With the new goal of posting better, complete approach posts instead of posting as often as every single day, I really haven’t been doing that. So I figured I should write one good post, and see how all this works out. For the post, I will address the big question I get asked the most often, how did I start making money? From landing clients to real estate, the ideas are simple, but the execution is hard. There is one thing that you must do which holds most people back.
Why Not Follow Your Dream?
From real estate investments to owning your own business, your dream sounds great. Imagine doing what you love, raking in more money than you know what to do with, and living your life exactly as you want it. Sounds so great, yet not many people even try.
Are they lazy?
Some probably are, but there’s a greater factor at work. A factor so big and so powerful that even when you realize its there, you will still do nothing about it.
That reason is fear.
What’s There to Fear?
Asking anyone who has abandoned their dream if they were full of fear and couldn’t do it. Most will tell you no, fear has nothing to do with it. They were just too busy with other things. Too busy supporting a family and kids.
Really, it comes down to:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of hurting your pride
- Fear of losing money
- Fear of it being harder than expected
- Fear of being mocked
Staring Fear in the Face
There is a specific time that the fear will become obvious, and it’s the time where most people turn back to run towards safety.
The fear becomes obvious when it comes time to spend money. It is at that time that you must take the risk in order to be successful.
When money is spent, it is not possible to take a loss. Whether it’s a business and revenue doesn’t cover the cost of the expense or some personal goal that you still might not end up achieving, once money is spent, you have a real definition on what failure is.
While throwing money around isn’t a great idea by itself, there are times when money has to be spent. Very few success stories were created entirely by one person, or even a group of people all working for free, that got to where they are without having to spend any money…on anything…ever.
There are two primary categories where you will need to spend money or face certain failure.
While bootstrapping a startup is still hip and trendy, free grassroots marketing is just too inefficient. It becomes even more critical to be running as efficiently as possible when competitors are paying for ads.
Now, running a $1 per day campaign for a few days or even $10 for a single day may not produce results, you cannot stop. Tweak the ads, create variations, test, and repeat until a winner is found. Reexamine your advertising strategy, if needed, and pick other channels to advertise on.
Posting thought out replies in targeted Facebook groups, forums, and subreddits do not scale up quick enough. You may be able to start out and get some action going, but the tendency to give up comes when the effort appears to be meaningless.
Posting for 2 to 3 hours per day for a week with 0 results makes giving up look like a great idea. Really, the odds of success were low to begin with.
When it comes to advertising, don’t be afraid to spend money, but do so wisely. Those ads will generate clients/customers/desired outcome, and then fine-tuning your ad strategy becomes more tangible.
Take what worked and eliminate what didn’t. However, keep in mind that the ad campaign, even with the first paying client, could still be running at a loss. That doesn’t mean it’s time to quit. It is actually expected, especially if you aren’t a seasoned advertiser. It will take practice to get ads targeted and working well, and even after one successful campaign, the next one won’t be a guaranteed home run.
You will not master advertising to the point where every campaign launched will be great. You will, however, learn that you must always tweak and test. Learn what typically performs well, and use that as a better starting point, but you will always need to tweak the ads.
Why spend any money for help, when you can do everything yourself? That essentially makes it free!
That’s the common argument I hear anytime spending money comes up. As soon as you hire someone, your slave labor is replaced with a money-sucking employee or contractor. This is also really hard for someone just starting out who doesn’t have a ton of money to spend, but also feels like hiring someone else to do the work will be below their standard. After all, no one does the work better than themselves.
Realistically, you should factor in the following when determining whether or not to just pay someone else to do it:
- Are you good at the work that needs to be done?
- Are you efficient at doing the work?
- Do you even like doing it?
- Is there anything else that also needs done?
- Do you better/more efficient/more likely to enjoy doing the other work?
What people tend to find out is, the total amount of work that needs to be completed, done by just one person, will take an incredibly long time to actually finish. In addition, they are either not so great at doing the work or terribly inefficient.
If the average cost of hiring someone was $50 an hour, and the average time to complete the work was 2 hours, doing a poor job yourself and spending 10 hours to do it equates to paying you $10 an hour. That’s still a savings, but human nature is to enjoy doing the things we are good at doing. Doing a poor job likely means you hated those 10 hours. Additionally, there was probably enough other work that you could not only have done work in parallel to help speed up the process, but there could be work that you would have enjoyed doing.
This also comes into play with additional work outside of your project, especially doing the start up phase. If you have a skill, and a full time job, that pays decent, abandoning that for the work that you hate isn’t a financially sound trade off.
For example, doing ecommerce development, I am paid quite well. For content writing, virtual assistant work, and even design work, my hourly rate for development exceeds the hourly cost of those services. I also happen to not enjoy most of that work. When I have a project that needs content, I pick up additional ecommerce development work to cover the cost of just hiring someone else. My time is better spent where I actually provide value and where I thoroughly enjoy the task I am working on.
Once your time needs to be more focused on the project, you are coming in to a project that is already well on its way to being complete, or at least incoming-generating. Once that point comes, the project will continue to fund itself.
However, if you only work on it yourself, get burned out on the work you don’t like or aren’t good at, you never generate any income, and you must keep working on it alone to have any chance of it being completed. There is also the increased timeline to think about. Hiring more people to work in parallel moves up the income-generating date.
If you average $1,000 in profit per month, but need 6 months to complete the project yourself, in contrast to hiring others and completing it in 3 months, you will actually make an additional $3,000 by launching 3 months sooner. That could cover the entire cost of hiring others.
Why Do It?
Growth will be severely limited if you must do everything. Gaining additional resources to help do the work along with advertising to drive sales/customers/publicity are key to having a successful company. Money is also spent on other requirements like bank or application fees, permits and licenses, and other upfront costs that are a necessity.
Far too often, when faced with the bill to be paid, it becomes time to quit. You must get over the risk of spending money. Know that the money spent now is to increase revenue in the future. Instant gratification is human nature and accepting the pain of spending money can be too great to deal with.
But you must do it. For any change of growing to the level of your dreams, you must be willing to spend money when it makes sense.
Spending money, taking the calculated risk, is essential to becoming successful. For real estate, I took the risk, and bought 2 rental properties. That grew to 10. Without the initial investment, I wouldn’t have been able to get to 10. The same thing goes with clients. I spent money on ads, I did some marketing, and my list of clients grew. Sure, there were a few networking events and referrals along the way which cost me nothing, but banking on free methods wasn’t quick enough. Spending money on the ads that generated a client, that client then referred me.
You can’t be afraid to spend money, and you can’t compete against everyone else who is unless you are willing to do it, too.