There is no more shifting responsibility to external factors (jobs, the weather, your mom) and there’s no more floating along without motive or purpose.
Everything you do today affects what your life will look like one year from now.
The best part is that when you succeed, you will be able to say that you took charge of your life and did it. There’s no better feeling than realizing your own dreams. You dream for so long that you never think about how you will feel when they actually come true. What’s better is that you made it happen.
The worst part is that if you fail, it will be all your fault. If you are living a life on your terms you know not to skirt responsibility. You also know that successes and failures are all yours. Failure sucks. Failure is hard. Failure is debilitating for a lot of people. So instead of risking the horror that is failure, they keep on dreaming.
I always try to remind you guys that life is finite. There are no re-do’s, or extended warranties. You can’t put more quarters in the machine to get more time. The time that has passed is gone. It’s gone forever and you will never get it back. It’s a form of payment that is unforgiving and unrelentless. No refunds allowed.
The fact of the matter is, you can dream and wish all you want but nothing will happen without you taking the risk of waking up and leading yourself into battle.
You’re leading yourself into a battle against yourself, against conformity, against ingrained doctrines, against dogma, stigma, and conventional beliefs.
Sometimes it’s a battle against your parents, your friends, or even your spouse.
It’s a battle against failure and against the clock.
Anyone who’s done anything worth a damn has gone through these battles. I won’t tell you that they escaped them without any injury. I will tell you that they came out of them on top. They came out on top because they kept going.
I don’t want to talk to you about theoretical failures, hardships, or battles. That’s why I’ve put together my e-book, 9 Dirty Secrets. That’s why I’ve put together this post.
I asked all of the people on this list the following 2 questions:
1.) Can you name the lowest (or one of the lowest) points in your career, and how did you get past it?
2.) How has that affected you as a person and as a business owner?
If they survived the worst, then you can too.
It’s a terrifying and wonderful feeling, living on your own terms. But I think everyone on this list will agree with me when I say that it’s more wonderful than terror. It’s more wonderful than you can ever imagine.
I want to make it clear that each of these people have directly affected my professional or personal life. Next to each person’s photo I’ve written a short bio that describes who they are in my eyes. They had nothing to do with these bylines. They were written by me from scratch and they reflect which parts of their business have influenced me the most.
Note: If you are interested in one person in particular, just click on their name and you’ll be taken to the their spot on the page.
1. My lowest point has to be when I realised that I had been duped in to believing that online business was different to offline. I had owned 3 successful offline business prior to going online and diving into social media. I look back on the crap content I produced which was self serving rants and had no value.
2. I decided to make it clear that I blog for dough and not for show. At that turning point I decided to start drawing again for the first time in over a decade. I made a promise that I would only publish something that was useful and had value. It is ok to serve a delight online but be clear that is what works for your business. For me, my mission is to get people’s delicious offerings to fly on and offline by sharing my marketing experience from years of offline experience internationally
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Srini Rao runs a blog called The Skool of Life, where he writes about all of the things you should have learned in school, but didn’t. He’s also the founder of BlogcastFM, a resource rich podcast where he interviews business owners, entrepreneurs, and more. Get in touch with Srini on Facebook or on Twitter.
1.) A year ago I was living in Costa Rica. On the surface things seemed to be going really well. My podcast had landed a sponsor and I had managed to convince my boss to let me be location independent since I was only working 10 hours a week. In the span of about 3 days I watched it all fall apart. I learned that the sponsor was never going to be able pay a significant amount of money that they owed. My boss called me and told me they were letting me go because it wasn’t working out to have me work remotely. The next day I had one of the heaviest beatings of my life in a surf session and thought I might drown.
2.) One of the interesting things about hitting rock bottom is that it leaves you nowhere to go but up. So you can either wallow in your misery or you can get up and do something. I decided to do something. I started reaching out to other potential sponsors and eventually we had a new one. For me the low points have really enabled me to maintain composure in the face of adversity. An entrepreneur I met when I first started the journey told me “sometimes you take two steps back in order to take 20 forward.” Every time I hit a setback I try to keep that in mind.
