Do This First

By | April 1, 2007

Edition #120

This morning at about 1:17 AM, I got out of bed to use the bathroom. On my way back to bed, stumbling my way through the darkness, I suddenly tripped and fell.

I hit the floor with a loud thud and a painful yelp.

“What happened?” My wife called out in the darkness…

“My ankle…I think it’s broken,” I whimpered.

I continued to moan painfully for the next several moments as my wife scrambled for the light switch.

When she flipped on the light I was still clutching my ankle, but instead of a contorted grimace on my now illuminated face, she was met by a mischievous grin…

“April fools!” I shouted.

Of course I deserved it when she punched me in the arm hard enough to give me a reason to grimace. Nevertheless, I had succeeded in my annual prank.

Then again, she’s pretty much used to it by now, and I’ve also tamed it down a bit over the years.

She says the worst one was eleven years ago when we were in high school. April Fool’s day occurred shortly before the school prom dance that year. I called her up and gave her a story about why I had to cancel our prom date. She cried for hours until I came clean with my prank.

Nice way to treat your girlfriend, eh? Fortunately, she stuck with me and I’ve become a little wiser over the years.

And today I want to pass on a small morsel of wisdom to you.

It has nothing to do with April Fools, and this is not a joke. It’s about helping you create a successful online business.

About six weeks ago, I offered a special bonus to any Eric’s Tips reader who purchased the “$7 Secrets“ script.

The bonus was that I would feature YOUR product here in my newsletter, if you got it set up on the $7 Secrets script and gave me the link before the deadline.

A LOT of you bought the script. And again, a lot of you left comments or emails about how you were going to get your site set up right away with it.

However, when it was all said and done, only five readers successfully set up the script and sent me their link.

Now don’t get me wrong–

I’m NOT saying this to put anyone down, or discourage anyone who intended to participate.

I’m simply pointing it out, because I want to make a point.

It’s one of the reasons why most aspiring internet marketers aren’t making very much money. They are failing to take action and follow through with their intentions.

So I want to share a tip with you. This is something that I’ve lived by for most of my life, and I consider it to be fundamental to my productivity.

Here it is:

“Do your hardest or least-liked work FIRST.”

One of my grade-school teachers taught us that rule, as a part of a lesson about positive study habits.

I don’t remember all of the rules he covered, but that one stuck.

If you don’t do your hardest task first, it’s likely to never get done. I think it’s that way for a lot of internet marketers.

Perhaps you knew you needed to figure out how to install that script and get it online. But what happened when you woke up the next morning after you bought it?

You probably checked your email, maybe got sidetracked on another opportunity, and you quickly found a way to justify putting the script installation on the back-burner.

There are always plenty of tasks to keep you busy, and as long as you’re busy you feel like you’re being productive and getting work done.

The problem is that by focusing on all the easy tasks, you’re probably avoiding the real “income producing” activities.

Like all rules, I think there are exceptions to this one. Sometimes you just need to do something NOW to make money, even if it means putting off something else that you “should” be doing. For example you might have a 5-day task that will result in money, but if you’ve got a 1-hour method of making money today, then it might make sense to go for the easy money today.

And of course there are different opinions about how you should prioritize your time. Many marketers will tell you to make a list of everything you need to do, and then prioritize it by putting the most profitable tasks at the top.

In general, I would agree with that model. But there are almost always multiple steps involved in any profitable venture. So as you micro-prioritize each project, I recommend putting the hardest or least-liked ones at the top.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to build three websites. Perhaps creating graphics is really easy for you, but writing content if very difficult.

You might decide to create all the graphics first. While you might feel productive, you’re not really doing yourself a favor because at the end of the day you’re not truly closer to making money. Even though you created the graphics for three websites, NONE of them will be profitable without any content.

If you’re in the habit of doing your easiest work first, what happens is that you will do the easiest part of one project, and then instead of finishing that project you’ll move on and do the easiest part of another project, and then the easiest part of another project.

In the example above, you would have been better off creating content for ONE site, and then doing the graphics. At the end of the day you might have one entire site completed, instead of little pieces of three sites.

There’s another big option that I can’t forget to mention…

Your hardest or least-liked tasks are very good indicators of things you should OUTSOURCE.

Back to our example, if you don’t like creating content, you should get someone else to create it for you. If you become effective at out-tasking/outsourcing, then you can focus on doing the parts of the business that you really DO enjoy.

If “doing” the business isn’t enjoyable for you, then your ultimate goal should be to outsource EVERYTHING, and spend your time doing something you enjoy more.

Back to the original topic of the $7 Secrets script. If you had any difficulty installing your script, this is something that you definitely should have out-tasked. Whereas you might have wasted an hour or more of your time messing around with it, you could have paid someone $10 or so on a site like RentACoder to do it for you.

I use RentACoder for a LOT of things these days, but I’ll have to save that for another edition.

