Though I don’t claim to be a ‘know-all’, I have enough experiences - both success and failures - to my name. And it makes me feel inclined to help you. So grab a cup of coffee, because this is going to be rather long-winded.
One last thing; to all those who are struggling, take this as a list of personal inventory against which you can measure yourself. On careful inspection, you might uncover habits that are keeping you hog-tied to the ground. And don’t take anything personally, because I don’t even know you. I don’t have any reasons to criticize or insult you.
Let’s get started…
NOTE: The links that are provided are not affiliate links.
What You NEED TO DO To Succeed Online:
1. First and Foremost, A Reality Check:
Sure, there is real money to be made from IM. Many successful warriors, me included, are a testimony to that fact.
But a friendly warning; there is nothing such as ‘quick money’ (sorry to burst the bubble). If you believe that you can work very little and make a lot of cash, then you are headed in the wrong direction even before you start. That theory does not apply to those who are getting started. It is the end result for folks who have worked their ass off building real businesses online.
You need to stop believing the ‘dream’ that the IM gurus have perpetuated. It is a vicious ‘dream’ that can leave you broke and frustrated.
Building a real business online is more or less like a 9 to 5 job in the beginning, and sometimes more. If you thought of the internet as easy money, I would like to say, without disrespect to anybody, that maybe internet marketing is not for you. However, if you are ready to dispel the ‘quick money’ notion out of the window, then read on. We need to cover a lot.
2. Get Your Mindset Right:
“Every person is what he is, because of the Thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind”.
I won’t say anything on this subject. Instead, I will let the classic book - Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – do all the talking. Get that book ASAP, read it at least 3 times, but more importantly, apply the principles contained.
I am a walking example of the soundness of the principles discussed in that book.
This step is NOT OPTIONAL.
Here is a link to that inspirational monster:
Think And Grow Rich
3. Change The Way You Think:
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want” – Zig Ziglar
Majority of the struggling marketers with whom I have interacted, were guilty of the ‘getting without giving’ syndrome.
Instead of focusing on how you can get people to give you money, focus on how to can deliver massive value and results. Create solutions that make the life of your clients/subscribers easy. Always over-deliver on your clients/subscribers expectations.
Focus on building real relationships with people, and you will be GOLD. Be honest and ethical in your approach and you can go a long way in your IM business.
4. Focus On Building A Real Business:
“Treat it as a Business, and it will pay you like a business. Treat it as a hobby, and it will pay you like a hobby.”
One of the most pressing problems I observe online is that people are more concerned with building a ‘money maker’, rather than developing a real business. The major flaw with a “money maker” is, they will fall apart sooner or later. So, if you are not planning for long term, then you might not be able to sustain your income.
Draft a business plan and IMPLEMENT it. If you don’t have a plan, you will have no idea where you are heading, and even less of an idea how to get there.
Here is a post that goes into the nitty gritty of business planning. This thread is a part of the old warrior forum. Scroll down and read the post by Bev Clement.
Read Bev Clemet's Post
And I sincerely pray for Bev Clement to get well soon. You were truly an inspiration and we all miss you.
5. The Necessary Skill:
Your written communication is the single most important skill in the online world. Paul Myers rightly says so.
The basic premise of succeeding online is to know ‘how to sell’ – whether selling services, info-products, or some other stuff. Heck, even if you write articles for others, your written word should be up to the mark.
If you can hold the attention of the reader, elevate his imagination, compel him to take some action with your written skills, then what you have achieved is the HOLY GRAIL of internet marketing.
Here’s how I improved my writing by several notches:
You might be surprised, even shocked, to know that English is my ‘second language’. When I started online, communicating with people was among the hardest tasks for me.
In my pursuit to become a better writer, I stumbled upon a piece of advice given by legendary copywriters. The ‘sum and substance’ of that advice goes like this: If you want to write like a specific copywriter or in a specific style, you needed to copy out in your own handwriting the entire ad (sales letter) by that copywriter, or an ad that resembled the style you were striving to achieve. There is some sort of a psychological reason for that.
I decided to apply that advice to ‘general writing’, because my grammar seriously needed a brush up. Writing correct English was my highest priority; copywriting was the next step.
Fortunately for me, I found a great role model in Paul Myers. His writings mesmerized me; so I opted-in to receive his newsletters. And every newsletter that I have received from him in the last 1 year, have been diligently copied out in my own handwriting. The result is there for all to see. My writings do not resemble Paul Myers’s even by a long stretch of imagination; but, nonetheless, my application of the ‘advice’ has made me a much better writer than before. I still do make mistakes, but, rarely though.
