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I’m at a party.
The pretext is simple, people drinking and chatting, attempting to form meaningful connections, to bond over shared interests.
As expected, everyone asks what I do. When I answer that I “work online” the response is an expression like I just said something in another language.
I attempt to explain how I spend my time turning a computer with an internet connection into an income stream. I can tell the distance between their comprehension and the reality of what I do is too big a chasm to jump.
The conversation moves on. It doesn’t take long to ascertain that I have absolutely nothing in common with this person.
I sigh and tell myself that’s fine, there are many more people to meet and I can’t expect to get along with everyone.
Unfortunately as the night progresses, this pattern of conversation repeats.
Over and over again, party after party, I come to the same conclusion. The point of disconnect is me. I’m the square peg trying to fit into a round hole that everyone else seems so comfortable in.
It’s apparent that the language I speak and the subjects that I love are not commonly shared amongst the general population.
I’m the weird one.
I grew into an adult just as the internet became pervasive in our lives.
I lived and breathed the online world. I read books about the big companies at the time – Altavista, Napster, Yahoo!, Ebay and later Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
I spent hours on newsgroups and browsing from website to website, looking for explanations of how people were turning this new digital platform into income streams.
I dreamed of making not just a living from the internet but even more. I wanted true freedom and not just financial freedom – I wanted lifestyle freedom, to be the master of my destiny.
Unfortunately, the reality at the time was far from this ideal. I wasn’t making much online, I still lived with my parents and I was still working a part time job.
This made things even more uncomfortable when I met people. It’s hard to feel confident explaining how you make a living online when you actually don’t. It’s nice to say you are an “internet entrepreneur” but deep down you feel like a fraud.
The end result of all of this was an intense feeling of loneliness.
I felt alone because no one else was like me. I felt alone because people didn’t understand what I was doing. I felt alone because I wasn’t succeeding at my unconventional career choice.
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One day a friend from my university told me that she had a friend who was sort of dating this guy who had an internet business. She suggested I should meet him.
His name was Will and he had recently moved back to Australia from Japan to start his own internet marketing consultancy.
Like with my business, it was early days for Will’s company too. He had no employees and worked from a home office trying to convince people to hire him to drive traffic to their businesses using online marketing.
We met one day for a coffee. After a thoroughly enjoyable two hour long conversation it was clear that I had found someone who had the same interests as me.
We read the same books and websites, we had similar ambitions and when we talked about the technology we instantly understood each other.
It was a breath of fresh air in my life. I had found someone who spoke my language.
Besides the odd encounter with someone like Will, for the first five years of my online career, a period with only marginal financial success, I worked alone.
It was a hard time in my life. I was depressed and lonely. This impacted the growth of my business. I made many poor choices and wasted a lot of time because I had no role models and no peer group to support me.
Although today people look at someone like myself as being lucky for having jumped on board the internet bandwagon early, enjoying the rise of a new medium for business, there are many downsides.
Today there are so many resources to support you. There are courses and coaches, networking events and conferences, communication tools like Skype and webinars, and countless bloggers and YouTubers who are doing similar things as you.
You might take this for granted today – you probably feel overwhelmed by it – but for me, I had the opposite problem. I had no support at all.
Today the internet is one giant support group. Having peers to work with and motivate you is a HUGE part of growing a business. Having leaders to follow and emulate is also an incredible advantage.
The loneliest parts of my life during this early period were those moments when I felt my business was going nowhere.
I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t have any previous successes to rely on to give me confidence, or any income streams that could support me if my current project was not working.
I had to make my online business work and there was no one who could help me.
That’s scary, especially when you wake up in the morning and your website traffic is not growing, no sales are coming through, and you just received a refund request for the one sale you made last week.
This is when you need your community, your friends, and your mentors. This is when you need people you can go to who understand your situation, who have been there and know how to climb out of the dark holes you fall into.
Mentors can guide you, turning your attention away from the emotional train wreck you have become, and setting you back on to a practical and rational path of action towards a result.
It’s important to surround yourself with other people who are like you today. They are walking the same path as you right now, facing your conditions, dealing with the internet environment as it is right now. This is your mastermind group, your community, your online family.
There is no reason for you to go through what I went through.
It took me a full seven years to reach a point where I made $100,000 a year online. That’s incredibly slow. Who has time to do that in this day and age?!
Today you can pick a path from a range of online business models that are well established, study the course to learn how to do it, interact with a community of people like you to keep you motivated and speed up your results through coaching.
There’s no reason for you to feel isolated. There are so many events you can attend, conferences you can go to, online webinars and videos to watch.
Best of all, today people like you and me are no longer the weird ones. There’s an army of online entrepreneurs and leveraging technology in our lives is the norm.
The parties I go to now are full of people working on startups, or people who manage social media, or program software. The events I attend are full of creative people who use the internet to share their creations.
The world is full of people like me – and you – so there is no reason for you to go it alone.
I’ll end this article with a special invitation for you to join my community, the Laptop Lifestyle Academy.
If you’re a blogger who is building a business to profit through helping people with your digital information, then my community is the right choice.
The Laptop Lifestyle Academy is new. I only opened it up quietly just a few months ago. I’ve never done a launch or promotion for it.
A small group of 30+ beta members has slowly signed up over the previous months. We interact on a daily basis inside the community, solving problems, sharing experiences and working on accountability tasks.
I’m using the Ning social platform to power my coaching community. Ning is like a forum with many social features built-in. There’s also a community blog only members can publish to.
I act as the lead mentor, so this is a coaching problem. I make myself available to personally support you, provided you are willing to communicate in a community environment so everyone can benefit.
I also encourage members to interact and support each other as you are all going through the same early startup stage together.
The Laptop Lifestyle Academy is an active participation program. If you don’t contribute, ask questions, and interact with other members then you get nothing from it. It is not a course, there are no modules to work through, it’s all about community membership.
On top of the community membership and personal coaching from me, I also release special resources that only Laptop Lifestyle Academy Members receive. This includes prerelease interviews, launch swipe files, videos, and training resources.
You also receive invitations to all the live private webinars and teleconferences I conduct as part of my coaching programs and courses.
All Laptop Lifestyle Academy Members qualify for 50% off my courses, and with Blog Mastermind and Membership Site Mastermind reopening in the next few months, now is a good time to take advantage of membership.
If you have any questions about the Laptop Lifestyle Academy, please leave a comment.
I can tell you from experience, your results will be so much quicker with coaching and people to support you.
There’s no reason for you to go it alone today.