Focusing on One Single Effort

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Focusing on ONE project can make you ultra effective.

I want to tell you about how I built a website and earned over $1250 in a single month.  

Oct. Amazon earnings

Third Month of Existence

Update: The overall Amazon Affiliate income for 2013 were even higher.

Allow me to digress first….

You are probably similar to me – I am always finding new, interesting ideas and new ventures. I can’t seem to turn my brain off.  This can be so distracting and the result is several incomplete projects.  A paying customer sees a project that is

"Let's just start operating on a few patients at the same time..."

“Let’s just start operating on a few patients at the same time…”
photo credit: isafmedia@flickr

80% complete the same as a 5% complete project.  Can you imagine having surgery but the doctor is working on more than one patient at a time? You definitely want the doctor to focus on one patient and finish the job before moving on.

Remember Lindsey from the post about planning?  She started a few projects and never finished them…not even one.

My Story of Focus

I found Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Podcast (SPI Podcast) and Spencer Haws’s Niche Pursuits Podcast (NP Podcast) back in April of 2013. I devoured every episode within the month. I was really pumped about starting my journey as a niche website mogal.  Well, I started four sites by mid May and I also had a few other domains purchased with the idea of scaling.  Wow.  I can’t believe I even tried that.  I started producing content on two of the sites and they were getting a little traffic.  I was excited, and even made a few bucks via Google Adsense.

Pat & Spencer were starting to talk about their respective Niche Site Duel and Niche Site Project endeavors, so I wanted to get involved.  I had another idea for a new site too…Spencer had so much success with his survival knife affiliate site, and I wanted to have an Amazon Associate site too!

My wife came up with a great idea for a niche since as we were brainstorming ideas (and, why wouldn’t she…she’s awesome!).   I did the keyword research and wham! It looked like a winner. I bought another domain and installed WordPress.  I put the other four websites on hold while I buckled down for 3 weeks on this new site.  I produced a ton of content, including a 2500 word front page and 12 product reviews.

This new site was a winner but I didn’t know it yet…

The new site was doing well, attracting some traffic, and even made $20 in Amazon Associate sales within 6 weeks. I was stuck on the 3rd or 4th search engine results page (SERP) but I was slowing moving up.  I started spreading my time a little bit by writing and building links for the original four niche sites.  Bad move…

The new site was stuck on the 3rd or 4th page and the other websites were fine, but the income was only $0.40 a day. I decided to focus all my effort on improving the rankings.  Yes, 100% of my focus on the rankings for this one Amazon Associate site.  Really… I didn’t even publish any new articles since I knew I had enough content.

I made it to the front page in two weeks and that was HUGE. That amounted to a 2.5x increase in traffic. Another two weeks passed and I moved up to the top 3 for the first SERP, which equaled a 5x increase.   Being in the top 3 made a significant difference.  That month we hit $500 in earnings, which exceeded my goal of $300 in earnings/month within four to six months of starting the niche site.

Sept Amazon Earnings

The 2nd month was big after dedicating efforts to the search engine rankings.



  • Work on one project at a time.
  • Finish your project.
  • If you focus your effort on one clear goal, you will be successful.
Update: I need to remember that focusing can make a project successful. A lack of focus or spreading your efforts too thin may drive a project to fail.

Do you ever get distracted by all the opportunities that you see out there?

What do you do to help focus?

About the author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

19 comments… add one
  • Matthew Allen

    This simple concept is absolutely my biggest struggle and cause of dismay. I find it nearly impossible to focus on just one thing for an extended period of time. Nature of the beast with internet marketing, I suppose. But obviously you have proven that focus works! Thanks for showing your results.

    • Doug Cunnington

      Matt – Thanks for the comment.
      I’ll tell you, honestly, it’s a daily struggle. I’m having an internal debate right now about writing some content that is not on my agenda for today. 🙂 There are so many distractions!

  • Tom

    I really like your take on this. Some people will say “I need to be diversified, so I’ll go and build these 10 sites”. It’s not diversification when you have 10 half-baked sites, earning nothing. Focus on developing ONE good site before moving on to the next.

    • Doug Cunnington

      Tom, Exactly. I think the threshold for diversifying is probably a lot higher than what a lot of people think. I’m no different though. 🙂 I think a couple months ago I said I should make sure I have an Adsense site too. I have stopped working on that site.

