Last Updated January 10th, 2018

Is Your Online Business Suffering From Too Much Information Or Too Little Action?

Is Your Online Business Suffering From Too Much Information Or Too Little Action?

How often do you get frustrated with how your online business is growing? Are you spending a lot of time learning how to run your business well? While you may feel as though your online business is suffering from too much information, you might be wrong. It’s probably suffering from too little action.

Learning how to run a successful business online is a good thing. There is a learning curve, and buying online courses to help can speed things up. But there can be too much of a good thing.

That point comes when you spend so much time learning what to do that you never do it! What is the point of learning something for your business if you don’t use it? Many online business owners waste a lot of time and money this way.

How Much Information Is Too Much Information?

You know you’re dealing with too much information when you can’t process it all or make use of it. When it eats up your work day and you don’t have anything to show for it. When you can’t decide which thing you’ve learned to try first… or ever.

Those are the times that you need to take a break from learning. It’s time to focus on the action side of things.

Take something you’ve learned and use it to take action. Apply your knowledge to your online business. See if it works. Make adjustments for your business model. Keep trying.

Here’s a simple example.

You’re starting a blog and you want a great WordPress theme. You spend hours, maybe even days looking through themes for just the right one.

This is time that could be better spent elsewhere. Any theme will allow you to start your WordPress blog. The search engines are more interested in the content of your blog than how it looks.

You’re far better off picking a theme quickly, and spending more time crafting your first posts. You can always change how your blog looks later. Getting your posts up now means they start getting indexed sooner, you start getting traffic sooner and you start earning an income sooner.

Find a better theme when you don’t have more important things to do.

How Can You Avoid Having Too Much Information?

Avoiding an excess of information is simple. Don’t go looking for more information on how to run your business.

If you see an information product that sounds promising, bookmark it. Don’t buy it until you’re ready to use it.

Spend less time on business forums and social media. While you can get some excellent information for free from these sources, much of the time spent there is wasted. Limit your time on business forums and social media to times when you have already finished your productive work for the day.

If you have no idea what kind of business you want to run and keep looking for more information to help you get started, stop. It’s probably not helping matters.

Take some time and figure out what kind of online business you want to run. Once you know that, you’re more likely to make good choices in the information you seek out to help you run it. All that other information will just slow you down. Stop taking courses and start working.

Spend More Time On Action Than On Information

Taking action is far more likely to help your business than spending a lot of time on learning. You should spend 80-90% of your work day taking action. Write blog posts. Promote your website. Email your list. Create a product. Do things that will help your business grow.

The rest of the time you can use to learn things. Evaluating your results. Spend a little time in your favorite business groups. Keep up on your industry. Look for that tool that will help your business grow.

Do not scatter your efforts throughout the day. Focus on one thing until it’s done. Multitasking doesn’t work for the vast majority of people. The more you scatter your efforts, the harder it is to tell what’s working.

Action is your first priority, always. Information is merely a way to take better action.

When Should You Buy An Information Product Or Course

There are times when you should buy an information product or take a course to improve your business, even if going through the product will take more time than you usually allow for learning in your work day.

That time is when you deliberately decide it’s in the best interest of your business to do so.

Not when it’s another product in a long line of them with no action taken. Not when you’ve just seen the sales letter and feel as though you need to buy the product now. No.

Only buy something when you know that you’re going to put it to use right away. That’s the right time.

Special pricing doesn’t matter. Who cares if you saved 90% off the regular price of something you never use?

Most people will spend far less on information products if they stick to buying things they’re ready to use, even if they end up paying full price because they missed the discount. That’s because they didn’t buy 20 other products at great discounts that they never got around to using.

This is not an easy thing. Successful marketers are very good at creating urgency. When you find something you think you could use, throw the link in your bookmarks. If it’s really going to be useful, you’ll find it there at a later date when you’re ready for it. If it wasn’t going to be useful, it will sit there in your bookmarks and not cost you anything.

What If My Online Business Isn’t Growing?

A lack of growth in your online business can be frustrating. You want things to get better, and get better fast. You need to do something!

That’s right, you need to do something. And most times it doesn’t mean you need to buy an information product.

Take a look at how you’re spending your work day. A real look. Be honest with yourself.

Are you working hard enough on things that will grow your online business that you already know? What about creating enough content? Are you promoting it through email and social media? Are you taking all the steps you already know how to do? Every day?

Most times, your online business isn’t growing because you aren’t taking action. You don’t need to know more, you need to do more.

Other times, yes, you need to know more. There’s something you haven’t figured out, and it’s important. It’s time to look for that information.

That’s when you spend the time and money to find a solution. You know there’s a gap in your knowledge and more or less what you need to learn. You can buy something specific to your problem.

Once you’ve made this commitment, be ready to make use of what you learn. Knowledge is nothing without action.

Evaluate Your Results

As important as taking action is, you need to spend sometime determining how effective it has been. What worked? What didn’t? Could you have done better?

Evaluating your results helps you learn where your weak points are. If you never look at your results, you don’t know if something worked.

Test things. If you run ads, test more than one version. Post on social media at different times and see what the results are. Post more or less often. Write different styles of posts. Try video or podcasting.

There are so many actions you can take to improve your online business. They are what will improve your business. Reading up on new information only helps you if you use it and evaluate your results. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated July 20th, 2015

7 Essential Elements to Overcome Information Overload in Your Home Business

7 Essential Elements to Overcome Information Overload in Your Home Business

One of the most overwhelming parts of running a home business is how much information is out there to help you. Forums, blog posts, ebooks, real books… no matter what kind of business you’re running, there’s information available, and usually too much of it. How do you beat information overload and take action?

