I had a little bit of a revelation last week that I felt was super important to share with everyone that reads this site. My wife and I recently went on vacation for about a week to Aruba (which is totally freaking awesome BTW and I highly suggest that everyone goes there).
One morning on the vacation I was sitting on the balcony of our hotel room, and I decided to bring my laptop out there to check in on the site and a few marketing client projects that I’ve got going on right now.
I opened up all of my various affiliate accounts and started doing a little bit of adding up for fun just to see how the month was going, and I quickly realized that this month was going to literally be my best month of affiliate sales so far for my business…and my butt was firmly planted on an island in the Caribbean.
For the first time ever it sank in that I had actually created the legit “#laptoplifestyle”
Now, some of you are probably thinking: “Dude I’ve been reading your income reports for months now – this is not new” haha. And…you’d be right. But to be honest, I’ve never really felt like I had reached that particular milestone.
It just hadn’t fully set in I guess.
There was something about sitting there, looking at the ocean with my laptop in my lap, and counting money that I didn’t have to trade too much time for that made it all hit me.
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Freedom. I had actually freaking created it from nothing.
After I had my little “aha” moment – it immediately hit me how many people I’ve talked to that are trying so hard to make the same thing happen for themselves, or are still sitting in jobs that they hate because they feel like it’s “what they’re supposed to do.”
Then, it also hit me how many bogus ads I see from “coaches” on Facebook that promise to get you to six figures (for a huge price after a free webinar), or just shady sales pitches that promise total freedom or online business success with no substance.
I believe I could make twice as much money next month if I decided to tell everyone how “easy” this all is. I really do. Fortunately, my parents raised me to be a good person.
So, I want to reiterate that what I and other bloggers/online entrepreneurs are doing for a living isn’t easy even though it seems that way. Debt freedom or true financial freedom (which I’m personally still pursuing) isn’t easy. Hardly anything is easy in life.
If you’re still dead-set on dipping your toes into an online business after reading that, I’d like to share a few pieces of wisdom with you.
Here are 5 things to consider before pursuing the laptop lifestyle:
1. First of all, are online businesses even viable?
Yes, but not for everyone. The vast (and I mean vast) majority of people that start blogs, FBA businesses, Etsy stores, etc. don’t actually make it.
There’s a lot of pie left out there, so I’m not sure that competition is the biggest problem.
I check in on blogs that have been started through my site by people who are super excited about it, and several of them don’t make the site go live! It bums me out so much to be honest, because they’ll never know if they could have even had success doing this.
So, if you are going to spend the money on a website, course, or some kind of coaching program – do yourself a favor and actually follow through with the beginning steps.
I believe in online businesses with every part of my soul. Owning one has completely changed my life, and that’s not some bogus statement.
What I do for a living is a real thing, but most people aren’t willing to put the time or effort in to make it their reality.
2. Beware of the fast success promises…
I’ve been doing this for two years, and I’d say that success in the online world came pretty quickly for me.
But, I’ll never say that the same could happen for you.
For example with blogging – a lot of it has to do with your story. Have you done something that people latch on to and find really interesting? I paid off a bunch of student loan debt quickly, and tapped into a large segment of people that went through the same stuff that I did.
Most people shy away from telling people that they lived with their parents (or in-laws in my case) to pay off their debt, but I embraced it. That was my edge.
Of course, I had to take my lumps when my story blew up a little bit – but sticks and stones and all of that.
Being as open and transparent as possible drew a very specific group of readers to the site, and I’ve been slowing growing ever since.
My advice when you are looking for tips on growing an online business or anything financially related is to look for people that don’t over-glamorize their success just to get your money. Try to find “influencers” that would look you in the eye and tell you how hard it really is.
3. You have to provide value
Value is the key to making a successful online business. If I wanted to sell some widget, there’s no doubt in my mind that I could market the everliving crap out of it on Facebook or any platform for that matter.
The rub is that just because something pops up in someone’s feed doesn’t mean that it matters to them or that they’ll buy it.
The reason that my M$M Facebook ads get four cents per click (which is very low/efficient) is because I focus on promoting value first and sales way down the road.
If you read my site for the next five years and love the value I provide, you’re probably going to buy a course from me later on because I gave everything I could to you for free first.
I literally have people now that ask me to send my affiliate links for products so I can get credit for something that they are going to buy for their site. THAT is how you know you are providing value.
4. Be honest with yourself
Annnnd this is one of the hardest things to become good at. I’ve talked to people who have been blogging for 5 years and still aren’t making money.
When that comes across my inbox, my goal is to get them to self-evaluate and be honest. It could be that they just aren’t talented enough to make it, or it could just be that their strategy sucks and they are in denial.
When I think of being honest with yourself, I always think of sports.
Sports are the most incredible activities, because they literally weed you out if you aren’t good enough very early on.
Business can be the same, but you can still hold on for too long because nobody is coming up to you and saying: “Sorry Bobby, you’re a little too short and kinda too slow to play wide receiver.”
Even if the market is trying to tell you exactly that, you can still ignore it haha.
There are things that I’m not good at with my business. I could either recognize that and try to fix it, or bury my head in the sand and never grow. You probably know which one I’m picking. 🙂
5. It’s OK to try something and fail
Like I just mentioned above, being honest with yourself and admitting when you might not actually be talented enough or have the right strategy for a particular venture is huge.
It sounds cliche, but failure causes reinvention, which in turn creates success.
I probably legit fail at something at least once a week, but I’m so open to the failure process now that I almost look forward to it when I’m trying out new things to grow my business.
Failure = learning, and as a former teacher I respect that game more than nearly anything else in life.
So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there if you have a cool idea for a website or really want to try your hand at Amazon FBA. You just have to be ready to shift course or move on to the next idea if it doesn’t work out.
It is possible to create the laptop lifestyle
I promise that I didn’t write this to deter anyone from their dreams or goals. I just want anyone who wants to follow the path that I’m on to understand it a little better, and hopefully keep some people from quitting their job when they shouldn’t (some readers have actually done that and it terrifies me).
There’s a ton of opportunity out there right now for millennials in the online space, and I’m living proof of that. Just…be smart.