The Hard Truths of E-Commerce
I was asked this morning what I would say to someone who wants to get into selling online…
I’ve been a marketer for well over a decade and my ambition has cost me more than I care to speak about publicly. If you are looking to get into some version of online business then the following pieces of advise should help prepare you for what lies ahead.
1) Don’t quit your day job until the time you are putting into your day job is COSTING you money. Nothing in online selling happens fast except losing your shirt.
2) You’re going to have wins but the learning curve is steep and you’re going to have A LOT more failures than wins – no matter how far you take it. No success comes without colossal and consistent failure and lessons learned. The lessons learned in failure are the rungs on the ladder that take you to new heights.
3) Don’t get married to a product or brand. If it fails and there is no way forward then move on. You will burn more business ideas to the ground than you win with.
Be ready for it as the scars serve both as education and mile markers in this game.
4) Create a plan and executable system so you know what YOU should be doing everyday. Follow several people or get a mentor that has done what you want and follow their system for success.
Don’t get sucked into too many directions either – there are lots of ways to make money online and that means there are LOTS of shiny objects. Make a list of things that interest you and get one done at a time!!!!
5) Having more than one online business without the first being stable is like trying to keep a committed relationship to multiple women – bad for everyone involved and not worth the stress.
6) Be careful with mentors as a great many of them are ARTISTS, meaning that they are great at one or two particular things but cannot explain the fundamentals of business as a system – getting those things straight is key.
7) Spend MONTHS (at least) researching each area of that plan and trying your hand at each area. This way you know what YOU need to be doing and what you need to farm out to others or software.
8) There is only one skill in marketing that stands above all others – and that is copywriting. It is the hardest to master, and most powerful skill in marketing. Learning to write well takes years of consistent pursuit but it gives you the power to control the thoughts of others. It is what separates everything in any version of marketing – which is all online selling is – product marketing. Master it and you can literally get into anything you want online and print money.
9) Cashflow is the #1 chokepoint for any business. Identify the other chokepoints in your business and close them off as part of your plan.
The Hard Transformation…
10) If you can’t spend huge amounts of time alone then this game and owning any business IS NOT FOR YOU!!!
Prepare to lose who you are and who you hang out with. Attaining any great change (which is what this is – make no mistake) will cost you everything about who you are and the life you currently have.
11) How you want to spend your time will change. The things you think are fun will change. How you view your loved ones will change (maybe the most because they are closest to you). How you view and handle money will change. What you want for your future and who you want in it will change. How you view your kids and what you want to teach them will change.
Life will get much worse before you get to enjoy any of it.
If you are looking to get into this so you can buy a bigger home and have some extra vacation money to take your kids to Disney each year that’s fine but understand that going full throttle on this is going to make you resent people around you who want your time…ESPECIALLY your family….
and then wanting to spend time with your family is going to make you resent your business….
and then not having the business be successful enough to provide a better life for your family AND not having enough time for them when it does start to become successful will tear of the very fabric of your being…..
It is a viscous bit of mental fuckery that takes place and you must get through if you want it to give you the freedom you desire, so harden yourself now.
12) It will take MUCH longer than you anticipate to feel the victory and life change for the better.
13) Get rid of distractions if you are serious about this. Video games, family members that you simply don’t need to be talking to, friends that waste your time on the weekends or on the phone by spending your time talking about bullshit that is unrelated – all need to get out of your life. Unfollow useless people or pages on social media – all of your feeds need to be making you better not entertaining you.
14) You need to treat this like you have an infant on life support. It really is that serious and anything short of that attitude is not being fully committed. If you had an infant on life support and YOU – not your family members, friends, favorite activities, etc. – JUST you, can build the infant up to where it can survive and stand on its own then the rest of the world needs to take a back seat or take a walk. THAT is where the 100 hour work weeks come into effect…if you don’t take care of it then it is going to be in trouble.
15) Starting an online business acts as a great culling. The people who need to be in your life to support you will either stay through the above storm I mentioned or the correct new people will find you. The people who are hanging on to you for utility or have no business being around you will fall off…let them go…..you need to care about your business more than them.
16) If you want to start a business online then you are jumping into the deep parts of the ocean with an open cut on your leg and a knife in your hand. It is a life or death situation that requires 100% of your focus and then some.
If the sharks don’t kill you, the waves might.
If the waves don’t kill you, infection might.
If infection doesn’t kill you, starvation might.
If starvation doesn’t kill you, the bugs on the island you find might.
If the bugs don’t kill you, you might starve again.
If you don’t starve, the animals in the jungle might kill you.
If none of that kills you, the loneliness might make you kill yourself.
If the loneliness doesn’t kill you after all of that then you’ve learned to survive.
You’ve taken your odyssey. You’re very changed from the inside out and MAYBE you can build a raft to sail back to what MIGHT be home…..but with the understanding that you are sailing into open ocean again, with the certainty of storms, and the possibility of having to go thru all of that all over again.
It changes who you are.
You will likely have to endure that multiple times before you taste victory…..
Mine has cost me more than I care to speak about publicly. It took me 9 years to learn the skills, to get the business systems right and get the operations sustainable to where I was happy in what I was doing everyday and not stressed about it all.
Sunlight – The Upside…
17) If you can get through all of that, the freedom that comes with working for yourself in ecom is second to nothing. You will have the skills to live life like others are simply too weak to earn or can’t comprehend. It is a different dimension of happiness few get to experience.
18) You are always in front of literally as many people as you choose to be. You always can get feedback to improve. The speed with which you can get money to better your life is astonishing.
19) It is the easiest way to free up your time and make money while you sleep – meaning people are buying from you even when you aren’t at your computer.
20) You’ll go through hell and the relationships you have with the people who stuck with you are going to be infinitely deeper and more rewarding.
21) Once you sort out your system in one area it is also pretty easy to implement that into other areas or even repeat it over and over – scaling your income and your family’s financial future.
Stay the course. Harden your heart.
Whoever you want to be tomorrow, you’ve got to DO today.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.