Passion vs Reality
A lot of entrepreneurs and internet marketers will start out with a dream and a vision: with something that they really believe in and want to make into a massive success.
Maybe you have an idea for an incredible website.
Maybe you just LOVE fitness and want to blog about that for a living.
Or maybe you just get a real kick out of running a business and using technology.
Whatever the case, you know what you really want to do.
But it’s not bringing in the cash.
At least not yet.
So now you have two options: you focus on the thing you love, hoping that all the time you invest will one day result in it becoming a huge success.
OR you work on something else that will bring in the cash and promise yourself you’ll get back to your passion project when time allows.
Neither of these things is an option.
The first option means that you’ll work on your own blog or your own mailing list and grow it.
Growth will come, but it will be slow and it won’t be enough to sustain your lifestyle.
Eventually, you’ll go bust and you’ll cave.
Even if the site becomes successful, the break even will be so high that you wills till go bust!
Option B doesn’t work because you’ll never get around to that passion project.
The website will sit there collecting dust while meanwhile, you’ll do search engine optimization for clients.
They’ll earn hundreds of thousands from the work you did for them but you won’t have the time to do it for yourself!
Trust me, I know about this: I used to pay writers to write for my own blog because I was too busy writing for other people’s blogs!
This essentially comes down to working ‘in’ your business instead of ‘on’ your business.
The business is operating, but all you’re doing is running around chasing deadlines and working for angry clients.
Meanwhile, nothing is changing and you’ve capped the amount you can earn at how much work you can do in a day.
You’ve learned to loathe your own business and you’re close to burn out! Sound familiar?
So okay: how do you go about solving this dilemma?
The answer is that you follow the steps outlined in chapter 2.
That is to say that you need to identify precisely how much you need to earn in a day as a minimum.
You can then chase after that target amount and then you can cut off the day there and start focusing on your own project.
Spend the morning doing the SEO, web design etc.
for other clients.
Or spend the morning working on your generic website that brings in money but that you have no real interest in.
Then as soon as you hit that threshold, switch and start working on those future projects.
Better yet, learn how long it takes you to do that minimum amount of work and then divide your day into blocks.
Spend the first half of the day working on the busy work and then when 2pm comes, switch to your other work.
The stuff you’re passionate about.
The stuff that will take your business to the next level.
This is essentially what we call ‘bootstrapping’.
This is how you can afford to start a small business, even if you don’t have any funding or any experience.
So many people think that they can’t afford to start a business or to become a digital marketer because it means that they’re going to need to give up their job, take out a massive loan and effective stake all of their hopes on a single idea or business.
The reality however is quite different.
The quickest and easiest way to start pursuing your dream lifestyle as a digital marketer is to start a side project or a side hustle on top of what you’re doing now:
If you run a website, provide SEO or generally work online then that shows you to be a particular kind of person who is willing to take risks, who is forward thinking and who is creative.
You have taken the initiative to take advantage of the most recent technologies in order to start earning a living entirely your own, and you have used a variety of skills in order to accomplish this.
As such then, you should hopefully recognise the importance of continuing to push yourself, of continuing to take advantage of new technologies, and of developing your existing skill base further if possible.
The more you learn, the more you practice and the more you experiment, the more opportunities you will create for yourself and the more successful you are eventually likely to be.
So, what's the best way to develop yourself and to learn? Simple: take on a side project.
And even once you begin to start raking it in as an internet marketer, you still need to have more side projects on the go.
The idea of a side project, is simply to start any project that sits outside of what you do to earn your main keep.
So that means something on top of running your main blog, or providing web design for clients.
This is what you will do with the extra time you've afforded yourself by working for yourself (even if you work 9-5 you still have lunch and a commute either end free to tinker when other people are still busy).
A side project then should allow you to take the skills you've learned and start developing them and making better use of them.
This way you may well find you create a secondary earner that can supplement or even replace your main income, but even if that doesn't happen you'll still learn valuable skills and add more strings to your bow.
Good Side Projects
A good side project should be something that is somewhat related to your main ‘career' while at the same time allowing you to expand on your skills and move into unknown territory.
For a web designer then this could mean a side project that teaches you some better coding skills, or that improves your ability to create digital art.
This will give you something different to do to take your mind off your main job occasionally, but will also at the same time help you to develop new skills that might just allow you to take your business to the next level.
App Development: If you run a website or do anything else that involves design and/or basic coding, then learning to develop apps is a natural extension of those skills.
