Have you given up on most of your projects and goals? Do you dabble without every going all in? Are you fed up with putting things off?
We all know how tough it can be to stay committed to something new. Studenomics turns 11 today. I’m here to share 11 lessons that you need if you’re thinking about jumping into something new from a guy who used to always fail at commitments.
What are 11 lessons from 11 years of blogging that will help you commit to that project and finally follow through on that business idea?
“I’m so bored. I wish that I got a shift today.”
I complained to my girlfriend at the time. I sat around watching Smackdown all by myself. The day was November 7, 2008. It was a Friday. I was a student with a part-time gig. The usual story. Nothing special. Just a guy who wanted to start a business.
Well, I desperately wanted to start my own business. I was studying business in university thinking that was the way to do it. I just talked about what I wanted to do without ever doing anything.
I was ready for a change. I wanted to switch things up. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and not just someone who shared quotes about entrepreneurship (sound familiar?). All I’ve ever wanted in my life was to be a business man. I just didn’t know where to start.
I finally launched Studenomics that Friday evening. I waited to see what was next and I can tell you that I wasn’t expecting to be full-time with this one day. I’ve been featured everywhere from the NY Times to the Toronto Star. I’ve freelanced, spoken at events, and grown this thing into something that I didn’t see coming. I don’t want to talk about myself though because this post is about you.
Let’s get into the 11 powerful lessons that will help you grow that business that you’ve been putting off…
[If you want to start a blog then read this post right now. Check out this article on how to make money online if you’re ready to get started.]
Lesson #1: You have to be consistent.
We all have that friend on social media who’s quick to share links to their new podcast or YouTube video only to disappear after a month when they’re not a famous influencer.
This is annoying and I hate to be the one to mention this, but you have to be consistent. You have to find a way to show up even when you don’t feel like it. Nobody else will do the work for you. You have to deliver or else people will forget about you. It’s easy to be motivated for a few weeks or a few months. Can you stay focused for a year?
How do you stay consistent?
- Find ways to reward yourself. Can you treat yourself?
- Think of the worst case scenario. Do you want to be stuck at that shitty job for another decade?
- Jump into a topic that you’re actually passionate about and can focus on.
- Focus on small actions. We all want to go big. Sometimes it’s important to just tackle what’s in front of you. A small action like editing a post, pumping out a few words or sharing a social media post can go a long way.
- Don’t bother if you’re not serious. This is a bit harsh but please don’t waste your time if you know that you can’t commit.
- Stop thinking that you’re going to hit it big. Most people will give up when their second podcast episode doesn’t go viral or when they don’t become famous on YouTube.
Lesson #2: You need a unique message and story to stick out.
“I’m going to tell people about how hard I work.” — said by every delusional athlete online.
Nobody cares about how hard you work.
It’s getting tougher and tougher to stick out these days when it comes to creating online content.
You’re fighting for the most important currency in the world: attention.
How do you earn and keep someone’s attention? Your message has to be extremely unique.
Believe me, this annoys me more than anyone else out there. I wish that having a normal story was enough.
How do you stick out?
- Have a compelling angle on a popular topic.
- Tackle a unique topic.
Ask yourself this when creating content:
“Would this catch my attention if I was scrolling through social media?”
Be honest with yourself. If your idea is boring or not that exciting then people won’t care. We crave something different. The good news is that different doesn’t always mean better. It can just be different enough to catch some attention.
Lesson #3: You have to become friends with people in your field.
This whole “networking” thing can feel pretty slimy. I hate even using that word. You can’t do this alone though.
How do you “network” with people in your field?
- Go to events. Get out of your house and attend events in real life.
- Apply their material for results. An easy way to get someone’s attention is to be a case study for them.
- Be active. Show them love on social media.
- Don’t ask for stuff. Stop asking for things! I get annoyed when someone publishes their first blog post and they email me asking for a link or a share. Try to be useful first. Then you can ask. Stop begging and harassing people to promote your stuff.
Check this video out:
Lesson #4: You have to deliver your message across multiple platforms.
