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Updated: August 10th 2016 As we enter the first week of a brand new year, your motivations are probably higher than ever to make 2016 the year to finally achieve all you’ve been dreaming of. Whether you’re starting a brand new foray into making money online or you’re hoping to take your current income to the next level, today’s guide is guaranteed to put you on the path to success.
Yet, to do so, I’m not going to give you the information you would probably expect:
- I’m not going to give you a niche idea with no competition that is likely to make you millions this year.
- I’m not going to share any tips on how to get more visitors to your website.
- I’m not going to ask you to opt-in for my ‘little black book’ of online success secrets
That kind of stuff hasn’t worked for you before. If it had, you wouldn’t be curious to read the rest of this article.
Let me be totally blunt with you: The rest of this post has as much to do with life in general as it has to do with making money online. It took me far too many of my 11 years building websites to realise this, but the strategies for success in both certainly seem to go hand in hand.
While there are certainly great resources out there to help you succeed online, they’re everywhere. I’ve written more than 500,000 words on this website alone – that’s enough to fill six marketing books – but knowledge in the hands of those who don’t use it is worthless.
Today I want you to consider achieving online success in a new light.
Not in terms of the niche you choose, how to get visitors or what to sell them, but what you can achieve by what you become and how a new perspective on work and life can dramatically increase your chances of crushing both.
Before we continue, I readily confess that I’m no productivity guru. I haven’t (yet) made 8-figures in a single year and I haven’t created any kind of app that is valued at billions of dollars.
All I can say is that after starting this very website ten years ago at the age of 16, I’ve personally interacted with over 10,000 people looking to ‘make it’ online, and it’s very clear why a lot of them – myself included – fail.
This guide is written as much for me as it is for you. More on that later.
If you truly want to make 2016 your year, get rid of the notion that you need some magic resolution, and be prepared for a mini-awakening. You’ll do far better following the fundamentals I’m about to reveal, than not.
Live Like You’re on Commission, Not Salary
One of the best books I’ve read recently is entitled The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, by John C. Maxwell. It’s a very straight-forward, practical and to-the-point self-improvement tome. Just how I like them.
John covers many aspects of personal growth in the book, but I particularly like the story of the salesman who looked out a restaurant window and noticed a snowstorm brewing. He asked his waiter, “Do you think the roads will be clear enough in the morning to travel?” The waiter replied, “Depends if you’re on salary, or commission.”
The point of the story is that if you’re on a set salary, you’ll likely phone your boss and tell him the roads are too bad to travel. If you’re on commission, you’ve got to go and make the sale. Otherwise, you don’t eat.
In each scenario, there is a different why.
There’s the “Why would I go?” mentality, when you know you’re getting paid anyway. And then there’s the “Why would I not go?” mentality, when you need to put food on the table.
To have this commission mindset, which is always going to result in a lot more action, you must always keep in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing:
- Are you trying to be a better example to your kids?
- Is there a dream house or car you want to own?
- Do you want to have more so you can give back more to others?
- Are you trying to attract a certain person into your life?
Depending on the country you live in, there’s probably a very easy way to make it to old age – and eventually your coffin – without putting in too much effort. You could find a part-time job, make friends with the local weed dealer and live off ramen noodles for a pretty long time.
Yet since you’ve found this website there has to be something else that is driving you to achieve more in life than the bare minimum.
Have you strongly identified what that why is?
It doesn’t matter if it’s spiritual, material or philosophical; just make sure you’re able to clearly define it.
I personally have far more than just one why for the things I want to achieve, and write down new ones every time they come to me. Just for the discipline of working out, I have eleven items written on the Notes app of my phone to remind myself of the reason I’m putting in the effort. I don’t always need to read them, but they’re there when I do.
There’s more to living like you’re on commission than just knowing your why for doing things.
When you’re paid a salary, it doesn’t matter how much additional work you do, you still get paid the same amount. Yet when you’re working for a commission, the more you sell, the more you get.
Do you want to live this life doing the same things and getting the same results, or do you want to be able to get more by doing more and becoming more?
We are INCREDIBLY fortunate (bold and italics don’t express my feelings strongly enough) to live in a time where we have the opportunity to say “I want to become an online millionaire” and actually have some chance of making that happen. A time where we can say – today I’m going to write five articles on this topic and try to rank this site in Google – and have everything at our disposal to do so.
You have a PC. You have an Internet connection. And you have some way of inputting words and ideas onto the Internet. Even just leaving a comment on this very article could result in someone discovering you for the first time, finding your website and connecting with you in a new way.
We’ll never truly grasp how lucky we are, but at least try to work like you know it.
Find your why and realise how limitless our potential is because we actually have the freedom to put our desires into action.
Trust in the Compound Effect
The definition of compounding, in the investing world is, “The ability of an asset to generate earnings, which are then reinvested in order to generate their own earnings. In other words, compounding refers to generating earnings from previous earnings.”
To put that another way: Over time the small things stack up to help you earn bigger things.
This is an important concept to keep in mind, especially because we live in a society where quick fix solutions are constantly presented to us. We’ve got:
- The fast ways to lose weight.
- The tips to speed up language learning
- The promise of finding a perfect partner, tonight.
- The best strategies to get rich from the Internet, often within a 7 or 30-day timeframe.
If you believe these quick fixes truly exist in some magical manner, the fastest way to rid your beliefs is to suffer the pain of wasting money on them. You will no doubt still be looking for a solution afterwards.
Ironically, positive results tend to find you a lot quicker when consistency becomes your focus, rather than speed.
The headline for this section was lifted from one of my favourite books, The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy. In it, Darren says, “It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.”
And doing them consistently over a period of time.
