Maybe you have hopes and dreams about making a living online.
Maybe you’ve envisioned a beautiful future where you work four hours a week, you never trade time for money, you sail through a life of ease because you’ve learned to “work smart” and figured out “one weird trick.”
The internet doesn’t care.
The internet is not your ATM. And even if it was — you have to put money in the bank before you can take it out of the ATM.
There is no great spirit of abundance that wants to make you rich from your online business ideas. There is only your effort, your strategy, and your willingness to serve your audience.
If you have a solid business model, an engaged audience, a product or service that they’re willing to pay for, and good marketing skills — and if you stick with business blogging long enough — you’ll be well-positioned to make a healthy income.
Sound like you? Are you ready to overcome all of the hype associated with making a living online and get to work?
9 truths about making a living online
These nine truths double as online business best practices that all types of successful entrepreneurs value. They’re also especially helpful for anyone learning how to become a freelance writer.
1. Don’t take shortcuts, they take too long
Trying to figure out a workaround to doing the work is harder than just doing the damned work.
The “gurus” who try to sell you oversimplified tricks and gimmicks about making a living online are negging you.
In other words, they’re putting you down so you’ll be too insecure to realize you can do this without them. Figuring out the complicated parts of your business may not always be comfortable, but it’s something you can handle.
Getting sucked into cheap shortcuts always slows you down, because they don’t work. Then you just have to go back and do it correctly anyway.
2. Be the right kind of stubborn
It’s good to be stubborn about the outcome you want to reach.
I’m not quitting before I have a successful business up and running.
It’s bad to be stubborn about precisely how you’ll meet your content marketing goals.
I’m not quitting until my $25,000-a-year premium mastermind for mole rat ranchers has at least 1,000 members.
Be careful about becoming fixated on specific product ideas or preconceptions about your market when making a living online. If you work very long and hard and passionately on the wrong thing, you’ll still be wrong.
3. “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
This is a quote from Zig Ziglar and it’s corny.
It’s also true. Sometimes the truth is corny.
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4. You are not entitled to attention
If you want your audience’s attention, you have to learn how to write better content and create awesome things for them to pay attention to.
If you want an influencer’s attention, you have to be patient, pleasantly persistent, and make things they might find interesting.
No matter how hard you work or how much you care, you don’t have an automatic right to anyone’s attention. You have to earn it.
When it comes to relationship building, you don’t get to decide when you’ve earned it. They do.
5. You have to balance giving and asking when making a living online
Yes, yes, you need to give before you try to sell.
You need to create valuable, interesting blog post ideas so that you’re worth paying attention to, which will eventually lead to making a living online.
Your digital products and services should overdeliver relative to what you’re charging. But you also need to put offers out there.
You need to ask for the opt-in or sale … and you can do that gracefully with storyselling.
If you stand around waiting for someone to hand you money because you’ve been doing so much giving, you’ll be waiting a very, very long time to make a living online.
Which leads to …
6. Nothing sells itself
Even if you have a fear of selling, selling is not a dirty word. Learning to sell more effectively is not a dirty habit and it is not beneath you.
If you feel you’re too good to learn to sell, you should do something else with your time. Business requires selling.
You don’t have to sell like an asshole. In fact, you shouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean you’re above learning about responsible, ethical sales techniques.
By the way, good copywriting is just selling with pixels.
7. There is no business gene
Ever notice how everyone who is credited with having the “business gene” looks an awful lot alike? And how people who don’t look like them don’t ever seem to be blessed with this mysterious “business gene?”
That’s how you know this idea about making a living online is bullshit.
No one was blessed by the business fairies at birth. No one is innately “cut out” for business.
Business is about learning some skills, assembling assets, and using those to serve a market. Anyone with a moderately functional human brain can figure out ways to do that.
Will you start the next Google? Without those assets and opportunities, probably not. But you can still make something cool that succeeds, which is the foundation of the practical education inside Digital Copywriter.
8. Work hard, be grateful when making a living online
You have to work hard or nothing will happen.
You have to be grateful or you’ll hate your life.
9. Don’t talk to the trash, just take it out
“You are not the Jackass Whisperer.” – Scott Stratten
Don’t waste your time and emotional energy trying to convince trolls and creeps to behave better.
Block them and move on with the 10,000 better things you have to do with your time.