If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve considered starting an online business at some point in the past. Perhaps you’ve even started one already. It could be as straightforward as joining an affiliate network program or starting an eBay store. It can also be as complicated as designing and manufacturing an entirely new product or starting a software company.
No matter what path you’re currently on, you’ve likely spent many hours on the Internet researching the competition, looking for the right suppliers, buying your domain and tweaking your website design. You’ve also probably spent hours being distracted by online advertisements, irrelevant articles, social media and mindless videos.
While online connectivity may be exciting and appear crucial to planning out and growing your business, I would argue that being so attached to this global network actually diminishes the overall quality of your work and reduces the likelihood of your success.
In fact, in the early stages of business planning and development, there are at least five reasons why turning off the Internet and sitting down with an old fashioned pen and paper will actually lead to better business results.
Below I’ve outlined five of the most important reasons why disconnecting can lead to better business in the long run:
1. It jump-starts your creative side
The Internet is an amazing tool. It let’s us connect with people and things and ideas in an instant, from anywhere in the world. The creation of this interconnected information-sharing network has become one of our greatest accomplishments as a species, but it has also become one of our biggest weaknesses. The ability to find out the answer to any question with one Google search, or to distract ourselves from boredom with the push of a button, makes working out creative solutions to challenging problems unnecessary.
By turning off the Internet for an hour, or an afternoon, you will immediately start to regain control of your creative side. You will become aware of how much time you used to spend surfing the Internet to alleviate boredom or find the easiest solutions to your problems. You will then look for ways to fill that time.
I urge you not to go back online, but to see how productive ways can channel that energy. Meditate. Write down daily goals. Plan for the week ahead. Go for a run. Whatever you do, make it your own, and don’t rehash the thoughts and feelings you see being overshared online.
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Joseph Chilton Pearce
2. It lets you connect with your customer
Another huge benefit to turning off the Internet and stepping away from the hive of like-minded people you find online is that it lets you connect with new potential customers in the real world.
Sure, conducting market research for your next project by creating a Leadpage or Launchrock site will help you gauge interest of potential customers online within a certain group, but by speaking with real people “in the street” about what inspires them or what problems they are facing on a day-to-day basis will help you build a deeper understanding of your target audience and develop a better service for your customers.
You may even be able to get ideas from people outside of your target demographic by speaking with people “adjacent demographics” – people you would normally never interact with online. This might seem obvious to some of you that read this, but I’m constantly shocked by how many people I see going through life unaware of what is going on right in front of their noses.
I see them walking from place to place with their headphones in and their smartphones out, oblivious to the amazing opportunities to connect with people and provide real value to those around them. Unhook, unplug, and ask one person a day about something that matters to them.
3. It makes you plan ahead
If you have the intention of starting an online business, unplugging from the Internet is perhaps the best way to start to develop a successful plan for starting and launching one profitably. More than 9 of 10 startups fail in their first year of business.
When you unplug from the Internet, either by turning off your wifi router (as I did just now to finish this post), or sit down with a pen and a pad of paper, you immediately cut off distractions and pop-ups that get in the way of doing deep work.
Setting aside a block of time of at least 2-3 hours of “deep work” per week (at the very least) that is focused on completing one strategic task or goal is crucial to the successful development of any business, online or in an office. The more frequently you are able to cut out distractions, the more you will be able to produce quality results for your business.
4. It forces you to start small
In business, you are either selling a product or delivering a service. You typically sell that product or service to another business (B2B) or to a consumer (B2C). The basics for every business are the same, but it is how you use the tools at your disposal that determines whether you will be successful or not.
Often, entrepreneurs face what is called “analysis paralysis” when attempting to build a new online product or service. The Internet marketplace is so large that they don’t know where to go first. Whose problem will I solve? How will my product be better than my competitions’? What industry trends will I capitalize on?
Stepping away from the Internet simplifies things, and it makes you think hard about what you do best and how you can deliver that to someone, anyone, who is willing to pay for it.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
5. It drives you to take action
More important than anything else, unplugging from the Internet will force you to flex your action muscle. When you take a step back from the continuous stimulation of social media, online advertisements and entertainment, you will realize that the only thing that will help you get what you want is immediate action.
How has unplugging from the online world helped you with your business? Leave your thoughts below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
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Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up.
In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.
Control Your Environment
Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.
You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.
Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.
Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language.
Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.
Writing Is The Answer
If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly.
Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.
Learn In a Group
It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.
The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.
Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently.
This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.
The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process.
A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few.
Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!
Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson.
Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!
Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!
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