I have a secret that may surprise you. It’s about a habit I’ve developed over the past eight months that has changed my business in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
This habit is like taking a portion of your paycheck and immediately “paying yourself first” by placing it into a savings account. This happens before you put the money toward bills, household items or even groceries.
Investment is usually associated with money, but there are other types of investing.
The best habit I ever developed for my business
I’d like to say I exercise everyday but unfortunately, that’s not true (I’m working on it, though). I’m also developing better eating habits. However, that’s not the best one I’ve developed for my business.
Here’s the habit: It’s this blog.
Eight months ago, I decided that I was going to finally get serious about updating my blog.
In June 2013, I attended the Ohio Growth Summit. The prolific and super-smart sales dynamo, Anthony Iannarino, gave our morning keynote presentation. He issued a great wake-up call to all the business owners and startups in the room with a simple question.
How do you get sales?
One way or the other, someone has to handle the marketing and sales of a business. Otherwise, there won’t be a business.
During the presentation, Anthony shared how he started to update his own blog (The Sales Blog) on a daily basis. Now at the time, I thought he only meant Monday – Friday. My response? Whoa. That’s a lotta blogging.
I discovered later that he meant every day of the week, not just the workweek. He then told the story of a conversation he had with a colleague.
“Anthony, what are you doing with that blog? I mean, man! You’re giving away waaay too much information! You’re sharing all your secrets, dude! What’s up with that? And by the way, how are you getting all these great speaking gigs and new clients?”
Everyone in the room laughed because Anthony had just shared how important it was for him to build his credibility in a very competitive industry. His strategy was to update his blog daily.
His goal was to get more speaking engagements and clients. He focused on using his blog to do it. And you know what? It happened.
I was inspired by Anthony’s story. I also felt miserable up to that point because I had no blogging schedule let alone content strategy. I knew something had to change and realized this keynote presentation was serving as a personal challenge.
I have been a writer for many years so the problem wasn’t writing. The problem was making a commitment to focus on writing whether I felt motivated or not.
If it were easy…
I can’t tell you how many times I discovered a blog through a web search and was eager to read more—only to discover it hadn’t been updated in months. Or even years.
I’m sure you’ve heard the stories about how an updated blog leads to more traffic, more engagement, and often more business.
Yet many businesses and entrepreneurs have a tough time making those updates.
What is holding them back?
It’s the same thing that holds you and I back whenever we want something yet don’t want it badly enough to make it a priority.
A lack of determination.
Determination is what sets the winners apart. It’s the difference between an average athlete and an Olympian. It takes discipline, determination and commitment to become skilled at anything—whether it’s speed skating, selling insurance or starting your own business.
I realized that as much as I wanted my blog to be more active, I simply hadn’t made it a priority.
For years, I had written posts either when I had time to do it (which rarely happened) or when I felt “inspired”(as though every blog post had to be the equivalent of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel).
These were limitations that held me back from investing in myself. As soon as I started to let go of writing the perfect blog post and embrace the commitment to update my blog regularly, things started to happen.
I give to my business, first
The deeper secret is that before I do anything for my clients, I invest in my business first.
I’m a morning person. And I do mean an early morning person. I wake up between 3:00 AM – 3:30 AM and start writing around 4:30 AM. Morning time is my peak creative time. Your peak time is likely different. Maybe it’s 2:00 PM or 10:00 PM.
It’s important to identify your peak creative time because that’s when you want to focus on investing yourself. Not afterward, when you feel depleted of energy.
I use this time to first write for my business.
Not for our clients.
I do this first thing in the morning because I have tried writing at other times throughout the day. I’ve found that if I don’t write for myself first thing in the morning, then it’s hard to fit it in during the rest of the day.
Emails, phone calls, client work—all happen later in the day when everyone else starts their workday. And it leaves little time for me to focus on writing for my business.
When I made the commitment to write a post first thing every morning, things started to happen. My blog started to see updates on a regular basis. My audience started to grow.
Prospects started to find Maguire Copywriting and some hired us.
Before I knew it, I had developed a habit.
But it was and is work. I’m not going to kid you.
There have been days when I’ve not gotten a post up until 4:30 PM. Life happens. But for the most part, each day I’m committed to writing first for my business.
Things change when you decide to change
The point is, my blog didn’t undergo a transformation until I decided to change.
I had to be determined to change. I had to make updating this blog a priority. I had to find a time to focus on it and I needed to do it ritually.
The more you develop a ritual for change, the greater the opportunity it has for becoming a habit.
Most business owners realize they need to have an frequently updated blog. Some decide to update it once a week, others may update it 2-3 times a week.
Whatever the frequency, the important thing is to be consistent with your updates.
This is true with any type of investment. If you deposit 10% of your earnings into a savings account, in one month it may not look like much.
But in one year, it will.
It’s what I need to remember whenever I start to exercise (again). In one month’s time, you may see some slight changes but in one year’s time, you’ll definitely see an improvement in your overall health.
What kind of an investment in yourself do you want to make?
What has been on your mind to do yet you’ve had trouble doing it?
This week, take a step toward making that investment a reality. If it’s updating your own blog, decide how often you want to do it. Then create a strategy. Develop ideas for topics. Read what others are doing to get inspired. Then commit to doing it.
You’ll reap the rewards of your investment in time but the first step you must take is recognizing that it needs to be a priority. Change doesn’t happen any other way.