This is a fun and rewarding process if you like logical thinking and there's actually a lot of money to be made here – whether you have a commercial hit, or you decide to start offering that service.
A Personal Blog: There's a good chance that the topic you chose for your ‘primary' blog is going to be one you thought would prove popular and one that was easy to monetise.
That means there's also a good chance unfortunately that you won't find it particularly fascinating – which is why it's a good idea to run a personal blog as well.
And you never know, that one might just take off two giving you two steady incomes.
A YouTube Channel: YouTube is actually a surprisingly lucrative place to work, and with a few videos it's relatively easy to gain a following and then to start generating profit from that following.
This is a very fun way to make a little extra cash, but it can also add an extra dimension to an existing site or provide more channels for marketing.
So, you’re going to find a way to earn some money and meanwhile be working on that dream brand that will earn you a living while letting you write about things that you love.
But what if you don’t just have one idea? What if you know you want to be an entrepreneur, but you’re not quite sure what kind of brand you want?If you're like a lot of web designers and internet entrepreneurs, then the chances are that you will have more than one website on the go and more than one idea for future sites that you think could help to make you your millions.
In fact you probably also have ideas for apps, for eBooks, for products and for media campaigns all of which you are sure could be the thing that finally makes you a huge success.
This won’t work either.
If you have this many different things going on at once, then you won’t be able to dedicate the necessary energy to any of them.
Remember, you still need to bring in cash in the meantime and that means you only have a set amount of time per day to work on your mailing list or your digital product.
That means you need to dedicate all of that time to one site, one mailing list or one product if it is going to be successful.
The problem is though, that you can't stick to any of these ideas.
And the issue is not necessarily that you're not motivated or disciplined, it's probably more to do with the difficulty of choosing which project to focus on and then sticking with that.
If you have twenty brilliant ideas for a website then you'll probably find that you get distracted by the next one before you finish the first one.
Part of the problem too is that building a website can take so long and has so many boring elements.
You may enjoy prospect of building a successful website, you may like designing the graphics, but after hours of doing SEO and fiddling around with CSS to line everything up you can find your enthusiasm waning.
And then there's always that idea for a football site calling to you from the background.
And of course our interests have a tendency to vary and change as well.
One minute we find ourselves fascinated by computer games, but then the next we're more interested in our favourite book.
We end up wanting to write about and work with the thing that interests us at the time.
So how do you overcome this problem, choose what you should be focusing on, and then stay focused on that project until you see it through to completion?
Weighing Your Options
One initial way to progress is to weigh up the different benefits of your various projects.
Assuming that you hope to earn money from what you're doing, a good way to compare your different projects is to look at how long they will take to complete/how much you enjoy them, versus how much money they are likely to make/how likely they are to succeed.
A site on football for instance might be your favourite topic, but at the same time there's a lot of competition out there so it's maybe less likely to succeed.
A new social network on the other hand might be potentially very lucrative, but it would involve learning PHP and doing a lot of promotion.
The best project then might be one in a small niche you have an interest in – it's quite interesting, it isn't too much of a project to take on, and it could realistically start earning you money relatively quickly.
This is especially true for those purely passive forms of income – such as selling affiliate products from a sales page and pointing some PPC at it.
If this is likely to start paying out soon and it won’t need your input going forward, then you should prioritize finishing that quickly and then let it continue to roll over for you.
By looking at which project will earn you the most money the most quickly and reliably, you can decide where best to direct your efforts and spend your time and thus avoid disappointment.
This then allows you to gradually spend less time on the daily grind that is necessary for steady income and to spend more time on the passion projects.
There are also a number of compromise solutions you can opt for.
For instance, if you are torn between two website topics that really excite you, then the best solution might be simply to create one website on both topics.
Love video games and comic books? Then how about a site dedicated to comic book computer games?
Another option is always to sell on websites.
If you are someone who loves building websites and doing the marketing to begin with, but you don't enjoy the process of actually running and maintaining those sites, then you might prefer to simply build sites that interest you and then sell them on.
This is still always going to be hard.
Most of us have multiple interests and multiple ideas.
And investing all your time and effort into one website or one affiliate marketing strategy means that you’re putting all your eggs in one basket.
The fear of failure can be so great, that it prevents you from ever really trying.
Fluctuating between different ideas on a whim can end up being a convenient form of procrastination in that case.
And this is why you need to go for those smallest baby steps to begin with.
This is why you need to focus on the types of projects that you can finish more quickly and easily.
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