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Chris Guillebeau is the author of The Art of Non-Conformity and The $100 Startup. He writes about Life, Work, and Travel within the theme of nonconformity. He’s also known for his goal to visit every country in the world by his 35th birthday. You can find Chris on Twitter or on Facebook.
When I think of low points in my life, I don’t think much about blogging. I tend to think of more important things, like big personal failures or times when I clearly made the wrong choices. Self doubt and I have been well acquainted for a long time. Once I finally got my act together—at least somewhat—that’s when I started writing. Of course, not everything went well and I made my share of mistakes, but for the most part I haven’t looked back since.
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Pat Flynn is the author of Smart Passive Income. He’s known for his resource rich posts, videos, and podcasts as well as the trust he builds with all of his readers through authenticity and transparency. You can get in touch with Pat on Facebook or on Twitter.
1.) One day, after seeing major success with greenexamacademy.com and earning upwards of $30,000 per month, I received a letter from the legal counsel that was representing the company that administers the exam that I had created a website for. It was a cease and desist letter.
Although it was only in regards to the domain name I was using, which had a trademark in it that I wasn’t supposed to use (and it could have been much worse), I started to question my abilities to properly do business on my own. Am I in over my head? Am I even cut-out to do this? Am I going to be sued? Those are just some of the many questions that were racing through my head, and the ‘flight’ part of me was thinking it was best to just give up and go back to a 9 to 5 job, where I didn’t have to worry about any of this stuff anymore.
2.) I first realized that so many wonderful things had happened to me since getting laid off, and that going back to a 9 to 5 job was not what I wanted to do. Staying a business owner was something worth fighting for, so I asked for help.
So many people were there to support me and encourage me to keep going, to not give up. From family, to friends who were also doing business for themselves too. I eventually hired a lawyer and after some time I was instructed to change the domain name, and then everything was good and business went on as usual.
Although I lost some rankings and traffic, I was happy that I didn’t just runaway from the situation, but consciously made the decision to figure things out and ask for help. I became a stronger, more confident person after that.
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Chris C. Ducker is the founder of Virtual Staff Finder. He eliminates the awful search for a good VA by doing it for you. Endorsed by a ton of A-list bloggers, Chris makes find a good, dependable VA without the stress. You can find Chris on Twitter and on Facebook.
1.) The lowest point for me as a business owner was around 4-months after I had started my outsourcing company. We had around 20 employees, growing from a starting cast of just seven people, but our one and only client was consistently late paying us and it was causing major cashflow issues.
That Friday night I looked at our bank account online and realized I only had enough funds in the pot to make another two payroll payments. It was a very dark hour as a lot of time, energy, effort and finances had been sunk into the business to that point, and the idea of losing it all scared the hell out of me – not to mention the fact that 20 families were going to be affected, too. I had to do something, fast.
2.) I sat down over that weekend and decided come Monday we were going to pivot, in regards to the way we were working. I fired the client (yes, you read that right!), sat at my desk and worked a 14-hour day to re-position ourselves online, through our website, some online press releases and social media. By the end of the day we had received two inquires from prospective clients, one of which I closed, and it changed the way we worked going forward.
Since that point 4-years ago, we’ve continued to pivot when necessary and we’ve continued to grow. Today we have just over 300 full-time employees and I’m personally regarded as THE go-to-guy in the small business outsourcing space.
It’s funny what some fear, hard work and determination can produce!
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Mike Michalowicz (mi-CAL-o-wits) is the creator of the infamous Toilet Paper Entrepreneur book and blog. Mike’s high energy and knack for entrepreneurship have made him a hot commodity in the guest speaking and consulting world. You can find mike on Twitter and on Facebook. Don’t forget to check out his new book, The Pumpkin Plan.
