In my 6 years of doing business, and about 1 to 2 years of really doing it seriously, I’ve found out that most of what other people have told me about doing business? The trajectory, the to-dos etc, the tools, what you need to do about social media, what you should be doing… the majority of them just didn’t work for me.
At the beginning of my business journey, I spent thousands of dollars on various courses as well as expensive coaching. These courses were super varied and had no common theme, so for example the setting up of the blog/Wordpress, Ultimate Bundles, which I think it is still pretty popular in certain today niches in in in the blogging sphere, writing prompts, so much stuff. I have hard drives full of all those pdfs and never-touched and never-finished courses.
Alot of mainstream blogging advice is also very “conventional” and doesn’t encourage any uniqueness.
Some examples of what “experts” tell you, you should be doing in order to see success
- Be an affiliate for something! Affiliate marketing is the way to make money. It’s actually literally one of the WORST ways to make money because it cannot be done unless you have a huge audience to sell to. It’s at very most, a side hustle and not a steady flow of income
- Google ads! Also one of the worst ways to make money, as ads make websites/blogs look scammy if not done well and is distracting. Ad spend back then wasn’t skyhigh like now but it still paid peanuts unless you had a huge amount of traffic
- Create tons of pins and pin it to Pinterest! Ah those were the days when Pinterest was actually… good, and really helped with traffic. I owe alot of my traffic in my early days and even today (on my old pins) to Pinterest. I’m no longer on it nowadays though as I’m finding alot of the changes to be ineffective and it’s also leaning more to ads these days
- Niche down! Don’t be all over the place. This doesn’t seem like too bad advice, except, how on earth are you going to “niche down” when you don’t even know what you’d like to be blogging about or creating content about? Alot of content creation in the early days is just throwing whatever at the wall to see what sticks. And you will be changing your “niche” very often as you start to discover what you truly like. So niching down too early is not only bad advice, it’s incredibly restrictive and you’d probably end up with something that you don’t even like that much
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- Teach people how to blog! This was a big thing going on back then, and was something that people were doing to make money. I can teach you how to blog and actually earn money teaching you how to blog to make money! See how meta it is? Haha, but it predictably didn’t last very long as blogging is no longer an in thing these days
- Keep creating lead magnets and free stuff to build your email list: Pre-GDPR days and back then when people weren’t very concerned about data privacy and such, getting people to sign up in exchange for a lead magnet, free e-book etc was super easy. But it also attracted alot of freebie hunters and deadweight leads that just didn’t engage much or purchase from you.
- Guest blog! Easier to do back then as well, but the industry has changed alot. I’ve tried guest posting and have been accepted at big websites but the payout is not good at all. People will visit your post for a couple of weeks and then it completely drops off. Many sites also don’t spend alot of time and effort promoting your post. It’s just more work for you and less work for them + the SEO juice goes to them, not you. You are better off setting up your own website and writing your own posts.
Except for the Pinterest point, none of the above actually worked for me or my business or rather, the vision I had for my business. And after so much of experimenting and trying to things that I saw people have success with – though this is debatable as they only ever reported their “succeses” not failures.
Remember income reports? Those were a huge thing back then, but how would we even know if those numbers are real or not? And revenue is not profit – I can be making $100K a year, but have $200K in overheads and costs, which completely cancels out the revenue made.
So what do we do instead? To be successful in your business or at least end up doing something that you like?
#1 Researched and tried out alot of things on my own and for free
The issue that I notice with a number of business owners is that they tend to want things done fast and which guarantees them alot of success and wealth at the end. Which is why quite a number of them want someone to give them a blueprint and tell them what to do exactly. This sometimes doesn’t work for a number of reasons.
When I was several years into my business and still figuring out what it is exactly that I’d like to do – I started just doing different things that called out to me. Responding to your nudges and listening to your intuition (and not your mind or your fears) is a very important thing in your business.
I took the time, researched, watched videos, read forums etc and when something spoke to me, I just tried it out for awhile to see how it stuck in my business, and if it made sense.
There are constant rounds of this that you have to be willing to do in your business in order to see what works.
#2 Pivot quickly and always experimenting
This builds on the previous point – when something is not working out, feel free to drop it. You are under no obligation to force something to work out. Just move on to something else.
Sometimes, the time is not right for something to be implemented, so leave it first, you can always come back to it later when circumstances are changed.
Pivoting quickly also means that you’d already have to be monitoring things regularly, in order to make a decision if you should continue with something or not.
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#3 Don’t give up
Believe me when I say that your business is not gonna be smooth sailing all the time. There will be some highs and some very low lows which will leave you second-guessing yourself and moping for days haha. It happens to the best of us.
You may have had a brilliant idea, launch it and it bombs. Or you’ve worked hard editing a video for days and only get 3 views (happened to me), whereas you may have randomly slapped something together but that performs super well on the algorithms.
There’s alot of things that are out of your control. You may spot some patterns after awhile, but much of the journey at the beginning is going to be fraught with mysteries, lots of bombs and things that are just not in your control.
Hang in there though!
#4 Shifting your beliefs about success
When you are doing your own business, you got to undo alot of beliefs and thinking that you have around success. Success is not gonna be smooth, and sometimes it doesn’t end the way you want it to either.
You may be dreaming of running a million-dollar business but it’s only when you start doing things on your own that you realise how challenging it is to be a millionaire (they never sleep, they work 24/7 and they are able to pay large teams of people to run the business for them).
People may have told you to just work hard and “be consistent” and you will see results. I don’t doubt that, but you may find that things are not exactly as straightforward as people make it out to be.
When everyone was pivoting to social media and nudging me to “sell” on there – that they were making loads of money off instagram, I found that it didn’t work for me. My way only worked if it was slow and steady, with slower yet proven methods. Being impatient, I had to readjust my expectations and told myself to slow down.
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#5 Being smart about “expert” advice
The thing about expert advice is that not ALL of them are bad. There have been some really good ones that I’ve found and implemented their advice, and it has reaped results. The problem is that – these good pieces of advice are usually few and far between – you have to sift through a ton of programs, courses, lead magnets just to get something good.
And you won’t know if something is good until you’ve tried it for abit. This means quite abit of time – and usually money too that is spent on trying to figure out if something will work for you or not.
And the thing about experts’ advice, like I mentioned above, things that work for them may not work for your business. Each and every one of our businesses are unique. There are so many factors that play into whether something will work out or not and we each bring in our own personality and flavour to our businesses.
We both may be tarot readers for instance, but the way we do it is gonna be different. So you don’t have to implement everything someone teaches you – be discerning.
I hope this has helped in some way and if you are struggling a little in your business, don’t worry! It’s normal to have ups and downs. Just chin up and keep trucking on.