In case you missed it, here are the last two posts in this series:
- A Sad State of Affairs
- In Order To Successfully Monetize Your Blog, You Must First Forget What You Think You Know.
… and now, let’s get started with the next one…
In order to avoid the confusion and overwhelm – and the failure – that usually awaits those who embark into online business, there needs to be a foundation.
That foundation serves as a stable point from which you can then logically evaluate all the various strategies and tactics that will inevitably come your way as you research how to do this. As I said before, not having that foundation will lead to everything looking alike, and the end result is confusion.
Now, just what is that foundation?
Is there some magic combination of words buried inside the Academy that will suddenly make everything make sense and align the planets?
Hehe…. no, but that’d be awesome, wouldn’t it? 😉
And, what exactly IS the reason people fail in all this?
Well, I’ll get to that below, but first…
A Framework To Start From
Now, the foundation comes down to what I believe are two main factors:
- A real understanding of the basic principles that make this business – and all businesses – function.
- A clear pathway AND an understanding of how to forge your OWN path.
In #1, I am referring to the basic principles of business. For instance, I bring you back to my last post where I talked about discovering the outcome or transformation that your business will provide to people. That comes down to the basics of business here.
I won’t reiterate what I said in the last post, but there are certain basic principles of business and organization that are VERY important to know and use in order to build your business. They hold true for pretty much all businesses, from the lone solopreneur with a blog all the way up to a Fortune 500 company. And these principles are every bit as fundamental as a plumber would regard the fact that water runs downhill.
And, I can tell you with 100% certainty that most bloggers are not operating with these business fundamentals in mind. They’ve been led astray, if you ask me.
But, the next point is every bit (if not more) important…
A clear pathway.
But, not simply a pathway provided to you by some “guru”, but it has to be coupled with a simple understanding of how to evaluate information and forge your OWN pathway.
Now, we have tools for this.
In business – and in a lot of things – one of the big tools we invent for ourselves is referred to as a system.
What Is A System? And What Does It Have To Do With Anything?
Well, to define the word “system”, let’s go to good ol’ Wikipedia:
A system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole…
Now, in our case, the “integrated whole” is our business. And I think we can all agree that any business is going to be made up of various components that work together in some way, right?
Now, what exactly does a system do?
A system is a series of actions which take place in a certain order, in order to take a certain input, process it, and create a certain predictable output.
In simpler terms… something goes in, certain things happen to it, and out pops something. And that something is what we’re shooting for. It is our goal. It is the output of that system.
So, a system is an “integrated whole”, but it is really a process. It is a process in the same way that an assembly line is a process.
As entrepreneurs, you are a creator of processes. You are a systems designer.
Just like a treasure map will guide you to the treasure, a process (or system) will guide you to your goal.
Good Systems (And Crappy Ones)
A system can be effective or ineffective. It can be efficient or inefficient. Which brings us to another basic principle:
Our goal is to create the optimum system which will accomplish the desired output. The optimum system would have the least number of steps, the least number of unknowns, and the least number of decision points.
As an example, let us take an assembly line which manufactures a car. The layout of that assembly line is the result of a lot of engineers who are, in essence, system designers. Now, if they found a way to re-arrange the assembly line that made it 90 steps long rather than 100 steps, don’t you think that’d make them happy? Of course! Removing those extra steps could save the company millions of dollars. It would be a more optimum system. In a similar way, do you think they do everything they can to make the assembly line automated and depend as little as possible on human decision making? Yes. Because, human decision making introduces unknowns. You want to remove as many question marks from the process as possible so that the final output of the system is as predictable as can be.
OK, the same logic goes into the systems we use in business. We want to reduce the number of steps and remove any arbitrary motions that won’t have anything to do with the desired output of the system.
As a blatant example, we could compare a person who manually hand-coded his entire website from scratch, doing his own HTML by hand. His “system” would result in the output of a finished website, but the system might have 100 steps to it (as an example). OR… you could look at another person who simply installs Wordpress. BAM! Instead of 100 steps, he just did it in 1 step and he still has the output of a finished website. One system is clearly way more optimum than the other.
The 3 Reasons People Fail
All that to get to this point.
Why do people fail? Why is it that people who come into online business are engaging in all this random motion and not getting anywhere? Why are they left confused on what to do next, with everything looking the same?
The answer lies squarely in an understanding of systems.
There are 3 reasons, really:
- No system.
- A flawed (or constrained) system
- No clear desired output.
Let me explain each of these….
Reason #1: No System
A system is an order of progression. A series of steps. It serves as a point of orientation and a guide.
When you don’t have any system at all, that is when you find yourself just engaging in random motion, or having no earthly idea what to do next.
You may have an idea what you want (money, perhaps?), but you have no system to get you there. So, you engage in random motions that you think might help…. often things you’ve seen others do. You engage on Facebook, mess around with Twitter, answer your email, tweak your blog theme a little bit. Anything that you hope will get you a little closer, but you really have no idea if any of it will work.
… because you have no system.
Reason #2: A Flawed (or constrained) System
With this one, you’ve got some semblance of a system, but it simply isn’t working very well. It isn’t resulting in the desired output, the output is flawed, or it is taking an insanely long amount of time.
There are a few ways this can happen:
- Missing steps. The system you’re following just has things left out. So, you get to a certain point in your work and you find that there are things which should have been done already which aren’t done.