As always, you are welcome to leave your comments here in the blog. Feel free to share your best April Fools day story too!

Have a great day!

28 thoughts on “Do This First

  1. Robin

    I like my food too much to pull that sort of foolhardy joke. I suspect my wife would have said something like: “that’ll teach you”. 🙂

  2. Ulla

    Hallo from Sweden,

    I was thinking upon what Eric told about darkness and this come to me;

    I can´t stop to think about Why I can’t stop doing things I know are negative or harmful and start doing things that will improve my health, career, finances, relationships and overall life!

    During those time I come into a darkness it doesn´t matter what I am doing and everything goes wrong in life by then. In polarity and at another time in life I have come in to a light time and everything goes my way. So, where can I found balance in life?
    This plays out behind the scen or in the subconscious mind that can play trick to make one fale or have success also in the life of business.

    Warm Regards

  3. Anthony Elias

    Nice one Eric you made click and read the email. I got one for ya I just made $30,000 this month yah right I wish.
    Google is getting into it also, I’m sure everyone has seen this already but just in case you have been in a cave to day check this out.

  4. Donna

    Very funny! I do not feel like opening the yard sale today and almost hung a sign April fool’s were closed. But, were open!
    Two weeks ago I decided to light one of the smoke bombs we were, WE WERE selling. I never lite one and will never lite one again, after 4 hours in the ER with 3rd degree burns, if that wasn’t enough the medication made me sick. I did not get much sleep. Of course I had to burn my mouse finger. I have become a nine finger typist for a while longer.
    Funny Yard Sale doing good on land. The internet hasn’t taken off very fast. Eric’s tell me what you think I could learn to improve my site. I am starting bulk sales this month and added new items per week. I know this is not your expertise, however, would like your opinion.
    We found an expert to help us with our website, which is not cheat. We signed up for free traffic, by the way has increased my traffic and that is it. You get what you pay for.

  5. Akili Kumasi

    Eric, thanks for the post of the five hard working internet marketers who followed through to get their websites listed above. Congratulations to the five of you. I found each of your opportunities to be very interesting.

    You were absolutely right about “focus” and getting the hard stuff done first. It reminds me of Stephen Covey of “7 Habits for Highly Effective People” fame. He talked about putting the “big rocks in first” in terms of doing what is most important first and building around that.

    Both are great lessons on how to succeed.


    (Just delete this P.S. below if it falls under spam or you think it to be an inappropriate post)

    P.S. I also purchased the $7.00 secrets from you and sure wanted to get my book up and didn’t. It is not of the same genre as the others – and in fact I have since moved to give that book away free as a means of getting more traffic to this nascent site ( The book is called “101 Women in the Bible: Bible Scriptures and Biblical Lessons.” Anyone can get a copy of this book by sending an e-mail to

  6. April Dennis

    Wow Eric! You described me pretty well. I also believe in using the freelance sites. I once paid someone $20 to change a 0 to a 1 in the config file, but it saved me hours (and my mind) trying to figure out why it wasnt working properly. I’m a webmaster not a programmer. So much changes everyday sometimes its hard to keep up!

    See ya!

  7. Terry

    Eric,That was OK joke,but on your wife I don`t dude.I guess me being married to the same women for 33 years and now loosing her to cancer last June makes me think of all thr paranks I pulled over the years.Well living here in colorado(Sterling) We are close to each other it is funny I never ran into you.Well keep up the good work dude I safe all of your emails.My be some day I`ll finally make some cash online tryed to many times and failed.Later

  8. Veronica

    Eric!…and here I was reading the story of the broken ankle and feeling so sorry for you, thinking you must have incredible tolerance to pain as you were only “moaning painfully” when in fact you should have been screaming in agony! I hope Melissa packed a mighty punch and not just a gentle tap.

    Melissa, give him another one now! lol

    I had forgotten about April Fools Day but now this following comment from a well known marketer’s newsletter, makes sense. And to think I wasted hours worrying over this just when I had finally got going using adwords!

    “Search Marketing Expert Vinny Lingham is reporting that Google will be
    dropping their popular pay per click advertising model in favor of a CPM
    (cost per thousand impressions) model.

    From Vinny’s Blog:
    “Google will no longer accept Cost Per Click (CPC) bids. Apparently, this
    is in anticipation of more branding dollars moving online and Google will
    still utilize Clickthrough rates in determining Quality Score, but will
    charge for ads on a CPM (Cost per Thousand Impression) basis. My
    sources tell me that the new CPM rates are expected to earn more
    effective revenue with advertisers that have low clickthrough rates
    and also allow them to embed advertising within the newly acquired
    YouTube network.”

    Read the post here:

    Well I hope it is a prank…….hmmm!




  10. Steve Hards

    I had a look at the last of the five sites . Does the owner really expect to make big bucks with such basic grammatical and spelling mistakes? I’d never buy from someone who doesn’t know the difference between ‘there’ and ‘their’, etc.

