As you build your new online business, life is going to happen.
You’ve probably heard the phrase: Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, Rome also wasn’t built without cracks either. Sometimes, it may even happen a lot.
Every entrepreneur has ups and downs, but a sidewinder can really throw off your mojo.
AS A DIGITAL ENTREPRENEUR, YOU’LL NEED TO ACCEPT ONE, TRUE FACT: LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE.
In fact, life’s hardest lessons are normally boxed in shoddy, beaten boxes without gift-wrap. As American football pro J.J Watt once said, “Success isn’t owned. It’s leased, and rent is due every day.”
Masters of their craft find ways to keep going regardless of their trials to overcome any obstacle.
Unfortunately, you’ll face more than one side road in your life. That’s okay, though, because there’s always a way back to the main drag. Sure, comforting thoughts are worth their weight in time, but I’m here to teach you resolve.
The New Mantra: Pull Over Push
In today’s online world, digital marketing needs to pull instead of push. A lot of burned out entrepreneurs are missing this rule’s depth..
Modern content marketing—and online marketing, in general—is about entertainment. Consumers want helpful, funny, frightening, wild and gossip-worthy information. If your platform is garnering prospects with simple sign-up options, it’s doing something right.
I recently read an article written by Sonia Simone, titled “How to Attract, Nurture, and Grow the Business-Building Audience You Want,” that goes into the importance of defining your customer.
In digital marketing, online entrepreneurship and Internet success, understanding your consumer-base is a surefire foundation to success.
- Redefine Your Main Audience
Online entrepreneurship isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. You need to conserve your energy.
Redefine your audience, maximize your pull power and save the pushing for a “when all else fails” scenario.
Moving back to Simone’s article, you should take a minute to accept an unsavory slice of reality: A lot of people don’t fit into your online strategy.
Sure, you might’ve worked hard on an all-encompassing Internet hook to snag a lot of customers, but you’ll always catch unwanted fish with every cast.
It starts with knowing which waters the fish you want swim in. If you’re going after big fish, then dropping a line in shallow waters probably isn’t going to get you what you want.
Yet, when most entrepreneurs get started online, that’s exactly what they do. They dip their small toe into the shallow waters of “Free Traffic” then complain when nothing bites.
When told of the whales that are being pulled left and right through paid advertising… they immediately say “I can’t afford to buy traffic.”
While you can build a business using nothing but free resources… it is a long, slow, frustrating grind. Make the investment to buy some traffic to get you business started on the right foot.
Next, you need to know the type of bait that they like the most.
If you’re fishing for Whales… then don’t use bait for Tuna!
The beauty of Google and Facebook is that you can now get your message in front of the exactpeople who will be open to it. So give them what they want!
Don’t just throw your marketing message out there and hope that it will find the people who want to see it.
Think of it this way: You wouldn’t market a romantic musical to a crowd of Star Wars fans.
So don’t do that with your marketing message either.
2. Stay Fresh, Exciting and Interested
Your audience isn’t the only crowd needing enticement to “stay in the game.” As an online provider, your mental excitement is just as important—if not more so—to your brand’s strategy. If you’re lacking motivation, you’ll need to push through it (in this case… pushing is the right thing to do.)
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD ARE ALSO THE BEST SELF-MOTIVATORS IN THE WORLD.
The world is filled with unique individuals with unique ideas, but many fail to achieve any momentum because they lose motivation at the first sign of difficulty and then give up.
One way to stay motivated is to create fresh and exciting projects that keep you interested so that it’s easier to maintain your motivation.
And let’s just be honest with each other… you WILL need help eventually. So stop trying to do everything entirely on your own.
Social time and networking will help you to meet new people, get new ideas and also see others who are successfully doing what they enjoy.
Sometimes finding such groups can be a challenge, but here are a few ideas you can try.
Establish a Meetup Through Social Media
Social media is about socializing, but too many have used it as a social engagement replacer. It’s way too easy to forgo dinner or a phone call for an email, chat or IM instead.
But that’s the wrong way to do it.
Instead of spending hours on Facebook liking posts… why not find the like-minded people in your area and organize a real, honest-to-goodness meet up?
Face-to-face time will carry much more weight than a simple text message ever will.
Create a Live Webchat Series
Seriously, you won’t know how effective live communication is until you’ve tried it. A lot of online entrepreneurs are used to living in a bubble.
