Building an online business is tough.
I should know, because I’ve wasted years and over $10,000 trying to make it happen.
I’ve fallen for many get rich quick schemes. I’ve even spent thousands on a 1-on-1 coaching program that didn’t pan out.
In this article, I go through the pitfalls I’ve spectacularly fallen into, and I also share the realizations I’ve had to help me turn it all around.
Because, you see, today I’m making a living doing what I love, so it can be done. But before it can happen, you have to make a few shifts.
This article came about from the last one I wrote here on How I Built a Business Around My Passion. A few people in the comments wanted to know more about what I tried and how I failed.
So that’s exactly what you’ll discover as you keep reading.
Let’s start at the beginning.
The Early Days
I still remember the first “real” website I had after I got serious about building an online business, or learning how to make money online.
I’d always been into golf (real golf, not mini golf), so I thought I’d pay someone to do keyword research and get a site up for me.
I thought it would allow me to sit back and watch the money roll in.
Well, that didn’t happen.
The site was built and everything was ready, but I quickly figured out that I wasn’t going to make a living without traffic. And I had no motivation to actually work on the site, so I let it expire.
I then found a 1-on-1 online business coaching program that promised to get me to several thousand dollars a month in passive income within 6 months.
I was excited, so I forked over $8,000. And in the end, nothing happened. I once again wasn’t willing to put in the work.
I got a website up, and I created a product, but I thought that was enough, and it wasn’t.
I then let that site expire.
And I kept looking for courses and programs that would promise me the world without any work. I was still trying to succeed without any effort, but it wasn’t happening.
All in all, I ended up wasting well over $10,000 before I had an a-ha moment.
Eventually I realized that what I was doing wasn’t working.
I looked at all the programs I’d tried, and I saw the common denominator for my failure.
Can you guess what it was?
It was me.
Sure, some of the get rich quick programs were a complete waste of money, but I was the one responsible for believing their promises.
And I was the one responsible for expecting that I could make money without putting in any work.
After I realized what was really going on, and who was to “blame,” the shift happened.
I became so disgusted with my own mindset that something snapped. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I was finally ready to put in the work. I didn’t care how long it would take or how hard it would be. I was ready to work hard.
That’s when I found someone who was already successful online, and I learned from him.
I asked him what I had to do. He gave me some instructions and I followed them to a tee. This time I wasn’t going to dilute my focus.
So I worked hard on just one project for about 3-4 months.
After that, I was making $500/month, and before the year was over, I was making a full-time living online, and I spent almost the whole of 2010 in Spain with my girlfriend, and our dog.
This was several years ago. Looking back, I don’t regret a thing, because all of those failures have helped me realize what it really takes to succeed.
This helps me help my clients and customers better, because I know what it feels like to want to do work you love, but fail gloriously.
Those early years were my learning phase. We all have to go through it. We have to fail over and over again until things click.
The Bottom Line
Building an online business around your passion is tough, but it can be done.
There are solid steps you can follow. And there are people out there willing to share their knowledge with you.
But you still need to show up. You have to be willing to put in the work, because no one can do it for you.
I work with clients and customers to help them do this, but I can’t do it for them. They have to show up and do the work, even when they’re scared out of their minds.
All of this began with my desire to build websites and make a living online. I didn’t know I would end up where I am today.
I just followed my excitement.
And that’s all you can really do.
So how can you start following your excitement today?
Photo by Ed Yourdon