I’m willing to bet that if you were able to travel in time and follow the daily life of anyone in modern history who has been successful, your initial excitement would quickly be replaced by boredom.
If you sat down with Bill Gates through his daily programming, Stephen King through his daily writing, Jay Cutler through his daily workouts or Beethoven through his daily piano practice, likely very little would change day to day.
As exciting as we may often predict the lives of these people are, I’m also willing to bet for the most part – at least while on the path to success – they were very mundane. Not to take anything away from them of course, I’m sure they have fond memories of these moments.
Yet it’s unlikely you’ll feel like you’re living in the movie The Social Network, where everything snowballs, seemingly overnight.
The compound effect can show up in many areas of life. When you start a new fitness routine, for example, you see very little difference in results day by day and neither will those around you. Yet as the weeks and months go on, as long as you stick to the plan, the results will become a lot more evident.
If you haven’t seen certain people for a while, they’ll likely make some comments on your physique that confirm you’re on the right track.
The day to day doesn’t change very much but the end result – where all the little parts of your effort compound on top of each other – shows a far more radical change.
The thing I love about the compound effect is not only the results it can generate, but the entire concept of it.
I mean think about it. All it asks of you is that you do something small, today.
It’s not asking you to jump out of bed and run a marathon. It’s not asking you to write that novel that’s stuck in your head. It’s not asking you to give a speech in Chinese. Instead, all it asks is that you run today. That you write some pages. That you add words to your vocabulary.
And the final thing it asks is to do the same thing again tomorrow. The end result being that all of those little actions you repeat over a period of time will result in something much bigger.
Could you perform some small action today towards one of your goals? We both know the answer to that.
To give a more personal example, a couple of weeks ago I decided to undertake what is probably going to be one of the biggest challenges of my life. I would rather not say what it is in case I ‘fail’ at it once again, but it’s on the scale of writing a 300-page book from scratch, memorising large portions of the Bible or learning to read hieroglyphics.
When you begin to undertake such large challenges, the long road ahead can look daunting. Yet, if you hack away at the mountain of work piece by piece, it can be surprising how quickly you start making some serious progress.
Just writing 500 words per day on your book is certainly manageable, wouldn’t you agree? In a month you would have written almost a quarter of the size of most business books.
Just reading 20 pages of the Bible per day means you will have gone through 600 pages by the end of a month. Learn five words per day of a new language and there’s 150 new words added to your vocabulary each month.
Trust that your little actions over a long period of time can result in huge rewards and watch your results flourish.
Make Motivation Your Habit
I’m a very adamant believer that while being successful is not easy, it is also not complicated. In fact, I think the entire path to becoming successful can be summed up in this section alone.
The first requirement to be successful – in whatever way you define success – is to have the motivation to be successful.
Having the desire to succeed and create more for yourself and others.
Once you have this desire to improve – to change – you then need to look at the disciplines which will best help you make progress.
Let’s assume for a minute that ViperChill is the only thing I have going on in my life. Imagine that I have no goals in life other than to make this the best marketing blog in the world and to share better niche ideas than anyone else on the planet. With that desire, the best disciplines I can possibly implement are to wake up early, and to write.
Waking up early helps me to get more done in a day, and writing is without a doubt the best way I produce content (trust me on this one). I could try to improve sharing my message via other media, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that for me, the best thing I can do is to produce more (and more valuable) written content.
Once I’ve defined the discipline then I need to…well…discipline myself to make sure I do just that.
As you’re likely well aware, if you do something consistently over a period of time, that action becomes a habit.
If I push myself to perform a challenging action often enough, I will get to a point where it becomes much easier. So waking up early and writing straight away becomes an action I take as if on autopilot. This is actually the case for me right now, but I assure you I have other things I wish to achieve.
Reaching this almost autopilot state is the point where you need far less motivation and far less willpower to actually get something done.
I’m not struggling to write this at all; I’ve been doing this for months at a time, for years of my life. When I take a break and get back into it, writing is initially difficult. But once the habit has resurfaced there is very little mental challenge. You can see from what I shared before New Year that it’s no longer rare for me to wake up and write.
Now if I had set myself the challenge of writing 7,000 words before 3pm and hadn’t written for weeks, I would be lying on the floor, crying for the day to end. To just jump into such a huge workload from nothing is not easy.
Yet when you choose the right disciplines for your goals and again, discipline yourself to stick to them until they become habitual, everything gets a lot easier.
In simple terms – and remember I did say I don’t think success is complicated – the whole process looks like this:
- You have the motivation and desire to change something in your life.
- You define daily disciplines which you think will help you make that change a reality.
- You discipline yourself long enough for those actions to become habits.
- Your daily habits take over and shape your weeks, months and years, as you progress toward your targets.
If you think I’ve simplified things a little too much, I can only guess it’s because you haven’t implemented the right disciplines for yourself, and stuck with them.
The absolute best place to start is to make motivation your habit. Constantly top up the ideas and things that drive you, so the rest of the formula takes care of itself.
As another quick example, here are some pictures I printed to hang up on my wall a few months ago. You may recognise them as having been shared on the ViperChill Facebook page.
I actually took them down from my wall a few days after ordering them as I wanted to paint my office to brighten it up a little bit.
And I never put them back.
Not because I’m lazy, but because I don’t need them. They motivated me enough in a few days to turn certain disciplines into habits, and I only looked at them again to take the photo for this blog post.
Just don’t wait for that motivation to come before taking action, as you’ll read later.
Focus on One Thing
When you’re just starting out online, it’s so easy to get caught in the trap of trying to do anything and everything. There are so many products targeted at beginners offering the route to ‘quick success’, and it’s easy to fall for them.
