Photo by Irargerich
The best thing about the internet is the wealth of free, in-depth information on almost any topic.
If there’s something we want to do, but don’t know how, the internet is often the first place we turn – and so it should be.
The rising class of self-taught experts is impressive to behold, and the number of self-styled teachers is staggering.
If you read blogs in this niche often, you probably know a lot about how to do things just like the experts: how to make money blogging, how to attract a storm of traffic to your site, how to spread your work far and wide through social media, how to launch a product and how to write the world’s best blog post.
But whenever we outline the perfect way to do something – the ideal process that all the experts use – we also outline a dozen wrong ways.
Pitfalls to be avoided, common mistakes, amateur errors. As the information on doing everything right becomes more and more prevalent, there are fewer and fewer excuses to do anything wrong – to be less than perfect.
Doing the wrong thing
Have you ever spent so much time trying to do things like the experts do, to get everything right, that you found you ended up achieving nothing at all?
For example, I expect there are a lot of people out there with an encyclopedic knowledge of how to make money from blogs – who know all the right ways to pick a niche, launch a site, put the right ads in all the right places, and sit back and make a killing.
I also suspect there are thousands of people like this who have never actually made more than small-change through blog advertising, despite dozens or even hundreds of hours worth of study.
We listen to people who make it look so easy, when really, only a small percentage of people succeed.
Because we tend to believe the people who don’t succeed have done something wrong, we’re desperate not to be one of those people. We strive for perfection, and because of this, often end up doing nothing at all.
I think there are a lot of extremely intelligent people, brimming with potential, who’ve spent a long time learning how to get things right – with much less to show for it than they could have.
You never started that website. You never launched that business. You never wrote that eBook.
You spent so many days and weeks learning how to not mess up – how to follow in the footsteps of the experts – that it stopped being about the idea and started being about following a strict process to the letter.
The flame left you, and your brilliant idea has still never seen the light of day.
My personal notebooks are full of ideas like these – some bad ideas, some good ideas, some great ideas – that were never put out into the world because I spent so much time trying to guarantee their success by focusing on every conceivable thing – other than the idea itself!
It almost doesn’t matter what your idea is – the process is the same:
You’re missing out on sales/traffic if you don’t have a Twitter account, and a StumbleUpon account, and a Digg account, and Facebook fan page – but they have to be active, and regularly updated in an authentic voice…
Whatever it is, it needs a blog to draw-in traffic, and the blog should be updated at least a few times a week – definitely by you, not by somebody else…
If you’re launching a product, you need to make sure the niche is hot, and if it’s hot, you’ve got to start building an email list of around 5,000 subscribers, and you’ve got to update both the blog and email list, and have another one for your affiliates, and you’ve got to write a free eBook on-top of your product or you won’t get any email subscribers, but don’t forget about JV partners, or outsourcing grunt-work to a grateful VA in the Phillipines, who can also help you to release your content in video, audio, text…
All this, instead of:
I want to make something really, really, good – make something I would love, and want to tell people about. Then once it’s made, I’ll put it out into the world and find a way to make it work.
Maybe we have to earn the right to be perfect, first?
The experts are able to follow complex plans and tick-off exhaustive marketing lists because they have sweated on their stuff for years.
Yet, we expect to follow closely in the footsteps of experts when making our very first business or creative ideas a reality. We’re like the beginner guitarist expecting to learn Purple Haze on our first day – our brains aren’t ready yet.
Sooner or later we give up, frustrated that we weren’t able to get it right – we couldn’t execute that many different riffs and techniques, all deployed with speed and confidence. Instead of eeking out Ode to Joy and putting some music into the world, we stop playing all-together.
If you’re someone with a lot of ideas and a lot of potential, who has struggled to make these ideas a reality, to deliver them to other people, and to make a profit off of them – even just enough to cover the costs of the internet bill – then I’d like to challenge you to approach things differently this time around.
If you’re willing, I’d like you to try focusing only on the core, common-sense, gut-instinctaspects of making your idea a reality and a success. And that’s it.
No complex strategies, no reading-up on the expert opinions, no elaborate marketing plans. You may even have to ignore what you already know.
If you’re certain that successfully launching an email newsletter requires a free resource, it’s probably a good idea to deliberately not include it.
