“That’s Easy for YOU! You Already Have a Big Business Online, But That Won’t Work for Me!”
If I had a nickel for every time someone used that excuse with me why they can’t get a break online…
Listen, I have a good business now, but it wasn’t always that way.
In fact, I struggled for years. And even today, it’s not always easy.
It’s always a challenge to improve any business.
When I worked for Gannett Newspapers many years ago, that company had more than 72 quarters of consecutive revenue growth.
And that is absolutely amazing for any business, but especially a big corporation.
Growth is only surpassed by one thing: Cash flow.
Cash flow is ALWAYS the key to making sure your business doesn’t bury you in a mountain of stressful debt. If you have massive billings but tiny collections, growth may seem large.
But if you can’t pay your bills because cash is never there, business failure is around the corner.
That’s why I fell in love with the online business model. The difference between billings and cash are pretty negligible.
Sell something, get paid for it right then. That’s my kind of business.
In the beginning, selling enough to replace the income you need is your goal.
That is quickly followed by selling enough to grow and buy a little security.
Which is quickly displaced by selling enough to create a sustainable cash machine.
Notice, the common word in those three statements previously is “selling.” That’s what we do.
Unfortunately, selling is what I liked to do least, so…
When people say, “I don’t like to sell like you…” or “Business doesn’t really interest me, I just want to [insert topic or service here],” I cringe a little.
“If they only knew how hard it was for me to get started,” I think to myself.
So, I decided I’d tell you. This has not been a picnic. But it’s been a rewarding challenge and a lot of fun along the way.
Let’s start with my online business desire…
I’ve always been an entrepreneur, even though I wouldn’t really admit that for years. When I was a kid, I sold cards, seeds, magazines and newspapers door-to-door.
That’s how I bought my bicycle, got a baseball glove and a bat. Whatever sales opportunity was in the back of Boys’ Life magazine, that’s the one I jumped on.
Then, when I was 14 I got a job in a car wash. And next, at 16, I became a shoe dog, selling shoes at B&B Shoes in New Castle, IN all through high school.
But it wasn’t selling. It was making money. That’s how I saw it.
Before NAMS, I had several other businesses: The Henry County News Republican (as in our country is a republic, not a political affiliation) weekly newspaper, Stock South stock photography agency, and Maximize Communications – an independent consulting firm.
Then, I fell into the Internet.
This week, a book publisher asked me to contribute about how I got started online by answering these questions.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I’ve had several businesses in my life, some successful some not. But I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart even when I was working in the corporate world.
So, in 2003 I took a year off from my consulting business with one of the largest corporations in the world to build a house on 100 acres of land in North Alabama. It was a log house, and it had always been a dream of mine to build one using my own two hands.
From a hole in the ground to finishing the roof during that year long period I had a lot of time to think as well.
And because I worked in technology as a consultant, I understood the way the world was moving connecting digital technology with the Internet business world. I saw massive opportunities there
because the low-cost to build a business online.
My expertise in the consulting world was a powerful belief in solving problems, and the ability to build strong relationships. My primary job as a consultant was to make sure my clients always looked great in their boss’s eyes, and that I always was the one who got the blame for any problems.
I took the arrows. My clients always got the treasure.
Any business that I created online would need to solve specific problems as well as protect my customers.
And of course, we know that good businesses-all good businesses-solve problems. Otherwise, there’s no business there.
But I knew nothing at that time about doing business online. So, I found the best online business training program that I could, and it happen to be produced by Corey Rudl.
He was the godfather of Internet marketing until his death in an auto racing accident in 2005.
I studied that course at night while building my house during the day to understand niche marketing, and that meant understanding desperate problems with simple solutions.
Since I was in the consulting world and the newspaper business for 25 years prior to building my house, I realized I could use my content creation skills with my business training skills to create a solid business.
And that’s always been my focus.
Q: What was your first big breakthrough on your path to success?
The most important thing I ever did was get honest about my skill level.
In the beginning, I was at the beginning.
But I wanted to use my writing and storytelling skills to create my first business.
So, I decided that I would write a book about parenting called Bad Dad: 10 Keys to Regaining Trust. It was about building relationships with your kids after you have pretty much destroyed those relationships – like I had.
