When I first started this blog my business was not a stable source of income, nor was I confident that it ever would become one. I constantly searched for other ways to make money online. As a result of my desire to stay updated with Internet business, I was exposed to many different money making opportunities and people who were enjoying tremendous financial success online, many of whom I blogged and podcasted about.

When I first read that Darren Rowse was earning $14,000+ USD monthly from Google AdSense for his work blogging in 2005, I thought I could do the same. My blog had some traffic – I could start some more blogs too – and I probably knew more about the Web than Darren did at the time, so I slapped some AdSense up to see how I would go. After a few months of earning about $10-$20/m I removed Adsense and realized that perhaps that was not how I was going to get rich.

Later I read about Daryl Grant, who with her husband was earning a quarter of a million $USD per year by creating ebooks and selling them online via Google AdWords. I interviewed Daryl in a podcast and she kindly let me join their coaching program for free. Thanks to the details they revealed in the podcast and with their coaching program, I thought for sure I could make a go of replicating their success. I certainly understood all the pieces that go together to make the system work, I just needed to set out and do it.

My friend Will Swayne and I arranged weekly meetings to get our ebook business going. After two meetings it was clear to both me and Will that we were acting divergent and spreading our resources across too many opportunities. Will and I both had start-up businesses, which were still embryonic, yet we were devoting time and headspace to something else. It didn’t work, and we quickly ceased our attempt at making money from ebooks to focus on our core enterprises.

Unlimited Opportunities

Over the many months I have published content to this blog, I’ve studied, researched and featured a host of opportunities, including –

  • Niche Content Sites
  • Website Flipping
  • AdSense Videos
  • AdSense Templates
  • Buttefly Marketing
  • Pipeline Profits
  • StomperNet
  • Dot Com Secrets

At one time or the other I’ve written about, thought about or even started the following businesses – affiliate marketing with clickbank, a blog network, a blog hosting and content service, affiliate marketing with CPA networks, writing ebooks on Internet marketing, coaching programs, subscription podcasts – and even extensions to my own business BetterEdit by branching into resumes, corporate editing and language translation. And that’s just a small sample of the ideas that have gone through my head.

Some of the systems, business models, products and opportunities I purchased and/or implemented, possibly to augment what I was doing at the time, or even as a brand new standalone business that I hoped would grow. In almost all cases I stopped way before anything happened and realized it was just too divergent.

The Stubborn Mule

Despite the fact that the majority of my time was not going to my main income earner, I was still doing enough to keep it running and growing. While most of the day I blogged and investigated other ways to make money, BetterEdit continued to make money. I may have neglected my baby, but it kept growing as long as I supplied the basic nutrition that it needed – a little marketing and consistent customer service delivering a quality service.

The pressure of needing to earn *some* money meant that no matter what, I would not stop running BetterEdit, it was my cash cow, albeit a small one and barely making enough for me to get by. But I wanted more so I toyed with all kinds of ideas, all the while blogging about them too, instead of focusing on what already worked.

Most of the opportunities that crossed my mind or presented to me in the form of Internet marketing product launches, are sound ideas, which could quite potentially make a lot of money. The problem was if I decided to implement one idea, I’d be dividing my energies across even more things, thus weakening my output across everything I was doing. I was already trying to wear 50 different hats as a solo business owner, I didn’t need to multiply things across more business opportunities, yet I continued to get excited about each new idea.

Consistency Pays Off

If you look back over my first years in online business, while I may have failed (false-started is more accurate) pretty much every opportunity I mention above, I consistently did one thing – blogged.

I maintained the status-quo with BetterEdit and blogged a whole lot here. Strangely enough, these two entities have become my greatest assets and generate the most money for me. Despite wasting a lot of time and stressing to do a bunch of activities all at once, I kept repeating enough of the core activities to eventually reach the point where I am at today.

Opportunistic Thinking

When Rich Schefren launched his coaching program, one of the main premises he ran with was to stop thinking opportunistically and start thinking strategically.