This forces you to focus on the bare essentials – the thing that inspired you in the first place – the prospect of creating an awesome email newsletter that will market itself.
Instead of releasing your web app with a staff blog, forum and elaborate social media strategy across five platforms – try limiting the web app to doing only one thing for now: doing what it’s meant to do, and doing it well.
Instead of an elaborate social media strategy, challenge yourself to promote the app on the back of a single Twitter account. You might just find that the old saying is true: limitations encourage creativity.
If you have an idea you’ve always dreamed of making a reality, but have never succeeded before, it can’t hurt to try a completely new method.
Work-out the bare minimum things you would need to do (diligently and well) in order to bring your idea to life and put it out into the world.
I believe the success of anything you make is 90% based on how amazing it is, and 10% based on the other stuff you do to try to get people to know about it and like it.
But you’ll find most people spend 90% of their time worrying about the superficialities and 10% of their total time actually bringing the idea into the world.
Once you’ve cut all the corners and ignored all the advice and have actually made something a reality, sold your first copy, received an email from a new fan, conducted the simplest and briefest launch in history – then I think you’ve earned the right to add a little bit more complexity next time.
And trust me – once you’ve launched something you’ve built, you won’t be able to stop, and each time you’ll get better at it.
Pull an old idea out of storage – one of the ones you thought was ‘great’ at the time – and work out the shortest route to getting the basics right and building it into reality.
Deliberately ignore advice you thought was essential. Strive for imperfection. Limit yourself to almost child-like simplicity.
Just get it out there.
Why I’ll be joining you
Over six months ago I started writing a short book about something I’m passionate about – helping bloggers make good money with their own skills instead of advertising and affiliate programs, which are useless to so many people.
I was so excited about the contents of the book and the insights I’d be able to share that I was determined to guarantee its success.
I enrolled in online courses about product launches and read dozens of posts on email list building. I chewed through enough blog posts on creating your own products to last most people a life-time.
And somewhere along the line, I realized that most of the things that were portrayed as essential to success were things I didn’t particularly enjoy doing.
I started to worry that if I didn’t do them, the book would fail, and my hard work would be wasted, and few people would get to learn the strategies I wanted to teach.
So the file sat untouched for a few months, gathering digital dust, while I moved on to other things.
I worked, I dreamed up new ideas, I traveled around France and Italy for six weeks and didn’t think about much of anything at all except where I was and what I was doing, and the people (and two dogs) I missed back home.
My passion to write the book and share it had fizzled out because I was petrified I would deviate from ‘correct’ strategy and doom it to failure.
Other ideas have been through the same process and didn’t live to tell the tale, but this book stuck with me.
I thought about picking up the process again, trying to push-through were I’d failed last time – but I knew it wouldn’t work. Something had to change.
I finally did it…
I wrote The Blog Business Funnel
That’s when I decided to focus on one thing and one thing only: finishing the book, and making the finished product something I could be immensely proud of.
I had to discard my previous ways of thinking and learn to see success in one thing only: the end product.
After more than six months of work on the book in total, I’m excited simply to put it out into the world.
Though I know a whole lot about how to hold a successful launch, I’ll be following little of what I know. I won’t be releasing teaser videos, or launching an email newsletter with a free eBook, or trying to get coverage on A-list blogs.
Instead, I’ll be spending 90% of the time I spend working on the book alone – making sure it’s the best product it can be, and that it teaches you how to:
- Build a profitable freelance business fed through a blog
- Make a good living doing work you love, so you can be happier
- Create a thriving and popular blog through a variety of advanced strategies
- Throw away your dependence on ads and affiliate programs
The advice within the book is borne of the strategies I used to completely change my life and my finances in 2008, by going from working a crummy part-time job at a bakery to earning high four-figures a month as a freelancer only through my blog.
I was a complete beginner back then, having never freelanced before – so I feel confident I can teach other complete beginners how to do the same, whether you’re a blogger who doesn’t freelance, or a freelancer who hasn’t yet created a blog that’s a core aspect of your business.
Most of all, the book is written to help anyone who is fed up with pouring time and effort into advertising and commission-based schemes that earn nothing but small change.
Aren’t you just sick of it? I know I am!