My last “real” job was as an inside sales rep and one of the things that I had to do every month and every quarter was to forecast my sales. So I would have routine meetings with management letting them know about my bigger deals, when they might close and to overall just track my progress to ensure I was hitting my quarterly plan. I used to hate doing this and after I got fired from my old job back in October 2009 and focused on running my own business I never really did sales forecasting or planning. In fact, my entire business goal used to be focused on just doubling my income (somehow) every year – which I more than accomplished in my first full year of self employment when I earned well over $100,000. In the following year I fell short of doubling my income (I sold a website in 2010 for six figures and in 2011 I was rebuilding that lost income stream). Now in 2012 I’m having a better year than ever before and I owe a lot of it to the goals I outlined at the start of 2012 and this simple $9.00 investment:

How My $9.00 White Board Helped Me Double My Income

Yes, that’s right. A $9.00 whiteboard has helped me grow my business which is on track to more than double my income by the end of the year. In a typical day job you might get a 10% raise, maybe 20% if you got promoted, but when you run your own business you don’t have to feel constrained by rules.

The method for actually increasing my income isn’t all that exciting, in fact three years ago I found it downright boring – yep – I owe a lot of my success this year by focusing on doing the things I used to hate in my old job – forecasting sales and tracking projects. So now instead of sitting down at my computer and asking “What should I work on today?” like I had in the past, now I look to the whiteboard and begin working, whether it’s on a new website, a website I bought, a software project or something else. This has given me the focus and attitude towards planning that I lacked during the first two years of self employment and forces me to think about long term plans for my business in the way “real businesses” are forced to do. This is especially helpful because I put deadlines on all of my projects as well, so that it’s not easy to simply let things slide.

At the start of this year I had three business goals that I wanted to achieve:

Earn $250,000 In Profit
Buy $100,000 Worth Of Websites
Donate $35,000 To Charity (at least)

Total Required Earnings: $385,000

This works out to making over $1,000 a day (which is obviously a huge number). The way I’ve tried to tackle this feat is to focus on smaller tasks like creating as many $100+ a day income streams as possible whether it’s focusing on growing my network of website earnings from CPC advertising, selling some software products or something else. But before you think I’m making $1,000+ a day – sadly I’m not there yet. Frankly, I was a bit ambitious with my goals at the start of this year and I’m likely to fall short unless a few of the other businesses that I’m starting before the end of this year take off faster than I anticipate they will. But by focusing on the three core pillars of my business that I outlined at the beginning of this year:

Building Websites, Buying Websites and Selling Software / Information Products

I’ve been able to avoid distractions like building more iPhone apps and some of the other projects I’ve wanted to do for fun and to focus on the elements I want my business to be about. Now I’m still going to be doing some other fun projects like writing some Kindle books – but I plan to donate all of the proceeds for this year from any books that I write to Charity Water. I already donated one well to their organization on World Water day and I would like to do two or three more before the end of the year to help reach my charity goal.

The lesson I learned this year is to decide what you want your business to really be about and to completely focus on that.

Why It’s Important to Treat Your Blog, Website, Part Time Project, Whatever – As A “Real Business”

When you start to think about your part time hobby projects that you build after work etc. as a “real business” your mindset shifts. In a real business it’s not acceptable to build some project for fun in your part time after you get home from work and not try to make money from it in some way. You have to focus on making money when you’re running a business, but a lot of what I see with people building websites, running blogs, or whatever is that they think of them as a hobby and when you think of what you’re doing as a hobby you’re setting your expectations too low. You’re just telling yourself “I’m not really trying to build a job replacing income stream” – you’re just doing it for fun. If that’s your goal that’s fine, but for me personally shifting my mindset to be really focused on building my business has helped me with direction.

Do you think of the time spent on your computer as building a business? If not, then don’t expect to quit your day job Click To Tweet This