The 5 Mistakes That Guarantee Your Business Never Gets Off The Ground
I see ‘$27 gurus’ giving terrible advice all time, while new entrepreneurs follow them straight off a cliff…It just breaks my heart.
After years of beating my head against the wall until there was nothing but a bloody spot, I finally realized that much of the advice I’d received from the $27-guru crowd was absolutely wrong.
Not just wrong, but dangerously wrong!
Before I made my first nickel online in 2005, I spent $22,000 of money I didn’t have, $27 at a time on ebook after ebook.
Those low-cost ebooks professing to reveal the secret to making money online without lifting a finger to do the work usually were a colossal waste of money.
They all claimed you could follow some secret black hat ‘hack’ or by slip through an unknown ‘Google loophole’ to make instant cash. Usually, the only one making any money was the one revealing ‘the secret’!
With so many disenchanted wanna-be-get-rich-quick-entrepreneurs out there, no wonder the Internet Marketing crowd got such a bad name.
The real issue for the aspiring business folks was not that financial loss. After all, $27 does break anyone’s bank account. It’s the crushed spirit and the vanishing hope of financial freedom when you realize you’ve squandered your biggest asset.
Waste too much time following the advice of someone who doesn’t really have a sustainable or successful entrepreneurial experience, and you’re not only at zero again, but you may even be further behind.
Those $27-gurus haven’t built a business. At best, they’ve built an illusion. It may have everyone fooled for a moment, but when things get a little shaky, it all crumbles and disappears in the wind. They disappear never to be heard from again.
It kills me when I see this happening.
That’s why I committed to my long-term goals and passion when building my business.
NAMS didn’t start out as an online business training company but as a hosting company.
When I realized my customers didn’t know who to trust or who to follow to set their businesses up right, I introduced them to the best people, either at the NAMS Workshop or in our MyNAMS Insiders Club.
The Insiders Club became the business behind the glass wall. All the Insiders get to watch as we figure out what’s working today and for the future in the long haul.
It’s a little like making sausage – never pretty, often messy, but always tasty.
What we teach and what we preach is from our experience. Every week, on our live mastermind call with the Insiders, we review our experience in our business and share what’s working and what’s not working from our members as well.
This is real world stuff in real time.
We root out the really bad advice that stinks up the Internet and try to be a guiding light for the new marketer to get on the right path, right away.
Now, I’m not against low-cost items that help you build a system using strategies and tactics that fundamentally work. Just make sure it’s not a ‘hack‘ or ‘hidden loophole‘… there’s no future there. That’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make, taking really bad advice from people who care only about their wallet, not yours.
But it’s not the only bad advice you’ll see.
I’ve decided to reveal the 5 worst pieces of advice you can get and how to avoid it. Here it is:
- Create your product first
- Get more traffic
- Focus on your passion
- Get the money and get out
- Get your Infrastructure in place first
Bad Advice #1: Create Your Product First…
This is just awful. This piece of advice is the one thing that strips new marketers of all hope because they are guaranteed to fail! And it’s a really a costly failure.
The bad advice is often couched in these well-intentioned platitudes:
“You’ve got something to say and people need to hear it,” or
“You’re an expert. Just claim it and get your product out there for people because they’re waiting on you…”
Frankly, unless you’ve figured out how to cure cancer, no one is waiting to hear what you have to say.
I know we all want to believe that we have solved a serious problem and we have to get our product out the door because people need it.
Maybe they do, but they have to WANT it first.
That’s where all that marketing and sales experience comes in so handy.
And they’re not sitting idly waiting for your product. EVER.
Don’t get me wrong. You may have a great product idea. And you may have some life experience that is absolutely riveting.
But building your product first is the fastest path to going out of business.
Here’s what happens to a lot of new entrepreneurs:
- you spend all your time building your product
- throw up some last-minute sales page because a guru said you must have one of those
- hook up a PayPal account to the buy button
- wait for people to send you money ‘while you sleep’
- And then, you wait for people to beat a path to your door
Crickets. Nothing. No nibbles. No sales.
