An Open Letter To Those Struggling To Get Started In Online Business
A letter from David Risley to those who are still struggling to find their way to getting started with their online business in the right way.
If you’re here, then you’re probably looking for a change. You’re in a job you want to get out of, or perhaps you’re staring at a pending retirement… or perhaps you’re already retired and need to bring in some extra income.
… and you’re looking at building an online business to make it happen.
First of all, congratulations!
Seriously, the simple fact that you’re seeking a change is a fantastic thing and, as I see it, means you’re better off than the millions of people out there who never even bother to look for something different.
Now here’s the problem with where you’re at right now…
You’re actually at the most difficult stage of this entire journey.
You’re at that stage where you have the desire to make it happen – and you’ve heard that perhaps blogging could be part of the way to go. So, you go out and you search the internet for people talking about how to do that.
… but then the information overload sets in.
… and all the various avenues out there, with all those tools, all those plugins, all those techniques and courses.. all of it leads to pure overwhelm.
And you get worried because you don’t really have a niche idea yet. You don’t know where you can add value – or perhaps you don’t feel as if you have anything to offer.
You haven’t made that first dollar online, so you have no proof of concept. All you have is other peoples’ blog posts, lots of ideas, but nothing SOLID and STABLE that you can sink your teeth into so you can get started and feel you’re making real headway in this seemingly VAST subject of internet marketing.
It is easy to get frustrated.
It is easy to get annoyed. To get jaded. Especially when you see that many of the “gurus” out there which talk about this stuff pretty much have made all their money by talking about this same stuff.
Is the idea of making money online just one big circle-jerk, where you have to teach people to make money in order to make money? Seems that way, sometimes.
If YOU are at this stage – and all that I said above just rings true to you – then you’re at the most difficult stage that there is.
I acknowledge that – and I know its hard.
I spend a lot of time thinking about it, actually. I try to figure out the best way to guide people through this most difficult stage. If I could get a person through THIS stage, then I’ve got ’em. 🙂 The information I have inside the Academy training vault can be put to immediate use to grow the business and enhance revenue.
But, getting through that initial stage is always a challenge. And it is a challenge for me, as your instructor.
In my training, I teach about how your entire online business should be based around the delivery of a core transformation. You are delivering an outcome to your customer… and helping them transform some area of their life from their current status quo to something different.
My entire business – and my entire mission here at the Blog Marketing Academy – is about helping you achieve the transformation that YOU want with regard to your online business goals. I am in the business of helping people build up their authority platform on their blog, set it up as a marketing machine, and have a business back-end behind the blog in order to deliver the transformation you do to your customers.
But, the beginning point of that transformation is where you’re at right now. The most difficult part. For you and me both, quite frankly. 🙂
I want to talk to you a bit about that today with this post. I can’t possibly cover everything I could say, but I have a few things to share.
See, I ask every new subscriber to my email list what their biggest challenge is. More often than not, it comes down to:
- Technical barriers and not knowing how to do the nerdy things associated with this business. Trust me, I’ve thought long and hard about this one… and I have a potential solution to it that I’ll talk about soon.
- Being totally inundated with information and literally not knowing which direction to go. I want to talk about this one below.
- Not having a firm business idea or any certainty as to a niche. Let’s talk about that one some more, too.
So, if you’d read this far, then there’s a good chance that one or more of those 3 things are a pretty big problem for you.
From my perspective, its simple odds. Those 3 challenges are the ones brought to me by new subscribers – at least 75% of the time.
At this stage of the game – and if I were coaching you personally through all this – my entire focus would be on:
- Getting some proof of concept for your business idea (and testing and iterating until we hit something), then…
- Making that first dollar.
That first dollar.
Its the most important dollar online you’ll ever make. Once you make the first one, the rest of them get easier. Because the hurdles you have to jump through just to get that first dollar represent the biggest ones – the ones listed in my top 3 above.
