Hello and Welcome!
A very belated Happy New Year to all of you. I hope 2015 proves to be a vintage year in all your endeavors, whether they be business or pleasure.
~# It’s Been A While #~
It’s been several weeks since I last wrote to you and that’s because I decided to take an extended break from my business to ‘recharge the batteries’.
This is something I tend to do around Christmas each year. After 11 months at the grindstone, I start to get jaded and it’s time to stand back, take stock and come back at the new year with renewed enthusiasm.
I usually only take a couple of weeks off but, this year, I decided to go the whole hog and down tools for six full weeks.
(If you aren’t remotely interested in what I did over Christmas and New Year – and who could blame you – please skip to the next section… ‘New Year, New You?’ below.)
And I used the time for some good old fashioned R&R (Rest & Recuperation).
My good lady and I spent a week in mid-December staying with old friends in Scotland.
They have a lovely house at the base of Ben Nevis (the highest peak in the UK), and so it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will see some snow to help get you into the festive spirit.
Then it was home for a nice and relaxing Christmas.
We started the day itself with a short hike up the local hill to enjoy the view across to the River Severn (on a clear day, you can see across to Wales), accompanied by ‘fortified’ coffee, mince pies and other treats.
There is a small group of us that do this every year, although none of us can quite remember how it all started. It certainly wakes you up and puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day.
Then back down the hill to toast the season in one of the local pubs before sitting down to a late traditional Christmas meal, with all of the trimmings.
The day was rounded off by opening presents, chatting and playing board games.
What, no TV? No.
We have a ‘house rule’ that the TV cannot be turned on during Christmas Day so that people – shock, horror – have to socialize with each other. We find that everyone has a much more enjoyable and memorable day as a result.
(With the state of Christmas TV these days, this is becoming less and less of a sacrifice.)
On the other hand, anything goes on Boxing Day. So it tends to be a day for generally slobbing out.
After Christmas, it was off with friends to see in the New Year in a big house slap bang in the middle of Exmoor. Beautiful scenery, great walks and a lovely country pub just two doors away. What more could you want?
To complete the break, we have just returned from a week’s skiing in Austria.
Well, ‘skiing’ somewhat overstates it. ‘Sliding down hills on my bottom with sticks stuck to my feet’ more accurately describes my experience.
I last went skiing the best part of 20 years ago and I was rubbish at it then.
Everything about it seems counter-intuitive. You lean forwards (towards the precipice!) to slow down and lean left to go right. My simple brain can’t cope.
Plus, I’m not fond of heights. So you can imagine how much fun I had when the ski lift broke down and left me swinging in the breeze for 20 minutes.
The assortment of skis, ski boots, gloves and, bizarrely (in Austria), a Harrods carrier bag in the snow far below me did nothing to improve my sense of wellbeing.
Fortunately, they eventually got the lift going again and I survived.
Now I’m back in the saddle and ready to attack the New Year with a vengeance!
For me, this six-week break is the ‘internet lifestyle’ in action.
It’s not about flash cars, flash houses or flash holidays. It’s not really about ‘stuff’ at all. It’s about having the freedom to do what I want, when I want… like taking six weeks off just because I feel like it.
And I know that’s exactly what most of my readers are looking for too (because that’s what they tell me).
Untold riches would be nice, but you’ll settle for having control of your own life.
So how’s that going for you? Let’s find out…
~# New Year, New You? #~
Reputedly, more gym memberships are sold in January than in the rest of the months of the year combined.
Although less pronounced, a similar thing happens with sales of internet marketing products.
And it’s all fueled by New Year’s resolutions.
I personally don’t believe in them and I never have. If you are truly serious about changing some aspect of your life, you will do it immediately and not wait for some arbitrary point of time in the future.
New Year’s resolutions represent institutionalized procrastination!
And that is why 90% of them fail.
So the best New Year’s resolution you can make is to resolve to never make New Year’s resolutions!
Don’t ‘promise’ yourself you will do something, just get off your backside and… start… doing… it!
That said, I know the New Year is a time for taking stock. If you have not yet had the success you are looking for in terms of making money online, what can you do differently to change that in 2015?
The clue is in the question… what can you do DIFFERENTLY?
As (I think) Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
If you have been trying to make money online for more than a few months without success, it is because you are doing something wrong.
And I can say that with confidence because making money online is NOT difficult for anyone with average intelligence.
After all, there are only three steps to online success…
1) Find a problem that people are having
2) Find a solution to that problem
3) Offer the solution to the people having the problem
That really is all there is to it.
So why do so many people fail to implement those simple steps?
In my experience, it’s because they fall into one of two camps.
The first consists of people who believe the ‘internet lifestyle myth’… that making money online is EASY.
Who can blame them? We are all bombarded daily by marketers telling us that we can become millionaires this time next Tuesday by working just a few minutes a day in our underwear.
All we have to do, of course, is buy their latest, greatest money making strategy.
The truth is that successful internet marketing is NOT easy. I said it is SIMPLE, and it is. But that is not the same as EASY. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
To succeed in an online business, you have to put effort and, yes, good old fashioned hard work in. The clue is in the word ‘business’.
But marketers know that ‘easy’ sells far more products than ‘hard’ and so it is in their interests to perpetuate the myth.
People who believe (or, more accurately, desperately WANT to believe) this hokum are destined to be forever disappointed.
They buy a product that promises them ‘push button riches’, all fired up with how much money they are going to make and how easily they will do it…
Only to find that (a) the method is unworkable (AKA a ‘scam’) or (b) it’s going to take a lot more effort than they expected or were led to believe.
