If you read my post on the challenges facing internet marketing newbies, you know that I’ve been digging through the results of the KeywordsBlogger survey lately.
The survey results have generated a great discussion about what’s really holding people back from making money online.
One of the things that has really struck me about this conversation is how common FEAR is in the minds if budding Internet marketers:
– Fear of making mistakes
– Fear of losing money
– Fear of looking foolish in the eyes of their family
– Fear of FAILURE
Here are some comments that people made on the post:
“The biggest challenge facing me in making money online is, well, me… I know I have the potential and I usually at least start taking some action. But I hold myself back with thoughts like I want to do it, but can I do it?”
“My biggest challenge has been working around fears of inadequacy that, ironically, have been fed by some of the gurus themselves in order to secure their places as the “go-to-guys.”
All of these comments resonated with me personally, because I’ve faced them all in building my online business. The worst? The mixture of disbelief and annoyance on my wife’s face every time I would tell her, “I just know this site is going to be THE one!”
But that was then, and this is now. Over the past year my online income has increased significantly, through sales of my own information products, affiliate sales, and Adsense.
But I still remember (vividly) those days when nothing seemed to work – when traffic and revenue were as rare as a sunny day in Seattle.
In reflecting on my experience, I’ve concluded that there are a handful of things that have kept me going – things that have seen me through the moments when:
– I lost hundreds of dollars on pay-per-click campaigns
– I paid an outsourcer $1,200 to optimize one of my sites for the search engines, only to get a trickle of visitors in the following months.
– I paid hundreds of dollars for courses that were nothing but fluff (and outdated fluff, at that)
Now, I’m not trying to take on a Tony Robbins persona here. Motivational speaking is certainly not my “core competence” 😉 But there are a handful of things that, upon reflection, I sincerely believe pulled me through the early days – and can help you, too.
Overcoming Fear: 5 Ways to Cope
Here they are, for your consideration:
(1) Take Confidence in Small Successes
I’ve heard many IM gurus say that in order to succeed you need to set outrageous goals, because only huge goals will motivate you. Well, that’s easy for them to say, isn’t it? If you’re already making $5 million a year, why not shoot for $10 million?
I don’t agree with this AT ALL. I think we need to set REALISTIC goals with ACHIEVABLE timeframes.
Because it is largely through your successes that you gain confidence, the confidence to keep moving forward. If your goal is to go from 0 to $10 million in one year, and 11 months into it you’ve made $1.53 in Adsense earnings, how much confidence do you think you’re going to derive from that?
Your confidence will actually diminish, and the year will register as a big fat failure.
And, reflecting in your failure, you’ll become disillusioned again.
And in your disillusionment you’ll go out and buy another flavour-of-the-month, “Cash Will Be Flying Into Your Pockets In Your Sleep!!!!” make-money-online information product.
Here’s are two small things you can do each day to take confidence in small successes:
- At the beginning of each day (or even better, the night before), identify ONE thing you’d like to achieve for your business before the end of the day. For example: spend 30 minutes brainstorming your interests; take 30 minutes to research the needs of your audience on two forums; get one backlink for your website; spend 15 minutes reviewing one module of the Niche Sherpa Video Coaching Course (oops! I snuck that last one in there 😉
- At the end of each day, take a minute to reflect on any success(es) you made in moving your business forward. No matter how small, remember that small steps add up over the long term. Which leads to the next point:
(2) Take a Long-Term View of Your Online Business
Remember the $1,200 I mentioned above – the $1,200 that I paid an outsourcer to optimize one of my sites for the search engines? Well, after six months that trickle of visitors turned into over 12,000 organic visitors per month. I now earn $800 per month in Adsense revenue from that site, not to mention info product sales.
What if I had given up on that site, and sold it on Flippa.com? Somebody else would be making that $800+ per month – off my dime!
A great analogy I’ve heard Amit Mehta use is that of a college degree. Nobody expects a college degree to take three weeks and cost nothing, and yet many IM newbies expect the money to start rolling in over night.
An online business is one of the very few opportunities in which a person can earn a full-time income in a relatively short period of time and with relatively little money invested (think of how much time and money is required to get a college degree, or start a bricks-and-mortar store).
But it still takes time, effort, and (yes) some money. Remember to always think of the resources you’re putting into this as a long-term investment that will pay off for years to come, through the passive income that you will (eventually) earn from your sites.
(3) Focus on What’s Working AND What You Enjoy Doing
If you’re completely new to IM, here’s my advice: experiment with a bunch of different ways to make money online, then settle on one, and stick to it. It’s only with focus that you will start to see small successes. If you continue to play affiliate pinball, you’re doomed to never see even the slightest success.
After several years of scratching around, I finally understand what makes money AND what I enjoy: finding gaps in markets and having products developed to fill those gaps. I DON’T enjoy building websites, building backlinks for search engine optimization, or writing health articles for my sites (no offense to those who do).
Have I structured my business perfectly so I only need to work on the things I enjoy, and others take care of the rest? No. But I’m working toward that goal, and every day I’m a little bit closer.
(4) Get a support network
Blogs (like this one) are okay, but in order to develop the thick skin you need to push forward in business, you really need the regular support of both people who are in your situation AND of people who have “made it”.
Whether you gain that support through face-to-face meetings like those offered by Meetup.com, through good online forums, or through some other medium – that’s up to you. But I firmly believe the saying “you are who you associate with” is true. (And lots of research on peer influence proves this.)
(5) Be aware of “illusory inferiority”
Illusory inferiority is a little known psychological phenomenon in which highly-skilled people under-rate their abilities. Why? Because they falsely assume that everyone else has the same level of knowledge and skill as them (which is often not true). The opposite of illusory inferiority is “illusory superiority”, in which – you guessed it – unskilled people feel that they’re better than everyone else.
Remind you of any gurus you know?
Let me leave you with the following quote, worthy of the best motivational speaker:
“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”