Focus Makes Perfect

Michael Jordan was initiated into the basketball hall of fame last week.

Kim Klijsters just won the US Open tennis championship after taking more than two years off to become a mom.

And Stephen Jobs is back to work, still blasting Microsoft and other competitors for being boring.

In the mean time, Twitter users are pounding out millions of 140 character messages every day; there are currently over 50,000 iPhone apps available; and if Facebook were a country, it would be about the fourth largest in terms of population.

As I reflected on the events of the past week in the sporting world and prepared to write this article, three things became quickly apparent:

  1. Our attention span appears to be getting shorter;
  2. The number of choices or options available to us are increasing;
  3. And success in any endeavor STILL requires tremendous focus of attention.

Having a clear focus of attention always works better, whether in sports, writing copy, or in running a business. And yet, the gap has widened between successful people who can focus their attention on one thing, and the masses who download every iPhone app and Twitter away their time online.

Nowhere is this gap more evident than on the Internet.

As a writer, you have dozens of options. Not can you choose between niches like web copywriting, SEO copywriting, and online business writing … you can write for any one of a thousand different industries AND sub-niches within those industries.

Should you … Twitter … create a Facebook page … learn SEO … make a fortune selling affiliate products … create and sell your OWN information product … write landing pages and online sales letters … write business web copy … crank out autoresponder messages … write white papers … become an online video script expert … build and sell e-commerce sites … ????

Looking for success today as a writer on the web is a lot like trying to find a ping-pong ball in a chicken coop. Most people crack a dozen or more eggs before either quitting or finally finding the ball.

I get it. I’ve created information products, built huge newsletter lists, built and sold an e-commerce web site, and even tried my hand at affiliate marketing. Most of my efforts required a lot of work and produced moderate results, but nothing to call home about.

Recently, however, my writing business has begun to take off on the Internet.

Why? Focus. I quit dabbling in this and that and started focusing on one area.

But I’ve got to tell you … even as someone who is a techie at heart, getting to this point of focus was a lengthy process that I’d love to see you avoid.

Here’s how you can focus in on the niche that’s right for you:

  1. Where’s your passion?

    Personally, I have a hard time endorsing products in which I don’t believe. So, affiliate marketing (selling other people’s products online) was a total bust for me. Building affiliate web sites was like going to the dentist.

    It’s pretty much always best to follow your passion, and by that I mean to stick with doing the types of things that get you excited.

  2. What are your strengths?

    If you get a chance, pick up a copy of the book Strengths Finder 2.0. Read the book and take their online assessment to uncover your core strengths. When you answer the questions, answer them according to what you ACTUALLY do (or think), and not how you’d like to be (there is a difference).

    The more you understand your core strengths, the easier it will be to pick a niche. One of my core strengths for example is “Strategy,” and another is “Learner.” So, keeping abreast of the latest developments online fits hand-in-hand with my consulting business.

  3. Follow unbiased research, and not the scent of money.

    This is a tough one. It’s easy to get sucked in by promises of instant riches. Every single one of these promises is an absolute lie. Learn what you can about a niche, see if your strengths fit that niche, and then dive in and gather all the skills you need to succeed in that niche!

Time to Let You In On My Little Secret …

Rebecca Matter and I had a conversation about a month ago about the HUGE opportunities that exist for writers in the online world. Writing for or on the web can be highly profitable.

At the same time, unless you grew up with the internet like I did, walking into this world without a map will usually leave you lost, dazed, and often broke.

Which niche should you choose? Do I have to know search engine optimization or HTML? What about writing landing pages instead of direct marketing sales letters … is there a difference?

As we talked, Rebecca shared with me her dream for her Wealthy Web Writer weekly newsletter. Her vision is that ANY writer should have the help, tools, and resources he or she needs to make as much money as they want on the Web.

You can’t do that with a weekly newsletter.

So … (drum roll, please) … Wealthy Web Writer is going online.

We’re in the early stages of creating THE resource for writers who want to make money online.

The best part is that YOU get to play a part in the creation of the site. Next week, for example, we’re going to announce a contest in which you get to help define what we put on the Wealthy Web Writer website.

We’ll have webinars, case studies, how-to articles, step-by-step guides, and much, MUCH more.

If you’re not already signed up for the Wealthy Web Writer newsletter, do so now because there will be some very special announcements to newsletter subscribers only.

In the meantime, you can also follow us on Twitter. And if you’re a Facebook user, please become a FAN on our Wealthy Web Writer Facebook fan page.

More to come … be sure to read about the contest next week!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: September 18, 2009

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