1. Hold off on buying products.

It’s hugely tempting to buy ebooks and software that claim they will solve a particular problem for you. If you aren’t ready for that information, it’s not the time to buy it, however, no matter how good or limited the deal may appear.

What too many people do is buy an information product, read it, then notice the next shiny, new product that promises even better results. They buy that, maybe take a little action but not enough to really see results, then the next shiny, then the next.

Buying products too soon makes it harder to succeed because you spend too much time researching and too little time doing. Taking action is the best way to grow your home business. As you grow, if you find there’s a particular something you need, whether it’s software or information, that’s the time to buy it. Buying in advance makes it much less likely that you’ll ever use that particular solution, or give it a fair try if you do.

2. Cut down on reading.

Even free information can be too much. Limit how much time you spend reading blogs, social media and forums. When you find useful information, you might spend some extra time reading it, but this shouldn’t take up extra time every day.

A feed reader can make it easy to scan headlines from your favorite blogs and decide what’s worth reading. I sort my reader by the type of blog. This allows me to quickly find blog posts that might be relevant to what I’m looking for. Casual online reading is separate, so I can enjoy it at other times.

Similarly, sort your emails. Most email programs make it easy to sort incoming emails by sender or other criteria. This way your personal email is easy to notice, apart from your professional emails and subscriptions.

As for forums and social media, the timer solution is often best. Know how long you are willing to spend on those for professional purposes. Keep your time on these reasonable, even when you’re using them for marketing purposes. It’s all too easy to stay on these sites far longer than the benefits justify.

3. Know your priorities.

Knowing your priorities makes it easier to know what information you should pay attention to, and what you should ignore for later or completely.

Sometimes your priorities will cause you to seek out particular information. Other times your priorities will make you avoid reading new information because you have enough to work with already. More information is often a distraction, not a help.

4. Set limits.

As mentioned above, setting time limits can help you keep your social media use under control. You can also limit how much information you read versus how much productive work you get done.

5. Focus.

Get rid of distractions when you work. Close extra tabs on your browser and any programs you don’t need open. Put your cell phone to the side and don’t answer any calls unless you need to. If you have an office door and the kids are old enough, close that door. Get the cat off the keyboard and your lap.

In general, get rid of the distractions that make it harder to be productive. Not all of these cause information overload, but they’re certainly a problem when you need to work.

If background music helps you focus, music may be okay. A totally quiet space may make it more difficult to work.

6. Take more action.

Don’t spend so much time reading or studying the things you need to do. Do them. Write a to do list, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. The more you know what you need to accomplish, the more likely you are to get it done.

Make sure you know which things are most important to get done each day. Some things are very easy to get done, but aren’t really all that productive or beneficial to your business.

7. Take breaks.

Taking regular breaks gives you time to think about and do other things. You don’t get paid breaks when you work for yourself or if you’re paid on production, but that doesn’t mean breaks aren’t important.

A break can be as simple as getting up and stretching, focusing your eyes on something other than your computer monitor. You could also take a walk around the block, play with your kids or pick them up from school. Plan your work day around the breaks you have to take as well as the ones you ought to take. A break right after reading something might help you absorb the information better.

Don’t forget a good lunch break and appropriate snacks. Hunger can make it harder to focus on the information in front of you.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 26th, 2011

Are the Newsletters You’re Subscribed to Bringing You Down?

Most of us working at home end up subscribed to a lot of newsletters. It’s a result of wanting and needing a lot of information, and hoping to get it from one source or another. Many times, we subscribe to a list to get a free download that sounds like the information will be useful, but it never actually gets used. Then we’re on a newsletter list and receiving email after email offering products promising success.

Reading about all these supposed methods to bring success can be a problem. It’s not just that too many people spend money on product after product, hoping that one will bring success. It’s that all these sales pitches sound like everyone is succeeding while we’re still struggling. It gets frustrating.

The Simple Solution

My simple solution is to avoid reading about all these products and the people claiming grand success. Unsubscribe from any newsletter that isn’t giving you information that is helping you to build your online business.

Many newsletters are little more than regular sales pitches for one product after another. They’re about making money for the list owner, not so much about helping you build your business. If the products they offer are good quality and relevant to your needs, great, stick with it, but if it’s promotion, promotion, promotion with little relevance to you and little free information, why are you staying on that list?

It takes just a little time to unsubscribe from each list, but if you’ve subscribed to more than you can manage to read, that little bit can add up fast. It’s worth the time. Your inbox will fill much more slowly, and you’ll better be able to find the emails you actually want to read.

You may feel that they aren’t doing any harm by filling your inbox, but they’re a distraction. At the very least, you’re having to skim the titles and/or senders to figure out if there’s anything you need to open each day. At the worst, you’re opening every one and being distracted by the offers, and tempted away from whatever you’re working on now.

You don’t need to be in on every new product launch. Sure, you’ll miss some business building and marketing ideas, but there’s only so much information you can use at one time. If you need more information, look for it when you need it. Pay for information too long before you will use it, and some of the details are likely to change, and the information will be out of date at least in part. That’s how online business goes.

Just think. Fewer shiny new ideas to pull you away from something you’re trying to make work. It’s not a bad thought at all.

If you just can’t stand to unsubscribe to a newsletter because you think you’ll want to be on the list later, you have a couple of options. The first is to make a filter that will remove the emails from your main inbox and set them aside. You can read them at your leisure when you need the information, or do a mass delete more easily.

The other is to bookmark the subscription page and then unsubscribe. You can add yourself to the list when you’re more interested in what the newsletter has to offer.

I gave my inbox a major cleaning about two months ago, and I’ve been loving it. The inbox gets very little now. Most emails are sorted into folders for a quick scan as appropriate for the topic. Just a few go straight into the inbox, and they’re more relevant. It’s so much easier to find the emails I’m after with all the clutter removed.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.