Break the barrier, get out there and contact your audience.
By lessening the gap, you can revitalize your own perception of your brand. Learn what works, what doesn’t and needed changes with face-to-face encounters.
3. Don’t Blindly Chase Your Dreams
You should always stick to your dreams, right?
You shouldn’t blindly chase a dream just because it’s a dream. Sit down, look at your options and seriously view the path you’ve chosen.
Things change. Sometimes things change a lot.
You might’ve entered your industry with a set goal in mind, but you shouldn’t turn away new facts, new trends and new opinions to stick by your guns.
In 2009 tens-of-thousands of marketers jumped onto the Google Bandwagon and were soon making 5 or 6-figures a month.
Then Google updated their algorithm.
The next day these same people were making ZERO dollars. Many of them went bankrupt and then returned to their “day job” with their tail between their legs.
I know many of these people who to this day still call making money on the internet “a scam” and something “that doesn’t work.”
Now, this doesn’t mean you should “get real” and stop kidding yourself. The lesson from 2009 is that you should be open to adaptation and able to roll with the punches.
Eventually, you will hit a wall.
When you do, realize that you are not the first person to hit a wall and that many successful people online successfully climbed over it.
You can to.
A fantastic article titled “Four Warning Signs of a Dream You Shouldn’t Chase,” by Dale Partridge, covers the misconception many entrepreneurs chase, become consumed with and are dominated by.
Online innovators become seduced by the vision of a desirable future. They’re seduced so much, in fact, they forgo new ideas for the same strategies.
If you feel stuck or your business seems to be stagnating, look at your wants, needs and goals.
Dreaming is critical to an entrepreneur’s success, and it’s the fuel moving them across many seasons.
That said, dreaming poorly, Partridge suggests, is a one-way ticket to failure. All dreams aren’t necessarily good dreams and discerning dream quality is incredibly important to success.
To stay motivated while you’re struggling to reach the dream you have for yourself, a moment of reflection may help.
4. Is Your Dream too Expensive?
Reaching for the stars is good, but don’t invest in something with “all the bells, whistles, gadgets, gizmos, do-hickeys and thing-a-ma-bobs when all you really need is a whistle.
Take things in stride. If your entrepreneurial vision had a hefty price tag, it might be catching up to you mentally.
Going into massive debt and putting your savings at risk isn’t always necessary to chase a dream.
While some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs did do these things, they didn’t do them lightly. In fact, most were without other options. Don’t make an unnecessary financial leap needlessly. Invest intelligently, and pick your financial battles.
Are You Choosing Now Over the Future?
We’re all guilty of opting for what we want now over what we want most, but we often get swept away in the comfort zone of settling.
If you have a ten-year plan, great.
If you have a five-year plan—even better.
But what about a yearly plan?
By setting small goals, you can rekindle lost emotion. Without a plan, meanwhile, your entrepreneurial vision may disguise itself as a shortcut.
Be wary: Unplanned dreams today may rob you of planned dreams in the future.
Are You Selling Out to Someone Else?
There’s a chance, too, that you’ve accidentally stepped into someone else’s dream along the way.
It’s understandable: We all seek security.
Don’t settle for doing someone else’s work, however.
Take the step, if necessary, but double-check your surroundings.
If you’re entering uncharted waters, be wary. While new, exciting places are filled with potential, they’re also filled with others who’d love to use you and suck your wallet dry with a load of empty promises.
5. When All Else Fails: Target the Facts
If you’ve tried, retried and have triple-tried your losing hand and still can’t pinpoint your problem areas, then it’s time to resort to fact targeting.
Sometimes, problems aren’t easily identifiable.
In fact, life’s worst problems are often invisible.
If your strategy is slowing, stopping or is falling apart entirely, or if external factors are throwing you off balance, you need to sit down and analyze.
If something doesn’t breed success, don’t repeat it
Revise your ideas, and adjust your strategy.
Insanity is committing the same action every time while expecting a different result.
If something “just isn’t working,” then stop grinding while looking for inspiration.
In all likelihood, your grind, itself, is the problem.
Lifehacker created “The Three Stages of Failure and How to Fix Them.”
You should understand and be able to identify the following:
6. A Failure of Tactics
A failure of tactics is a simple error in building a system.
