The Harsh Truth About Online Business No One Wants to Acknowledge

harsh truth

Harsh Truth.

You need to do the work.

End of post.

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Kidding… well, with the end of post part. 😉

Hang with me here, because I promise you this isn’t going to be a ranty, depressing post about why you need to work harder.

As someone who publishes a newsletter called #FtheHustle, the last thing I have any desire to do is to tell people they don’t want something bad enough, aren’t working hard enough, or just need to make more sacrifices to get what they want.

For most people, that’s not the problem.

We’re also not going to go down the rabbit hole of blaming marketers who are good at what they do (i.e., selling to you), because you’ve bought into a promise they’ve made.

Example: You buy a course on webinars because the course instructor has shown you how she’s created a multi-million dollar business using webinars as her primary marketing strategy. You buy the course, you do the work, launch your first webinar… and you didn’t make one sale.

Nada.

Zip.

And there went 2 months of your life doing exactly what the course instructor told you to do.

With zero results.

What happened?

In this hypothetical situation, this is probably what happened:

  • You didn’t have an audience to sell to
  • You’re not solving a big enough problem (remember, people buy based on “what’s in it for me”, not what you *think* they want)
  • Your copy wasn’t strong enough
  • You didn’t have all the supporting pieces in place OR, they weren’t strong enough (example: email campaigns, ads, follow-up sequences)
  • It wasn’t a compelling offer

So even though you did the work and followed the course, maybe you don’t have the skills yet to produce a profitable webinar?

Do you know how to write compelling copy?

Did you get any validation that what you were creating was something people wanted?

Were you trying to do everything yourself? (Not saying you need a team, but as an example, your email marketing should be supporting you by bringing people through an offer to the point of purchase along with a webinar).

You can see that in this situation it wasn’t that the webinar course creator was unethical or sold you a bunch of lies, it’s simply that you didn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle.

So here’s the harsh truth…

It’s YOUR responsibility to gather the pieces of the puzzle to begin with.

It has never been easier to start a business than it is today (and more affordable). I’ve been running my online business for 13.5 years and holy moly have the tools and resources gotten a thousand times better and easier to use. And to clarify, I was NOT technical at ALL when I started my business. I was just committed to figuring it out.

Think about the Gold Rush in California in the mid 1800’s.

The gold seekers’s (aka, the forty-niners, based on the year the gold rush really blew up, 1849) took off with a dream to find gold.

No one gave them a blueprint, checklist, resources list of everything they’d need, instructions on how to dig/pan for gold, a map of where to find the gold (if only, right?), videos on how to do it, or strength training tips on how to make sure your body was prepared for the work involved.

They had a dream and figured it out.

The same is true with online business. You have to figure it out.

There isn’t really “one” place you can go and be told exactly what you can do from start to finish to launch and grow a successful business. There will ALWAYS be more pieces to the puzzle, even when working with a coach, mentor, or investing in a course.

You have to be willing to continue course-correcting.

All. The. Time.

This space is fluid and is constantly changing. That doesn’t mean you can’t create something that is long-term and sustainable, you simply need to make peace with the fact that change is constant.

This is actually good news.

It means it’s never too late, or you’re too old, or you missed the boat.

Unlike the gold-seekers of the 1800’s, you’re not limited to doing business in one place. Nor is there a finite amount of “gold” to be mined.

We live and work in a global economy today. Of the over 7 billion people on the planet do you think you could find enough people to help and serve with your business.

Of course.

And as much as this space is constantly changing, there are a few things you can master that if you do, will exponentially change the pace at which your business grows.

You Need an Audience (i.e, list of subscribers and customers)

I don’t care how amazing your website is, if no one is visiting and subscribing, it doesn’t matter. This could be a completely branded website or a simple landing page. Neither mean squat if they’re not doing anything for you.

It’s really easy to get caught up in doing “busy work” in this space. There will always be another course, product, or tactic you can learn. If your consumption outweighs your production, you’re not going to get very far.

All this means is you have to figure out how to generate traffic and leads.

Content creation, content marketing, paid traffic, joint ventures/relationships are how you do this. It’s not rocket science. Pick one, get really good at it, then add an additional traffic strategy. Whatever it is, get ONE working and then add an additional strategy. Each of those strategies goes much deeper, but get started (there are plenty of courses on each topic or you can simply find the best videos on YouTube).

There’s literally zero point in launching a product or service if you have no one to sell to.

Especially because before you actually have an audience how do you know what problems they need solving?

Learn How to Write Copy and Content

Communication is EVERYTHING in business. Learning how to write great copy and content is one of the BEST things you can do for your business. It might not feel like it had a direct impact, but it will create compounding returns.

Even if your preference is audio or video content, you still need to know how to create descriptions, titles, SEO, social sharing content to promote your audio and video, etc.

This is one of the few things I regret not putting more time and energy into in the early days of my business. I wrote blog posts, but I was missing that element that helps you understand why you’re writing what you’re writing and what you’re trying to accomplish.

The same is true with copywriting.

I decided early on that I wasn’t good at copy, would default to a friend who had a better grasp on it, and didn’t put the time and energy into it.. until I did.

Which is when everything started changing.

There are SO many amazing people you can learn copywriting from. Find one that resonates with you and learn this skill. You don’t have to want to become a copywriter to benefit from learning how to write good copy for your business.

This can have the biggest (and fastest) impact on your sales.

Lastly…

You Need to Sell. Often.

This is as much mindset as it is skillset.

So many people think they only way they can sell is to be something they’re not. Bro-marketers and all the smarmy tactics we’ve seen working in the past are not the way to grow a long-term, sustainable business (and I’d say a lot of those practices are going by the wayside anyway. Online marketing is growing up).

When you learn how to write good copy, selling can be fun.

It only took one “notification of payment” for me when I was out doing something else to realize “OMG! This sh*t works!”

If you’re not ready to promote your own products and services, affiliate marketing is a great way to get started here. Simply share what you’re using, why you love it, how you’re using it and include a link.

Sign up for email lists with people who do this really, really well.

Ramit Sethi, of “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” is brilliant at this.

They email regularly (daily I believe), and are always selling one of their products. Always.

There might be the occasional launch email that is building to a series of emails, but most of the time there is a call to action to sign up for something or purchase something. The emails are packed with valuable content.

Find those people you resonate with and pay attention to what they do and how they do it.

You have to be selling.

I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else.

Once you get the hang of selling and making offers, you can then start putting systems into place that create evergreen models for driving sales, so you’re not constantly pitching or launching.


Build your foundation through solid strategies and the tactics become fun ways to try and test new things.

*ALSO*

You get to decide the pace at which you do this.

Because it’s taking you longer or you choose to spend the weekend with family and friends doesn’t mean you aren’t committed or don’t want it bad enough.

What’s the point in creating something if you don’t enjoy the journey?

Formerly known as “The WordPress Chick,” is an entrepreneur, coach, podcaster, and content creator.

She has built her lifestyle business over the last 12 years using WordPress, content marketing, and through growing her community. She lives by her commitment to #JustShowUP.

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