Facebook algorithms often feel like the bane of my online life. Not only have this little buggers drastically reduced the organic reach of my posts, but they are causing my feed to constantly fill up with beautiful women with dazzling smiles telling me how I can make $1k in 7 days, $60k in 6 weeks or add 10,000 people to my Facebook group. All I need to do is follow their simple steps…
Shit the bed – here’s me hustling away all hours to build a successful business & all I needed the whole time was this little formula! As an engineer, I am ALL over that kinda stuff, you can’t beat a bloody good equation & now there’s one to make me a millionaire!!
They have THE secret!
Except there is no secret. Don’t get me wrong; there are tools, techniques & methods you can apply to your business to build it in the right direction. There are things you can learn or even buy but there is no magic solution.
You know this. I know this. But do you know what really pisses me off?
That a lot of people don’t get that.
I’m not out to name & shame particular businesses that do this – we’re all trying to make a living at the end of the day, everyone wants to make their mark. The problem is, we live in a culture where we want everything now. Right now. We don’t want to wait for it. We definitely don’t want to work for it. If there’s an easy option, we’re at it like a shot – we are all about the quick wins.
But you cannot make quick wins when it comes to business.
These posts are full of the kind of marketing buzz words guaranteed to draw people in…
‘Secret formula!’ ‘Unstoppable Success!’ ‘Business Secrets Uncovered!’
Hell, this sounds a bit tempting huh?
When you dig a little deeper, you often get to the truth – ‘this course won’t literally help you make $1k in 7 days – but it’ll give you the tools over the week to make your first $1000’. That doesn’t sound quite as flashy for marketing purposes though does it.
All you have to do is ‘learn the system’.
The ‘system’ itself isn’t always that bad….Often what you go on to be trained or advised in is tools, techniques & strategies around the business mindset, self belief, PR & marketing, running social media campaigns, the list is ENDLESS. Some of these coaches are bloody amazing too & there are countless business success stories from both men & women that have worked with them, but too many 'quick win' campaigns like this are giving business coaches a bad rap.
My issue is not necessarily with the offering & I’m not trying to imply that their service is not worthwhile (though for the thousands of pounds a year that some of them charge, I’d expect some bloody miracles!) it’s that their marketing strategies are setting unrealistic expectations for your average business owner.
My issue IS that amongst those winning smiles & colourful branding is the message that there is an easy way to make your fortune & they have the secret. They’re not even interested in what your business is offering, they’re just assuming that they can help you make it a roaring success.
Unfortunately, just because these entrepreneurs have made tens of thousands of pounds in their first months (even weeks apparently in some cases!) there’s no guarantee that you can too. The steps that they’ve taken to get them there do not apply to all businesses.
My frustration is with the desperate need for instant gratification that these adverts buy into. One popped up on my newsfeed yesterday & I took a scroll through the comments (which admittedly is probably why that bloody algorithm keeps showing me more!) to see questions like ‘I’m selling a product that’s $200, what kind of business model will help me make $60k in a day?’. People are signing up & handing over small fortunes (that they probably don’t have) expecting to be handed the golden ticket – the ‘simple’ methodology that will help even the shittest of the shit products turn over a fortune practically overnight.
Yes. These women did make these incredible amounts of money that quickly. I don’t deny that & good on them! But will you manage that too?
No. Probably not.
It’s fair to say that the majority of these ads come from business coaches who have made their fortune purely from coaching other people in how to make their fortune in their own successful business. In general, the whole coaching industry is starting to get a really bad rap, which is such a shame because there are some incredible coaches out there who genuinely get to know you & your business & help it to grow at a realistic pace. They will also speak honestly & openly from day one about the work you will need to put in & what expectations you should have.
This post explains it all fantastically…
So what do you actually need to build a successful business?
1. A shit hot ‘thing’
Let’s cut to the chase. If your business idea is shit, you ain’t gonna be making your millions in 6 years, let alone 6 weeks. You need to be offering something that people WANT. This is the missing step that these money-making programmes often overlook – the assumption is that their ‘way’ will work on ANYTHING. I guess that’s what sells their stuff…
Nailed step one? Then success might come quickly, but don’t bank on it. If you have a full time job don’t even think about throwing in the towel until your business model has been proven. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out, but creating a strong audience can take months or even years to build up. This post shares the lengthy start up stories of some of the world’s biggest household names.
You know the saying ‘build it & they will come?’. Well, that’s all bullshit. Even if your product or service is THE most bad-ass thing on the planet, you need to tell people it’s there. Your mum needs to tell people. Your dog needs to walk around with its own sandwich board telling the world about your amazing business. In time, testimonials & feedback will help you along the way, but to start with at least, expect some serious hustle-time. Stick with it, shout about it & don’t fall at the first setback.
This goes hand in hand with step 3. When you get disheartened by success taking SO BLOODY LONG to arrive, you need to be able to keep your head about you & not lose sight of what you’re working towards. Things will go wrong & if they don’t, you’re probably playing it too safe anyway. You’ll make mistakes & failures are inevitable – just make sure you learn from them.
Confidence. Passion. Determination. All of these come under the same umbrella. It’s risky business (excuse the pun) going it alone so you need to be happy putting yourself out there & sharing the best of yourself & your business. No more skulking in the shadows, you have to prepare to shine in the limelight.
So you know you’ve got to have that confidence & determination (what kind of nutter would you be to take off on this business journey if you didn’t think it was going to work out!?) but that doesn’t mean you know it all. Play it on the safe side – assume you know practically nothing. Live & work with an open mind; question everything. Never stop learning.
7. A Business Brain
This you can learn to a certain extent – but it’s not enough just to have a good idea. You need to be wired a certain way to be able to prioritise your tasks, make tough decisions when you need to & see the bigger picture. Know your weaknesses & delegate or outsource accordingly.
8. A Strong Support System
This shit is HARD & going it alone is not an option. You need financial support to ensure you can still pay your bills & feed yourself & your family. You need business support to ensure accountability & keep on the right path & you need emotional support. Founder burnout is one of the biggest threats to the success of any business – particularly in the early days, without you there would BE no business. Don’t underestimate the importance of putting yourself first.
So sorry if this post wasn't the quick winning formula you were hoping for to succeed business glory, but hopefully it might make some of you feel a little less of a failure for not having made your first £10k in just a few short weeks...
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