It’s time for a change in my Business. What about yours?

November 30, 2010

This post will be a little different than most of the others you've probably read here. In it, I'm going to be taking a hard look at where I am today. I'm even going to criticize some of the things I've done. All I'm hoping is that by you reading this, you will get an honest look of where I see myself right now, and where I'm headed in the future, and that you'll be able to take some of the principles, apply them to your life and grow YOUR business BETTER.

This is going to be a longer post that usual, but if you are serious about your business, I would encourage you to read it ALL THE WAY to the end, and then let me know what you think. So get yourself ready.

Here goes . . .

Making Money Online. Is it a Myth?

Many people with Internet Marketing blogs write about how successful they are. In fact, it's becoming more and more common for people to broadcast their earnings. They set themselves up as gurus, and crowds of people flock to them because of how much money they claim, and because of the thought that if only I could do what they are doing, I'd be set for life. Is there something wrong with this? Not necessarily. But . . . I have more to say.

If I were to be honest, when I started this blog, I was woo'd by the numbers game. In fact, when I had my most successful month, I used my earnings during that month to show people that I've made a significant amount of money, and if they worked with me, they could do the same thing too. Was I lying? Absolutely not! However, if we were to really sit down and analyze it, I was advertising something that wasn't probable.

Most of the people who come into Internet Marketing don't make that kind of money as quickly as I did. It's not that it isn't possible, but it doesn't usually happen that quickly. What people didn't see was the sleepless nights, the hard work, and the personal toll it took on my life at the time because of the inefficiency with which I was running my business.

I've been browsing forums lately, communicating with other internet marketers, doing coaching calls and just interacting with other entrepreneurs (or upcoming entrepreneurs) more frequently, and there seems to be an idea lurking that I'm not too fond of. That's the idea that the best way to make money online is to teach people how to make money.

As a result of this concept, what I've noticed is that A LOT of people are starting websites teaching people how to make money even though they have never made one cent online.

As Internet Marketers, are we leading people astray? Are we selling false hopes? Are we lifting up money just to lure unsuspecting newbies with high hopes and dreams just to suck them in and have them spend money with us so that we can make more money? Is that the ultimate goal we are trying to reach? Make it rich, regardless of how we get there or who we get money from?

These are questions that have been plaguing my mind over the last few days for 2 very specific reasons. Lets look at those two reasons.

Reason #1: A Talk with one of my Mentor

A few days ago, I was privileged to have a skype convo with one of my mentors. On that call, I spoke about ideas I had for products. I have so many of those types of ideas and was extremely excited to be able to share them with him and get his feedback. He's very much experienced with the concept of launching a product and I knew that the advice I would get from him would be very beneficial.

So off I went, telling him my ideas. I anticipated his enthusiasm as my ideas left my lips, traveled through the magical program we call skype, entered into his ears and illuminated his brain. However, the response was not one of excitement. It wasn't the “YAY LESLIE, YOU CAN DO IT. GO TAKE OVER THE WORLD” that I expected. It was more of a “Oh ok, cool. Well, all I can tell you is to put it out there and test it to see if it works”.

One of the issues that I was facing that really came out in my talk with him was that I didn't really have a clearly defined niche when it comes to Internet Marketing. Yes, I have my 7 Day Bootcamp, where I teach people about Internet Marketing, and in my opinion, it does a pretty good job at teaching the fundamentals. However, it seems that EVERYBODY is doing that, and there seemed to be something missing.

Before, “The Freebie Guy” meant the guy that taught people about Freebie Trading – Very Specific. Now, it is the more generic – “Free Advice and Tips to help you grow your online business” – relatively vague.

This thought was amplified when my mentor said the following:

“You need to be doing your own experiments and getting results from your own stuff. Otherwise, you'll just be one of those guys who teach internet marketing and you make money from teaching internet Marketing, without actually having anything of your own out there. And that doesn't feel good”.

