I see so many of my readers struggle with growing their online businesses these days. They say things like:
- “I’ve spent last 24 months working on my business without earning anything. I tried everything I was “supposed” to do and got my email list to 236 email subscribers, but the progress is too slow. I sometimes get 14 email subscribers from a guest post and sometimes 0. I feel like it will take years to get anywhere with my business.”
- “I built a product, launched it, and got ZERO customers. Then I rebuild it from scratch and confidently launched it again. This time results really shocked me – I’ve got zero customers AGAIN! What am I missing?”
- “It’s super frustrating to hear success stories from other people of how they grew their email lists and got their first paying customers with their business idea. I wonder, What am I doing wrong?”
I can relate to them, because just a few years ago, I was in the exact same place as them.
Before I was able to build a successful online business, I struggled for months – and today I’ll reveal some of the frustrating details of starting my journey as an online entrepreneur.
Table of Contents
- 1 My first (and most frustrating) experience with blogging
- 2 My second shot at blogging: Different niche, similar story
- 3 Third time is the charm
- 4 I get to work with my dream clients
- 5 I get to learn from the best online entrepreneurs
- 6 I get to speak at conferences in front of hundreds of people
- 7 I get to make an actual impact on peoples’ lives
- 8 I get to win gold medals
- 9 I get to enjoy life to the fullest.
My first (and most frustrating) experience with blogging
A few years ago, when I saw how many other people were using their blogs to run successful online businesses, I said to myself “hey, I could do this too!”.
I started my own blog, and called it “Skyrocket Your Productivity”, where I wanted to help people become more productive in their lives.
I shelled out $500 to get a website designed because I thought that’s what would make my blog a success (I was a bit naive at the time):
Then I started writing blog post after blog post to build an audience for my business.
I wrote about books I’ve read:
I wrote about random things that I’ve found interesting:
I even tried writing “daily productivity tips” for 2 weeks:
I put hundreds of hours into creating new content over the course of 6 months, and I really felt like I gave it my all.
There was just one problem – my blog wasn’t going ANYWHERE.
After spending 6 months writing, my email list never grew past 46 email subscribers (and most of them were my friends and family). I thought I was creating valuable content, but nobody really seemed to care about it, and my blog wasn’t rapidly growing like I wanted it to grow, and like I thought it would grow.
I didn’t make any money with my blog either.
I tried to monetize my blog by getting people to buy books that I’ve read through affiliate links, but I never even got enough affiliate revenues to withdraw my money from Amazon (I think you had to earn a minimum of $15 to do that).
I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours to start my own online business, but the results just weren’t coming in. The worst part was that I didn’t know why, and that frustrated me.
Eventually, after I really felt like I tried everything, I became so discouraged that I shut down my blog and moved on:
My second shot at blogging: Different niche, similar story
Since my blog never took off, I thought the “niche” was the problem.
I decided to go back to a niche that I was already familiar with and making money from (productivity for online poker players), and I started a website called “High Stakes Mindset” with a friend of mine where we aspired to teach online poker players how to develop a better mindset.
Over the next few months we blogged there, and as I was starting to learn more about running a successful online business, we were able to build an email list of around 200 email subscribers. Initially, it seemed like things would work out this time.
But when we tried to launch a group coaching program to that email list, the reality hit us. Nobody joined our program. We were disappointed and discouraged, and started thinking that creating online programs and selling them through an email list wasn’t the best way to serve online poker players.
These poker players often got their walls up the minute they felt they were being sold, and they preferred reading forums to blogs.
That was another problem with out blog – we didn’t know how to continue growing it.
We were able to get the initial spike of email subscribers from an online forum we were both already active in, but we soon felt like we had exhausted that strategy. We couldn’t constantly promote our blog through the forums as the administrators of the forum preferred to have their content on the forum, not outside of it.
We thought doing things like guest posting or being on podcasts, but there were almost no websites in the online poker world where we could do that (most of people read a handful of poker forums and that was it).
Eventually we came to the conclusion that this wasn’t a good idea, and at that time I also became more and more tired of working with poker players. I wanted to work with people who were making an actual difference in the world, rather than people who were just taking money from other people who gambled it away.
Together, we made a decision to discontinue that blog as well.
Third time is the charm
At this point, I decided to give Skyrocket Your Productivity another shot. I took the knowledge I’ve acquired over the past few months and decided to really go all out on it.
Eventually, I’ve found a strategy that worked, and my blog started to grow. Within my first year, I was able to grow it to over 2,200 email subscribers:
And I’ve started making some money with it as well.
3 months after restarting my blog, I successfully launched a 2-hour live productivity workshop for $50 to an email list of 500 email subscribers and made 7 sales ($350) with it. A month later, I turned the workshop into an online course and launched it again – this time to a list of 1,200 email subscribers – and made $1,600.
At this point, I knew that there was something there, and I kept working on my online business. Over the next few years, I was able to attract over 300,000 visitors to my website, and earn more than $300k from my blog over the next few years. This was 10x more than I made with my poker productivity coaching business, and 100x more than I made working for 3 months as a programmer in Slovenia at $7/h.
The most interesting part was that I was able to do this in an industry that was already incredibly saturated – productivity for executives and entrepreneurs – and where nobody knew me and considered me an expert yet. I didn’t have a following or connections to start with.
