You’ll Need Time and Patience
We all want success and fortune to happen NOW. Right now. So when we start something and don’t see a ton of progress right away, it can feel like we’re not doing it right. We need to change our expectations on what success is and when it comes. I interviewed David Henmeier Hansson of 37 Signals (co-author of Rework) and he said this:
Creating revenue is certainly not an overnight thing to do. When we launched BaseCamp, Signal vs. Noise had just, I think 4,000 daily readers which, in the age of people having tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, was a puny amount but it was still plenty to get the product off the ground. And then yes, it took a long time. Good things usually do. BaseCamp wasn’t a runaway success after 12 months. It wasn’t a runaway success after 24 or 36 months. It only just paid the bills at a tiny company of four people with basically no costs after one year.
It also took a long time to get the Signal vs. Noise blog up to that many readers! We tend to see Basecamp as being a very successful product now, and so we discount how long it took. 37 Signals started as consultants doing projects for other companies and building a strong basis of readers way before they launched Basecamp. And even months after the launch it just paid the bills. We need to start shifting our focus from results oriented, like 10,000 blog subscribers, and instead change it to action orientated, like doing ten guest posts per month. That way we can feel like we are accomplishing things and making progress.
Action Item: Take your current goal and try to change it into a measurement of action. What do you want to achieve this year? How can you make that happen? Make the “how” the immediate goal.
Everyone Makes Mistakes
I’m sure you have already made mistakes. You are not alone. So many millionaires are just like you and have made mistakes over and over. Michael Port said:
I get yelled at by people, like, ‘I can’t believe you’re a New York Times bestselling author and you have typos in your blog. What’s wrong with you?’ I’m like, I’m so sorry. You should read all the other blogs because I’m going to make typos, and if you care more about the typos than what I have to say, definitely go somewhere else. I don’t want to upset you so much. I don’t mean to upset you. I’m not trying to just ruin your worldview about how typos should or shouldn’t be found on blogs.
But just realize that everyone makes mistakes. We don’t know everything. Even best-selling authors make spelling mistakes. Expect that you will make a lot more. And realize that you are doing something important. Something that has the chance of making mistakes with people noticing. The mistakes don’t matter, the fact that you are taking action matters. So go forth and keep making mistakes! (Unintentionally, of course!)
Action Item: The next time you receive a criticism that really gets to you, stop, and realize that you are moving forward. The bigger you get the more criticism you get. See it as a battle scar or badge of honor instead of a reason to duck and cover.
Focus on Solving Problems
At the end of the day, the only person that truly matters is your customer. Without them, you don’t make any money. Without people to support what you do, you become a starving artist (which most of us don’t want to become!). I interviewed David Meerman Scott, a speaker and author of the #1 best seller The New Rules of Marketing and PR. He highlighted a lot of points about creating amazing content (just like I know David does here). One thing he said was this:
Instead of talking about what your wonderful products and services do, which frankly people don’t really care about, you need to focus on creating things of value on the web, then giving them away for free, which helps to solve people’s problems, so therefore they want to do business with you.
He is teaching huge companies to do this same thing. It’s an amazing thing that you–sitting at your computer at home–are working on the same things as a large company with lots of resources. So step it up. Solve people’s problems better than your competition.
Action Item: Next time you sit down to write content, become your customer. Figure out an exceptional way to solve their problem. You have the power to create raving fans. Make sure you use each blog post as an opportunity to do it. So have patience, make more mistakes, and solve more problems.
What action item are you going commit to doing?
Jaime is a business coach and speaker and has been featured on CNN, MSNMoney, Success Magazine, Fortune.com, Yahoo’s homepage and more. Each week she interviews self-made millionaires for their business tips, advice and stories.