If you are a total beginner to making money online, I think this is the section you’ll struggle with the most.
Me just saying to someone “don’t go and buy all those shiny looking marketing products” or “just stick with that one website and make it successful” has never actually worked in deterring people as far as I know. Instead, people seem to have to actually go through the pain of buying shitty products or the struggle of running dozens of sites before they realise the advice is solid.
If you’re not a total beginner then just think back to the products you’ve bought in this space before that didn’t even come close to delivering on their promises. Or maybe they did deliver the information they promised but you just ignored the parts which were to do with taking action.
In his book, The ONE Thing, Gary Keller talks about how passion and focus can lead to the kind of results you’re looking for, “Passion for something leads to disproportionate time practicing or working at it. That time spent eventually translates to skill, and when skill improves, results improve. Better results generally lead to more enjoyment, and more passion and more time is invested. It can be a virtuous cycle all the way to extraordinary results.”
So it may be one traffic source, one niche idea, one product you follow or one anything in this space that you decide to focus on. Stick with it long enough for one of three outcomes to happen: You gave it your best and it didn’t work, you’ve figured it out so thoroughly that you’re ready to move on to the next thing, or you see it through and dominate with your growing skillset.
You’ll know whether you’ve given something your all and you’re either ready for a different path or the next level of your current one.
To demonstrate the power of focusing on one thing for my own business ventures, I have a great story about a popular site I used to run.
After a year and a half living in Cape Town, I had moved back to England because my online projects were finally making me more money than my full-time marketing job. I started spending much more time writing for a personal development blog called PluginID (no longer online).
I really wasn’t focused at all on making money with the site; I just wanted to grow my audience.
While reading a personal development book (I wish I could remember which one), there was an exercise which suggested you write to your future self in a year, proud about a goal that you’ve achieved to see how it feels.
You know how most marketing and self-development books have exercises we just skip over? Well, for once, I actually completed this one.
I took the time to write myself a letter stating how good it felt that PluginID had passed the 10,000 subscriber mark (RSS was still huge at the time) and how I had got there. I maybe read this letter a couple of times, but honestly forgot about it.
Then after living in Amsterdam and Cape Town (again) for over a year, I returned to England one Christmas and started going through all of my stuff. That’s when I found the letter.
The funny thing is that by then the blog had surpassed the 10,000 subscriber goal, become one of the top 10 personal development blogs in the world and I later sold it for a mid-five-figure fee.
(For the curious, the site was quickly sold again a month later for a $10,000 profit. A devout Christian took over and changed the content focus dramatically, marking the beginning of the end.)
While I am not crazy enough to think that simply writing the letter helped me gain thousands of additional feed subscribers, I have no doubt that because it was a huge, sole focus of mine for the site (I didn’t have any income goals), my mind sought as many ways as possible to make that happen.
It’s important to have goals of course, but I had but a single goal for that site, and I truly believe that’s a huge reason why it was successful.
Surround Yourself with the Right People
Or at least fewer of the wrong ones.
If you’re ready to take your life and your income to the next level, you need to take a serious look at the people around you. It’s an oft-repeated cliché in the personal development world to question your current social circle, but it’s also repeated by almost every teacher for a reason.
Throughout my life I’ve generally had a small social circle and being totally honest, at times it’s something I’ve questioned. Maybe it’s a product of spending so much of my last few years in Asia, which can often attract the ‘wrong kind’ of westerner, but I rarely meet people who I feel like hanging out with on a regular basis.
One of the reasons I’ve questioned myself at times is because I’m a pretty big believer in the quote, “If you think everyone else is an asshole, you’re usually the asshole.” 2015 was a year when I really tried to grow my social circle, as it just felt weird only having a small handful of friends for most of my life.
I really wish I hadn’t.
I made a lot of ‘friends’ but gained nothing from their friendship. I won’t go into the boring details here, but a lot of people turned out to be nothing like the people I thought they were, or who they tried to portray.
However, I did fortunately learn to appreciate the small but awesome social circle I have so much more.
I don’t care if someone has money or they’re successful; the main thing I care about when making new friends is that they have drive. They want something more from life, whatever that may be, and they’re willing to put in the work to get it.
I don’t care about the colour of your skin, your race, your religion or gender. If you’re driven, you’re a positive person and you get shit done – even if it has nothing to do with what I do – I’ll probably get along very well with you.
Sadly it seems those people are not so easy to find.
I’m sure you’ve heard the various quotes about how “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. I always kind of ‘got’ the idea, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I felt it in action. I felt I was being so dragged down by others that I truly came to understand the quotes.
Right now I only have three friends in my local area that I consider to be close friends. That means I’m missing two spots if you believe we’re most representative of the five people we’re most often around. Well, another thing I learned from personal experience this year is that you don’t have to be in the same vicinity as those five people who make up your average.
This is probably going to sound weird, but I spend almost as much time following some people online as I see those three people offline. The likes of Patrick Bet-David, Darren Hardy, Grant Cardone and Eric (now Dr. Eric) Thomas are among a select number of people I get inspiration from on an almost daily basis.
- Patrick was an immigrant from Iran who moved to the United States before enlisting in the army. He now runs a multi-million dollar insurance company.
- Darren was abandoned by his mother at 10 days old and grew up with an abusive father, yet later went on to found SUCCESS magazine. It sold 1 million copies in the first week of its relaunch.
- Grant is an authority on sales with over $500m in his real estate portfolio.
- Eric is one of the world’s top motivational speakers and went back to get his PHD in his late thirties. You probably know him from the “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe” video his voice was dubbed over.
Don’t those descriptions sound like the kind of people you should be spending more time with if you’re looking to be successful in any area of life, not just with making money online?