Once you have that first dollar, you’ve got SOMETHING from which to work off of. It is just plain easier.
So, that’d be my goal for you.
Now, how are we going to get there?
First off, this whole train won’t get off the ground if we don’t nip challenge #2 above in the bud right here and now.
How is anybody going to ever guide you through this, or give you a step-by-step kind of system to follow, if you’re so busy darting your eyes across every social media site, every blog, every video you can find? It just won’t work!
I mean, hell, if you’re at this stage of your business, then this very blog post is VERY important for you to read… yet there’s a good chance you’re so scattered right now that you don’t even get to this point in the blog post!
See what I mean?
We live in a world of ever-growing things vying for our attention, and because of it, we’re spread thin. Our attention is scattered. And it ROBS us of our ability to focus.
Your ability to FOCUS and PAY ATTENTION is one of the most VITAL skills you can possibly nurture. In many ways, it is practically a make/break point for whether you will ultimately succeed in this business or not.
It also happens to be a barrier that I can’t get you through. Only YOU can control it, and only YOU can fix it.
So, how do you fix information overload and overwhelm?
Simple. Stop staring at all that stuff!
Stop reading blog posts, stop following a ton of social media profiles, and instead institute a personal policy of what I call “just in time learning“.
JIT Learning is basically where you only pay attention to and learn the exact next thing you need to know in order to make the next step in your journey. And you outright ignore the rest of it.
If you don’t have a business idea yet, you have no business learning how to start a membership site, or learning how to do webinars, or…. you get the idea. All that stuff is OUT OF SEQUENCE. It isn’t in the right order. So, stop wasting your time.
So, you focus on ONE thing at a time. And that one thing is ONLY the very next thing you need to know to take your next step.
Ignoring the rest takes discipline. It can be hard to ignore all the cool ideas that come up when you’re listening to that podcast. Or to ignore that guru’s “income report” so you can wow yourself at the big dollar figure and daydream how cool it would be.
But, if you don’t exercise this discipline, then know that what you’re doing is simply living vicariously through somebody else rather than actually CREATING that reality for yourself. You’re going for a quick hit of hope – and nothing more. If you’re fine with that, well… that’s cool.
But, again, I’m in the business of delivering a transformation. So, I’m going to tell it like it is.
I want you to LIVE this reality – not simply read about it on some dude’s blog.
Now, of course, if I’m asking you to ignore all but your very next step, then it goes without saying that you need to know what that next step is so you’ll know where to focus.
Well, chances are you’re at Stage 1 of the 7 Stages. (Click to open up the 7 Stages To Building an Online Business in a new window)
Stage 1 is FOUNDATION.
And you only have 3 priorities right now:
- Identify your market, and the problem you intend to help them solve.
- Identify your avatar (in order words, get to know the people you want to serve)
- Identify your solution for them.
That’s it. Don’t waste time worrying about tweaking your blog theme, or figuring out all kinds of little blogging tactics. No, not yet.
This is Just In Time Learning… and what you need to learn right now is ONLY the stuff having to do with finding the right market for you.
You need to find Product / Market fit. In other words, find the right product to offer to the right market. Once we have that, we can work toward that first dollar. And, it’ll come a lot easier than you think once you nail the fit.
Now, how do you FIND something like this?
If you’ve spent most of your life working in a day job and not really having to think much about coming up with product ideas, then it can easily feel like an incredible mountain to climb just to discover your own target market.
It is made worse by all the incredibly BAD advice given on the topic.
Advice like “follow your passion”.
God, what a piece of “cop out” advice by some blog guru somewhere. Made worse by the fact that it is incomplete as hell.
I don’t care how passionate you are about something… if it isn’t something people would be willing to pay for, then its not a good idea. Simple as that.
Your passion CAN be a foundation for a great business, but it is NOT a requirement that you start a business based on your passion.
It IS a requirement that you are offering something people want to buy.