This confirms your worst nightmare. Your husband or wife was right! Your mom said, “I told you so!” Everyone was right. There’s no way to make money with an online business!
It’s time to give up.
EVERYTHING is missing! Especially sales and marketing strategies and techniques.
You’ve made the classic mistake of spending your hard-earned cash building a product without a market, that doesn’t solve a desperate problem, or that people haven’t said they want or need.
The only one with a desperate problem now is YOU!
Next step? Clinical depression.
Man, this seems harsh as I’m rereading it, but I really wish someone had smacked me upside the head with this TRUTH when I first started.
I’ve done it. Been there. Got the t-shirt.
My XXL says, “I’m with stupid!” and the arrow’s pointing up at my face.
You’re not alone.
That’s why I teach that product creation is the LAST step!
We break the business down into two simple layers: Marketing and Delivery.
- Marketing equals sales, traffic, conversions – all the skills and techniques required to make money. If you live in this layer and master it, you’ll be rich forever!
- Delivery equals the plumbing of your business, the infrastructure, the products – all the technology you need to build an empire. And frankly, you never need to know how any of this works…
I love the delivery layer. It’s fun. And it’s tangible. You can see your progress there very quickly.
The marketing layer is harder. You have to get good at sales and marketing to survive.
But don’t spend any time in the delivery layer first…
In fact, you shouldn’t step foot in there until you are making beaucoup money.
It’s not necessary to your success. When you’re making a lot of money selling other people’s products using THEIR delivery layer, you may be ready to build your own – including your own products – if you decide you want the headache of a complex infrastructure. (We’ll talk more about this in #5.)
But not until then.
Here’s another harsh truth: Your product is not so special that it will sell itself.
Everyone I know who is successful in business spends 80 to 95 percent of their time SELLING.
But it’s not really necessary to have your own product. You should focus on selling other products until you get REALLY good at it, and forget creating your own products.
Why? Let’s count the reasons:
- You didn’t have to spend the time building it yourself.
- You don’t have to invest cash in the solution.
- You test the market to determine if the consumer market wants it while being completely detached from the outcome.
- You can drop it like a hot potato if it doesn’t sell – and not lose a wink of sleep over it.
- You can serve your community by offering solutions to problems which makes you a vital service provider.
- You get paid for your performance. The more you sell, the more money you earn.
- You learn to sell and market immediately without waiting until everything is ready (when you’re creating your own products).
- You build relationships that will reciprocate for you when you’re ready to sell your own products down the road (if you decide to do that).
- You discover how to generate cash fast.
- You get paid by other people to build your list with quality buyers.
Bad Advice #2: Get More Traffic…
What if every click on any link to your website costs you $1.
Imagine a little meter in the upper right corner of your site that counted the clicks, dinging every time a new person visits, and withdraws a $1 from your bank account instantly.
No money is going into your website because the person who visits doesn’t buy anything.
Your friend, Annie, has a meter on her site too. And every time someone visits, it dings her account $1 just as it does yours. But within a few minutes, her website meter sends out a beautiful cash register sound and adds $2.
That’s because someone just deposited $2 into her account.
For every dollar she spends, she gets $2.
You tell your friend, Tom, about Annie. You mention how frustrated you are that your site doesn’t seem to be making any money, and you’re not sure what the problem is.
Tom, who doesn’t have a website at all, decides to write an ebook about Annie’s experience. The conclusion is that Annie is going to get very rich as she drives more traffic to her site.
It’s a secret formula anyone can follow Tom says on his sales page, and you can solve your traffic problem with his ebook for just $27.
You buy the book. Tom’s conclusion is that all you need is more traffic because that’s what Annie needs to create more sales with a converting offer.
You decide that’s right! More traffic will solve your problem. You get 10 times the traffic you had and immediately you see that your bank account is draining 10 times faster!
More traffic? No! No! No!
Traffic is a double-edged sword!
Sending lots of traffic to a bad offer that doesn’t convert and continuing to do so over time will bankrupt you FAST!
What’s the solution?
First, get new friends. Tom’s an idiot.
Immediately, stop paying for traffic until you figure out why it’s costing you so much. In other words, why isn’t it converting?