It sounds like I was creating a niche book, but in reality, I was creating my first training program for business owners.
I had no list, no product, no following, and no idea how to accomplish any of this.
But I thought that I could not be alone with my dream of building an online business by turning my experience into a product.
I ran an ad in Writer’s Digest magazine for $600 basically explaining that I was a former newspaper editor who was going to create an e-book and a business around that e-book, that I was starting from scratch, and with scant knowledge about how to do this.
The call-to-action? “If that describes you, follow me, watch me make the mistakes and see my progress for free.”
All that was required was to optin to my “course.”
Before the ad, I had zero people on my list. Within a week, I had 750 people following me through my year-long process of building my first business online.
That first training business was called The 60 Day Experiment. It has since been retired, but the result of the book is still available Bad-Dad.com.
The proof was in the process of learning, doing, and telling other people about it.
Basically, my business model has always been “If you look over my shoulder, I’ll show you how to do something, and how not to do it.”
And it still works for me today.
Q: How long did it take you to earn enough money to quit your job and become 100% digitally free?
I gave up my consulting contracts after 5 years.
I was maintaining three offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Seattle when I finally quit the traveling to focus 100% on my business.
But it wasn’t easy.
With nearly $250,000 in annual contracts, I was making a big leap into a net that I could not see.
I hadn’t replaced my income by any means, but I was doing well enough to commit to working on my business at home versus traveling all the time.
NAMS was a going concern at that point. In fact, I’d done 6 NAMS Workshops and growing the attendance to nearly 300 people every six months at that point.
It really was becoming too much for me to handle while I was on the road so much.
It was proof to me that entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, but if you want it, you can have it.
Q: What was the biggest failure, waste of time or money, or most embarrassing mistake you made along the way?
I think failure is an ugly, negative word for awesome opportunities to learn positive steps in challenging situations.
One of my “secrets” is to fail fast and don’t make the same mistake.
I like to say that I have never had a problem in my life.
Every problem I’ve ever had was the stepping stone to the next big win. Too many people see a challenge, and quit.
That’s the only failure that anyone can make that counts because it’s permanent.
For example, during one of our workshops, our website was hacked and held for ransom by a Jordanian criminal.
At first, I was desperate and scared. But once we stopped the bleeding, I saw that my mistake in that whole mess was that I was not running a secure enough website.
The lesson from that mistake (and it cost us about $75,000), was to create a much more secure operation.
I enlisted the help of some very smart people, another big lesson.
But was that a failure? By financial standards, yes.
Was that embarrassing? Absolutely.
The result, though, has been much greater than the $75,000 I lost during that episode because I don’t make the same mistake twice (if I can help it).
Q: What is the single most effective tactic you discovered to grow your business?
You can’t run a business successfully without two things:
1. Dumping everything that doesn’t work, and dumping it quickly. That’s the only way you can get clear on success paths, without cluttering up your life with distractions.
2. Mastering sales funnels that convert. You can get all the traffic in the world, but if your sales funnel doesn’t convert, its wasted money.
Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to achieve similar success?
Don’t handicap your success by limiting the investment you put into your business, health, relationships, money, and your spiritual well-being.
I spent $22,000 on $27 products before I made a nickel online. I thought that I could get the answers and the skills that I needed without investing in real solutions. That was a huge mistake.
I needed a coach and mentor to guide me along the way, and when I discovered that, I never looked back. I’ve had a coach every day since 2007.
This was my story; yours will be different!
But without clarity of purpose, without an attitude that declares nothing will stop you, without a clear understanding of your purpose and your guiding principles, you can’t succeed.
So, the opposite is true. If you have those things, you can’t fail.
That’s why we focus on the one thing around the MyNAMS Insiders Club. And it’s your one thing. I’ve got mine. We need to help you discover yours so you can stay on track at all times.
Join the Insiders Club today to get started with a 14-Day $1 trial.
Surround yourself with success.
Craig Hiscox says
A great insight into personal and business growth David. The Nams Insiders training is definitely a move in the right direction for any budding online entrepreneur. Your story is inspiring and I will be following in your footsteps sharing my own story with whoever will listen or read. Thanks for sharing yours.