Even though I was far from the #1 expert on productivity, I was able to make a name out of myself, attract thousands of email subscribers, and create online programs that brought in thousands of dollars in revenues.
But the best part about this wasn’t the money. It was the different lifestyle that building an online business allowed me to live, and the things that it allowed me to do that I couldn’t imagine to do otherwise.
Here’s how building an online business changed my life:
I get to work with my dream clients
In my online courses and coaching programs, I’m able to work with some of the top experts in the world to help them start and grow their online businesses.
A few months ago in Chicago, I held a breakfast for some of my students:
The people around me were just incredible people. There was someone working at the World Bank, a celebrity make up artist, a stylist that sells $15,000 dresses, and a world-class songwriter that’s going for a Grammy next year.
I always watching documentaries and reading books from the people who are the best in the world at what they do, but to meet them in person, and work with them together to create their online businesses, is just something I never imagined I could do.
By working with people on such a high level, I know I’m helping create businesses that will impact millions of people in the world – and I wouldn’t be able to meet them or work with them if I didn’t run an online business.
I get to learn from the best online entrepreneurs
Between 2015 and 2016, I worked with Ramit Sethi (one of the top authorities in the online business space) as the lead coach of his Accelerator program where I coached 800+ online entrepreneurs on starting and growing their online businesses:
The best thing about working with Ramit for 2 years was that I was able to see from behind the scenes how he runs his online business. I could see how he develops a strategic plan for his company. I could see how he developed his online programs. I could see how he grew his audience, and how he ran his company.
This allowed me to learn how building a multi-million dollar online business REALLY works, and what it takes to create one.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet and learn from other top online entrepreneurs. For example, Selena Soo hosted a private party earlier this year on a rooftop, 50 floors above Manhattan:
It felt like all the top online entrepreneurs were at that party, and I was able to have incredible conversations about the online business industry that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to have.
If I didn’t build my own online business, I wouldn’t be able to meet and work with such incredible people who are really the best in the world at what they do.
I get to speak at conferences in front of hundreds of people
Last year, I spoke at Ramit Sethi’s Forefront event in front of a crowd of 500 people:
Being able to share my knowledge with hundreds of people who are eager to put it into action is just one of the best feelings in the world. Speaking on a stage, and seeing the whole crowd attentively listen, knowing you’ll be able to make a difference in peoples’ lives just feels awesome.
Even a year after the speech (at the next Forefront event) people came up to me and thanked me for the speech and told me how it helped them. That really meant a lot to me.
I get to make an actual impact on peoples’ lives
One of the things I love the most about having an online business is that I get paid for making peoples’ lives better – in big and small ways. A lot of people talk about making an impact and changing the world, but I get to actually see this on a daily basis as I get emails and messages from my clients and readers about how I’ve helped them.
Messages like this:
While it’s nice to have a successful 5-figure product launch or sell out a coaching program, the real joy comes from actually seeing people transform their lives. In my mind, that’s what building an online business is all about. Creating change, not making a quick buck or taking money away from people.
For me it’s not all about list growth and conversions and making money like some internet marketers would like to have you believe. For me, it’s about helping people, then using the money you earn to be able to help more people (while living a better life yourself).
I get to win gold medals
A few weeks ago, I competed at my first powerlifting competition (the national championships in Slovenia) where I won two gold medals:
This wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have the time to work out for 10-15 hours a week. It wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have my team of 3 coaches that helped me polish my lifting technique and supported me in my journey. It wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t work with my high-performance coach who taught me how to mentally prepare for the competition.
Sure, I’d be able to still train powerlifting, but from my past experiences with sports, I’m pretty sure I’d have mediocre results like I always did when I didn’t have 1on1 coaches to help me along the way.
I get to enjoy life to the fullest.
Last but not least, I’m just able to experience a cool lifestyle without feeling financially limited.
This summer, I went to visit my high-performance coach Allon in Israel to watch a basketball match on a 2-day notice:
I drove a sports car for the first time in my life:
And I even went on a yacht trip for the first time at a business mastermind in Cancun:
Now these things are all cool and flashy, but the truth is I don’t do them all the time. That’s not my day-to-day lifestyle. On a daily basis, I work from a coffee shop and write emails like this.
But when I do take the well-needed time off, I get to actually do whatever I want to do, instead of being limited by money and going to the same vacation spot year after year like I did when I was a kid.
This helps me fully recharge and come back to work at my best, so I can continue to work on making a bigger impact in the world.
Over the next few days, I’ll share more about how I built my business to 6 figures (and how you can too). And before I do that, I’ll also share the mistakes that I’ve made along the way and things that I thought worked for building an online business, but didn’t.
Keep an eye for a blog post about that tomorrow – I know that if you’re frustrated with growing your own online business right now and don’t know what to focus on and what not to focus on, you’ll love it.
But enough about me… I’d love to hear from you.
If you were able to accomplish ANYTHING in your online business in 2018 that would change your life, what would that be?
What’s most important to YOU?
Is it finally growing an email list of 500-1,000 email subscribers? Getting your first few coaching clients? Getting the first 3 incredible case studies? Launching an online program? Something completely different?
I’d love to hear from you – just leave a comment below and let me know!
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