    Here’s an offer to any site owners. When you are satisfied with the final draft of your copy I will proof read and correct it for you for $25 per page. Pay by PayPal. You will find my email address on my website if you want to take up this offer.

  11. Steve

    We had a good April fools today. There has been this big discussion on our high school moving the graduation from this large center to a much smaller center. About 1/3 the size. So everyone has been told that they can only have 8 people attend, while all the other years, you could have as many as you want.
    Well in the paper today, with all the controversy over this smaller venue, they said that because of all of the griping that they were canceling the ceremonies and the students would have the high school diploma’s mailed.
    Well I can tell you this was not very funny and I think that our town and the high school is going to get a lot more griping, if you did not read the second page that said this was an April Fools………..
    [url=]Ipod Accessories[/url]

  12. MobilePhoneSecretsRevealed

    Mate, you got me there, thanks for that I was feeling very emotional that my the person who has helped me in the internet markerting arena has injured himself.

    Good stuff, might get my own back next year.

    Thanks for the tips Eric,

  13. Ryan Bessling


    This isn’t an April Fools joke I pulled on anybody but this is one that I think Google has pulled on a few people. Check out this link on google’s site. You need to click on the links on that page to get the whole story. Here is the link.

    Do you think this is real or an April Fools joke?
    Either way…this is the S4!t

    Ryan Bessling

  14. Robert

    You got me Eric! Seeing it is April 2 here in Australia when I opened your email April fools day was not on my radar. Having broken my ankle, here I was thinking poor guy that is a bummer and I was feeling sympathetic until I came over here to the blog. You are lucky your wife got over the prom April fools stunt.



  15. J. R. Reece

    Hi Eric,

    You deserve another hit. My husband would’ve been sleeping the rest of the night without me after something like that. That was not a nice joke.

    Joking is fun, but never forget the story about the boy who cried wolf.

  16. Greg

    Eric, you got me. I read your email and said to my wife- “hey Eric broke his leg too.” then I came to your blog and realized your joke. It struck me that you broke your ankle, because I currently have a broken leg, in 4 places including the ankle. I broke it up at Beaver Meadows, Jan 20. I mention Beaver Meadows because it is just west of Fort Collins where I live, as it appears you do too. Maybe I’ll get to meet you someday, “brother”.
    Thanks for your Tips, I need all the help I can get, trying to make a living online since I have missed 7 weeks of work. I didn’t know about you until about 5 weeks ago, so I missed the challenge.

  17. Ron Hands

    Saw your message and ran to my closet to get my new crutches which I was going to send to you.
    We cannot keep a good man down!
    While I am somewhat of a computer novice I am “champing at the bit” to get material up and running.
    I guess the word patience is what I need as I believe it will all fit together shortly seeing I have only been at this part time for about a month. It is tax time and that must come first for my 30+ clients.
    I need to get in to the web stuff full time as I am through traveling for consulting work at age 75. I have much knowledge and plan to use it here.
    Your messages and downloads have been very helpful. I have a friend who is very computer oriented and said he will help me organize my site on zoofer. I can not figure how to get info on it with the needed stuff to tell a customer what to do, how to pay.

    Thanks again and I am glad you are OK and well.

    Regards RON Hands

  18. Helena

    A pinch and a punch for the first of the month and no return.

    A punch and a kick for being so quick and no return.

  19. Kai

    LOL…you’re evil. Funny, but evil. I hope your ankle is ok, if you did actually injure it.

    I think your tips are great – I’ve swiped the permalink for this to run in my IMcarnival, I hope you don’t mind.


  20. Eleni

    Hey Eric,

    So glad that your ankle isn’t REALLY broken! I read your email and well, you fooled me, that’s for sure….hahaha Glad your ok!

    Good point about getting the hard stuff done first, I’ll tell ya, I have’ been struggleing with getting my blog going, I know seems like it would be simple, but NOoooooo not for me apparently, I can’t figure out how to just install this darn WordPress and put up the VRE Templates with the content and Adsense already built in while installing WP, even thought everyone says it’s easy to do, I can’t seem to figure it out…….(duhhh,me feeling stupid)–so I just about gave up on the whole thing altogether, but now that I read your article maybe I will go head and try it again! Thanks, for the advice and suggestions, and I am glad your REALLY ok! Take Care!



    P.S. If you have any suggestions on help with WP and those VRE templates I would REALLY appreciate it, (by the way your videos are really good, it’s just the blog stuff is new for me) so take car and and thank you very much!

  21. Mike Russell

    Izrul Fizal asked about Content Composer. I’ve had it since last year – it rocks! If you are editing PLR, or writing articles, you need this. Also, the free, ‘lite’ version can be given (yeah, yeah passive voice) to subcontractors who re-write for you, thus negating the need to set everything up more than once – they can work on your Content Composer files directly. BTW, I’ll consider checking pages at $25 a pop too!


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