And I’m willing to bet you’ll discover a sudden passion in something that’s earning you money. 😉
Now, discovering this product/market fit is a brainstorming process.
It is also frought with lots of doubt, lots of personal second-guessing. After all, you have no real proof of concept yet, so you don’t really know it it’ll work.
But, here’s a little secret…
Even all the people you’ve probably read out there as experts or gurus in their respective markets… I’m willing to bet there’s a 98% chance that the business you know them for is NOT the one they originally saw themselves doing.
It is very rare that a person will arrive at a target market purely through pondering in their head about it… then go out and strike gold with it immediately. Almost everybody will “pivot” and end up doing something different. Sometimes not even the same thing.
Probably the biggest thing that will haunt YOU as you think about your target niche is going to be the “what if’s”.
What if it doesn’t work?
What if I fail at it?
What if I’m just a small player in a big pond?
It is part of the journey to pivot and make changes along the way. But, one thing I can guarantee you is that if you waste all your time at the beginning delaying the first step because you want to know all other steps past that will go perfectly, then you’ll never START.
Catch my drift?
The one thing that I encourage you to do – and I teach this inside the Academy – is to proceed through a niche idea on an iterative basis. Meaning, we’ll go through a series of little tests to see if the niche has legs, then you’re going to do some real-world tests. And you’re going to gather data. And you’ll be able to then make adjustments.
You won’t go “all in” and waste a bunch of time on a flawed idea because, if you follow along with me, you won’t get too far down the road without making your first “pivot”.
Its all part of the journey. Part of that transformation.
Earlier in this post, I talked about the problem of doing things out of sequence. It is what leads to the confusion of internet marketing and the information overload. Doing things out of sequence is a HUGE problem for people who are at this stage of the journey.
Well, it goes for figuring out your niche, too.
If you spend so much time figuring out every single possible outcome of a niche before even making the first step, then all you’re doing is allowing yourself to get paralyzed (a) by things which haven’t even happened yet, and (b) things which are grossly out of sequence for where you’re currently sitting.
It is time to start.
And if you’ve been busy learning and reading for the last several months (or years), trying to figure out this online business thing… and you’re still unclear about your own product / market fit…
… then it is time for you to start, too.
Stop spinning your wheels, man!
Let’s do this.
I’m not going to sell you a dream of push-button money or try to act like this whole thing is super easy. I think you’re smart enough to realize that anybody who spends all their time trying to sell you on that is a bulls*it artist.
It’ll take work. It’ll take some tenacity. And it won’t come to you instantly.
But, its worth it.
There IS a certain sequence of actions which best lead to the outcome you want here.
My entire business here is constantly working to finding the perfect sequence to guide you through this journey. And I invite you to travel this journey. If its with me and the Blog Marketing Academy, then all the better. 🙂
I want to help you get started with what I call the 5 Lists For Profits. These are 5 specific lists to make to help you get started with the brainstorming process for a good niche and business idea for YOU.
To discover what these 5 lists are, click here. And I’ll see you on the other side with a video which will explain the 5 lists.
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[MM_Member_Data name=’firstName’], you can cut right on through. One of your VIP member benefits. 🙂
Go directly to this page to watch the 5 Lists For Profits Video.
Yes. You have just described where I am in the journey. Overwhelmed and starting to really doubt. I’ve wondered out loud about the “gotta teach how to make money to make money” thing and I’ve even seen others who asked that question get really slammed by the “money-making” gurus. It’s such a relief to hear you, one of the “gurus,” call out that bull$hit and be willing to help with focusing on one step at a time. I just sent you an email response to your question: “What one thing can I help you with the most?” and this is it – hold my hand one step at a time. Thank you!
Thanks, Jodi. And I replied to you, BTW. 🙂
This article really trims the fat and focuses on what matters. Very informative. Thanks 🙂
I have learned a lot from this article. Fantastic points and although I have nothing to add obviously…I’m just going to enjoy the learning ride. Thanks