e are living in a very unique time period. Innovation happens faster than we can process it, especially on the internet. If you literally take a week off, you have missed a ton. There’s a good chance you missed Google’s latest release, Apple’s newest iPhone, or AOL’s legal battle. Take a few months off and you’ve probably missed the introduction of a technology that will be pivotal in the future (think about how hot AJAX is right now and most of us hadn’t heard of it a year ago).
While it can be exciting to just sit back and soak in all of the amazing things happening, it can also be extremely stressful as an internet entrepreneur trying to keep up. If you are like me, you probably subscribe to a bunch of email newsletters and print magazines. It seems like each one is talking about how to increase my traffic by doing x or increase my conversions by doing y, and if I don’t do it now I will fall behind and my business will fail. It can be enough to make your head explode.
What are we to do? For obvious reasons, the worst thing you can do is stop reading those newsletters and magazines. You need to stay up to date on what is going on in your industry. Going into a shell and focusing entirely on your business without contact with the outside world will lead to missed opportunities. Learning should not be considered a finite thing – we should always be growing our knowledge base. We will never know everything that we need to know.
That said, we also need to understand that we can’t possibly adapt every single change available to us. Any entrepreneur should have a business plan that conveys the major goals of the business, and should try to adhere to it. It will undoubtedly be a fluid, living document that changes over time, but still maintains the core goals of the business.
In the course of your reading, if you encounter a technique or technology that will directly help you meet those goals, then you should certainly pursue it. If not, make note of it and move on. I keep an ‘idea book’ where I write down any ideas I have that are not directly applicable to my current business. That way the idea isn’t lost for the future, but it also doesn’t clutter my mind now.
You have two choices – hate change and watch your business fall behind, or learn to embrace it by implementing exciting pertinent technologies. After all, isn’t it better to live in a time with rapid change as opposed to a hundred years ago when major change only happened once or twice in a life time?