He was right. Yes, my business is doing well, and is constantly growing, but I couldn't get rid of the feeling that something needed to change. I needed to do more than what I was doing, and in the back of my mind I knew exactly what it was. I need to Practice what I preach. However, not on a small scale. I need to do it, and do it BIG!

Reason #2: The E-Myth Revisited

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving here in America. Because I'm a teacher, I had the entire week off and went out of town to visit some friends. It was great, although I ate MUCH MORE than any man should ever eat (but it was so good).

Anyways, for the trip back home, I decided to download an audiobook to listen to and that was the book “The E-myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It“.

Well let me say this – WOW! I haven't read a book in a while that has had as great an impact on the way I thought about my business. Up to this point, I really thought I had a good handle on my business. It's making me money even if I don't do anything, and I'm helping others. Great . . . Right?

Well the truth is – That's great for some people, but it's no longer good enough for me.

One of the things the author brought out in the book was how Tom Watson built IBM to be such a strong company. To paraphrase what Tom Watson said he did in order to build IBM:

  • The first thing he did was painted a CLEAR picture of where he wanted IBM to be.
  • Then he wrote down how such a company would act (what they would do)
  • Then he did those things over and over again.

In other words, he made the company “act” like it was the company he pictured, from the very beginning and took the steps that were necessary to build the company of his dreams.

When you look at these Huge Companies like IBM, Apple, Google, McDonalds and Walmart, etc, the tendency is to think that those guys were so lucky. They were either born into a wealthy family with lots of resources, or were just Super-Lucky! However, that's absolutely NOT the reason for their success.

It took them having a very clear picture of where they wanted to be, and did what was necessary to reach there. It's not about luck. It's about Innovation, Quantification and Orchestration.

What do I mean?

It's relatively simple.

  • You innovate by coming up with a way to solve problems better than everyone else.
  • You quantify by setting up systems for tracking your progress. Milestones that tell you when certain goals are met.
  • You orchestrate by putting the people in place to make your vision happen and by proving them with the step by step resources they need to guarantee the success of your company (or in my case – websites).

So now what?

What I've been talking about so far has been all theoretical. Now it's time to make it practical. What am I going to do now? Well, I'm glad you asked. Let me tell you . . .

  • The first thing I'm going to do is take a step back from my business and look at it through my new “e-myth eyes”. No, I don't mean that I will stop doing what I'm currently doing. I mean that I'm going to look at it from the outside, and make decisions as to where I my business will be when I finally have it the way I want it. I will write that down in crystal clear detail where I see it going.
  • Once I've determined where I want to be, I will then look at where I currently am and determine the gap between where I am and where I need to be in order to make my dream a reality. This will also be written down in great detail.
  • Then I will start putting the systems in place that will bring me to my goals.

Biology vs. “Make Money Online”

If you are a reader of my blog, you're probably aware that I have a Biology Website where I provide students and teachers with videos and other resources for their biology classes. Well, it has been growing, but I haven't turned it into an income generator as yet. There's nothing for sale, no ads, or anything of the sort.

Well, it's time for that to change. I will be going through the process of turning it into a business. Why? Well for a number of reasons:

  • When it generates a significant income, that will allow me to grow it significantly faster and provide more and better resources for my audience.
  • It will give me a way of showing how you can make money online even outside of the whole “teaching people to make money” thing.
  • It will allow me to put together a detailed case study for anyone to take, apply it to their business and watch it grow.

The level of detail I plan on going into will be quite extensive, and well-documented in a very detailed step-by-step way, with an accurate representation of what happens as I implement the steps. By doing this, I really believe that I'll be able to give you more value.

What does this mean for YOU?

Once again, I'm glad you asked. You're just asking all the great questions. Well, it's simple. You get to watch what I do, in great detail, because I will be sharing it with you. Not as a way of boasting of my success, but so that you can see HOW my business is developing. By watching this, you can implement the steps that I'm taking to your business and watch it grow.