1. Lowest points in my career happened when two things happened at the same time. First, the money stopped coming in (which in a small biz, every week is a big win or a huge loss, seems like no in between) and second, I realized that I did what I did to make money not because it was my passion/purpose. The darkest period was after I sold my second company to a Fortune 500 and then was doing angel investing and web work. Neither were a passion, neither let me serve my purpose (angel investing did a little) and when I was losing money left and right… I felt totally lost, and complete failure. The turn was writing books and doing TV and doing speaking gigs and now starting a consulting group. They all play into my passion and the money that comes in fosters me to do more of what I love/need to do.
2. I cursed a lot. More then usual. I actually started a journal. It may have been my saving grace. I just wrote stuff to write stuff. I still use it when I feel down for a period (which seems like every other day, even though people always think I am captain cheery). I found that writing what you feel is the ultimate outlet. It is better then a therapist. I just put it out there. It clears my head and I get back to work.
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Yaro Starak is the founder of Entrepreneurs-Journey.com. Yaro has been in the internet business since the late 90’s. He’s been able to generate more than a million dollars only in the last three years, and he can help you do the same. His latest project is a new WordPress plugin called Cranky Ads. Find Yaro on Twitter or on Facebook.
1.) It’s hard to really find a true low point as even when I didn’t get a good result with my business I felt I was always learning and always moving forward.
The one experience I had that almost resulted in me giving up blogging was my first ever affiliate promo. I had been blogging for over six months straight and had built up my audience to about 300-500 visitors a day depending on what stat counter you looked at.
I decided to test affiliate marketing by writing a detailed review of an ebook from Perry Marshall about pay per click marketing with Google AdWords. I went to bed after writing the review expecting at least a handful of sales when I woke up the next morning, but unfortunately I had none.
I felt quite dejected as I had really put in a lot of hours blogging over the previous half a year and really questioned whether to keep going. I decided to keep writing because I was enjoying it, regardless of the money. A week later I managed to make my first sale of that ebook and then a few more after that, so I was encouraged that I might make money from my blog after all.
2.) The key for me was focusing on why I was blogging. If it was just for the money then I probably wouldn’t have kept at it (or continue to still today seven years later) because money can be very up and down. It’s also not a great motivation source by itself, there has to be more than money behind what you are doing or you won’t enjoy it for long enough.
That experience taught me that my emotions can be very responsive to what happens with my business on a day by day basis and if I continue to focus on each result in the short term I was in for a roller coaster ride. You never do well all of the time and you never do bad all of the time, so you have see results for what they are – a stepping stone. Celebrate victories and don’t get too caught up in disappointments, but realize both won’t last.
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Tammy Stobel is the creator of a blog called Rowdy Kittens. I first heard of Rowdy Kittens on an interview between Leo Babauta and Corbett Barr included in my How to Start a Blog That Matters Course. After checking her out I was hooked. She’s best known for her tiny house and her living simply attitude. She is also an author and e-course creator. Get in touch with Tammy on Instagram or on Twitter.
When I emailed Tammy to ask her to participate in this round-up, she immediately responded with an enthusiastic ‘absolutely’ and let me know she’d have something in a few days.
Little did I know she was creating her own little audio podcast. I was thrilled that she decided to answer in such a unique format! I was going to create a transcript of the recording, but after listening to it a few times, I decided that that would be a cop out. I love you guys so much that I refuse to dilute the colorful delivery of her message by putting it in ink.
Corbett Barr is the founder of the hugely successful blog, Think Traffic. His amazing course on How to Start a Blog That Matters is to blame for this round-up post, so you can blame him for everything. Corbett is also responsible for coining the phrase ‘Write Epic Shit‘ which summarizes the #1 goal and aspiration of all bloggers on the internet. You can find Corbett on Facebook or on Twitter.
1) The lowest point in my online career was when my last business imploded in 2008. It ended with tons of infighting, insecurity, regret and embarrassment.
