I was reading an article by David Risley, where he was taking a hard-line look at what he believes are some fundamental flaws regarding the make money online niche.
The main question at the heart of David’s article was why people do not actually succeed at making money online, despite the wealth of information available to do so, including plenty of blogs, free reports, ebooks, courses and mentoring programs.
From my own experience, having hundreds of thousands of subscribers and several thousand paying customers over the last seven years, I know only a very small fraction actually succeed, if you measure success by making money. Even if you look at the percentage who go on to make a small amount, say a few hundred dollars a month, it’s still a tiny percentage of those who set out to do so.
So what’s going on here? Why is it so hard for so many?
If asked why so few succeed I’ve always had an answer that I know is true. Most people simply don’t do the work to get the result. If you actually implement and keep doing it, eventually you get an outcome.
That’s certainly true, and every person with a success story will trace it back to consistent hard work towards a goal, with an almost pathological will to keep going despite constant setbacks. I can certainly vouch for that myself in all areas of my life I have worked towards improving.
The problem with that answer, is that it is a convenient “catch-all” statement to explain away every failure. They just didn’t work hard enough or stick to it long enough or implement all the steps.
I think it’s necessary to take a closer look at this explanation and figure out the real reasons why people do not succeed at making money online.
What Motivates Action?
What are the reasons behind a lack of action? We can break it down into a few categories -
- Practical reality or constraints
- Lack of understanding
- Lack of resources
- Limiting beliefs
All of these areas overlap and in fact at the heart of it, there really is only one major thing stopping us – beliefs. It is still worth taking a look at each category in more detail. Chances are one of these things is stopping you now, or at least you think it is.
Practical Reality Or A Physical Constraint
I consider this category all those physical things in life that get in the way from doing the work necessary to make money online. You might have to raise four kids, cook and clothe everybody AND work a job, which doesn’t leave much energy or time for anything else.
Maybe you have problems with your eyesight, or pain in your wrists, or other physical conditions that stop you getting the work done. Perhaps your computer keeps breaking down, or is so slow that what should take 30 minutes ends up taking two hours.
All of these things are variables that get in the way of you producing output. Unless you can remove these constraints, or find ways to work around them, you will fail due to lack of action.
A Lack Of Understanding Or Skills Shortage
This is a condition that every person who has an online business faces. You can’t know how to, or enjoy doing every role in your business. That’s why you need help from other people who have the skills you don’t. Unfortunately even knowing what you need to know is something you have to learn, which is why so often people quit before they even get close to succeeding – it’s all too overwhelming.
If going online and learning how to make money from a certain system is completely new to you, you face a ton of new experiences. You may spend a good six months just figuring out the basics before you can start to move on to actually producing something. Given that each educational experience opens up doors to new areas you can study, often simply the act of studying your options will kill your motivation – you just don’t know how to put all the pieces together.
A Lack Of Resources
For some people it is money, for others it is time, sometimes it is people resources – these are all the most critical elements for success when building an online business and you can never have enough of them.
When starting out, often the lack of funding to pay for even the basics – someone to set up your website, the fees for hosting and software, someone to do your facebook page, your twitter and youtube profile pages and just to pay for your logo, are out of reach.
Even if you have a nice set-up fund to pay for all of these things, once you spend your money to build a foundation, only to then turn around and realize you need money for a pay per click campaign, someone to write the copy for your landing page, not to mention paying for keyword research software, split testing software, ebook cover design, and on and on – it once again becomes out of reach.
Knowing What To Deal With First
All of these problems are real and you are likely dealing with them all right now in some way. I am too.
I’m a big fan of logic based problem solving. I think it’s the best way to progress forward. However the first problem you have to solve is often the trickiest – in what order do you solve these problems?
Following the theory of constraints you should look to whatever is the most pressing constraint that is stopping movement forward. Unfortunately, without experience or at least some feedback from somewhere, it is hard to know what that is, especially if you are new to the online business building process. That’s why concepts like lean testing and having a mentor are helpful. They at least give you a direction to move towards and allow you to change directions quickly.
I think it is equally important to tie in your own motivation rewards into the problem solving process. Although designing a logo might not impact your bottom line directly, it does give you a sense of achievement, of making your business more real, and that is fun (and thus motivating). It’s also a creative process, which can get your juices flowing and carry your motivation even further.
I think today if I was to answer the question about why most people do not succeed at making money online I would first say it is a lack of action, but I would qualify that by saying behind every lack of action is a limiting belief.
Every challenge I have outlined in this article and every challenge you will face is surmountable, but it’s your choice not to figure out how to get it done and spend the time to do it, which stops the outcome. That decision comes from a place where you decide it is too hard or too scary or too much work or you would rather do something else, a belief you make true when you stop action or fail to take any to begin with.
This is a simple answer to a complex problem, which perhaps doesn’t do it justice.
I say that because us humans are complex creatures made up of constantly changing motivations, desires and energy flows. Every moment is impacted by how much food we have eaten and of what type, how much sleep we had, whether we feel content, or lonely or happy or excited, whether we have family supporting or berating what we do (or ignoring us altogether), what kind of personality we have and whom we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
There are simply too many variables at play. Thus we generally make the desirable decision in every given moment, and it’s almost always made because of how we feel in that moment.
So to put it bluntly, it’s all in your head…and perhaps your heart.
How To Stay The Course
The next question that begs answering is thus:
How do we get our head and heart to align with what we want?
(Be careful, you could end up having a conversation with yourself at this rate…)
Studying personal development can help. Aligning yourself with the right people can help. Gaining faith in divine purpose can help. A little dash of good old fashioned luck and timing can certainly help too. Figuring out what you really really want is always a good step.
Unfortunately I do not have a reliable answer that is guaranteed to succeed.
That is why I think it is unfair to lay blame on teachers, or teaching materials, or even sometimes yourself. It’s all about the context and there’s a heck of a lot of context within and around every human being.
The reason why only a few people succeed is clear: it’s hard.
It takes a lot of things to go right and you doing a lot of things over and over again even when you do not feel like it, and even then you won’t necessarily succeed.
Learning is always guaranteed, which is what makes taking action always the best choice. It not only gives you a better chance of success, but also returns an insight into why you are doing something, how well it is working and how other people react to it (if they do at all – non-reaction is still a result, if a discouraging one).
Personally I find that enjoyment is generally the key ingredient because nothing keeps you active like fun. As such that good old statement from Joseph Campbell –
Follow your Bliss
…is pretty darn accurate. Overly simple perhaps, but very true.
Figure out what you enjoy doing, then how to make it a part of the process that leads to the rewards you want from life, and you win. Simple. As. That.
Or maybe not.
I’ll leave you with two articles that I recommend as further reading on this subject.
If you are struggling with motivation today, read this -
If you have time for a deeper look into how to create the change you want, you can learn my methodology – you might even call it my faith – in this 9 part series starting with part one here:
Making Money Online
Photo courtesy of Carsten Schertzer