My goal is to set it up as a prototype for people like you to be able to have a step-by-step, detailed plan of action. I'm excited about the possibilities, and I can't wait to see the successes that come as a result of this. So, I'm hoping to see you follow along in anticipation. But not only that, as I show what is working, I expect to see you TAKING ACTION. So come back often and let me know how things are going as you learn and act.

As Internet Marketers who teach about Making Money Online, I think it's essential to not just show proof, but give accurate data showing what needs to be done, and how, being as specific as possible, so that anyone can replicate the success you are having. Of course, that's IF and only IF they follow the proven steps your prescribe.

Recommendation

If you are going to be following me on my journey, which I hope you will, I would HIGHLY recommend for you to get the book The E-myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It“. I REALLY believe that it will transform the way you look at business. If you would like the audiobook version, you can get it for FREE from Audible using this link. I highly recommend doing it this way because it is very well narrated.

CLICK HERE TO GET IT FOR FREE AT AUDIBLE!

Comments

I would appreciate your comments on this one. I know it was probably a lot to take in, but if you made it to this point, let me know what you think about the changes I plan to make in my business. I just love hearing from you all. If you are reading this via email, click here to leave your comment.

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24 Comments

  • Gary Parenti says:

    I look forward to what you have to say in the near future. I have been looking at you blog for a month now and see some good things here.
    Gary,

  • Anonymous says:

    I am impressed with your logic. I am also evaluating my money making efforts. I am cutting them down to those that have actually brought in some money and that I feel are worthy products. Aftre my operation I have questioned the time I spend doing internet marketing vs enjoying being retired. I will stay with it but not at high level of the past.

    I do thank you for you openness, honesty, and thoughtfulness. I will continue to follow you and see how you develop your interests. You do give me food for thought.

  • LynnLewis says:

    You’ve reminded me that although I have written plans for starting, I need to write a description of the fully developed business, then outline the steps to get there.
    Thanks again for providing inspiration.

    • Hi Lynn, that’s definitely something they emphasize strongly in the book. I never thought it would be that helpful to have all of those details written out, but it all makes sense to me now. Glad you found value in it!

  • Anonymous says:

    Lesley
    Very strong points mentioned in your post today.
    Looking at your business from a different angel or eye, always gives you a better overview of where you can improve and where your going wrong.
    Your defiantly right about the myths of making money online websites popping up everyday, when deciding to go online, one needs to be very carful and do a full research to which site to believe and which ones to ignore.

    Looking forward to what your going to do next.

    Cheers

  • Ryan says:

    I’ve wondered a lot about the Guru’s. I think I even said something to you about it before. Why are they all so quick to talk about there numbers and will never mention the site(s) that made them the big numbers. I would like to see them just so I could reverse engineer their system for my own education. I’ve theorized that they may have done it unethically or just bought something already built or even that they had made the numbers in the first place.
    Leslie you have the trust of a lot of people in you. There is no doubt that what you do is honest and ethical. I am very much looking forward to following this new direction you are taking.
    Because of you I have been working on several paid products and many free products that I hope to push the envelope and over deliver to show people in my niche that my blog is very different than theirs.
    Are you looking to do this with your existing site and Freebie Guy or just the biology?

    • Thanks for your comment Ryan. I appreciate everything you had to say. Glad to see you taking action. That’s just awesome!

      I’m looking to do this with both my Biology Blog and this one. My first main push will be with the Biology site. However, I will be using this blog to update you all on what I’m doing and HOW.

      My goal is to make them HUGE! I’m starting the planning process now and will be updating you guys as to how I’m doing it as I’m doing it, so stay tuned.

  • Ffion says:

    Thinking it through, and then sharing it – your strongest talents? Apart from making money online that is:)
    I think you’re on the right track – certainly, I feel inundated with How To Make Money Online NOW! emails etc. Interestingly, you’re the only one I’ve kept following. I guess I feel you give valuable information – and exciting thoughts, ideas and plans for the future. and that’s so important. Thanks!

