Are you familiar with the old Native American tale of the two wolves? It goes like this…
A grandfather explains to his grandson that there are two wolves inside of us. And they are always at war with each other.
One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love.
The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The grandson stops and thinks about it then looks up at his grandfather and asks, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies… “The one you feed.”
I like to share this with people who are trying to break free of the 9-5 rat race. Because self-employment can be both challenging and scary. And it is easy to get in the habit of feeding the bad wolf.
I’ve been self-employed since 1996. Rather than work a regular job, I prefer to spend the bulk of my time with my family, playing golf a couple times a week, hiking with my dog every day – things I couldn’t find time for when I was in the 9-5 grind.
But I wasn’t always able to work short hours in my online business. I struggled early on like everyone else. And I know first-hand how scary and quite stressful it can be – especially if you let your brain start focusing on things like…
- whether or not you can actually make money online (fear)
- if you’ll ever be able to quit your regular job
- why it’s taking so long to start making decent money and should you try the latest get rich quick scheme (greed)
- why anyone would buy anything from you when there’s so much free online (fear)
- whether you should forget the whole thing
If you start having any of those thoughts, you need to recognize them as 100% normal, then immediately refocus your mind onto something productive.
The thing is, your project is not guaranteed to succeed. That’s why the very term “entrepreneur” is congruent with “risk taker”. The risk in this case is failure of your efforts to be profitable. Fortunately, the monetary risk involved online can be kept very minimal — at most you’ll lose a few hundred dollars and some time.
My advice when trying to carve out an income stream online… Don’t quit you job until you’re making more money online than at work.
Heck, don’t tell anyone other than your significant other what you’re attempting. This takes some of the pressure off. I kept my job for months after my web income surpassed my job take home pay. I didn’t even tell anyone what I was doing until I was doing really well.
You can do all this stuff part-time a few hours a night. I know it’s no fun working a regular job then working the web at night. I’ve been down that road. But it was worth the short-term sacrifice!
The thing is, if you are focusing your thoughts on those bullet items above, then you are focusing on the fear of failure. That is feeding the wrong wolf. Remember, even if you fail in your first project, it does not mean you failed. That does not happen until you choose to give up completely.
In fact, each failure should be looked at as a learning experience.
I’ve tried many different strategies over the years. Some of them have been huge hits, others were mildly successful, and some flopped badly. But when I put them all together, they add up to one thing – they have enabled me to make a living online in my spare time.
As I mentioned, I’ve been doing this since 1996, and that’s longevity compared with many other marketers who’ve come and gone through the years.
My point is, I know my strategies work. I’ve proven that you can do everything on a shoestring budget and rely on free tools, free and low cost traffic solutions and smart marketing such as email list leveraging, affiliate marketing, and multiple income streams.
Now I can already hear some people thinking – “What’s that Jim? I’m going to need more than one income stream to make a living online? I can’t even get one making money yet!”
My answer to that question is…. maybe you’ll need more than one. And maybe not.
Some people make their living online with one income stream. Their first idea is a hit and it grows and grows. It’s quite possible. Others fail a few times or have minor successes, then slowly succeed as they learn the ropes.
Succeeding at online business just takes a steady effort, a good dose of patience and above all, focus.
Focus is Everything
If you can keep your eyes on the prize, you can make it. But that alone can be challenging online.
At least once or twice a week as you grow your business online, you’re going to be invited onto the “easy road.” And it’s going to be extremely tempting to take a step down that path. But let me assure you, it is a dead end.
The invitation may come into your email inbox from a guru, or from someone you’ve never heard of before. It will probably be described as a “loophole” or click button traffic. Don’t fall for it.
How do I know this is going to happen? Because I’ve been doing business online a long time and I have multiple web properties and subscriber lists. So I get solicited by the owners of those “loophole” sites constantly.
A webmaster or product launch coordinator emails me asking if I’d tell my email subscribers about their new product. Sometimes I recognize their name, most times I do not. They’re emailing me simply because they know I can make them lots of money by telling my readers about their offer.
What happens next is kinda funny.
If I have time and I like the tone of the invite, I head off to their site. I sit through some (usually lengthy) video sales presentation showing how much money they’ve made and how easy it was. If it’s a really professional presentation without too much hype, I return their email. I simply ask for a review copy of the product so I can try it and see if it actually works as advertised – before I tell my readers about it.
That’s usually the end of the conversation. I never hear back from most of them.
That’s because 9 times out of 10 times they know deep down they spent far more time on the sales copy than the product itself. They know I’ll see through that when I see the “product” they’re selling.
I’m not saying there are no good products in the Internet marketing space, but for every good one there are at least 10 hyped-up heaps of junk with no value whatsoever.
The saddest part though, is that thousands of people flock to almost every launch hoping it’s finally the solution they’ve been waiting for.
They see a snazzy sales letter or video with huge income promises. They read about how easy it was for the “hero” of the day. They see more “social proof” from the hero’s friends and partners who give them testimonials. Their emotions are played like a fiddle and the next thing they know, out comes the credit cards of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people.
They’re buying a dream, or at least trying to.
The problem is, most of the people buying into every new “system” are the same people who bought the last big thing. And they’ll buy the next one too.
And it’s not their fault. They want to trust. They want a better life. And they certainly don’t want to miss their big chance.
So why do so many of those people end up dropping out only to eventually buy their way into the next big opportunity that comes along?
It simple: Shortly after getting in on the latest big thing, they discover that it’s really NOT easy like they were promised. The easy button doesn’t really work and neither does the loophole. There is work to be done. A learning curve to get through. This causes most of them to lose interest.
Meanwhile, the company that sold them on the “easy money opportunity” has cashed in and is already creating something new to sell them on.
What a vicious cycle.
So make me a promise right now. Promise me you’ll forget about the next big thing when it hits your inbox. Unless it can tie in directly with what you are doing, and help you save time or money in your existing business, just trash the message. You do not want to be one of the masses chasing business opportunity after business opportunity.
You want to be one of the eventual success stories who focused on building your own business.
You do that with steady effort and determination in these areas…
- Sharing information with your target market and actually helping people
- Refusing to feed the bad wolf with greed or fear
- Growing your following
- Reaching out to other marketers in your niche(s) and working with them
- Constantly striving to create and/or recommend only the best products and services to your following
People who you’ve helped will be happy to purchase your products, click your links, and act on your recommendations again and again. You’ll begin to make money. Real money doing what you like.
This is not a secret formula or a loophole or anything like that. Heck, countless people make a comfortable living using this formula. This includes people you may have heard of, like the self help guru Tony Robbins, to that down to earth wine guru Gary Vaynerchuk, and all the way down to lesser known folks like me.
And you can do it too.
Just keep feeding the wolf you want to win.