simply addicted to whittling away your hours on the same tried and tested campaigns? Sure, they pay your water bills but do they get you any closer to the stars?
You have to think big in affiliate marketing, because the industry is far too volatile to think anything less. I’ve realized that dedication isn’t always the hours you put in, but the quality of the time itself.
So you say that you’re working a 16 hour day – but how much of that day is dedicated to taking action? It’s all too easy to spend the morning setting up a campaign only to waste the afternoon tracking it hopelessly as the light fades outside. I’ve made that mistake too many times myself and I’m far from perfect, but you really do have to realize for your own good. Once you’ve activated your campaign, once you’ve submitted your ads – it’s time to walk away. They will succeed or fail whether you sit there shitting bricks at a negative margin or not.
Move on to the next project, make the most of your time, and never stop focusing your energies on practical changes and improvements that can actually make a difference to your success.
I found a good way to boost my productivity was by simply recording every task that I completed over the course of a week. Back when I worked for my old web agency last year, we would be given timesheets to mark down how our hours were being spent. At the time, I thought it was a pedantic distraction. The first time I analyzed my own hours, I was shocked at how little time was being dedicated to the campaigns and development that would actually take my business forward to greater success.
I put that down to small time attitude and an addiction to only ever doing what I needed to do. You can become addicted to watching your own success.
So go on. Take a look at your own working day. If your timesheet reads like a barren wasteland of hour long AIM conversations, fleeting skirmishes with Redtube and “social media research”, you can probably rest assured that you’re jerking yourself in circles. The same old circles that will take you absolutely nowhere in business, and nowhere in life.
If you spend an entire day doing this, you’ve got no right to call yourself dedicated to affiliate marketing. You’re just addicted to the Internet. There’s a difference. Especially for you “Social Media Experts” out there. I have about as much time for you as I do for my left hand.
There’s nothing expert about Twitter. It’s just Twitter, you prick.