His flowchart with “you”, the Internet business owner, in the middle, is now famous and accurately depicts the current situation for most Internet business solopreneurs – including me – although I am slowly divvying up and out-tasking many of the jobs I used to do by myself. Here is that chart –

Strategic Profits You Map

A strange thing happened to me after reading Rich’s Internet Business Manifesto trilogy and joining his coaching program. From that point forward I mentally declined each new business opportunity that came my way.

I’m still intrigued, I read enough to learn about the program so I can blog about it, I am still excited about the possibilities and the hype, but I do not sign-up. Definitely not before the current projects I am working are running without me.

Your Preeminent Talents

Rich taught me that I need to focus on one thing if I want to build a sustainable business long term – yes, ONE thing – in fact, Rich teaches that you need to break it down to the one thing that YOU are good at – your unique talent.

Your business should present preeminence to the marketplace externally, in the mind of consumers, while internally, you leverage your unique talent to create that preeminence.

A problem for a lot of people is they don’t know what their unique talent is, but they do know they want money. Therefore, when business opportunities arise it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and buy simply because of the potential for cash. The problem with this way of acting is you don’t leverage your talents to build something sustainable, nor do you establish any preeminence in the market. You are just yet another person attempting to replicate a system without any thought of how you can uniquely leverage that system using your talent.

There is no point being a jack of all trades unless you always want the pressure of competing with everyone else doing exactly the same thing, using the same system – there are a lot of Jacks out there!

Eventually any money you make is eroded away as the smart people compete with you using business models that work a lot better than you do by yourself, or the environment changes, reducing the amount of money you earn. You work hard just to remain self employed, while others work less and earn more because their system grows exponentially.

Your Future

I’m not there yet. I’ve only just started out-tasking some of the jobs I no longer should or want to do. I’m still refining my unique talents to locate what exactly it is that I enjoy and am exceptionally good at, the talent that can be the foundation for my preeminence or my business preeminence. Thanks to Rich’s coaching I’ve realized why this is so necessary in order to build the business that I really want, something that can eventually turn over a million dollars without me needing to sit down and “turn a wheel” every day. Something that that I am happy with from all aspects – money, time and creative expression.

In your case you are in one of two situations –

1. You don’t have a business.

This category includes everyone who chases opportunities, is currently self employed or employed by someone else. Obviously you have to want to own a business one day too.

There’s a group of Internet marketers who do quite well working solo, possibly pumping out adsense sites, or creating information products or marketing affiliate products. You might even make an above average salary doing this, maybe even high five figures a month, which is nothing to sneeze at.

The problem as I see it as that you still do not have something sustainable long term because there is nothing solid about what you do. Your thinking goes –

“I make $10 a day from this site in this niche, if I can build another 10 sites in more niches, I’ll be set”

That money can come from adsense, or affiliate products, or even your own information products, it doesn’t matter the source, it’s the thinking behind it that is at fault.

Unfortunately with this model, you might make good money, but for some reason every single morning you wake up with a huge task list that doesn’t reduce – it grows. Your job is to find opportunities in marketplaces and capitalize before someone bigger and more strategic comes along and does it better. This is fine as long as you are prepared, for the rest of your life, to continue to always run just ahead of the pack, always looking for the next opportunity or niche that you can tap for a little gold before anyone else does. It can be lucrative, but it’s not sustainable, nor is it a business.

If you believe that by creating more websites, or writing more ebooks or producing more of anything on a divergent range of topics, or writing multiple blogs yourself, or buying each Internet marketing product that comes your way, or if you are a freelancer, or a contractor or consultant – anything where you directly exchange your labor for dollars – that you will be able to one day sit back and watch the money come in without you, you are kidding yourself.

You need to build a business.

2. You have the potential to build a business.

Many people from group one can jump into group two once they realize that building a system around them is crucial, that you must learn to outtask, outsource, employ, systematize, and most importantly – tap your unique talent, do more of less, establish preeminence and offer one unique selling proposition using one system.

To put it more simply – if you currently make money online and you do so only because of your direct output, but you want to find a way to remove yourself from the day-to-day roles, increase your market share and thus boost your revenues and profits, then you are ready.

Slowly But Surely Figuring It All Out