2) In time, I learned to look at what happened as a part of my growth process. I feel much stronger now because of what happened, and I’m actually glad to have gone through something like I did because of the learning and growth that eventually occurred.
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Jenny Blake is a blogger, author, and coach. Her blog, Life After College, has inspired thousands to Make Sh*t Happen. She emphasizes doing big things and really LIVING, which is why LAC is close to my heart. Find Jenny on Twitter or on Facebook.
1.) Sometimes in low moments of blogging (albeit fleeting) I feel like I can’t win. The low points of blogging are when I feel like I can’t possibly please everyone . . . newsflash: I can’t! There are some days where I get constructive criticism about a blog post (those can sting but are still always appreciated) immediately followed by an effusive love note about how much that same post helped someone. It can get confusing!
2.) I have learned that I can’t blog for anyone but myself — as a blogger, particularly the more personal you get, you have to really thicken your skin and realize that not every post will resonate with every person. I try to remember to trust my gut, be as authentic as I possibly can, and give myself room to make mistakes. Not every post will be perfect and that’s okay. This helps me strive for that same level of honesty and intuition in my own life and business — sometimes being honest is the more challenging path in the short-term, but it always works out better for everyone in the long-term.
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Ashley Ambirge is the founder of the F-Bomb infused, entertaining, and witty blog called The Middle Finger Project. She’s created a ton of products geared to making you the most successful and the most rich person you can be. Disclaimer: Ash has been known to hook people on the first hit. Visit her site on your own risk. Find Ashley on Twitter and on Facebook.
Actually having trouble answering your questions–to date, I don’t know that there’s been a “low” point, so to speak. So far, things have just been getting better and better, though if I had to identify a challenge, per se, it’s really been in keeping up! I have a love/hate relationship with email and all things social media–I absolutely love it all, because it’s so great to connect with interesting individuals, and, of course, it makes what I do all possible. On the other end of the stick, however, there are just those days when, you know, you want some privacy. It’s tough when you’ve got a lot of people clamoring for your attention. Sometimes, you just want to shut it off for a minute and make it stop so you can eat your grilled cheese in peace. I guess that’s what this thing called the off button is for? 😉
In the past, I’ve hired on extra help to help me manage logistics–which has been a god send. But I think the very best thing I’ve done so far is just to remember to get out at least once/day, inhale some fresh air, and then come back to the computer screen once I’ve had my *me* time. Then, the overwhelm tends to fade, and I can appreciate the greatness of it all, once again.
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Gregory Ciotti runs a blog called Sparring Mind. Greg blogs about content marketing strategies that are actionable and devoid of theoretical advice. He’s one of the only bloggers (that I know!) that loves electronic music as much as I do. Greg is also an addicted serial guest blogger. You can find him all over the internet, including on Facebook and Twitter.
1.) This is a great question, and unfortunately, just like most things that take time to become even “decent” at, my lowest point was definitely somewhere around the beginning.
Most of the time your first month or so is more inspiring than anything: you’re pumped to start a site and to build an audience around a topic you love, I mean, who wouldn’t get excited about that?
Reality starts to set in though after some time spent building what seems to be a “ghost town”: a place where you are putting out some potentially tremendous content, but that barely anyone is seeing.
This is definitely where I lost my way (first few months) because it can be hard to initially grasp what it takes to generate interested reader to your new site, and one of the most damaging things people can do is to start chasing way too many “fluff” tactics in hopes that they’ll finally find something.
This lack of the focus was definitely my low point: your brain just gets overloaded with all of these strategies instead of just taking things one at a time, and to make matters worse you’re still stuck with a blog that makes you feel like you’re thoughts aren’t worth the pixels they’re printed on because nobody is reading them.
2.)The moment I got past this was when I finally realized what the “essential ingredient” to audience building really was:
Great content + building connections = thriving audience
Here’s the thing, most people think that they have to enter blogging with this totally new topic that nobody has ever touched before, but that isn’t true… AT ALL.