- Steps out of sequence. The system you’re following just leads you into doing things in the wrong order, or a very random haphazard order. This, too, leads to a lot of confusion. As a relevant example, I’ve watched some new bloggers jump WAY ahead in trying to figure out the exact layout of their first product, all the while they haven’t even barely set up their site yet or verified whether there’s any market demand for it to begin with. No wonder these people are confused and overwhelmed at the notion of building an online business…. they’re doing things out of order and biting off more than they can chew all at once!
- Inadequate steps to deal with constraints. In this one, the system often doesn’t have enough steps. The system, as it is, is leaving each section of it with problems to deal with, or too many decisions to be made… and basically there are things which are constraining the system from working well. The answer here is to re-design the system so that these constraints are properly dealt with.
Those are the big 3.
As I’m hoping you see at this point, the idea of creating systems is a very logical thing. You’re literally engineering your own success by way of the design of your system.
That will become more clear as we move forward.
Reason #3: No Clear Desired Output
As mentioned earlier, all a system is is a series of actions that take a raw input and turn it into a desired output. Well, it’d be really hard to have any system at all if you’re not crystal clear on what you’re shooting for, right?
If an auto assembly line engineer was designing a system and nobody told him that the desired output was an operational car, there’s no telling what the hell would happen! 🙂
Likewise, when we’re spinning our wheels and engaged in just random “work” without really getting anywhere, in almost every case the reason is because we didn’t precisely name WHAT we were shooting for.
I see some newbies who try to come into this with the attitude, “I just want money. Tell me what to do.” Honestly, I have a hard time working with these people and I just assume not bother. Because they have no clear desired output. No real sense of what they want to pull off. It isn’t specific at all.
As another example, I see a lot of bloggers who fall into an endless loop of tweaking their blogs. Messing with logo, plug-ins, sidebar widgets, tweaking colors…. yada yada. The problem here is that, unless you have a clear desired output, that particular “system” could go on forever. You keep getting new ideas, and you keep tweaking… and you keep confusing this merry-go-round with actual progress.
So, it is important that you always get specific on exactly what you’re shooting for. That goes for your business as a whole, but it also goes for all the little sub-components that go into it. Not only will this keep you moving in the right direction, but it keeps you from going in circles.
Now, let me bring it all back full circle again here…
Why Everything I Just Said Is Very Important – For You
And the LAST thing you should do with this information is file it away with all the other stuff you may have read on all those blogs out there. You will have done yourself a huge disservice.
Without a single exception, the understanding and application of systems WAS the key to the growth of every entrepreneur I know who went on to create six and seven figure online businesses. It IS the key to scaling a business out, not just from the perspective of hiring, but also from the perspective of even getting off the ground in the first place.
One good friend of mine was making ends meet for awhile with his business, but certainly wasn’t getting ahead. Once he fully grasped and applied the knowledge of systems, he took off like crazy and now has a seven-figure business.
Another good friend of mine is steadily moving toward seven figures with his business using this same exact material. Both of these guys are in my personal mastermind group, so I know what they’re up to. 🙂
And me personally… I am also putting this to use. I haven’t always grasped the real importance of all this, but since I have, I’ve been on a mission to simplify my business, making it more efficient, and alleviating constraints in the system. It gives me a real sense of order on what to do with myself. And, whenever I find myself starting to get a little confused on what I should be doing, I stop everything and review my systems.
What this adds up to is a method of thinking about our businesses. And, when fully implemented, it provides a tremendous sense of order.
It is also quite empowering, because you’re actually ARMED with the logical thinking ability to wade through the morass of information out there and evaluate it for whether it is important to YOU right then and there.
It removes the guesswork from achieving your goals.
This is the very reason I am making such a big deal out of it, and why I am building a full training module on it early on in the Academy training.
Now, in my next post, I am going to take this one step further. I am going to introduce something called the Theory of Constraints.
This isn’t something I made up. In fact, you could Google it if you want. But, it is the natural evolution of what we just talked about in this post. It is the various tools of applying the Theory of Constraints that allow us to actually design our systems, pinpoint problems with them, and alleviate them.
I’ll warn you: the Theory of Constraints can get really complicated. When you go out and read about it, a lot of the information on it is quite technical and complicated, almost as if it were written by people who hold their noses up in the air at 27 degrees, looking down on all of us lowly people. 😉
When I first got exposed to this stuff… it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to figure out.
A well-known online marketer named Rich Schefren did an entire training course based around this idea and how to use it. It, too, was complicated as hell and incredibly long-winded. But, in the end, people got results.
Thing is, at the beginning of this series, I said that one of my biggest skills is to look at something which is complicated, boil it down to the basics, and make it simple.
As powerful as I know this stuff can be, I would never be able to bring it to you guys unless I could make it approachable. After all, if you’re confused by it, you can’t use it.
So, I’ve done that.
But, on my next post, I’ll simply introduce it to you. The basic concept.
And, I’ll also bring it full circle to show you how this all has affected everything I have done (and am doing) here at the Blog Marketing Academy.
I’ll see ya then.
– David Risley
P.S. As this series moves forward on the public blog, I have been working steadily on the full training lineup which takes all this information home – and gives exact tools to work it out. You can get started now inside of Module 3 of the Academy Training. It is still a work in progress, but when I shared what I was working on with members, they all but demanded that I begin posting it even though I’m not done yet.