I’ve watched hours of their video content and read all of their relevant books.If I’m ever feeling a slight lack of motivation I’ll watch one of their videos on YouTube, even ones I’ve already seen.
Just like the three close friends I have offline: They’re positive, they have a drive to succeed and they get shit done. That’s all I look for in people.
What qualities are you looking for in other people around you?
Do the five people you spend the most time with primarily exhibit those qualities over anything else? If not, you need to change that and fast. Please trust me on this one, because I certainly learned the hard way.
Stop Spending Time on Pointless Shit
For two years between the ages of 21 and 23 I read more work by Seth Godin than any other author or blogger in existence. Feeling like I connected with almost everything he wrote made me what some people would describe as a ‘fanboy’.
I haven’t read anything from Seth in a few years now – I should really fix that – but something simple he once said about his productivity levels has stuck with me all these years.
“People ask how I can write so many books or publish so many blog posts. Well, I don’t watch TV, so there’s 3-4 hours per day I get over the average person.”
While I also don’t watch TV, it’s still easy to fill those extra hours with things that really aren’t the best use of my time. It’s easy to get lost on Reddit for an hour, start flicking through Tinder when I’m bored or load up some documentary on YouTube.
I’m almost certain there has to be a snowball effect when it comes to these things. If the first hour of your day is spent browsing Reddit, watching anime or checking threads on your favourite forum, it doesn’t exactly set you up to be productive for the rest of your day.
Similarly, if I ever wake up with a hangover, the last thing I want to do is open up my text editor of choice and start cranking out an article or checking my ad campaigns on Facebook.
I don’t know what you do in your ‘downtime’ but you more than likely have a lot more of it than you should. At least if you have big goals you want to achieve while you’re on this planet.
The first step to improving in this area is to be honest with yourself in defining what those pointless activities are.
I found that I could browse some stupid news site for an hour and the next day I wouldn’t be able to tell you a single meaningful thing I learned from it. I could watch a VICE documentary on hallucinogenic honey and feel like I’m ‘learning’ something, but not be able to tell you what that honey is called or even which country it’s found a few days later.
I’m not suggesting you become a robot and do nothing but grind out tasks every waking hour, but keep in mind that if you don’t control the inputs to your mind each day, it can be hard to focus on the things you know truly matter.
Be honest where you’re wasting time, and create a plan to replace those hours with something that will help make your dreams a reality.
Focus on Giving
Givers are people who focus on the value that they’re providing, with less thought on what they’re going to get in return. Yet from what I can see in every facet of online business, those who give the most also tend to get the most back.
- The people who transition from blogger to successful author are usually the bloggers who have written hundreds (if not thousands) of insightful articles and grown a loyal audience who will gladly pick up their book.
- The podcasters who gain tens of thousands of regular listeners take the time to study their topic in depth and make sure their show is interesting.
- The people behind successful YouTube channels produce videos week after week, for months and years on end, that entertain their target demographic. If you don’t play around with video, trust me when I say those videos take more work to put together than you would expect.
It’s easy to see the end result like the successful book, the chart-topping show on iTunes or the Forbes column telling you how much Supercars of London makes on YouTube, but you shouldn’t forget the consistency of giving over the years to get to that point.
The amount of stuff they put out there that other people truly enjoyed.
In his highly interesting book, Give and Take, Adam Grant talks about the concept of being a giver or a taker. Here’s a quote from the book, which may make you question why I’m recommending becoming a giver, “Research demonstrates that givers sink to the bottom of the success ladder. Across a wide range of important occupations, givers are at a disadvantage: they make others better off but sacrifice their own success in the process.”
Adam went on to further clarify, “So if givers are most likely to land at the bottom of the success ladder, who’s at the top—takers or matchers? Neither. When I took another look at the data, I discovered a surprising pattern: It’s the givers again.”.
He explains that the givers who rise to the top of the success ladder generally gain things that they weren’t seeking from the act of giving, such as a support network that they can rely on. An Amazon review describes how to be a successful giver, “Give, but make sure one is giving with a sense of purpose, and to people and things one cares about. Give, but not when it comes at the expense of one’s own projects.”
For instance, teachers face less chance of burning-out by seeing the great work that their students go on to achieve.
Jim Rohn gives further credit to this idea with his popular quote, “Give enough people what they want and you can have everything you want.”
If Steve Jobs’ goal for Apple was more about making a ton of money than making awesome products, Apple would unlikely be the global powerhouse it is today.
If Brad Pitt cared more about the girls he could get from being famous, rather than the amazing movies he could make, I doubt you would know his name.
If Daymond John wanted expensive cars more than he wanted to make a cool fashion brand, I argue he would be worth far less than the $250,000,000 that he is today.
While we are all of course building Internet businesses to get a financial return, find something outside of yourself that gives you a higher desire to do what you’re doing online. You’ll not only find the journey more rewarding, but research shows you’re far more likely to get that financial return as well.
Accept Criticism Will Come as Part of the Territory
And then make sure it does not get in your way of taking action, whatsoever.
As the saying goes, if you don’t want to receive criticism, then do nothing, say nothing and be nothing. That’s the easiest way to ensure you never receive negative feedback in life. On the same note, don’t expect to receive any praise or accolades either.
You’ll find with any online businesses that starts to get attention (especially if you’re active on social media), there’ll be ignorant people sending less than desirable comments in your direction.
Thanks to the Internet, because people can say anything on any medium, they will.
And those who are angry, disappointed or upset – whether they have a logical reason to be or not – will be far more vocal than those who love what you do and never want you to stop.