In fact, if you’re covering a topic that nobody else does, who is going to link to you? Who’s going to mention you to their audience?
You can only go so far with great content, the next step is to find places where audiences already exist around your topic and let yourself be known.
I don’t care how you do it (guest blogging, interviews, personal emails, even a phone call), but you have to get on the radar of people who already have an audience, that’s the only way (outside of paid advertising or blind luck) that authoritative sites in your space will ever link to you.
The key there is to provide something first, asking for a favor from the get-go is not how you network.
I cite my “content marketing sensei” Leo Wildrich for really showing how that’s done: he gives and gives (through guest posts, features, and sharing) so much to others that it’s just natural for people interested in his startup (the BufferApp) to pay him back.
Once a blogger finally realizes that connections (in addition to great articles) are everything in a place as crowded as the internet, their job will become a lot easier.
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Steve Kamb is the creator of Nerd Fitness. NF is quickly becoming a legendary example of a blog formed from the intersection of two distinct interests. His blog is full of a distinct NF character that includes lots of LEGOS, gaming, and fantasy/science fiction movies. Check Steve out on Twitter or on Facebook.
1.) Lowest point for me was probably at the 8 month mark. At that point, I had been publishing five articles a week while working a full time job…and in 8 months I had somewhere around 80-90 email and rss subscribers…that’s adding less than one subscriber per article.
I knew I was doing something wrong, but I didn’t know what it was…until I found Baker’s article on how to NOT suck at blogging and realized that I sucked at blogging! I completely altered my writing, pumped way more energy, research, and personality into my writing (really embracing the NERD in NerdFitness), and published my first article in the new style…paying homage to Baker: How Not to Suck at Working Out.
Since then, it’s been two articles per week that are much longer reads but actually excited me to write. Almost immediately Nerd Fitness started gaining traction and finally began to resonate with readers.
It took me 9 months of daily writing and article publishing to finally find my voice….had I given up after six, seven, or eight months, I never would have turned the corner and created something that I’m truly proud of today.
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Tom Ewer is my token Englishman. He runs a blog called Leaving Work Behind. He recently quit his job to do the blogging thing full time. Although he’s really modest, he’s had great success in his ‘short’ time in the blogosphere. You can find his work on the Smart Passive Income Blog, Niche Pursuits, and ManageWP (just to name a few). Check Tom out on Twitter or Facebook.
1.)Well I’ve only been blogging for just over a year, so my online business isn’t particularly old! But I would have to say that the lowest point was just before I discovered freelance writing as a legitimate means of making good money (upwards of $50 per hour, and much more if you really dedicate yourself). That was around September 2011.
I knew that I wanted to establish an online business that could support me, but I didn’t know what to do. I had tried various things and nothing had panned out.
And let me make something clear – I didn’t know for sure that I would make it until I actually did. Anyone who is completely sure of an outcome is in danger of letting their overconfidence spoil the party. To have a healthy level of realism is not a bad thing (although that should not of course prevent you from acting with confidence).
2.) Specifically, I got past it by submitting job applications via the ProBlogger Job Board, landed my first client, and found another one soon thereafter. Once I had those two clients, I felt confident enough that I could scale my business, and so quit my job.
Since then, I have never had to go looking for clients – they have always come to me, via my blog.
The lesson here isn’t that you should immediately go trawling the Pro Blogger Job Board. The far more important lesson is that you will always have many more failures than you will successes. It is persistence that eventually gets you to where you want to be.
I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I hadn’t made those applications – which at the time felt like one small step above a complete waste of time. Rarely is anything a complete waste of time.
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Mars Dorian is my token German. Mars is known for his unmistakable artwork that he uses to avoid having a ‘boring-ass brand.’ Mars is so passionate about not being boring that he devotes half of his time helping others stand out. He’s a master brander and a funny dude. Find Mars on Twitter or on Facebook.