  • Aron

    Hi Doug 🙂 You are right on the money, sticking to a task to completion. I sometimes get overzealous and try to work on too many projects at once. I have been using for the last few months and it is great way to plan out projects and to keep track of the steps to follow.

    Still, I need to learn to focus on the task at hand. I definitely will follow your advice, and only work on completing one site before moving onto another.

    I have a few sites that just need to be updated with content, but I have hired writers to add the content to the blogs as drafts. I feel that it is important to add more and more content to blogs that are earning.

    • Doug Cunnington

      Hey Aron – Great about trello. Has that made your team more effective or efficient?

      There is an art to keep multiple projects moving forward without delaying. It’s all about knowing the critical path tasks. (I need to write an article about critical path and activity sequencing…)
      Thanks for coming by.

      • Aron

        Trello has helped greatly to keep things moving forward. You can add people as members to your board and assign them tasks just by dragging them into a card ( tasks ). I have created lists for each one of my blogs and added a bunch of cards to each list with a due date for each card. There is also an iphone app for it.

  • Joe

    Great article, Doug.

    How much content is enough?

    • Doug Cunnington

      Hi Joe – It depends on the niche and a few other factors.
      I like to have a minimum of 5-10 articles before applying for Amazon Associates. The site featured on Niche Pursuits has about 30 articles that are 500-1000 words, plus the long front page of about 4000 words. I haven’t added anything new in about 7 weeks or so.

      Does that help?

      • Joe

        It does help. Thank you. It’s good to keep up on what is still enough to get ranked in 2013 (almost 2014).

  • Ray

    Great job Doug!
    You’re right, focusing on many projects at the same time can definitely kill your productivity.

    May I ask you how many local searches does your main keyword get per month (just to get an idea)?
    I’m curious, because you’re earning such a niche income from just 1 site.
    I was also wondering if you could share your conversion rate.

    Thanks for the useful post and I wish you all the best with your project!

    • Doug Cunnington

      Hey Ray,
      It’s over 5000 per month on average but like many items the retail holiday season has a big impact. I haven’t checked for this year but historically over the last 3 years, the number of monthly searches increases by about 25% from Oct to Dec.

      I fully expect the income to drop in January and level out by March or so. I’m new to the game so I really don’t know what to expect! I also don’t know what the revenue will stabilize to since the website is so new.
      Hope that helps!

      • Doug Cunnington

        Ray, I forgot to mention the conversion rate. It was about 5.9% but it is over 6% after the Black Friday shopping.

    • Ray

      Thank you Doug!
      another quick question for you,
      It’s been almost 10 days since my last piece of content has been published (12 articles in total), and I started some basic blog commenting on relevant blogs a few days ago.
      All my pages got indexed, but my sites doesn’t rank for my main keyword at all. It ranks for other keywords, mostly long tail, but not at all for my main keyword.
      I don’t want to rank first overnight! I only want to know if my site is penalized or something like that. I’m using Serpfox to check rankings, but it ranks nowhere for my main keyword. (not even at 300+ positions).
      This thing scares me, but maybe it’s normal!


      • Doug Cunnington

        Hey Ray –
        Don’t worry about it for now. When did the site go live with it’s first content?

        I doubt that the site is penalized but it does take some time to show up in Google results.

        Keep moving ahead by publishing content and building links over the next 30 days.

        I would predict that you will start moving up to the first five pages after 30 days (if you are getting decent links). If you keep pushing, the period from 30 – 60 days could get you close to the 1st page.

        It is not easy. You can move up to the top of the 1st page but you have to keep taking action even when you aren’t getting much feedback in the search results. Hope that helps!

  • Trevor Leigh

    Hey this looks like a great strategy. I have a difficult time focusing on one effort at a time. This makes really good sense and clearly it has been profitable for you. Have you used
    I’m thinking about it and think it might help me.
    Thanks again for the inspirational blog!

    • Doug Cunnington

      Hey Trevor, thanks for the comment. No, I haven’t seen that blog…but there isn’t much content there. So maybe stay away until they get more established.

  • Phil

    Great tips on focus. Sometimes we just have all these ideas – and wanting to do them all, we end up not achieving the goals we set when we first start. Love the surgeon analogy.

  • Dylan Gordon

    Love this Doug. One of my biggest downfalls when starting was trying to focus on too many different things at once. Recently switched over to building an authority site and focusing all of my effort there. Wish I would’ve sooner, but great advice here!


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