3 Quick And Dirty Secrets To Online Success

By Bryan Clark

We’re all capable of success online. In fact, let’s define success before we go any further. If we were going to use a dictionary definition for success it’d look something like this:

suc-cess [suh k-ses]


  1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors
  2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
  3. A successful performance of achievement: The play was an instant success.
  4. A person or thing that is successful: She was a great success on the talk show.

Here’s the thing though, your success is different from my success and it’s certainly different from the Dictionary.com definition. If I had to guess, I’d say that your success would fall somewhere into these common goals:

  • make a great living
  • have time to enjoy it
  • …and be your own boss

Does that sound about right?

Here’s the dirty secret about success that you aren’t going to find in that next $97 info product:

Success isn’t a tangible item. It isn’t measurable in terms of dollars earned or hours worked. Success is a mindset and convincing yourself that you are not only worthy of success, but capable of achieving it is the only way to truly reach it.

1. You Need A Bigger Filter

As your profile grows, the amount of expendable time you get shrinks.

At this point, you have to start filtering the thousands of voices that you are hearing every day. Some blogs you read, podcasts you listen to, books you buy, and people you interact with are parasites to your time.

There are thousands of blogs online that teach you how to be a better entrepreneur, but only a few of them are actually worth reading. You might be surprised that not all of the blogs that seem to be “authority” sites actually are. I can name a few (but I won’t) that are massive, but offer very little information that is actually going to make you money. The posts are good, and they are correct in context, but if that blog was your only resource it wouldn’t make you any money.

EJ doesn’t fall into this category. Yaro has been there, and he knows what it takes to create successful entrepreneurs. He’s done it time and time again, and I can attribute a great deal of my success to the mentoring by Yaro.

As the saying goes: “if you aren’t paying for it, you are the product.” That’s not to say that free information is a bad thing, just that there’s too much of it to absorb, and not all of it is good information.

Think about this next time you start reading everything written, and buying every product sold by those who claim they can make you a better entrepreneur.

  • What’s their track record? If they haven’t done it themselves, what makes you think that they can help you do it?
  • Do you really know who’s behind the blogs you read every day?
  • As Google has pounded into our head after the Panda update, brands are what’s important. If you don’t know the person behind the blog or their credentials, why on earth are you wasting your time reading it?

When I first started out, I read everything I could get my hands on. While I don’t think this was necessarily a bad thing, I do think that I wasted valuable time taking information from people who were in the same boat I was. As I got more successful, I started to realize that I could learn the most from those that weren’t only teaching, but practicing what they teach.

2. Looking Busy Isn’t Helping You

Most new bloggers, or even experienced ones that aren’t making much money, place far too much emphasis on things that aren’t very important, while neglecting things that are critical to your success. Messing with your site design, tweeting 30 times a day, playing with plugins, signing up for every info product you can get your hands on, and implementing new features every other day aren’t going to grow your profile, your audience, or your income.

In the beginning especially, you need to spend the most time on crafting quality content and getting it in front of as many eyes as possible.

As pointed out by Kiss Metrics, there are plenty of ugly sites making millions. Your theme, color scheme, and those fancy jQuery sliders aren’t nearly as important as you think they are.

This is merely speculation, but I’d love to see a split test between two blogs in the same niche have a race to see who can make the most money in the first month. I’m nearly 100-percent certain that the person that focused on content and marketing right out of the gate rather than a pretty theme, Twitter background, and fancy plugins would leave the “pretty” blog in the dust. Some things just don’t matter as much as you think they do.

Usability is important, but making your blog into a work of art isn’t.

Twitter? Don’t get me started. Twitter should be used to interact with friends, fans and readers, not to acquire them. That’s not to say that you can’t acquire new readers with Twitter, but there are things that are much faster and more effective than tweeting what you had for breakfast, your latest blog post, and a retweet to your Aunt Linda. Take my word for it.

Spend the greater portion of your day writing great content, and then get as many eyes reading it as possible. Online reputation management and marketing are what position you for success.

3. Stop Looking For A Magic Bullet

300% guaranteed to make you money while you sleep, all with one hour of work a year and no prior experience!”

This sounds ridiculous, but this is exactly what plays in my head when I read the sales pages, videos, or pitches for most new products that are guaranteed to improve your income. Anyone that guarantees to improve your income is someone that should be avoided at all cost.

No matter how good the product, you are the only one that can improve your income. I could hand you a 3-by-5 index card with the magic bullet to internet success but it’s up to you to implement it. This is why I frown on those who make guarantees that their product will make you better at something. It can help you to be better at whatever it is, but they certainly can’t do it for you.

Too many marketers, new, old and everything in between think that the secret to success is hiding somewhere in an info product. The secret to success is sticking your nose on the grindstone and not moving it until you’ve obtained your goal or moved on to a different one.

Many marketers claim that they make “x” amount of money a year by working only “x” amount of hours per month. While it’s certainly possible to only work a five or ten hour weeks and make a great deal of money, what they don’t tell you – and what you didn’t ask – is how much time or money they spent putting themselves in a position like that.

As a marketer myself, this generally requires work that is way harder than any nine-to-five and requires longer hours to boot. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point”, he talks about a phenomenon known as “the tipping point.”

The tipping point can be summed up with a simple analogy that I’ve used before. Think of it as you pushing a boulder up a huge mountain. Once you get it to the top of the mountain, or “the tipping point” it’s as easy as following the boulder down the hill and guiding it so that it stays on course. You don’t have to push as hard to get the desired results.

Those marketers that only work a few hours a day are in “maintenance mode” and their business no longer requires the hard work of pushing the boulder up the mountain. However, when they pitch their products, they forget to tell you about the 16-hour days pushing the boulder up the mountain, and instead they focus on the five hours a week they spend guiding the boulder down the hill. Don’t believe the hype. Hard work, or significant capital – or both – are the only ways to success.

Bonus Tip: Mind Your SEO

SEO – or search engine optimization – has entire blogs, products, and books devoted to it so I won’t waste your time trying to break it down into three or four points here. When blogging, or marketing, the most important aspect of SEO that you need to focus on is online reputation management.

This means that when something is said about you, you need to know it before everyone else does, or shortly after. If I created a product, and everyone thought it sucked, I’d want to know this and be given a chance to correct the problem before it ruined my reputation.

Read what you can on SEO, and do it from a reputable source. I’m not going to make recommendations here because SEO is a controversial thing, and many people side with one site or method much more than they agree with the other side and their methods.

It’s all an educated guess, but you can’t go wrong learning what you can about simple SEO. Anchor text, links, and on-site optimization are great places to start. If you don’t want to take the time, you can always hire one of the many online reputation management companies. Sometimes you don’t want to fix the foundation if you don’t know how to lay cement. Know what I mean?

I’ve taken enough of your time, so now it’s time to take what you can from this and go forth into the world and use what you’ve learned here to your advantage:

  • Stop the busy work
  • Watch who you take advice from
  • Quit looking for the magic bullet
  • And learn simple SEO/reputation management

There’s your “magic bullet.”

Bryan Clark

About Bryan Clark

Bryan Clark is a professional writer, blog editor and evangelist. He has contributed to leading news properties and blogs in tech, entrepreneurship, finance, and the digital lifestyle. Bryan has earned features on Problogger, Entrepreneurs-Journey and USA Today. Bryan works with Growth Partner, a venture fund and startup platform for web businesses.

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