Annie is doing something right. What is it?
Study Annie’s site, her offer, and the marketing system that she’s using. Why is her site converting so well? Talk to her. She’s living the successful online business life.
What’s she doing that you’re not?
Then, look at other people’s offers and conversions. What’s working for them? Why is yours not?
You’ll discover that successful marketers are split testing sales pages, messages, offers and prices to build the best conversion rates.
Terry Dean, one of my real mentors, says: You don’t have a traffic problem. You have a conversion problem!
Successful marketers are spending as little as possible to determine what works best and then doing more of that.
Testing becomes your best friend.
Make changes slowly and watch your numbers.
Test those changes with small, but meaningful amounts of traffic to make sure your changes are effective in a positive way. Continue testing until the conversions don’t rise any longer.
Test different markets, warm or cold traffic, paid or free, Bing or Google, Facebook or Youtube. You’re looking for the sweet spot.
When your conversions are making you more money than you’re spending, then – and only then – do you need more traffic.
Here’s the key:
If you’re making money because your traffic conversions are really good, then you know exactly how much money you can spend on getting more traffic and it becomes a self-perpetuating system.
But not until.
The final 3 pieces of bad advice really support an attitude of quality and service above all by focusing on your passion AND money, building value in your offers, and creating systems that work for you all the time.
Bad Advice #3: Focus On Your Passion…
Here’s a disclaimer.
I wholeheartedly believe in this philosophy. I teach it. I preach it.
But there’s a second part to this that has to be considered: How is your money situation today?
If you’re panicked about paying your electric bill today, telling you to follow your bliss and focus on your passion is a real disservice.
Your passion at the moment is to get enough money to pay the electric bill!
And, as a business coach, I’m an idiot if I don’t recognize that.
There are two parts to a passion-based business. And by the way, I LOVE passion-based businesses because when you love what you’re doing, chances are that you’ll do it for a really long time and successfully!
Most people who start a business are reacting to some force in their lives. Here are some examples:
- Down-sized or laid off or fired
- Medical ailments restrict what you can do
- Incredibly unhappy working for the man
- Very passionate about a cause or a process
- The control freak who doesn’t trust anyone or any institution to be there for you
- Entrepreneurialitis (I made up that word) which presents itself as an extreme freedom seeker
All of these have one thing in common: Transition.
Every entrepreneur I know started their business while in some form of transition. And transition, by definition, is a state of flux which can be very stressful.
So, the two parts of creating a passion-based business are:
- Triage – how to stop the bleeding quickly? Every person in transition needs to reduce the stress as fast as possible. Often, that means building a system to create money fast to alleviate the financial stress as well as a support group to prop you up and guide you through the personal stress that appears when friends and family tell you that you may be a little crazy for starting a business. (I have an aunt who still tells after 12 years of online business, “I just wish you’d get a job.”)
- Long-term prognosis – now, that you’ve stopped the bleeding and reduced your stress, how do you build a business that feeds your soul, one that you can love a long time?
So, when you hear teachers (like me) say, “Follow your passion,” make sure you are past the triage stage of your business life.
Always keep your passion in front of you. But reduce your stress first so you can survive.
Why is focusing on passion AND money so important?
There’s a little thing called the Important / Urgent matrix. It’s one of the best reminders for what you should be working on at all times.
You’ll notice there are four quadrants:
- Urgent and Important
- Important but not Urgent
- Urgent but not Important
- Not Urgent and not Important
I won’t go into this in detail. We do that in the Insiders Club. But I will point out that if building a business around your passion is your IMPORTANT goal, then paying the electric bill is the URGENT.
Once the Urgent and Important needs are met, you want to live in as much of the Important and not Urgent world as possible because that’s where your growth and happiness is sure to live.
Never focus on your passion without taking care of your basic needs first. Huge mistake. But you want to focus on your passion as much as possible.
Bad Advice #4: Get the Money and Get Out…
This is just horrible advice.
We all want more money, but getting money at any cost is one the most immoral things you can do. The street equivalent is the Old-West snake oil salesman.