When I first started blogging in 2008, I only relied on Google for traffic. I didn’t do any email marketing or social media. Facebook was just starting. I had a fake name and used it to keep in touch with people that I met on vacation. Now Facebook ads are a huge market.
The good news is that now you can find a platform that works for you and focus on it.
- You can write content for a blog if you’re a decent writer.
- You can make videos for YouTube if you love to explain things on video.
- You can start a podcast on iTunes if you’re a fan of conversations.
You have no excuses.
How do you deliver your message across different platforms?
- Divide and conquer. Learn how to use one platform before you try to get on the next.
- Double dip. When you create a video, you can post it on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Tik Tok. You don’t always have to create new content. You can rely on one piece of content and then slice it up.
Lesson #5: You have to pay attention to SEO and algorithms.
“Build it and they will come.”
I heard that phrase a lot about a decade ago. Now you have to build it and promote it ruthlessly if you want anyone to find you.
You have to know what every platform is looking for. The good news is that most of us are just guessing. All we can do is try to pay attention to what’s work and what’s not working.
Lesson #6: You have to get good at email for marketing reasons and for follow-up.
“I suck at email.”
I told a friend that once and he kindly reminded me that I had no choice but to get better at it.
Follow up is everything. Get decent at replying to messages. I hate it when I try to help someone out and they can’t even acknowledge that they read the message.
Lesson #7: You have to know when to invest in yourself.
There will be times where what got you here won’t get you there. You have to change what you’re doing. You have to invest in yourself.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for saving money. I just know that you don’t want to slow down your own growth because you were too cheap to pick up a lunch bill or to attend an event.
You have to spend some money today to make money in the future. Read up on investing in yourself so that you don’t stay in the same situation forever.
Lesson #8: Keep on doing cool shit in real life so that you have something to talk about.
You can’t just write and document if you have nothing going on in your life. You have to live. Go on trips. Step out of your comfort zone. Take some damn risks.
Nobody wants to get lectured by some robot who sits at home. If you want to get better at writing and social media, you have to actually live. The more experiences that you go through, the more stories that you have to share.
This year I wanted to find a new angle so I found a way to turn coffee into cash. Watch the video below.
Sometimes an idea may seem silly to you (going rock climbing, taking a dance lesson, etc.) but it could be interesting to the rest of the world.
“Don’t ever decide for yourself that videos about you or the things you like to do won’t be compelling to anyone else. Let the market decide. Trust me, it’ll be honest with you.” — Gary Vee
Lesson #9: Be transparent. Readers dig personal and emotional content.
We love real content. The world has enough useless motivational quotes.
Trust me, it seems strange to talk about a breakup or a struggle, but people love this kind of work.
Share what’s actually happening. Look at this this way, if something is an issue for you then it’s likely also an issue for someone else out there. We all struggle.
Lesson #10: Stop buying courses and chasing the next big thing.
Growing a business gets overwhelming. There are no quick fixes. You don’t need to spend a fortune on courses or “proven income systems” when you’re first getting started. You just need to start. Then you can worry about slowly investing in the business.
Focus on creating content and sharing your message. Keep on trying to grow. See if you even have anything worth pursuing before you buy some expensive program.
Lesson #11: Find a way to make money.
How will you make money? Will you sell books? Will you promote products? Will you be a coach?
Think of how you’re going to make money and make it happen. This is something that I struggle with. You need to find different revenue streams.
Here are a few options for making money:
- Advertising space.
- Selling coaching.
- Selling courses.
- Writing books.
- Freelance writing.
You have to figure out how this business will bring in money. If you don’t bring in any money then you have a hobby. There’s nothing wrong with a hobby, but hobbies don’t pay the bills.
Those are the lessons that will help you grow your new business so that you don’t waste time or money. I believe that life’s too short to work at a job that you hate. We live in the best time in history for making money.
On the flip side, I’m not here to sell you the dream. I have to stress that blogging/working for yourself/self-employment isn’t for everyone. You might be better off staying at your current job.
Watch this if you’re stuck at day one:
What’s the longest that you’ve stayed committed to a project? What have you been putting off?