Now, instead of learning the real lesson here – that there is no instant, drop-dead easy way to make a lot of money online (or offline) – they assume that this product just wasn’t THE ONE.
And off they go to look for the next shiny object.
I am continually amazed and saddened by the number of people I come across who have spent thousands – even tens of thousands – and many years on ‘make money’ products without ever having made a single penny.
Yet, despite so much costly ‘research’, these people still fail to draw what should be the obvious conclusion. There… is… no… magic… button!
Now, hands up. I was that guy!
Yes, I too spent ridiculous sums of money looking for the ‘secret’ to making money online.
My ‘Ah-ha’ moment came when I realised that there was no ‘secret’. I just had to do what these ‘gurus’ were actually DOING and not what they were TELLING me to do.
(More on this in future issues.)
So, if you fall into this camp (or are in danger of doing so), the thing you need to do in 2015 is to STOP BELIEVING THE INTERNET MYTH.
The ‘internet lifestyle’ does exist and it’s a wonderful thing. But, like almost everything in life that is worth having, you have to work for it first.
The second of the two camps is almost the polar opposite.
It consists of people who believe, not that internet marketing is EASY, but that it is HARD… VERY hard. In fact, VERY, VERY hard.
Now, my respect goes to these people because they are prepared to graft.
The problem is that they are grafting in all the wrong areas. They fixate on the details and lose sight of the big picture and the overall game plan.
I have lost count of the number of my students who have asked me how they should set their businesses up for tax purposes. Should they operate as a sole trader or create a limited company?
And this is before they have earned a penny online.
My answer is always the same. Wait until you’re earning money and it becomes an issue.
And the same answer applies to a whole host of ‘issues’ that seem to occupy people long before they need to.
They worry about what their business stationery is going to look like before they have anyone to write too.
They worry about website design before they have any reason to have a website at all.
They worry about designing a logo before they have an online presence, let alone a ‘brand’.
They worry about payment systems before they have anything to sell.
The list goes on and on.
Whether they do it consciously or not, these people are avoiding the real action they need to take to actually turn the idea of having a business into a reality.
They find it much easier to focus on a ‘small’, manageable problem like what their logo is going to look like than a ‘big’ problem like what they are going to sell.
Now, hands up again. I was that guy too!
I spent six months initially setting my business up before I ever tried to actually sell anything.
I had the name, the logo, the stationery, the website, the limited company status, the merchant account, the business bank account and credit card and a dedicated phone line. I even had a business fax machine, if anyone remembers what those were!
I had it all. Everything you could ever want for a business… except business!
Take it from me. Those six months I spent faffing around were six months I could have – and should have – been earning.
Don’t go down that road.
For me, it ‘only’ lasted six months because I actually had to earn a living from my business (I had been made redundant). I shudder to think how long I could have strung the ‘details’ out if I actually had money coming in!
If you are in this camp, stop it now!
Whenever you find yourself spending time on something, ask yourself, “Do I absolutely have to do this NOW or can it wait until later?”
If it can wait, drop it like a hot cake and come back to it when it is a pressing issue (in many cases that will be never).
To conclude, the two pieces of advice I offer you as we head into 2015 are the same two pieces of advice I would give myself if I could travel back to 2005 when I was just starting out on this crazy internet adventure…
1) There is no magic button. The internet lifestyle IS possible and it IS worth having, but you better be prepared to work for it.
2) Only spend time on things that genuinely move you closer to running a real internet business. And that means closer to making money… NOT having the best logo in the world that nobody will ever see!
Take those two pieces of advice to heart and I guarantee that you will finally start to make real progress towards the ‘internet lifestyle’ and whatever that means for you.
~# New Year, New Me #~
One of the New Year’s resolutions I didn’t make – it came out of my extended ‘taking stock’ break – was to spend a lot more time on this newsletter.
I have been lazy.
But that is going to change.
I will now be sending out an edition at least once a week and, eventually, twice a week.
And, to celebrate this new-found commitment, I have decided on a new name for the newsletter… iMarketForce. Hence the IMF #1 at the top of this issue.
Why iMarketForce? Because iMarketForce.com is the address of my blog (which is also going to get a lot more TLC after many months of neglect).
This way, people who know my newsletter can easily find my blog and vice versa.
Why did I call my blog iMarketForce? If you’ve ever tried to find a ‘good’ domain name that isn’t already taken, you’ll have shared my pain.
You can sit in front of a domain registrar’s website keying in hundreds of clever titles only to find that every single one of them has been taken by somebody who got there first.
After a couple of hours, you will take almost anything going to end the misery!
Besides, I quite like iMarketForce. The ‘i’ stands for ‘internet’ and I like to think of myself as something of a force of nature when it comes to marketing.
Well, that and the only other available domain name I could come up with after two hours of searching was IDoesMarketing.com (feel free to grab it – it’s strangely still available).
And there’s an example of what I was talking about earlier. 2005 me would have spent days trying to find the ‘perfect’ name. 2014 me spent 2 hours (and that was too long).
Besides, so long as the domain name isn’t totally lame and doesn’t mean something unfortunate in Japanese, what does it matter? People are going to read it for the content, not for its name.
And, speaking of content, that’s exactly what I am going to be giving you. Lots of clear, helpful and actionable content.
So watch this space. There will be a lot of good stuff coming your way!
~# And Finally… A Song About ‘Failure’ #~
It may sound like a cliché, but there is no such thing as ‘failure’ in starting your own business.
A ‘failure’ is just another step on the path to success.
If you don’t believe me, watch this video from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’…
All together now… “Up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!”
Once again, a Happy New Year.
Now go start making it special…