We all get there. The place where you are confused. Not sure of what to do next. What you thought would work so well is not working at all.
Now you don’t know how to turn things around. You’re even worried that it won’t turn around – that what you are experiencing now is all there is. That it’s over for you.
Candidly, it’s miserable.
The rise to the top is almost never a straight line up. It’s a series of ups and downs followed by more ups and downs.
So how do you turn it around? Over the years, I have found these things most valuable when I did not know what to do next.
If you know me at all you know I am a person of faith. So, for me, turning to God is always the best first answer.
If you are person of faith, lean into your faith and find comfort. And focus on your faith. Choose set times each day to pray or think about the solution to your problem.
Rather than rehash the problem, ask for guidance toward a solution. Focusing on solutions matters in every area of life.
One of the best things to do when confusion hits is to revisit what worked last.
One of the most human of traits is the tendency to abandon something that is working now in favor of something that might work better.
Online we call it “shiny object syndrome”. And it’s effects can be devastating.
Over the years, I have spoken with so many people who said “I had a great pay per click campaign but then I moved on to banner ads and that didn’t work.”
Others have said they had a list of 300 people but were not making enough sales so they stopped mailing offers or providing helpful content. Now their list is dead.
I understand the desire to grow, to try new things. But please don’t abandon what is working now to embrace something new.
Here are three questions to ask when confusion sets in.
What advertising method worked for me last?
What product have I bought in the last year that I really believed in?
Have I used that product to the fullest extent possible?
I find that so many only partially use what they buy. I do it too. We buy a course on Facebook advertising and never place an ad. We buy a course on creating an eBook but never actually publish.
The key is to not beat yourself up over the past but rather use what you own now (and your experiences) to your advantage. And realize that no one succeeds on their first try.
I know this sounds trite when things are hard. But the truth is, especially online, almost anyone can succeed if they follow the right path.
While not everyone can build a website, hold a webinar, create great graphics or write a book, anyone can learn how to do those things.
YouTube alone is chock full of “how to” videos that can show you how to build a blog or build a list or speak a new language.
Other topic-specific sites exist to help you do anything from building a mailing list to losing 50 pounds to finding inner peace.
We live in a world of information.
And people can do so much more than they think they can do!
If you can drive a car or cook a meal or pay your bills every month then you can learn. And if you can learn those things you can learn how to succeed online.
But, like walking, it takes time and you will fall down a time or two.
So focus on standing, and then walking, and then running. No person goes from sitting to running in a day.
Here’s the thing – there is a process to succeeding online. It’s not a mystery, and it’s not easy, but it’s not rocket science either.
After 14 years online I can honestly say that everyone I know who is successful does these things in one way or another.
Share helpful content free.
Sell deeper knowledge content for a reasonable fee.
Provide value in all you do.
Build a mailing list.
Make sales through email marketing.
Know who your audience is.
Have a clear message of hope and help.
Notice one thing please – I did not say that everyone I know who is succeeding is an expert. Or has decades of experience. Or a big advertising budget.
Do these things help? You bet! Are they necessary? Not at all.
I bought a membership to the Directory of Ezines in the early 2000s. Then 18 months later I bought the company. Was I an expert on ezines, ezine publishing or solo ads back then?
Not so much. But I had a clear message of hope, provided valuable content free and did the other things on the list above. The result? With God’s help, the DOE is stronger than ever some 14 years after I bought it.
We live in a distracted age. We all get hundreds of emails with compelling subject lines that make us want to read.
And we all visit websites with neat little “you may also like” ads that distract us from our main objective.
When things are not working the way you want it is vital to increase your focus on the thing you are working on now.
For many people, increased focus is the key to turning things around.
Just recently a member of one of my courses asked a question about 7 different niches. I answered him and then asked, “are you in all of these niches now?” His answer was “I will be soon!”
I’m sorry to say, but I predict that will not go very well. I know of no person who is struggling to make their first $1000 per month who can successfully operate in 7 niches at once.
Here are a few places where increased focus matters.
Advertising methods – Master one method before you move on to others. And recognize that no one succeeds on their first try.
Teaching sites you join – Pick your favorite membership site and really lean into the teaching there. Do what the lessons teach. Ask questions. Keep good notes. Most membership sites contain much more information than members ever use.
Marketing tools – Do you have more than one autoresponder? Consolidate down to one. The same goes for email accounts, hosting accounts, social media and ad trackers. Clutter in your business is as harmful as clutter in your home.
This is the big one for me. Because of things in my past I will suffer in silence or “take the hit” before I will ask for help.
It ain’t a pretty thing.
For example, I’ve asked for prayer on my blog several times for family members and friends, never for myself.
Here’s the point. None of us are islands, nor are we meant to be. We are all connected in many ways more important and more valuable than just the Internet.
So let’s help each other by asking for help when we need it and by giving help when we can give it.
That doesn’t mean you never sell anything or that you spend 20 hours a day answering questions for free. There must be boundaries.
But if we all give a little more, and all are more open to asking for what we need, then more confusion will clear and more people will get help.
So there you have it – a few ways to get unstuck and clear up the confusion when you just don’t know what to do next.
The truth is this – succeeding online is hard. It can be confusing. It takes time and effort. And far too many “gurus” act like it’s a piece of cake.
But equally true is this – if you follow a proven process, and if you get the idea of “instant results” or “get rich quick” out of your mind, there is no reason you can’t succeed online doing something you enjoy.
And making a living doing something you enjoy, well that really is a beautiful thing indeed!