Providing much-needed services online is a great way to offset the costs of your online business project or even provide a full-time income so you can quit your job and focus solely on location independence. But sadly, many service providers never get away from their “side business.” It begins consuming all their time and they don’t have the energy to finish the project that brought them online in the first place.

Years shuffle by and they’re so worn down by the daily grind that they’re ready to get a day job again.

Too Busy
Source: flickr.com/photos/philandpam

It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are ten tips for staying on track even when you have to provide services to get by.

1. Pursue Higher Pay

Don’t sell yourself short with your service business. All too often, I see writers, for instance, grinding out articles at $1 – $5 a pop and then wondering why they never have the time to pursue their labor of love.
Article writers who invest some time into building a real business, on the other hand, can get anywhere from $20, $30, $50, to $100 and even more for an article if they pursue the right clients.

The same is true for other service providers too. You can find web designers who will throw a website together for $150 – $400. You can also find web designers who make $3000 per website, everything in between, and more.
Why the huge disparity? There’s a big difference between someone who takes their service business seriously and someone desperate to make a buck. That’s one major difference. You act like a pro, treat your customers like gold, and build the skills to back it all up.

The other difference is marketing, which is everything online. If you target customers with budgets, learn how to reach them, and convince them you’ve got the goods, they will spend money.
You may even find that at those rates you don’t want to move out of your chosen service business; with the right approach you can become a wealthy person working for clients.
What does higher pay mean? More money to invest, and…

2. Work Less Hours

You may not want to be a rock-star service provider. Fortunately, it doesn’t take full-timing to become a pro, and if you consider how much higher pay can cut down on your working hours, you really start to see why putting out the additional effort is such a valuable approach, even if it takes more time in the beginning.

Exhausted Worker
Source: flickr.com/photos/90412460@N00/

Let’s use the example of the writer above.

A $5 writer needs to pen 10 articles a day just to make $50. Many premium article writers, on the other hand, aim to make $100 per billable hour. You can then work for a couple hours a day, spend an hour or two marketing or doing admin work, and still have half a day or more to focus on your own projects.

3. Work for Number One Everyday

Speaking of your own projects, if you’re serious about making it in your chosen field and don’t want to become an eternal service-provider, you always need to be working on them, without fail.

A lot of experts recommend treating yourself as one of your clients and allotting an hour or more per day to work on your own stuff. Or make it four hours if you really want to reach your goals as fast as possible.
But whatever you do, put in a little time each and everyday so you’re always getting better and building up momentum over time.

Log it into your schedule if you have to; I even recommend making it the first priority of your day, so you can produce your best work for yourself. Never lose sight of your true online vision!

4. Become a Productivity Machine

Obviously, the more productive you are the more you can get done in a day’s time, so take an active interest in building productivity skills.

What’s the difference between someone who gets up every morning and works out and someone who can never stick to the plan? Why can some people find time to build a side business when others, with less responsibility on their plates, can’t seem to find an extra hour in the day? How come your co-worker gets twice as much work done than you and seems to spend less time in front of their computer?
Productivity. It can revolutionize your efforts.

I’ve written several articles for this site with specific tips in this area for online workers – be sure to check them out.

5. Never Stop Learning

Aside from just putting in time everyday on your online business project, you should also always be actively studying the industry that you aim to break into. If you don’t actively engage yourself in the terminology, the strategies, the skills, and the culture behind what you’re trying to do, you’re never going to get there – at least not for a long, long time.

There are two ways I recommend keeping up on the type of learning that will pull you through to the future.

Here’s the first. Actively study for your future the old-fashioned approach – by constantly reading books, watching webinars, learning new skills, and reading industry news. A half hour to an hour per day over time can really add up over time and prove paramount to reaching your goals.

Make your reading time a foundation for success.

Studying
Source: flickr.com/photos/jm_photos/

Second, choose a service business that will help you build skills relevant to where you want to be. In fact, the same applies if you’re working a job somewhere – every position you take in life should be a stepping stone that moves you forward.

If you want to be an author or a full-time blogger, for instance, you should be writing articles for a living or, in the case of the wannabe blogger, helping people market their blogs. If you want to be a video marketer, offer services video editing or helping small businesses market on YouTube.

Of course, a lot of these marketing skills are transferable to many different corners of the internet marketing world, so you can cross over a lot. Just don’t learn shortcut skills – pursue those big bucks and learn how to provide top notch services so they actually make differences for your customers…and later for you.

Don’t let your service business bog you down and wear you out – leverage it for the future, just as so many other successful online business owners have. It’s completely possible if you do it the right way.