Three phases to consume free content effectively & grow your business

How to be smart and effective with the way you consume free content

There is so much great, free content on starting and running a business today. You can learn almost anything online.

But, how do you make sure that you are not wasting time and energy on just reading and listening while taking advantage of the information that’s out there? And when there is so much of it, how do you avoid getting overwhelmed by it?

You can so easily end up with too much information, confused about what to do and yet scared of missing out on some important insight.

With so much information available all the time, it is easy to become burned out. You need to be mindful about how you consume content.

In this blog, I am going to take you through the three phases of content consumption and show you how you can continue to learn effectively while growing your business.

This blog article is a summary of the related podcast episode.

Click here to listen to the tips mentioned in this article. 

Are you a content junkie?

If you find yourself spending hours checking out free content online, you need to be aware of why you’re doing it.

Is it just for pleasure or personal growth? Or are you really planning to use it to develop your business? Are you being a conscious consumer with clear intentions about what you’re consuming?

My first tip is to be clear on what your goal is in consuming content.

The three phases of content consumption

If you are planning to use free content to develop your business, you need to be aware of these three phases and recognize which one you are currently in.

1. The Exploration Phase: high content consumption but low implementation

In this phase, you are exploring ideas for your business and learning a lot but implementing very little. This is normal when you need to learn how to do something new!

But there are still important things to consider. It is easy in this phase for time to just slip away as you consume more and more content. All the time you are spending on this can give you the illusion that you are actually doing something to turn your idea into action.

It is also easy to become overwhelmed during this phase, and that can stop you from taking much-needed action to turn your idea into a reality.

Here’s what you should do to maximize the impact of this phase:

  • Set a deadline to stop exploring and start taking action to achieve your goal
  • Choose your top 3 resources and stick with them – these should be the ones that resonate most with you and have given you the greatest insights
  • Create an email address for all other newsletters and alerts to avoid being distracted by them. Go through them at a scheduled time, around once a week.
  • Create a system that allows you to easily find the most useful information again

Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to get stuck in this phase!

At some point, you need to stop learning and start implementing.

2. The Implementation Phase – a balance between learning and 


Congratulations, you have started taking action towards achieving your goal. 

You are still probably consuming a lot of content in parallel with your implementation because as soon as you start implementing, you will find new things that you need to learn about!

This can get overwhelming very quickly and it is easy to get stuck and not know what to focus on next.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone – for example, you might be intimidated by a new piece of technology but push yourself to try it. Take a deep breath and be patient with yourself. Your mindset and your confidence are the things to really focus on here. You can do this!
  • Build your action plan – you need to plan what you are going to do and schedule it in your calendar. Be realistic about what time you have and how long each task will take. For help with scheduling and managing your time, check out these two blogs:
  • Don’t wait for everything to be perfect! Aim for good enough. Waiting for perfection will stop you from making progress and actually getting anything done. This is hard but so important. 
  • Find a group of like-minded peers or accountability partners who can help you move forward. The Tandem Nomads Facebook Group is a great resource for this.
  • Invest in the expertise and support you need if you want to get faster results – free content will not always be able to give you the support you need. If you’ve spent a lot of time with free content, and it is still not happening for you, you may need to invest in the right resources, whether it is a coach, training, a mastermind group or even outsourcing a particular piece of work. This type of investment will allow you to see results more quickly. So often, these investments can be the key to starting to make money and grow your business.

3. The Growth Phase – low content/learning and a lot of implementing

By this phase, you are spending most of your time implementing everything you have learned and growing your business. This is a great place to be – you are focused and know where you are going.

At this point, you will be creating your own systems and methods for your business. You may be using some proven strategies and tools but you will probably be fine-tuning them to suit your unique needs. Pay attention to what you’re doing with this because it may be something that you can teach other people in the future!

The phase does come with a big challenge – business growth often means that you don’t have time or mental bandwidth to continue to learn. This can be dangerous if you want to stay competitive and relevant to your potential customers. So be sure to make time and space to allow yourself to grow with your business.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Get out! Don’t get so busy that you skip going to meet new people or investing in new experiences.
  • Make time to be inspired, inside and beyond your industry. It is great to find time to keep up with what’s going on in your industry but look beyond that to hobbies and experiences that inspire you.
  • Connect with others who will inspire and challenge you – masterminds or a club are great for meeting and working with a really diverse range of people.

Whatever phase you are in right now, remember to be mindful and intentional about the content you are consuming. Don’t let it become a distraction from taking those vital steps you need to achieve your goals. And when you realize those goals, stay curious so that you can continue to achieve even more!

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