Here is a link to Paul Myers’s newsletter if anyone’s interested:
6. Get Yourself A Real Mentor (if you can afford it):
It took me some time to get my business off the ground. I struggled in the beginning, not really knowing what to do.
It wasn't until I got a mentor that things really started looking bright. In addition to giving me a more concrete direction to head in, the most important thing he gave me was hope. I felt that with him on my side, I'd achieve my goals a lot quicker. And I did. He kept me on a tight leash and made sure that I followed through on all my plans.
But how do you find a mentor? Primarily, you should be on the lookout for someone who has successfully done what you are trying to do. For example, if you want to earn $2000/month freelancing, find someone who has already achieved that goal. Approach them, and if they are interested, expect to pay them some money. And make sure that it’s an exclusive one-on-one mentorship.
7. Stick To One Task At A Time:
When I started online, I was trying to do a million things simultaneously; and as you would expect, I failed miserably. The same is the case with many new marketers. Also, many marketers are led astray by ‘the latest secret to make money’ courses that are launched almost every other day.
By sticking to a business model that works, you will increase your odds for success. If you jump from one idea to another, without giving one at least some time to flourish, you can never make money from them. You need to pick up a business model and stick to it, with undying persistence and patience. As I already said, it takes time to build a business online.
8. Experiment And Learn From Your Mistakes:
In the beginning, I screwed up a lot of things. And if you are going to do IM, even you might screw it up on more than one occasion.
Don’t fret over these mistakes. Those who succeed are generally the ones who learn a lesson or two from their mistakes. Every step you take, even though you may make mistakes, is a step closer to your goal. You need to stop sulking over your mistakes, correct them and then move on.
Sometimes it will feel like you're going in circles (and if you're not taking notice of the feedback, this could happen), but, if you can ask yourself what went wrong and what you could have done to improve things, you'll get closer.
9. For The Umpteenth Time - TAKE ACTION:
Far too many people are a victim of “paralysis by analysis”. And it's easy to get caught in this trap. When you're new and you lack the confidence about what to do, fear can take over and you worry about messing up.
All your meticulous planning and hard work will go down the drain, if you don’t take action.
I just cannot stress the importance of taking ACTION. Once you start taking constant action, I promise you, you'll have the confidence to take new paths without fear of sliding off the rails.
Your best plan is only as good as your worst action. So take lots of action and refine them over time based on the results you are getting.
10. Specialize. Niche Yourself. Be Different:
If you can’t differentiate yourself from the scores of businesses online, you will be lost among the crowd. You need to be innovative and unique.
Specialization is the order of the day. To make a premium amount of money, you need to specialize; you need to be an expert in a certain market.
Consider this: If you needed an eye operation to be performed, would you rather visit a general doctor or an eye specialist? And who would command a higher fee?
11. Test, Test, And Test Some More:
If you aren’t testing and tracking, you are leaving money on the table.
You need to track and test your campaigns, in order to know what is bringing you the most results; so that you can focus more attention to it.
Here is a great little guide (by John Ritz) that goes into the mechanics of testing. It’s free, and there is no opt-in either.
12. Avoiding Information Overload:
With so much information floating around, one can easily become a victim of information overload. One way that has helped me beat this trap is by following the 10-to-50 rule. The rule says that for every ten minutes that you read, you should invest 50 minutes in its implementation. The key here is to take action more than the amount of time you spend reading.
Phew!! This one got really long. I could have covered everything in much more detail but this is the best I could do tonight. I just wanted to give you a gentle nudge in the right direction. And I sincerely hope that I have managed to do so.
Go out all guns blazing. Don’t worry about the criticism some folks might throw in your way. You don’t need anyone’s approval to succeed. You just need to approve of yourself. It’s your life; go make the most of it. Know your worth and the value you bring to your clients. Be patient. Be persistent. Sooner or later, you will be on your way to success.
One last word I would like to share with you folks.
Some of you might read this, and say, “Bruce..Thanks for the post but I already KNOW THIS”. I cringe every time I hear those words. And I would like to take you head-on by stating that “You Don’t Know Anything”. Yes “YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE DONE IT”. The underlying meaning of that statement is so profound that it merits another repetition.
“YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE DONE IT”.
So don't give up on anything until you have actually DONE it, no matter how small the idea is.
Wishing You Success..