  • Calvin says:

    Hi Leslie,

    Great article! You are SOOOO on point that many people are teaching and selling “how to start and make a lot of money online” programs. The market is inundated with these people, and it’s a turnoff that everybody is doing that. It’s very important to have a niche and to be different in order to stand out. I’ve realized your points and I am in the process of developing my own unique program service and products targeting a niche not like anything I’ve seen before. Keep up the good work and I’m sure God will bless you with the revelation you need to accomplish your desires. Later!

    • Thanks Calvin. God has already been blessing and it seems He intends to continue blessing us all πŸ™‚

      You are very right about the market being inundated with how to “Make Money Online”. Some of it is legit, and a lot of it is crap. We just gotta stick with it and make sure what we do is the best we can do.

      Also glad to see that you are working on developing your own unique program. I look forward to seeing it be a SUPER AWESOME program! πŸ˜€

  • Katey Shaw says:

    I know the exact feeling… was talking to one of my friends who is a well established internet marketer and he said “Katey, just get your own product with your own name on it and test it”

    At first I was trying to figure out the best money making avenue for it and what angle should I take. But realised that the spirit of where it was coming from was not me – it was coming from ‘the voice’ that appealed to me when I started in the industry, but is not the voice I want to have.

    The best thing that happen today (other than reading your blog as it has helped cement where I am going now too) is watching Derek Sivers at Ted – we need to stop talking and just start doing, but from our own voice.

    • Ahh yes, good ‘ol Ted – Such a fountain of knowledge.

      Thanks for commenting Katey, and you already know that I agree with you. You are so right. It’s time to stop talking and start doing. Looking forward to seeing your success!

  • Ireti Paul says:

    Leslie i believe you’re doing the right thing and i’m going to follow you on this trip. I really like what your mentor said about experimenting. One needs to test what works and do away with what doesn’t. The book E-myth is an awesome book. Have gone through it before but applied what i learnt to an offline business and the result was phenomenon.

    Thanks for the link for the audio version. Keep it up.

    • That’s awesome Ireti,

      Actually, E-Myth seems to be written more for offline businesses directly but man, the principles still do apply to online business. I think that if you use the same principles online, it can be extremely productive, and I can’t wait to see the results.

      Thanks for following me on this Journey πŸ™‚

  • Saif says:

    Thanks Leslie for the truths you highlighted in the post. Facts do not come up always and by every one. This is only God that decides which person to speak it. My common sense says, in this case it was you.
    As for as your plan for the future is concerned, you know better what and when to take the best decision. However, I w’ll look forward to hear that you remember your students or subscribers (whatever you call them).
    Thanks again.
    Saif

  • Pete Carr says:

    Hi Leslie,
    It is a shame that so many people make money by telling others “how to”. It is a never ending circle though, always new people coming online looking for the answer to there problems.
    I Blog about Blogging, it’s not because I make millions from it, it is because I am passionate about it. Yes the money is nice but that was never my incentive.
    I have learned so much from people like you, Yaro and Darren Rowse, all for free.I guess my point is there is tons of information out there, if you are willing to look for it.
    Pete

    • Hi Pete,

      I wouldn’t say that it’s a shame that people make money by telling others “how to”. When you really think about it, that’s what I do here. I’m definitely not against doing that. If no one showed how to, then it would be harder for others to learn how to πŸ™‚

      What I’m referring to is balance, and practicality. I can give you all the theory in the world, but unless I’m willing to get down and dirty and do it myself, my teaching won’t be effective, or practical. It will all be theoretical.

      I do agree that being passionate about your topic is a great asset. In fact, if you’re not passionate about it, why in the world would you do it? I’m glad that you are passionate about you and I’m glad to be able to connect with you via blogging. It’s a great thing.

      Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for leaving your comment. It’s good to have discussions like these πŸ™‚

  • Bonniewilson says:

    Leslie,

    I love your material, insightful and most encouraging!

    With gratitude,
    Bonnie (from Canada)

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