1.) It was about one year into my blogging, when I worked MY FACE OFF without seeing the results that I wanted to see.
I was toiling away day and night, weekends and the space in-between, but the ROI was to shy to show up, and that ate away my soul. That period was a dark one for me, and it made me question my entire DIY career choice – will this ever work ? Is this my path ? What should I do now ?
Those moments, where you can question EVERYTHING, can be very tough.
2.) I broke through that barrier by shifting my mindset and changing my approach: instead of drowning in my sorrows and asking myself the horrible two word question (why me?), I focused on where I want to be and what I had to do to go there. Ongoing failure is usually a poor choice of focus, i.e. you’re focusing on the wrong things that don’t work for you. Once you shift that focus and change your tactics, baaaam, white magic happens. You get different opportunities and events in life, and when you tackle those with endless fire inside (combo of passion and confidence), you get a better (business) experience. It’s simple but not easy.
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Spencer Haws is the brilliant mind behind Niche Pursuits, my home away from home. He covers everything niche related, from keyword research & SEO, to making money off expired domains. He’s also the creator of Long Tail Pro, a software used to do keyword research. You can find Spencer on Twitter and on Facebook.
1. The lowest point was probably when I got my Adsense account shut down. This was extremely depressing, for a moment I thought there was no way forward. But I’ve worked through it and now have a new business with a different adsense account and I’m back in business.
2. I think anytime we hit a “road block” we need to strategize how we can overcome it. This is what I did, and by forming a new business, I was able to get a fresh start. I feel like some great lessons have been learned, and I’m a stronger person because of it.
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Dan Andrews is the founder of Tropical MBA, where he writes about starting and growing a location independent business. He also has an awesome podcast and an exclusive ‘Inner Circle’ you can join. The Dynamite Circle is full of entrepreneurs who serve as a support network and eliminator of the entrepreneurial blues(that’s my term for when I start to have full conversations with my dog Jack). Find Dan on Facebook and on Twitter.
It might be the nature of more online oriented businesses that it’s less about nailing big clients or launching stuff etc etc but more about just waking up and doing the same thing everyday. John Mayer once said that every song he writes he feels like he’s at square 1: he could either bomb or do something great. I feel the same way every time I wake up to do some stuff.
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Chris Guthrie is a genius at making money on the internet. That’s probably why he runs a blog called Make Money on the Internet. Whether its niche sites, affiliate sales, e-courses, or WordPress plugins and themes, he covers it all. Check out his Niche Site Theme for WordPress, which is a joint venture with Spencer Haws. You can find Chris on Twitter or on Facebook.
1.) I think right after I sold one of my top websites in a deal worth six figures I hit a bit of a low point. At the time I was spending an hour or two on that website a day (and generally not working a full 40 hours a week even). So after I sold that site sure seeing the most money I’ve ever seen in my life wired into my bank account was awesome but soon after I thought – “Well, now what am I going to do to replace that income stream?”
The following year I was still able to make roughly the same amount of money in the year that I sold that site which was awesome, but not knowing what to do or pursue next is a really tough spot to be in. That’s why I sometimes envy people just starting out because it’s much easier to try different things and find something that works whereas now I feel stuck in a specific path I must follow if I want to continue growing my business and income. New ventures that seem fun and exciting I just don’t have the time for.
2.) I haven’t really ever gotten past it. The past 12 months or so I’ve been focused on relatively the same tasks. I think ultimately I’m going to need to pretend like my current business was my old 9 – 5 day job and use nights and weekends to spend working on passion projects that although could turn into big earners aren’t my primary focus.
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1.) The lowest point of my career was when the recession first hit in 2006 and 2007. I had been running a freelancing writing business for about three years, and up until then I’d had an easy time finding new clients. But suddenly work stopped coming in. I amped up my marketing efforts, but nothing seemed to help. I lived on savings for awhile, but it soon became clear that I needed to find other sources of income.
2.) One of my existing clients asked me if I’d like to interview for a full-time position. I loved working from home, and had long ago assumed that I wasn’t suited for office life. But I also worried about being able to pay bills. Scheduling that first interview felt like admitting defeat, but I fell in love with the company and the new opportunities it would bring. Now I write for several major brands, I work with some amazing people, and I have health benefits to boot. I still do freelance writing projects on occasion, and maintain a marketing blog for small business owners, but now I’m able to be more selective about the opportunities I tackle, and focus my efforts on the things that bring me the most joy.
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Caleb Wojcik is the founder of the blog that published my first guest post. Pocket Changed is not your average personal finance blog. It’s so much more. It’s personal development, entrepreneurship, career, passion, and living simply. Caleb is also the assistant editor for Think Traffic. Find caleb on Twitter and Facebook.
1. One of the lowest points in my blogging career was actually right after one of my higher points. 15 months into the life of Pocket Changed I released The Get Paid Manifesto and quadrupled my mailing list in three months. While I was happy I grew my audience and reach so much I was kicking myself for not giving people something of value for free for subscribing sooner.
2. I quickly got past that point and chalk it up to the live and learn column. The thing with “ups and downs” is that you can’t get too stuck on either of them. If you focus on how great you are doing you’ll end up slacking off. If you only focus on the disappointments you may never break through to your potential. Keeping a level head can take you the distance.
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Joseph W. Magnotti & Justin Cooke run a site called Adsense Flippers. They are online business moguls who flip websites, dominate niche websites, and they have a nifty little Niche Site Profit Calculator I use all the time. Find them on Twitter and on Facebook.
When I sent Joseph an email about contributing, he told me that Justin had just published a post on this very topic. He told me which part was his favorite and I told him that I would paraphrase it for him. It’s called “Playing The ‘Who Can Work Less’ Game.”
1.) Joe, Justin, and a relative of Justin’s were in a partnership in a mortgage company. Early on in the business there was a problem with balanced workload, but they weren’t concerned since the business continuted to make money.
Once the business started failing, their third partner really dropped the ball and was barely contributing to the business while still being paid 1/3 of the profits. This resulted in them competing to see who could do the least amount of work and still get paid the same amount of money. The issue was never resolved and they eventually had to shut down the company.
Here are Justin’s Takeaways:
2.) Unfortunately, I don’t really have a great answer to this problem…it’s something that still pops up and is discussed today. There are three pieces of advice, though, that I think can help:
- Partner with someone whose goals are aligned. More than the end-goal, I’m talking about similar thoughts and feelings on how to get your business from Point A to Point B. It helps to be brutally honest early on…better to cut through the BS and get to the heart of it early.
- Have individual responsibilities documented. This can be difficult as some jobs are more easily defined than others, but have a basic structure in place that defines the minimum amount of work required of the partners.
- Review both goals and responsibilities at least every six months. Goals change. Individual motivations change. It’s good to check in, make sure you’re on the same page, and review individual responsibilities to make sure everything is working out.
Scott Dinsmore is the founder of Live Your Legend. LYL does a great job of giving you an injection of motivation and inspiration every time you visit. He wants everyone to do work they love and to just live the sh!t out of life. Scott is also a graduate of the Start a Blog That Matters Course. Check out the early access page for his new guide, ‘How to Connect with Absolutely Anyone‘. Find Scott on Twitter and on Facebook.
1.) The lowest point for me was having realized that after running my first blog for four years, without having a clue what I was doing, I realized it had grown by exactly 0%. The same 114 friends and family were still following, and not a single person more. I was either going to shut it down or start taking it seriously.
I was leaning towards closing shop when I came across the book Inbound Marketing that began to show me a path worth following. Soon after I met some now very good friends in San Francisco who were running super successful blog based businesses. Two of them were Leo Babauta and Corbett Barr. There were about a dozen more. Once I saw what they were doing, it showed me it was possible.
