Approximately 2.4 seconds. That’s how long it took me to realize I’d made this mistake. And I was still paying for it three hours later…
To understand this story, you need to know I spent the majority of my undergraduate years attending Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
The drive from my home in New York to my apartment at school was 480 miles on the dot. A straight shot through New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio on the 80 West.
One foggy night when heading back to school – I pulled over after 180 miles to grab a bite to eat at a truck stop. The food was so good, cheap and quick that I was soon back on the Interstate.
90 minutes later I realized I’d made a mistake. It was so foggy that I didn’t notice I got on the 80 East after leaving the truck stop and went a 100 miles in the wrong direction.
So, I did what anyone would do. I turned around and circled back. And three hours after leaving the truck stop I was right back where I started. Making all the driving I had just done a waste of time and gas money.
And that, my friend, is a great way to introduce you to the concept of fake work…
The Business Equivalent of Going 200 Miles Out of Your Way
Fake work requires real effort and real resources, just like real work does. But what’s “fake” about it is any progress you believe you’re making.
It’s the kind of work you think will move your business forward and will give you all the money and freedom you desire. But in fact, any effort you spend on this work just takes you further away from the outcome you want.
Now I’m not sure whether this will be news to you – but based on my observations the majority of Internet marketers and online entrepreneurs spend significantly more time on fake work than profitable work. (Or work that actually adds to your bottom line.)
This is the polar opposite of being strategic. Because when you’re strategic you get your business outcomes with the least amount of effort and the smallest use of resources possible.
But strategy is all about getting your outcome in the environment you are operating in. So even if you’re following the ideal strategy today, it’s no guarantee that you always will. Sometime in the future, conditions will change and what was once profitable work could become fake work.
And that’s where your perseverance, commitment and hyper-focus can quickly go from being your best business assets to your biggest obstacles.
What I mean is, if you’re reading this, you’re likely the kind of person who perseveres to get the business knowledge you need.
And if you’re like most entrepreneurs I’ve met, you also have a commendable self-starter personality that keeps you digging for answers to ensure you know all the latest tactics and techniques online.
But I’m telling you right now: That admirable perseverance could be distracting you from what matters most – making money. And it will keep you doing fake work that will never yield the kind of results you want.
Four Tell-Tale Signs You’re Doing Fake Work
Does this apply to where you are right now in business? Only you can answer that. But here are some symptoms to help you self-diagnose.
1: Learning and Not Earning:
Most obviously, learning and studying doesn’t count as real money-generating activities. Yes, it’s important to know your industry, so research is necessary. But if you spend all your time learning, and no time doing, then your entire business is based on fake work that will never pay you any real income.
2 Six Months and No Results on One Specific Outcome:
An easy way to tell if you’re doing fake work is how long you’ve spent on one outcome or goal, without seeing the results you want. That one specific outcome could be a product, launch, book, or any other project. Spending longer than six months on any one of these specific outcomes could be seen as a warning sign that you’re focusing on fake work that won’t give you results.
3: Your To-Do List Is Full of Non-Money Projects:
When you’re working on your own business, your specific task-list has to be full of money-generating actions. You should be able to see how each task on your list will lead to earning income and eventually profits for business. Also, it’s important to know how many steps stand between you and the kind of money you want. So for example, when building your list it’s always better to plan out your business so you make money on step 4 or 5… instead of step 87.
4: Doing the Same Things Wrong Again:
Few business ideas survive their first contact with customers. So if you have been disappointed by your results in the past, have you changed your approach and moved forward with your business? Or have you continually tried to make your first Plan A work? If you have insisted on continually trying your first disappointing approach, then I would classify that as fake work. Instead, it’s better to iterate your way to a better approach in your business.
So I ask again, are you guilty of fake work? And if so, what are you going to do about it to change before the new business year starts in 2013?
A Quick Exercise to Help in Your Thinking…
Here’s how I would get started: Get out a sheet of paper and jot down everything you’re currently doing for your business. Mark each task as either “fake work “or “real work.”
Then go back over your list once again. Look at just the “real work” items. Ask yourself:
How many steps stand between those “real work” items and actually getting the results you want? Is there any way to cut down that number of steps that stand between you and money?
I’ll get into more ways to help you cut down that number of steps in an upcoming post. For now, this exercise can help you move your business forward… simply by cutting out the fake work and focusing the on the real money-generating priorities.
A few questions before I go…
- Q: In my experience, the vast majority of entrepreneurs do fake work at one time or another. Why do you think that is?
- Q: What questions can I answer in upcoming posts that would help you focus on the right profitable tasks in your own business?
I’d appreciate it if you could answer in the comments. That will help me make my next post even more useful for you.
Then go do this exercise and make this week as profitable as possible.
What’s “Fake Work”
for Your Business?
Join My Free Teleseminar at 2 pm EST
on Thursday to Find Out
on Thursday to Find Out