He sold a solution that didn’t work at best, and was deadly at worst, while disappearing quickly before the poor consumer could complain – or recover, as the case may be.
In today’s marketplace, there are a lot of snake oil salesmen.
They’re selling solutions:
- to problems you don’t really have
- that don’t work
- or even worse, that cause bigger issues than you had in the beginning
How many times have you purchased a product or a training program only to find that 3 months later, the access page is gone, the seller has disappeared, or doesn’t support the product any longer?
They’ve basically done the product launch hit-and-run.
Hit your wallet and run with the money!
Why would they do that?
It’s about the money.
It’s always about the money for people like that.
I love money too. Money allows me to have a great life with a great wife doing things that we love to do together. It allows me to spend time with my parents and my kids when our schedules permit. And it allows me to support my family when they need help.
But most of all, money allows me to serve my customers and my community, especially the MyNAMS Insiders Club community better.
For example, when the NAMS team searched for more than a year for the right WordPress page builder, we landed on Beaver Builder. It’s an outstanding tool that’s easy to use and performs way more design tasks than we’ll ever use.
Our pages, designed in Beaver Builder, have become beautiful and modern.
Instead of buying the single or multi-site license, I bought the agency license. I paid twice as much for that tool, and will annually.
Then, I gave the license to ALL Insiders as one benefit of being an Insider with Beaver Builder’s blessing!
I used the money that I earned from their membership dues to give more value back to them.
When you focus on prospects and customers and how to create better value to improve those relationships, every offer whether it’s yours or a partner’s solution must support and enhance that relationship.
The relationship becomes more important than the money.
I have dug into my own pocket to give more value to our Insiders even when I didn’t have the money to spare. The relationship with Insiders is that important.
Today, as of this writing, an Insider gets:
- Beaver Builder multi-site license
- Beaver Builder Power Pack templates add-on tools
- FTC Guardian (basic version)
- Simple Video Management System (single site license)
- Simple Click Tracker (single site license)
- Simple Countdown Creator (single site license)
- Simple Quiz Engine (single site license)
And a single site license of all the other plugins we’re launching this year (that will be about 10 plugins total.)
That’s just a sampling of the tools that we provide in addition to the team and training resources.
Bad Advice #5: Get Your Infrastructure in Place First
Now there’s a piece of advice that will keep you stuck in never-never-land forever!
And it couldn’t be more wrong.
Your infrastructure is only important if you’ve got money-making funnels to your own products in place. If you do, then focus on infrastructure.
But for this particular piece of advice, the keyword is “FIRST”!
Refer back to Bad Advice#1 in Part 1. Never build your product or your infrastructure until you’ve borrowed someone else’s to learn how to market and sell their products.
Infrastructure costs money.
Every email, every subscriber, every download has a cost associated with it.
It makes no sense to create a huge infrastructure expense overhead before you have an income rolling in.
That being said, you will need some basic infrastructure such as:
- Domain name. (If nothing else, you’ll want to establish your email marketing brand with the domain name. David [@] MyNAMS.com is much more impressive than david [@] gmail.com. You can get one registered today quickly and easily at my registrar called SimpleNicheDomains.com – this will cost you about $10 per year.
- Autoresponder system. Building your list from day 1 of your new business is your number 1 job. An autoresponder system like Aweber is great to start with. And you’ll get started for less than $25 per month. You don’t even have to have a landing page or a hosting account outside of Aweber at first, but you will soon. And that’s easy.
For hosting and further infrastructure tools, refer back to our favorite tools post.
But back to our original premise, don’t get befuddled by the technology!
Your job as an online business person is to sell stuff putting it bluntly.
If you don’t sell stuff, you don’t make money. If you don’t make money, you don’t have a business, but an expensive hobby.
And I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to have an expensive hobby.
Therefore, selling stuff is the key.
Other people’s stuff is fine.
Sell using affiliate platforms, social media, Youtube, and email if that works.
Learning how to sell is the best, most profitable skill you can learn. Don’t get suckered into thinking you have to have an extensive website infrastructure.
Not true. Sell and earn enough money until you can hire help to build an infrastructure for you.