No matter what I write on ViperChill, someone will criticise an aspect of my article or the message I’m trying to share. Some will no doubt tell me this article was far too long, as usual. To show you what I mean, here’s some feedback from my latest article about how to get millions of visitors from Google in 2016 (link).
While the overall response was overwhelmingly positive (I never lose sight of the positive these days), some of the comments I received were as follows:
- “Sorry dude but this is nothing new. Seasoned SEO’s know this” – on Twitter by someone I consider a respectable marketer.
- “Yeah this is called Predictive SEO, people have been doing it for a long time.” – a mix of comments on Twitter and Inbound.org.
- “Who is going to read this???” via response to the email I sent out about the article.
Or my personal favourite, from [email protected] who left a comment saying:
- “Every veteran webmaster facepalms as you think this is something new and innovative.“
As I wrote on a Facebook status not too long ago, this kind of feedback really used to bother me. After putting so much work into an article, it would really get me down.
There seems to be something in our DNA that reacts to negative feedback far more strongly than we react to positive feedback. You can see this in the celebrities who are constantly quitting the likes of Twitter because of the comments they receive.
Rihanna for example has been found attacking users of Instagram who insult her, yet you won’t find her responding so readily to the thousands who say how amazing she is.
So what’s my solution to the negative criticism? Post less? Only post really amazing content? Get more personal? Make sure nobody in the history of the world has ever written about or considered what I’m about to say?
Actually, none of the above. There is no solution.
You just have to accept it and keep doing what you’re doing.
I think the biggest turning point for me – to get to the point where criticism means so little to me anymore – is simply believing I did the best job I could and shared a message I know would benefit at least someone.
As I’ve often said, I write long articles and go into a lot of detail because they’re the kind of articles I like reading. You can find hundreds of alternative sources who get to the point much quicker if that’s your thing.
You’re never going to please everyone, so the best thing you can do is to have 100% belief in yourself. 100% belief that you tried to make something cool, or tried to help at least one person, or thought you would make someone’s day better, or whatever is relevant to your own online journey.
And if you’re still doubting how much awesome value you have to give – in whatever form – please rid yourself of those incorrect beliefs before you produce anything else.
As Patrick Bet-David would say, criticism is a sign you’re on to something good, “Make some noise. Get rowdy. Be bold. Play offense. Don’t entertain small thinking. Don’t tolerate any negativity. Show the world what you’re made up of. And along the way you’ll give birth to a ton of haters and BELIEVERS. One doesn’t come without the other.”
Right now, the USA is deciding who will be their next President. No matter who wins the election, almost half the country is still going to have either not bothered to vote at all, or voted against the person now running their country. Imagine that; winning something and still having 200+ million of your own citizens either not caring or wishing you hadn’t.
It’s OK for your audience to shrink or evolve, because if you’re sticking to the same beliefs and values, you’ll just attract more of the ‘right’ people. Just as important is to never take the criticism personally. You never know someone’s personal situation in life on the other side of a computer screen.
I know it’s not always easy to see the lighter side of negative comments but just remember…we’re dying! One day at a time. Do I really need to care that some lawyer in Austin Texas thinks my ideas are beneath him and I make him facepalm? I’m more concerned he’s focusing on directing hate at me rather than helping his clients.
Read More Books
While there are of course successful people who will claim they never read books, more often than not successful people do tend to fall into the category of being voracious readers.
- Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor, says he spends up to 80% of his day reading.
- Bill Gates, who created Microsoft and is now more focused on being a billionaire humanitarian says that he gets through a book per week and has done for years.
- Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal and founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has spoken of his love of reading autobiographies of past greats like Howard Hughes, Benjamin Franklin and of course, Nikola Tesla.
- Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, insists on reading 3 hours a day.
- J.K. Rowling, the first ever billionaire author, read ‘absolutely anything’ as a child.
According to Business Insider, President Obama, Albert Einstein and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are all avid book lovers, too.
For me personally, I’ve found that reading is almost meditative. It’s something that I feel benefits my life greatly and at the same time is completely relaxing. The books I read are almost always business-related, and I’m constantly highlighting sentences or paragraphs, but the whole process is very chilled out.
I don’t read fiction books, but I like the idea that they open you up to a whole new world and allow your imagination to run wild. With business books, I ironically like when they both reaffirm my current beliefs and when they give a different perspective on an idea that I already had.
If you’re still not convinced you should be reading more, here are some scientific benefits which may help you decide:
- Readers are more likely to exercise…and vote (Source)
- Reading can enhance your memory (Source)
- Reading makes you sexier (Source)
- Reading reduces stress (Source)
- Your vocabulary expands (Source)
- It can help prevent Alzheimer’s (Source)
- You’re more likely to ‘get ahead’ (Source)
- It can make you smarter (Source)
- Reading non-fiction can increase your empathy (Source)
- It improves your analytical thinking (Source)
- It can be therapeutic (Source)
- Better readers make better writers (Source)
I know it was cool to say in school that you never read books, but it’s time to get serious. If you’re looking for a great book to start with, I recommend The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone or Smartcuts by Shane Snow.
Take Massive Action
Because I know you didn’t take enough in 2015.
I’m not even questioning whether you worked on the wrong things and that’s why you didn’t get the results you wanted. Even if you worked on the ‘wrong’ things, enough action would have seen you move away from them quick enough to recover by the second quarter of 2015, never mind the fourth.
I know I didn’t do enough this year. I probably did 20% of what I was capable of doing.
I feel I worked at least 75% of this year, but it was mainly on the wrong things. Things that didn’t excite me that I had to grind through, and because they didn’t excite me, I didn’t work on them enough. And because I didn’t work on them enough, it took me too long to realise I was not getting anywhere on a particular path and then too long to change direction.
