I think anyone that has followed my story can probably tell you that this site started off the same way a lot of blogs (and small businesses for that matter) do. It was small, I didn't have a consistent readership, and generally didn't really know what I was supposed to be doing.
There's a pretty big misconception out there about online businesses to be honest. Everyone that I know with a normal job tends to think that I really don't do anything for a living. One of my good friends and I have a running joke that I just tap around on the computer and money magically shows up in my bank accounts haha.
The reality is that the past two years have been filled with a lot of successes and failures, and definitely learning curves every step of the way. That's not to say that my job isn't freaking awesome (because it is), but there are definitely some things I had to figure out.
Here's what I've learned about running an online business (and making more $$$ in general):
It's slow AF
I always feel like I'm breaking some kind of sales rule when I talk about this, because one of the main parts of my business is showing other people how to start blogs. I could just pretend that blogging is the easiest and fastest way to make money so I could sell more stuff, but holy crap it is not at all haha.
Business, like anything in life, takes more patience than I think humans are supposed to have. I constantly have to remind myself (after my wife reminds me) that I'm doing the right things and this business will continue to grow. You would think that my income reports would be enough to convince me of that, but they aren't. It's weird.
This really translates to anything you are all working on financially or with your career. Don't be too fast to make changes to what you are doing. Pick a path and stick with it for a really really really long time. Then, if it ultimately doesn't work – you adjust and try again.
You have to learn how to sell
I always was SO jealous of people I knew who could sell things face to face. It's such an unbelievable skill if you can convince people to take money out of their pocket and give it to you (and feel good about it).
I've never really been too good at it. I think I'm a smart person, but in face to face “sell jobs” that I've tried in the past…it really didn't go well for a few reasons:
1. I have no filter for bluntness. If something sucks, I have no idea how to spin it into a positive.
2. I am way too nice and immediately underprice my services because I feel bad for the other person. So so weird.
Luckily, with M$M I've found that online sales is something I'm actually good at. The lesson here is that if you suck at one type of sales, you might be good at another!
I've also learned that you need to learn how to sell yourself. A lot of people are too self conscious and tend to downplay how awesome they are. If you want that great job that you've applied for or want people to buy something from you, you'll need to get over that.
Read also: The Patience Challenge
Making money is about providing value
That's really the name of the game. The reason that people keep coming back to this site three times a week is that I try as hard as I can to think of things that will help people when I write. Too many millennial entrepreneurs are concerned about making themselves into “a brand” or trying to be an expert at something.
The real way you do any of that is by adding as much value to people's lives as possible. There's no way around it in my opinion. I started M$M because I passionately wanted to help people. I NEVER started this site with the thought that it would become my full-time gig.
As important as I feel providing value in business is, it's ten times more important in life. In this “selfish” generation that wants more work-life balance, there needs to be a bigger focus on going out of our way to make people's lives better in whatever way we can.
Over the last two years, I've found that the key to business and life are pretty similar: be a good person and the rest will take care of itself.