By Lori Smith
Something I’ve been witnessing recently inspired me to write this post, but I’ll warn you now it might come across a little harsh. If you’re the type who gets their feathers ruffled easily, then you might want to skip this one altogether because it’s about to get real.
I believe in telling people what they need to hear to achieve success – not what they want to hear. That does no one any good. If that means delivering some hard truth, then I’ll be the messenger. I’m cool with that.
I’m in this online business game to help people and if I just give someone the proverbial thumbs up with a quick comment of “you’ve got this girl” when they don’t – that makes me nothing more than a liar all because I was too afraid of them lashing out at me in anger.
Let’s face it we all have at least some insecurities and they can make us a little overly sensitive at times. But the last thing I want on my conscious is seeing that someone’s business failed three months after I told them they were doing great when I knew they weren’t. Think about that.
It’s heartbreaking seeing so many bloggers fail when
they actually have what it takes to succeed.
The problem is – they have to face the not so pleasant things that are holding them back and that is super duper hard. Building a successful business takes a lot of the obvious stuff like marketing, content creation, etc.
But it also takes a ton of stuff that’s not so obvious – REAL focus and consistency, REAL strategies, and getting REAL about their personal issues. Yep, we’re gonna go there.
The number of blogs on Tumblr, Squarespace, and Word Press combined is over 400 million and growing, but the majority get less than 1,000 page views. Kinda sad, huh?
A New York Times article I read a couple of years ago revealed that 95% of blogs fail. That number has now been reported to be more like 98%. Not all blogs fail only because of the things discussed in this article, but they are some of the main reasons.
I see so many bloggers who are sabotaging their businesses all over things that are very fixable. They’re failing not because they aren’t smart or talented. They’re failing because they keep making mistake after mistake. Bad decisions that are based on fear, anxiety, or a host of other issues. It’s downright cringe-worthy to watch.
The worst part is when they straight out ask what they are doing wrong, but those experts who can see what the problem is and offer up their advice end up having to deal with angry backlash because that person can’t handle the truth. Yes, I just said that because it’s true.
Criticism can be a hard pill to swallow. Any insecurities or other personal issues you might have, tend to rear their ugly head whenever someone criticizes you. None of us like to be criticized because that’s when our Negative Nellie voice comes out to play and plunges us deep into the land of imposter syndrome causing feelings of self-doubt.
But criticism isn’t always bad. Yes, you need to weed out the trolls and haters, but if you’re keeping it real, you know which comments are the cold hard truth.
Constructive criticism is actually a good thing. How in the world can you get better if no one tells you the truth when you’re doing something wrong or worse doing something that’s detrimental to your business?
As a copywriter, I’m criticized almost daily – by my mentor, my clients, in my mastermind Facebook group. It’s tough to take sometimes, but if I want to move my business closer to that dream income of seven figures, then I have to be open to what others see that I can’t.
Sometimes you’re just too close to the problem or not willing to admit your issues. But you have to get over yourself, accept the advice you’re given with an open mind, and turn it into a positive change for the better. At the end of the day, honest constructive criticism, no matter how hard it might be to digest, is simply expert advice.
There will ALWAYS be someone who’s several steps ahead of you and has knowledge beyond yours or a specific skill set you don’t have. Be open to learning from these experts, especially when they are giving you free advice.
Don’t let personal feelings of hate, jealousy, or just plain stubbornness, which 99.9% of the time is your own insecurities talking, skew your perception of yourself or others.
If you thought the title of this article was harsh, I’d hate to think what your thoughts are right about now. But I sincerely hope you hang in there with me because it could mean the difference between closing up shop or celebrating your business’ success.
I’m sharing three things from my own observations that could very well be holding you back from being a successful blogger. You might identify with all three or maybe only one. It doesn’t matter because any of these can ruin your business, but remember you don’t have to admit you suffer from any of these things to anyone except yourself.
The only thing that’s important is to deal with them so you can take your blog from being on its last leg to making an income that gives you the financial security you want.
3 Things You Need To Face About Why You’re Not A Successful Blogger
1. Get REAL with yourself
Getting over yourself is one of the most positive changes you can make in your business. Seriously. Having confidence is important but there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
Not only can this ruin your business reputation, but it will hold you back big time. Be willing to own your issues, not really a bad thing by the way, and recognize when they are getting in the way of running your business effectively.
It can be humbling, even depressing when you turn that microscope back on yourself and you have to get real about those not so pleasant things you need to address, but it’s worth it.
Issues like jealousy, unrealistic expectations or even plain laziness can lead you down a dark path where you end up putting all your energy into these negative feelings or activities instead of spending time working on your business.
It’s not a productive or positive practice sitting there at your desk scrolling through comments on your “I don’t know what’s wrong with my business” post, then throwing a side-eye at people who give you an honest answer. Their comments will always feel harsh to you because you didn’t like what they had to say no matter how accurate their advice is.
But don’t be so quick to label someone a troll because you didn’t like their advice. Stop looking for validation from strangers on social media, then turn around and get upset when you don’t get it. If you don’t have confidence in your ideas, products, etc. – why should anyone else.
2. You need to have REAL focus and consistency
Okay, there’s no way to say this gently so I’ll just be straight up with you. If you’re the type that sits down at your desk to start your workday only to go through your emails and check on a few stats, then promptly get up and walk straight to the couch to binge watch Netflix, Houston we have a problem. Checking your inbox and your traffic stats, then doing little else does not constitute“real” work.