There’s a small, simple quote from Eric Thomas that I like to keep in mind, “You can’t cheat the grind.”
You don’t have to tell me you worked hard and didn’t get results.
You don’t have to tell your family how hard you’ve been working.
You just have to be able to tell yourself that you did the work, because deep down inside you know whether or not you did what you’re capable of doing.
I know I didn’t. Did you?
Only after you’re honest with yourself can you make a change. You can’t cheat the grind because it knows exactly how much work you’ve put in.
I’ve found the stronger my desire to achieve something, the more sources of “Why?” I find and the more action I take. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, since more sources of why also increases my desire.
Now, not taking enough action doesn’t necessarily imply you’ve been lazy. At times, it’s possible that we greatly underestimate how much time and energy it would take to achieve something. That’s why I actually set longer timeframes for myself in order to get something done and plan to expend more energy than is probably needed.
In the past this would have caused my to delay a task until the last minute – just like in my school days with homework – but I don’t have that issue anymore now that my why’s are strong enough.
If you’re not doing enough then quite simply, your desire to succeed – however you define it – is not strong enough. You need to find some goal and destination that truly makes you come alive. That makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
Work on Your Personal Attitude Towards Everything
We’ve all been guilty of blaming outside sources for our current situation in life. Especially if that situation is not aligned with our ideals.
You can blame the economy.
You can blame politicians.
You can blame your parents for not giving you a better start in life.
You can blame your boss for not increasing your salary.
You can blame your age and the idea that you “just got started too late”.
You can say the only niche you’re passionate about is too saturated.
And on it goes. You get the idea.
If you find yourself making any of these claims, or giving any other excuse why you’re not successful, you’ll seriously hinder your chances of any kind of success. The moment you think that success is to be found outside of you for any goal, it will make it much harder to reach, if you can even reach it at all.
Another quote from Seth Godin – which I’m paraphrasing here – went along the following lines.
“So many people reach out to me to try and get me to talk about something they’ve made. They think that if I just give it a mention on my blog, all of the pieces will fall into place and they’ll get what they’ve always wanted.
Well here’s the truth: If your business success relies on someone like me to promote it for you, then you’ve already failed.”
I’ve never shared this with anyone before, but I’ve actually written a book.
Yet unlike the books you’ll find on the personal development or business shelves of your local bookstore, it’s written purely for myself.
Whenever I feel demotivated or unsure I’m on the right path. I read it. Having those feelings often was exactly why I wrote the book in the first place.
The book has no foreword, no chapter numbers and no introduction. Instead, these are the exact words it starts with, “Your success lies in the hands of no-one else. Nobody is holding it behind their back, keeping it away from you as you as you frantically reach around their waist trying to grab it. You don’t need to connect with any ‘influencer’ in order to succeed. This is all on you. You can become the leader in your field. Never ever falter on that belief. You can do this entire thing on your own.”
I have so much belief in how important your personal attitude is that I read my own words to myself every single day. Yep, you heard it here first. ViperChill reads his own book to himself.
And it works.
While it’s inspiring for me to know that I can do anything I want on my own, the more important message is that I’m not putting responsibility for my results (or lack of them) on anyone else’s shoulders.
I proudly accept the position I’m in, and the challenge ahead, as my challenge.
It’s incredible how your attitude towards anything can flow into all areas of life.
Recently, a friend of mine purchased a brand new BMW in Thailand. The car cost around $150,000 so it’s a car out of reach for most people (you’ve got to love those taxes).
If you’ve ever been to Thailand you’ll know how scarily close scooter and tuk tuk drivers like to get to other vehicles as they’re whizzing in and out of traffic. After one close call I asked her, “Aren’t you worried they’re going to drive into your car one day?” She replied without a flinch. “No, that’s why I have insurance.”
Isn’t that a much more laid-back way to look at things?
In his best-selling book, What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, Shad Helmstetter makes a very profound claim about the importance of how we look at things and talk to ourselves.
“After examining the philosophies, the theories, and the practiced methods of influencing human behavior, I was shocked to learn the simplicity of that one small fact: You will become what you think about most; your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming – what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself.
It is no longer a success theory; it is a simple but powerful fact. Neither luck nor desire has the slightest thing to do with it. It makes no difference whether we believe it or not. The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.”
To show you the true power of your attitude in all aspects of life, I want to set you a challenge.
Just for the next seven days, I want you to be the most positive person you know.
No matter what happens, I want you to try and view everything in a positive light. To find the silver lining in every experience.
See how often you can catch yourself with negative emotions when there is a much better alternative. This is one of the things I have to work on much more myself and I certainly will, because I know how beneficial a practice it is.
Only when you put the responsibility of your results solely on your own shoulders will you give yourself the best chance of achieving them.
Wait for Motivation and You’ll Be Waiting for Success
I’ve been working on this article for a few days now and as I’m writing this section, it’s 10:11pm on a Wednesday night, two days before Christmas.
I’m on my 8th Pomodoro of the day, and my eyes are almost closing. Yet here I am, working on an article that isn’t going to be published for almost two weeks – and I’m two-thirds of the way through it at this point. It’s not like I need to be focusing on it right now.
Yet if I didn’t do it right now, when else am I going to do it? There has to be a now to get it done.
And while I recommend that you should make motivation a habit, I’m certainly not waiting for motivation in order to crank out this section.
While it was tough to get started, I know I’m going to feel great when it’s done.
As John Maxwell says, “To do the right thing, I don’t wait to feel like it. I recognise that emotion follows motion. Do the right thing and you feel right. Do the wrong thing and you feel bad. If you take control of your behaviour, your emotions will fall into place.”
