Planning Your Online Future: How far do you look ahead?

The best chess players can look ahead and visualize an accurate picture of how the game will play out, assuming a wide selection of moves in the present. Of all the skills that a chess player can have, this ability to look into the future and form accurate models of how things will play out, differentiates the good chess players from the great ones. Quite simply, the best chess players not only look the deepest, but also have a more accurate ability to perceive the consequences.

I think that the same principle applies to the Internet Professional. The most successful Internet professionals are the ones that can see trends emerging before the trends actually go mainstream. They are the ones that stay three steps ahead of the SEO curve. They are the ones who look at the truckload of gold at the peak of the mountain, and not the sparse fairy dust currently at their feet.

So how far do you plan your online future? Are you thinking long-term and running for the mountain peak? Or are you more concerned with collecting every last bit of gold fairy dust where you’re currently standing?

12 thoughts on “Planning Your Online Future: How far do you look ahead?

  1. Hmmm…I’d love to plan for years in advance. But in reality, I can only plan until next year. Why? Well, you’ll never know what new trends will hit the year after next or if I’d suddenly think of something better as I go along. I love planning, but I always leave my spontaneity some space since I find that my best ideas always come unexpectedly.

  2. While i’m used to planning way ahead (and using project mgmt, like Chris suggested), it’s so much harder to plan for online successes because the parameters are so different. I don’t yet feel like I’m in control of my online destiny, whereas when I worked offline (even with some Internet access), it was easier to set a goal and achieve it.

  3. How does one plan years in advance? I can look plan ahead for a year and sort of create an outlook for after that,but how do you make a plan for this business for say three or five years ahead?

  4. I do love to plan… my last job was as a sales- and project manager for a large multinational.

    Unfortunately it seems that my planning skills in the cyber world are lacking a bit. LOL Either I’m not working in the correct manner or I’m setting my goals to high. I think it’s a combination of both.

    I have one 1.5 year goal and then I want to move together with my girl somewhere sunny instead of this dreadful Dutch climate.

    All my other goals are each two months taking a holiday break. I don’t have any special planned goals in between those holiday breaks; I just give it all till I can’t hack it anymore. Pfff and then I go on vacation;).

    I don’t do any real short term planning. My experience is that our business is for too dynamic with far too many changing trends for planning. In my opinion; now a days it’s all about improvising.

    I make long hours, I give it all and try to enjoy the (little) free time that I have. I’m totally focused on my long term planning. The short term is just too unrealistic.

  5. I love planning (and I’m good at it), but execution can be a problem at times.

    To answer the question – you should look ahead 5 years, 1 yr, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, and 1 week. What you want to do this week may not count in the long run, or what you want to do in the long run may require immediate action in the next 3 months.

    Look as far ahead as possible, plan it out in detail and then remember to stay flexible as you get down to the hard bit (execution).

  6. … I’m just not that very good at it.

    I remember in the fall of 2006 I “planned” to be in a position where by XMAS 2007 I can take my ‘offline’ job and SHOVE IT and go full time online!

    It’s hard to plan without keeping in mind:

    little expense = little effort = little gross earnings = little profits

    big expenses = big effort = big gross earnings = still = little profits.

    I just don’t get how one can say “I’ll plan for new trends in 2008 or 2009” and think that’s really a plan. It’s nice to forecast, but it’s not a static outcome it’s dynamic and changing trends right now = not a year from now. Maybe I lack that long-term focus needed…. ?

  7. I think the challenge is to keep track of new trends in your niche while also being able to implement the day to day actions that will capitalize on those trends.

  8. It’s always good to plan for the long haul, I think. This time of the year I try to plan for the entire year ahead on all of my blogs. While doing that I do keep an eye on trends and upcoming advances and products for future research and reference. It’s important for me (and everyone, I think) to look at the big picture, if not for me, for my family.

  9. to plan ahead as far as I can ‘see’ … What’s important as well is that you keep monitoring your environment and keep doing verifying what you see happening by researching, so you can adjust your tactics when the landscape changes…

    Lex – internet business blog for web entrepreneurs, small online business, web developers and serious bloggers .

  10. I work towards long term goals. I’ve had some speed bumps but I am getting there. One of the best and most valuable skills I ever learned was project management. If you think about it a project is a lot like a chess game. Planning ahead, mitigating risk, working towards a goal, while reacting to events as they happen.

  11. I tend to look 3-5 years ahead. However, looking ahead with wishes is not the same thing as taking the right action. That’s where I’ve had to learn along the way and reassess. A chessmaster also knows consequences ahead of time, is already an expert. That means anyone wanting to be an Internet Professional first needs to gain the general experiences, then start looking ahead, and staying steps ahead. So be patient, keeping learning and applying what you learn.

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