Or maybe you’re guilty of constantly telling everyone how busy you are when all you’ve been working on is, mindless insignificant tasks. You definitely have a problem if this is how your workday looks. Busy work is not “move your business forward” work.
Or you might relate to this bad habit more. Hanging out in your favorite Facebook groups for two hours and justifying it as “networking.” You have some serious focus issues because that’s not networking. It’s called avoidance, and it’s nothing more than a time-sucking activity that eats away at your productivity.
Working from home has many advantages, but there’re just as many drawbacks. It’s way too easy to develop bad habits when you work from home like sleeping in later and later, extending lunchtime into I’m done for the day, time or just skipping out on work period to indulge in your favorite TV shows.
Don’t get caught up in patterns like these. Figure out the right things you need to focus on every day to move your business forward and be consistent as hell with all of them.
This section on focus isn’t complete without also mentioning “shiny object syndrome.” Yep, “tools addiction” is a very real thing. Every single time a new tool or course is mentioned in a Facebook group or announced online you can see the swarm of bloggers running to sign up for it.
Now, don’t start throwing rocks at me. I’m not against tools or courses. I’ve bought some fantastic courses and use several tools that help me run my business like a well oiled machine.
If there’s a tool out there that will help you run your business or sell your products, then absolutely jump on it. But sweating every month worrying about whether you’ve made enough to pay for all the tools you have is not good business. You might want to take an objective look at their necessity.
If you find you’re spending so much money on your overhead expenses, you don’t even have enough left over to buy a Frappuccino from Starbucks, put on your sunglasses and avoid looking at all those shiny objects.
Running a business and making it successful requires laser-focused attention on activities that will actually create success. Busy work, procrastination, distractions of your own making or just showing up in your business when you feel like it won’t yield much of anything except a serious talk with your husband about all the money you invested on a business that failed.
You need to engage in intentional actions to grow your business. Consistency and REAL focus are two very important things that separate the struggling bloggers hanging on by a thread from the makers and shakers of the online business world.
3. Developing Real Strategies
In your quest to build a successful business you probably decide at some point to try a little of everything. You take bits and pieces of strategies and tactics from multiple mentors, coaches or other successful bloggers and mix them together like your favorite smoothie. But in doing so, you unknowingly create a monster.
You end up with a complete mess on your hands. Strategies that don’t work and tactics that yield little results if any. Why? Because you half-assed it. Your sales funnel has more holes than swiss cheese and your content strategy is writing whatever random topic you feel like writing that day. This is not a REAL content strategy by the way.
Here’s the problem with that – an effective strategy is put together a certain way for a reason. Just like sales copy is written in a certain order for a reason. You can’t skip or change key steps without breaking it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a strategy, just a collection of ideas.
Those experts you look up to, they’re pros at this strategy mixing stuff for a reason. They probably tried the “pure” way initially, but over time they tweaked things based on their results to create strategies that work even better for them. But no matter what they didn’t skip any steps.
You may be an expert at website design, being a coach, freelance writing, or something else, but those passion-based skills differ considerably compared to those required to run and market a business.
Being an expert on a specific topic doesn’t necessarily equal success as a business owner. There’s much more to it than just being creative. You need high-performing strategies that can take butt loads of testing to perfect. Success doesn’t happen overnight no matter how many of those pretty pins on Pinterest say so.
Most business owners give up on the process of implementing and perfecting strategies because it’s tedious and takes time. But there’s really no one size fits all strategy. Most have to be tested and tweaked many times over to find what works for your business. It can take serious time, and not everyone is willing to put in that kind of work.
I’m sure you’re thinking right about now: It’s my business. I can do whatever I want, and you are absolutely right. But what if doing whatever you want stops you from getting what you actually want from your business?
I know this isn’t easy to hear, but it’s the cross my heart hope to die honest truth. So pick an expert with a strategy that feels doable for you and stick to it. Give that one strategy a chance to work and deliver the results you want even if it takes a bunch of tweaking and longer than you’d like.
One thing’s for sure, you can’t implement only a couple parts of any strategy and expect to get real results. Skipping the parts you don’t want to do because you don’t know how to execute them or you’re just too lazy to do them won’t turn out well.
When you don’t get the results you hoped for, you end up falling into a destructive cycle of throwing some other half-baked idea against the wall to see if it will stick. But it never will. You’ll keep getting the same results because your strategies aren’t strategies at all. They’re just ideas.
Creating a successful business takes more than just day to day administrative busy work. It takes REAL focus and consistency, REAL strategies, and getting REAL about your personal issues. This is the not so fun side of blogging. The part few even want to discuss, but most need to face.
I wrote this post as harsh, controversial or depressing as it might be because someone needs to get the conversation started. I just seem to be one of the few who’s willing to get this blunt on such a sensitive topic.
Here’s the thing though, if putting this out into the world helps even one person, only one, then I’ve done my job because that person has a much better chance of creating a successful business.
Yes, this was a bit harsh but it’s important to talk about. Look, I’m not for everyone, but I will always keep it real and tell you the truth.
it’s taken me two weeks to write this because it’s the most heart-wrenching post I’ve ever written. But I chose to publish it anyway because it boils down to one thing and one thing only – my why.
I HATE corporate America so I want to help more bloggers and online business owners be successful so they can leave their 9-5 grind like I did. NO one deserves to spend one more day working themselves to death in a soul-sucking job being treated like dog shit making someone else rich.