He’s not wrong.
Every single day the first task I do, after meditating, is write. I start my Pomodoro timer and write about any topic. It doesn’t really matter what it is; I just force myself to write. Then before I eat breakfast, I complete two more Pomodoros which are focused on writing. I’ve already learned it’s one of the best disciplines I can set myself.
Before most of the rest of the world is up I’ve written for an hour and 10 minutes and at least for me personally, I’ve started my day off perfectly. I rarely know what I’m going to write, and very rarely am I excited to write. Instead, as the Nike slogan goes, I just do it.
While you’re out there looking for motivational quotes to help you get going, someone else is creating a success story that they write motivational quotes about.
It didn’t take me long to realise that browsing /r/GetMotivated or watching inspirational videos on YouTube will not make the work I have to get done any easier. I don’t expect they will for you either. All too often in the past I would wait for the right time or mood before taking action. A wiser Glen realises there is no right time.
You either get started and put in the work, or you don’t.
Going back to trusting the compound effect, if you’re anything like me you’ll notice that motivation also compounds. I get motivation from knowing I can complete tasks and get things done, which in turn builds more motivation and helps me to get even more done.
So the next time you’re waiting for the right time to get started or you find yourself looking for a bit of inspiration to keep going, just try one thing for me. Do the action, then tell me if your real motivation doesn’t come from that, instead of some pretty results in Google Image Search.
I think you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Hate It and You’ll Hate the Work. Love it and…
…there’s less work. Not no work – I think that’s a myth – but certainly less.
You’ve no doubt realised that most of the points I’ve covered in this article apply to almost anything in life, and not just towards Internet marketing or more specifically, making money online.
I am aware of this.
Something I’ve learned from starting hundreds of different online ventures over the past 11 years though is that if you’re working on the wrong thing, the work is work.
If I’m trying to build a site in an industry I have no interest in, completing tasks really feels like trying to sprint in a swimming pool. Everything is working against you.
To be creative on topics that I don’t care for, like the latest beauty trends or games like Minecraft, is a huge, huge mental challenge for me and something I can easily procrastinate on indefinitely. But when I have an idea that’s close to home, when it’s something that really interests me, the amount of work I have to do is the same, but it doesn’t come with the same emotional and psychological baggage.
Let’s again use this very article as an example.
I enjoyed planning out the individual sections and deciding on their headlines and order. I loved writing key sentences that I know people are going to find powerful and I edited this document with a lot of excitement, partly anxious to see how people will react after I hit ‘Publish’.
But I truly did not like hitting ‘Start’ on my Pomodoro timer at 7am in the morning to write 95% of these words. It wasn’t fun, I didn’t feel inspired and certainly no keystrokes flowed from my fingertips like it all was meant to be. There were a lot of forgettable moments in putting this article together.
Yet, because I was excited about helping people with this post and getting their reactions, that excitement and interest definitely helped me power through the tougher times.
And that’s why it’s so important when you’re doing anything online, to at least have some aspect of the project that’s enjoyable for you.
If you don’t love your product, you’re never going to support your customers.
If you don’t enjoy your finished articles, you’re not going to care about the comments.
If you don’t enjoy recording your podcast, you’re not going to give its editing the time it deserves.
There are no overnight successes online. (Even the guy who created Ship Your Enemies Glitter and made $80,000 seemingly overnight had to have the idea, buy the domain name, set-up the site and tell someone about it.)
If you want to increase your chances of success then you must find some joy in the industry you’re working on, the angle you’re taking, or the people you’re serving. Without that, you aren’t going to push to get through the not-so-fun stuff, because trust me, that not-so-fun stuff has existed for everyone who has ‘made it online’ in one form or another.
While the saying “focus on an industry you love” is the most overused phrase in Internet marketing, it’s the only thing that’s going to make sure you do the work you don’t love, besides sheer willpower.
You Must Keep Aiming for the Next Level
Maybe you didn’t do too badly last year. Maybe you set out to follow some New Year’s resolutions and actually stuck with them. If that’s you, then congratulations.
But what did you do next?
Celebrate a little and then sit on cruise control for the rest of the year? Fall back into bad habits? Reward yourself too much and forget to set bigger goals?
Once you’ve hit one goal, move on to the next.
I’ve met enough multi-millionaires to know that once you hit certain financial goals, life gets boring very quickly if you just sit back and relax.
To demonstrate my point, think of the CEO’s of all the top companies around the world. People like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Tim Cook. They could spend a million dollars per week for the rest of their lives and still have enough to leave for their families for generations to come.
Yet, they are still on a mission. They’re still putting in the work like never before.
- Richard Branson wants to spread the Virgin brand into more industries.
- Bill Gates is trying to fight malaria across Africa.
- Larry Ellison is fighting to keep Oracle’s huge marketshare in an industry rapidly gaining competition in the form of well-funded startups.
- Tim Cook wants to continue the legacy of Steve Jobs and take Apple to new heights.
It’s not about the money. It’s about having bigger goals linked to their personal mission of what they want to achieve in life.
These are the people who you could accept would hit the snooze button and coast through life because they’ve ‘made it’ yet they’re probably putting in more work than anyone reading this – myself included – day in and day out.
Success and moving forward has become a habit for them.
I would go so far as to say this mission to go further is why they were successful in the first place. As Jim Rohn would say, if you want to have more, you have to become more.
One thing I love about building a business online is that you can constantly find yourself hitting milestones.
An article may go viral and you hit a traffic goal you hadn’t expected to reach for a few months. Maybe you write something that resonates with people and your blog post receives 50 comments. An influencer you’ve been talking with could finally tweet about you and send you 100 email subscribers.
