Character Traits for Success, Part 1:
Self-Discipline and the Tool of Routine
It’s important to have certain character traits when you’re starting your own business – so that you will have a good personal foundation, not just a good business foundation. You’re going to be developing parts of yourself that you may not have dived into yet, or maybe you’re a little rusty. I hope this post will get you started. It will be an ongoing series. This first installment is about Self Discipline and the “Tool” of Routine.
Self-Discipline and Building Your Online Business
There are a lot of people out there who, when I talk to them and mention that I have my own business, and they look all dreamy-eyed and say about how great that would be if they worked for themselves too. But the sad truth is that many of them don’t have the self-discipline needed to be their own boss… yet. Self-discipline is something that can be developed though, and a GREAT time to develop it is while you are *in* the actual process of building your own business.
It takes TIME to build an online business… from learning the new skills to getting the infrastructure in place, to creating the website, writing the content, and more – that all takes time, and during that time you can develop the self-discipline you will need to continue being your own boss, successfully and efficiently, throughout the years to come.
First, You Need a Routine
One of the “tools” you can use to train your self-discipline is by creating a routine. Designate a time you wake up. You’re your own boss now… there is no timecard to punch. No one is going to be looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing your work and not goofing off online. Since this type of business is related to social media, it’s very easy to get distracted with using Social Media as a “consumer” and not as “your business” – so make sure you designate times when you are “on the clock” and “off the clock” so you can divide between your personal life and your business life.
It’s the same with your finances – whenever you start a business, EVERY financial person will beg you to separate your personal finances from your business finances at the start so you have clean books. Definitely do that – keep good records; create separate checking accounts. But also do it with your TIME and not just your finances.
Create the routine of waking up, the “pre-business” hours (such as getting your kids off to school, eating breakfast, walking the dog, straightening up the house) and then commit to being “in your chair” (or wherever you prefer to work, like outdoors on your laptop) by a certain time.
The 2-Hour Trick
A good rule of thumb is the 2-hour trick… I made it up for myself long ago, and it has worked very well for me. Be dedicated to whatever work is in front of you, without distraction, for the next 2 hours. Set the alarm on your cell phone so you know when to stop (if you’re anything like me and love what you do, sometimes you keep going just because you’re enjoying it). At the end of the 2 hours, get up, go outside, do something frivolous, rest your eyes and your brain… take a break for the next 15 or 20 minutes. Then go back to your work for another 2 hours. Then take a lunch break. And so on, for however long your current tasks and studies demand.
But Wait… Isn’t the Laptop Lifestyle Supposed to Free Me from Boring Routines?
You may ask “isn’t an online business supposed to free me from this kind of regimen?” Yes, eventually it will, but probably not in the very beginning. In the very beginning, you need to build it, and you need to get used to being your own boss as well as being a good employee to yourself.
You have a lot of studying to do too, and “infrastructure” to create to be able to get your business up and running and profitable. The best way to do that is to work at it with the same (if not more) dedication as if there was a boss standing over your shoulder.
The routine you create is specifically designed to get you into the good habit of being COMMITTED to your own success, so that when those dark, rainy mornings happen and all you want to do is stay in bed, you get up because you have the habit of the habit of commitment to the business you’ve created that could eventually get you completely out of the rat race and away from a desk of any kind.
Wax On, Wax Off
Do you remember the original Karate Kid movie, where Mr. Miyagi tells Danielsan to paint his fence a certain way, and wax his car a certain way too (wax on with one move, wax off with another)… and Danielsan didn’t realize it but Mr. Miyagi was actually TRAINING him slowly to do Karate blocks by doing those repetitive movements? That’s exactly what I want you to do with your routine.
But remember how angry and frustrated Danielsan got because he thought Mr. Miyagi was wasting his time making him do all that free labor? At some point, that’s probably going to happen to YOU, only in this movie of your life, you play both characters: Mr. Miyagi AND Danielsan. You have to be a really good “Mr. Miyagi” who makes the routine, and a really obedient “Danielsan” who follows it (despite his protestations), because it is going to make you successful in the end.
Once You Learn How to Ride a Bike, You Don’t Have to Learn How Again
Now, remember when I was saying that in the beginning, building your laptop business is going to take commitment and time and routine and self-discipline but not to be worried, because one day -YES- it could be your ticket to freedom from the rat race and get you out from behind your desk, or trading time for money, et al?
Well… it’s kind of like learning how to ride a bike. It was hard at first. You needed help and training wheels, but once you “got it” you don’t need help or training wheels anymore, right? Because it’s inside you. It’s sort of like a “habit” of balance that you learned and you don’t need to re-learn it. You just do it.
THAT’S what the self-discipline and “tool” of routine will do for you. It’s only uncomfortable and awkward at first. Once you get the hang of running your online business and once the infrastructure is in place, it hardly takes any time at all. It just takes maintenance.
So this is your Assignment this week:
Until the next installment of this series comes, I want you to establish your routine. Hang it on your refrigerator. Make sure it works for you and whoever else it affects (like spouse and kids). Make sure it shows dedication and COMMITMENT to your own SUCCESS. Make sure you are a good boss, and make sure you become a good employee to yourself. Until next time, practice the routine daily – for at least 28 days. We will check in again during one of the future blog posts on your progress and feel free to drop us a line too, and let us know how you’re doing.
Until then, best of luck!
If you want to have the extreme self-respect that comes with starting, building and growing your own legitimate and profitable online business, step out of your comfort zone and sign up for our FREE On-Demand Workshops. They will give you a good overview of the different types on online business that you can build… so you can lift your life and the lives of your loved ones to a new level.
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