Really, it’s the best failure you can have.
Sometimes, you might just be crunching numbers incorrectly. Or, you might be getting lazy with details. Always double-check your online strategy.
- A Failure of Strategy
A failure of strategy occurs when you’re following a strategy that simply doesn’t work.
Sometimes, you can know why you’re following a strategy, and you can know how to put the strategy to work, but you can still choose the wrong vehicle to make it work.
If you’re targeting mobile media users, for example, you might have a failure in strategy in reaching out via Instagram instead of Snapchat.
Failure of strategy happens a lot in online entrepreneurship, so don’t worry if it’s happened to you.
- A Failure in Vision
If this is the case, you might need a direction overhaul.
If you’re following a vision that doesn’t fulfill your needs, you might be getting slow, sloppy or uncaring. Come to terms with what you want, and don’t be afraid to seriously question your motives.
7. Back in the Saddle: Jump-starting Your Online Work
I said this before, but it bears repeating: online entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint.
Nine out of 10 new online businesses are destined to fail.
Time management, (and I dare say – distraction management) above all, is the key to your success.
Don’t rely on coffee and Five Hour Energy Drinks to power your way through.
Instead, find a comfortable pace and just start taking one step after another.
PROGRESS, NOT POWER
Don’t “power your way through.” Aaron Patzer, Founder of Mint, has repeatedly inspired aspiring entrepreneurs with insightful “less is more” tips directed towards those seeking meaningful progress.
For them, posted Facebook messages, answered emails, tweeted Twitter posts and taken calls mean nothing if no progress is made.
If you can create a new product, launch it quickly and hit the right target—you win.
Money loves speed, and a lot of entrepreneurs fail by pushing too hard. Be smart, target smartly and win.
Grow your business slowly. If you’ve fallen off the horse, it might be because you’ve overextended yourself, financially.
You need to learn to reinvest. Always remember: 88 percent of Lottery winners are broke within five years. You wouldn’t give a 16-year-old who’s just obtained their license a $300,000 Ferrari, would you?
So why think that you’d know how to manage a 6-figure a month business if you struggle to manage your 4-figure a month salary?
Learn to effectively use what you do have so that you won’t waste it all when you have more.
Use Time Wisely
Sure, time is always a consideration. You might not realize, however, how much of it you’re wasting.
While we’re not designed to be productive for 18 hours a day, but we’re also not designed to sit on Facebook for hours at a time either.
Your biggest enemy is distractions that pull you off track.
You have to train yourself.
It takes a little time – but the pay off far exceeds the sacrifice.
Build a foundation, and make yourself responsible for completing scheduled tasks.
Manage Your Social Media Habit
United States adults check their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts 17 times per day, reports Digital Trends.
In 2014 alone, social media usage accounted for 1.72 hours of the average person’s workday.
That’s 21.5% of your work day gone!
If you do that 6 days a week it adds up to nearly 10.5 hours. A full work day plus some.
And you say you don’t have any time to get things done.
Limit your exposure to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. and focus instead on growing your business.
If you’re not researching competitors, conducting social media research or promoting your new venture, you shouldn’t be on Facebook reading posts on baby birthday parties.
8. Get a Face
One of the biggest disadvantages of online work, again, is isolation.
Much of our body’s will to “work” relies on its ability to be switched on, energy-wise.
We’re social animals, and need social events to keep us wired for success.
Communicating strictly through email, messaging and phone calls isn’t only unhealthy for your brain—it’s un-motivating.
Molly Brennan, Koya Leadership Partners managing partner, suggests taking advantage of platforms like Google Hangout instead of a phone call.
Doing so can rewire the way your mind approaches “business time,” psychologically shifting you into a more active, more imaginative state.
Get a face, and stop being anonymous.
WHEN POSSIBLE, ATTEND SPECIAL EVENTS. YOUR COWORKERS AND PARTNERS, IF YOU HAVE ANY, SHOULD BE INVOLVED, TOO.
Above all, replace an attitude of defeat or frustration with an attitude of exploration.
Stop asking yourself why you’re not making progress and start asking yourself how you can succeed.
Above all, just simply follow the proven, time-tested mantra used by the world’s leading innovators:
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.”
Thanks to Michael Force, Founder of Digital Altitude for this post