We’ve all seen them, those business coaches promising that they can make you rich. Swearing that for the measly sum of (insert number with way too many zeros on the end here) they can turn your business around by showing you their top secret techniques that will make your pockets bulge with excess cash. They brag about their seven figure incomes, their thousands of happy clients, their giant mansions and the exotic vacations they take at every opportunity.
Don’t be fooled my friends.
Let’s keep it real for a second – even if you did the exact same things, at the exact same time, you’d never get the same results as someone else. There are just too many variables.
So let’s cut the crap. Here are the REAL secrets of making money online:
1. Work harder than everyone else
The reality is that there is no escaping having to put in a truckload of work if you want to make a living from your own business. I am genuinely amazed when I hear of people who want to start their own online empire because they think it will be an easy way to make a passive income. Too many people want to believe that there are shortcuts in life. They want to jump ahead to the (expected) riches without actually working their asses off for it.
Those overnight successes that we seem to hear about all the time are the exceptions, not the rule (and even then they’ve probably been working bloody hard doing something before anyone ever heard of them). We lap these stories up though because it’s much more exciting to hear about the start up that made £100,000 in one day, or the developer that made millions from their first app, than the author that struggled to sell 100 copies of their book or the blogger than had to quit because they couldn’t pay their rent.
2. Make sacrifices
Oh yeah, sacrifice. That’s a big one. I genuinely think the majority of people don’t realise just how many if them they’re going to have to make if they want to run their own business.
You have to be obsessed to the point of madness with it. You have to want to do it so badly that there is no other viable option for you. You’ll have to get up early, go to bed late and say no to way more invitations than you’d like to. You’ll have months when you can only afford to eat beans on toast, and you might need to work two jobs for years before the business can support itself.
Sounds depressing, but you won’t care, because you’ll want to make your business a success more than any of those other things.
3. Forget about the glamour
I feel so incredibly blessed that I get to do something I love and get paid for it. I’ve also been presented with some truly amazing opportunities since starting this blog, all of which are beyond my wildest dreams of how I thought my life would turn out. I’ve been featured in magazines, interviewed on the TV, published my own magazine, and flown all over the world to talk about something I am truly passionate about.
But like everyone, I only share the highlights. My day to day life is not that exciting. Most of my time is spent writing content, replying to emails, sitting alone in my office, drinking tea, still wearing yesterday’s underwear…
I love what I do, but it’s important to keep some perspective. Even the most successful entrepreneurs spend most of their time doing normal, boring things.
4. Don’t get too comfortable
As your business grows it can be easy to get complacent. Your time begins to split between doing things to keep your customers happy, and coming up with new ideas to grow. If these ideas end up being super successful, you might eventually get to a stage where you no longer feel the need to implement new marketing techniques or bring out new products. This is where the cracks can start to appear.
Especially if you’re in the wedding industry, which is not only a seasonal but constantly refreshing market (aka your customers get married and then no longer want to buy anything from you) it is vital that you don’t get lazy or complacent. All it can take is one weak year for you to drop off people’s radar. You are only as good as your last job. Never forget that.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparison is the thief of joy and all that… and this never as true as when you conduct a lot of your business online. It is waaaaay too easy to look too closely at what your competitors are doing, to stalk them on social media and feel bad about yourself when they do something amazing. WE ALL DO IT.
You need to remember that their successes are not your failures. You can co-exist. It is vital (for your own sanity) to work on improving and differentiating your offerings instead of focusing how you can compete with them. It’s just not a very healthy mindset to be in.
When you start to feel that green eyed monster creeping in – stop. Shut down your browser and step away from the computer. Nothing good can ever come from spending all your precious energy focusing on what someone else is doing.
6. Realise that there are no guarantees
If there’s one thing that disturbs me most about all those business coaches with their wild claims, it’s the guarantees they make that they WILL make you money. Now how can that be? There is no formula. A plus B does not always equal C, and what works for one person might not make any difference to the next.
No two businesses are the same. They don’t have the same websites, offerings, or reputation. The founders do not have the same ideas, skills or connections. They don’t all appeal to the same demographic of customer. They don’t all make money in the same ways. Therefore there is no system or process you can apply to any business to guarantee it’s success.
While there is a lot that can be learned from attending workshops or doing online courses, the only thing that is really going to help build your business is (you guessed it!) YOU.
7. Know that it’s all totally worth it
OK so that all sounded a little bleak, so why would you even bother at all?
Well, the reason I do it is because, quite simply, I love it. I love nothing more than writing, being my own boss and being able to experiment and try new things. The internet is the perfect playground for me.
I’m not trying to make millions of pounds or to be the next Lena Dunham. I’m not looking for a book deal or my own cable TV show. What I really want is to help people with the things I write about while simultaneously earning enough money to live comfortably.
While making money online may not be the easiest, fastest or most glamorous way to make a living, it sure is the best goddamn job in the world.
- Photography: Death to the Stock Photo