By: Sarah Stone
As you start building your location-independent career—one that will let you travel the world and earn money from wherever you are—one of the most important ways to make that happen is to laser focus on the work that you’re going to do, and keep working at it until you fail or fly.
In this series, I’m talking mainly about service-oriented careers that you can build as long as you have a computer. So that can mean IT, consulting, virtual assistant services, and other related jobs that you can take on from anywhere in the world. If you haven’t read the first two articles in this category, you may want to check them out: the first covers how to decide what service you’ll offer, and the second discusses whether you need a full business plan or just a general roadmap.
Are You Losing Focus?
It is so, so, so easy to get sidetracked when you’re building a new business—especially if you’re frustrated with a lack of movement at first. You might think your idea is terrible and grab onto another one that seems better. Or you could lose interest in your original idea and want to change paths to another one that’s caught your attention.
Before jumping onto a different idea, think about what exactly the problem is that’s making you lose focus. A few questions to ask yourself:
Is Your Idea too Broad?
If you don’t have some way to set yourself apart, you’ll get lost among other companies or individuals that are already established. And that means you’ll have a lot more trouble finding clients and customers. Finding a niche, on the other hand, lets you become an expert in something specific AND address a defined need for your audience.
Do You Offer too Many Services?
It’s fine to toss up a few ideas to see which ones stick—but trying to be everything to everyone is a disaster. You’ll seem desperate and amateurish, and won’t become an expert in any of your topic areas. Plus, people hate having too many choices; they get overwhelmed and move along instead of making a decision.
How Long Have You been Working on This Idea?
If you’re only a couple months in, that’s nothing. If you spent the first six weeks getting your plan together, building a website, and posting on social media—but you’re only earning a couple hundred dollars a month—you’re definitely not failing. Regroup and figure out your next steps.
Are You Bored?
My mom is the queen of business tangents because she gets bored. She’ll work like mad for a few days on a new idea, lose steam, and jump onto a different project that’s way more interesting to her. She’s had a ton of great ideas, but she loses interest so quickly that she doesn’t give them a chance to pan out. If this sounds like you, find a productivity guide that will train you to keep chipping away at your work until you hit your first breakthrough and regain your interest in it. And then do it again as you start to fade. Keep at it until you’re successful or until you decide this really, really isn’t for you.
Do You Hate Sales?
If your business is a one-person show, you’ve got to suck it up and learn to tolerate sales. No way around that.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and start a location-independent career that’ll let you travel the world without reporting back to the office in a week, you’ve got to focus in on exactly what you’ll do, and don’t lose track of it. Because otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure.