Working online can be a lonely experience. Most people who are trying to make money online are working in their home, often without the support of their spouse or loved one.
Many work at night, after having put in a long day at their main job. Others are overwhelmed by the flow of daily emails offering them the next “big thing”.
Is it any wonder that people are frustrated, confused and often struggling to make it online?
Success in business takes focus and clear thinking. It takes an enthusiastic outlook and having a solid plan of action.
Reading endless emails pitching the next “no effort” site or “three click” wonder does not support these goals, and, in fact, can sabotage your success.
More about managing email in another article.
In the roughly 30 years I have been self-employed (the last 12 being exclusively online) I have found great value in seeking out role models.
These high achievers inspire me. They encourage me by their success.
And, perhaps most importantly, they not only talk the talk but they walk the walk … they do what they teach and they do it well.
I’d like to share with you a few of my role models, and how I chose them, in hopes that my process helps you find leaders you can follow and emulate as well.
My first, and perhaps best, bit of advice is this – don’t limit yourself to only following online marketers.
The skills needed to succeed offline are often very similar to the skills needed to succeed online. Plus, people who work offline are often easier to observe accurately than those who work in the secretive world of the Internet.
The recent experience of a friend of mine points out just how different reality can be from perception online.
My friend had been subscribed to one online marketer’s email series for some time. For reasons of his own, my friend decided to unsubscribe from this marketer’s list.
Thinking himself to be courteous, he wrote to this marketer to let him know that he had unsubscribed and why.
What he received from the marketer shocked him, and me.
What he received was a profanity-filled rant that let my friend know that he would indeed fail miserably because he was obviously too stupid to remain subscribed to such valuable information.
No offer to help. No concern about why my friend unsubscribed. Just bitter hatred.
Sad really, and a teachable moment. Not everything (or everyone) in life is what it seems … especially online.
So how can you choose the role models you want to emulate? I use these criteria and offer them in the hope they help you as much as they help me.
1 – Do they do what they teach?
My #1 criteria is experience. I always ask “does this person do what he teaches or just teach what might work?” If a person can do something well, even if they are not a great teacher, I can learn from them.
But you can’t learn from someone spouting theory, at least not in business. Business is too practical for that.
2 – Is this person worth emulating?
Not everyone who can succeed online, or offline, is worthy of your attention. Bank robbers make lots of cash, for a while. The best jewel thieves in the world are skilled at stealing things. Are they worth emulating? Of course not.
The person worthy of your time and attention will be successful, be consistent over time and be someone with whom you would be proud to be associated.
Don’t settle for less. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. In fact, you were born for success. Why risk all that on some scammer who promises the moon and can’t deliver?
3 – Is what they do something you can do too?
This is a tough one. We are all gifted differently. Some people are big-picture thinkers while others love to dig in to the details. Some are linear thinkers while others are more visual in how they process ideas.
The key here is to find a mentor who fits your natural style.
Knowing yourself, and taking time to make a list of the attributes you have and want to emulate, will be incredibly helpful here.
While I could make this list much longer, I believe you will find these “big three” ideas are helpful when the time comes to choose the voices to which you will listen.
My Role Models
To be candid, I have many role models. I think of them as my coaches – the people I turn to when I need to learn or develop a specific skill.
Some I know personally while others I simply admire from afar. The great thing about having a process of choosing your role models is that time and distance don’t matter.
I’ve learned as much from people who lived 200 years ago as I have from the many books I have read.
Here are four of my role models that might be of help to you too, especially if you are wanting to succeed online.
Zig Ziglar – Living life with integrity
I’ve never met Zig but I learn from him every week. I listen to his podcasts while I work out, making the time pass quickly and leaving me more energized than when I started.
Zig walks the walk like no one else I know. But here’s something you might not know about Zig.
At 45 years old he was broke, overweight and out of ideas. Today he is an internationally known speaker and author. What a success story!
If you don’t know Zig my advice is to listen to his podcast AND read his latest book Born to Win.
Jeff Walker – The king of product launches
When it comes to selling things online without hype or high pressure I really admire Jeff Walker and what he has accomplished.
While there are many marketers I follow online (I buy and use everything to test and subscribe to hundreds of lists) Jeff’s advice is chock full of common sense strategies that really work.
I’ve bought Jeff’s courses, and used them, and know that his strategies work in a non-manipulative way to sell things very automatically. I like that and like too his focus on quality.
Jimmy Brown – Small reports and automation
Jimmy is the king of the free viral report that builds your list and sells your products. I’ve known Jimmy for a dozen years and can say there is not a better man online in my view.
Jimmy is the real deal.
Jimmy has a bright mind that is always thinking of how he, and his followers, can do the work once and profit many times. I like that idea and teach it myself from my own experience.
Jimmy invented the idea of Fixed Term Memberships, where members pay for a certain number of months but keep access forever. I use that model at Follow Up Selling Systems and it is very popular.
When it comes to email marketing using autoresponders, and writing for email, few are better than Jimmy. His products are the real deal, they work and are easy to understand. You can learn more about him here.
Paul Myers – Copywriting and customer service
One of the best copywriters to ever work online, Paul Myers is also one of my favorite people. I owe much of my success in the early days to Paul’s helpful instruction and will never forget the kindness he showed.
One of the reasons I relate so closely with members now is because of how Paul helped me in the beginning.
Paul creates or promotes very few products. He doesn’t have to because he is a top copywriter who walks the walk. When he does promote or create a product it is of the highest quality and comes with unparalleled support.
Reading his ezine is fun and educational at the same time. I always learn something new from Paul, and it’s always practical and useable as well. And he’s been doing that for something like 12 years now!
The best way to get to know Paul (and you SHOULD know him) is to subscribe to his ezine Talk Biz News.
Here’s something funny – I just realized while writing this that I have never met any of these people in person. I have corresponded by email with them and used that ancient technology (the telephone) as well, but never shook their hand.
I hope someday to have that pleasure.
I hope too that this article has been helpful, and that is gives you a glimpse into the importance of having role models, and a bit about how to choose them.
When you go about choosing your role models well you will find that no question goes unanswered and no challenge unmet. You will have a team at your side, a team of proven performers who will help you succeed in life and business.
And success on every level, not just financially but in all of life, is a beautiful thing indeed!
P.S. Who are your role models? Please leave a comment below and let everyone know who you follow, and why!