There are so many angles to ‘win’ and grow that building a successful Internet business can be incredibly rewarding; not just from the fact that you can make money from anywhere you choose.
They say the journey is the best part, and mostly I would agree, but we’re only on the journey to get to a destination. It doesn’t mean we’ve ‘arrived’ in life. It just means we’re checking in to the next stop, and then you’ve got to pack your bags again and get ready for the next take-off.
If you find yourself reading this article for a second or third time in the future, be more wary of how easy it is to reward yourself and ‘take a break’ once you’ve hit some initial goals. If you don’t set higher ones, you may find yourself back where you first started.
Believe That You’ve Got This
It’s no secret that most entrepreneurs fail far more times than they’re successful. It’s certainly the case for me. I’ve started more than 100 websites targeting different industries over the years and I would say 90% of them went on to achieve little to no success.
Sometimes the reason these sites ‘failed’ is because I went into a niche for the wrong reasons – such as focusing almost entirely on their income potential – but often it was because of my own personal doubts that I’ll actually have success in that industry.
In 2015, I spent over $10,000 building an online community for women and while I started with a lot of enthusiasm, every single hurdle I came across made me doubt that I should actually be undertaking the project. I made back exactly $0 from that site, and that $10,000 doesn’t include the investment of my time, which I value at a much higher price.
On projects where I have a sense of confidence that I can really make something happen, coupled with an interest somewhere, I end up sticking with them and more often than not that confidence helps me succeed.
I started a website last January that now has 650,000+ Facebook likes and is one of the top brands in a multi-billion dollar industry. This has allowed me to make connections with some of the richest and most influential people in the niche I’m targeting.
While this probably sounds egotistical, from day one I’ve known that I could make the website a huge success because I saw so many things that others in the space were doing wrong. That belief – which I would prefer to call being confident rather than arrogant – helped drive the growth of the site immensely.
If you have any doubts about your ability to make more money from the Internet than you do in your current job, please do your research so you can eradicate them immediately.
Start by researching success stories of people who have been in your shoes and reaching out to potential mentors and ask if they ever doubted they could make it. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from both.
Write a Book for Yourself
THIS IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT SUGGESTION I CAN GIVE YOU. (Highlight, caps-lock and bold, check. It’s that powerful.)
Imagine for a second that our brains have a very limited capacity when it comes to retaining anything we read.
The capacity is so limited that by the time you’re on the third Harry Potter book, every subsequent chapter you read overwrites your memory of the beginning chapters of the first book. If this were the reality for the human brain, would you find yourself reading more of TMZ.com or more of Inc.com?
Fortunately our brain capacity is not so limited, but I like to sometimes think of it in this way as a reminder to control the input sources which affect my thinking, habits and ultimately, my life.
This is one of the main reasons I wrote a book for myself.
My book contains what I believe to be the most important advice I can follow, and the most important things I can do, in order to reach my own personal definition of being successful. While it’s not something I could ever sell or release publicly – it’s written in a very personal manner – you can find key aspects of what I cover in the book on this very page.
The single reason why I wrote a book just for myself was because I wanted everything I believed to be true in one place, for times when I doubted what I was doing or believed.
Now, I certainly don’t read this book daily because fortunately, I don’t need to. I’ve read it enough times to be able to repeat every word aloud without looking at it.
Yet there are times, maybe for a brief 10-15 minute window once per fortnight, where things aren’t going my way and work isn’t progressing as I would like, that I need a little ‘pick me up’. This book reminds me that I’m on the right path, encourages me to keep going, and includes a few other important messages which I genuinely believe to be true.
Zig Ziglar, one of the most recognised names in business and leadership, recommends that people who purchase his motivational tapes listen to them at least 16 times. That may not sound too extreme until you realise I heard this while half-way through a 7-hour recording!
While listening to 7 hours of information more than 16 times may sound a little ridiculous – it did to me when I first heard him say it – I later understood his point. Listening to something so much means not only that you can finish most of his sentences (and recall bad jokes of snakes not having a leg to stand on), but the content literally spreads through your entire being and belief system.
And that’s the important point I want to get to before you just start writing anything in your book (if you’re going to do it at all).
You must believe what you’re reading or hearing.
If there are some aspects in Zig’s message for example that you don’t quite follow or relate to, then you probably shouldn’t listen to it again, never-mind 16 times.
Your book should be made up of the disciplines, action steps and truths about success that you – and you alone – believe will help you get more from this thing we call life.
It doesn’t matter if anyone else agrees with them. If you believe them, that’s all that counts.
Someone reading this might say that I should focus on public speaking and improving my podcast so I can reach more people. Yet in my book I tell myself to ignore that at all costs and to focus on what (at least I believe) I do best, which is sharing my ideas through writing.
If they’re right and I’m wrong I’ll figure that out through right action anyway, and I’ll update that section of the book. It’s only a few pages long so I can reprint it anytime I like.
If you take nothing else from this article today, could you at least start putting together that book? A book that covers things like:
- The steps you need to take to make your dreams a reality.
- The disciplines you wish to become your habits.
- Reminders why you’re working so hard, if you ever doubt the work is worth it.
- The people, besides yourself, that will benefit most from your success.
And anything else you feel would inspire you if you’re ever feeling low.
Make it as personal and emotional as you can, because only you are likely to ever read it.
In 2016, I’m going to produce more content for ViperChill than I ever have in a single year. I would love to support and mentor you on your own journey, and hope that you’re interested in supporting me on mine.
If you’re ready to start tackling a new niche with your new found motivation, here’s a great place to start.
Thank you so much for reading. I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but we certainly have some big things to do together this year, so buckle up…
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