2.) Once I realized that, it was off to the races. I didn’t let up, produced as much insanely valuable content as possible and spent as much time as I could with all these new people doing what I used to think was impossible. My blog and business grew by over 160x in the next 18 months.
Environment is everything. Find the people doing the things you didn’t think could be done, and spend as much time with them as possible.
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John Jantsch is the award winning social media publisher, marketing consultant and best selling author of Duct Tape Marketing. Don’t miss out on his 3rd book The Commitment Engine: Making Work With It, set to launch in October. Find John on Facebook and on Twitter.
1.) I can honestly say that I have had very few low points, but that may have some to do with how I view high and low. Having said that I certainly remember the day I was called to testify before a Grand Jury that was investigating one of my clients for what proved to be some illegal business practices. Fortunately they didn’t find anything I had to say very interesting, but it certainly got my attention.
2.) Honestly, it may be reevaluate my entire business model. I vowed to make serving only clients that I could respect an absolute foundation for my business. This caused me to look at what I was offering and how I was offering it and ultimately led me to the creation of Duct Tape Marketing.
David Garland is the host of www.TheRiseToTheTop.com. His blog is made up almost entirely of video interviews, featuring some of the most famous names online. He’s great to watch and he is an interviewing guru. If you have any aspirations for using interviews on your blog, take a look at his video, 7 common rookie mistakes that web show hosts make. Get in touch with David on Facebook and on Twitter.
1.) Honestly, it was right after college. I was one of those awesome “no freaking clue what I want to do with my life” people. Sounds fun, right? Well it isn’t. My original plan was to move to California and work in the hockey industry, but the facility where I was going to do some marketing ended up being turned into a parking lot. 2 weeks before I moved out. Sweet. I ended up having to move into my dad’s house in the suburbs of St. Louis. Not cool moving back home. Not cool at all. It was a super low point even before I got started.
2.) I got through it by continuing to kick my own butt and look for opportunities. Meaning, there was no sitting on the couch for 12 hours a day. I got my ass up and looked for something to do. I interviewed at a Real Estate company. Yawn. Not for me. I interviewed a few other places. Yawn. And then, I got a call from a former hockey coach asking me to get involved in a start-up inline hockey league (seriously!) in St. Louis, and that is when I started down the path. It affected me because I learned to never freakin’ settle on something you don’t want to do. I could have easily taken a “job” in real estate, but I knew I would be bored out of my mind.
Steve Webb Ph.D, along with Tabita Green founded Web Gnomes in 2011. Web Gnomes is an internet marketing firm. They tailor their strategies to their clients and do everything from SEO to Local Search Marketing. I love getting free SEO audits from them and their blog always has something new for me to learn. You can find Web Gnomes on Twitter and on Facebook.
1.) One of my lowest points actually occurred at my current company… about 6 months ago. At that point, I had been working on Web Gnomes full-time for around 7 months, and I was miserable. The company was attracting clients and making money, but it definitely wasn’t successful enough to justify the hours I was putting in.
This was an incredibly frustrating time. Our clients loved us, and people raved about the quality of our services (especially our SEO audits). However, despite all of this positive feedback, we just weren’t attracting enough customers.
2.) Honestly, I got past this low point by making a conscious decision to go for broke. I started writing really long blog posts that put it all out on the table. I started networking like a mad man (e.g., going to networking groups, attending events, etc.). I started building strategic alliances.
In short, I did anything and everything I could think of to get the word out about the company. And fortunately, it worked. I’m happy to report that the company is in a significantly better position than it was 6 months ago. We’re not magically on the Fortune 500 list, but the company is much more successful (and I’m much more excited about working on it).
The overriding message is that patience and persistence will carry you a long way in online business. Rand Fishkin (the CEO of SEOmoz) frequently includes the following traffic graph in his presentations:
As the graph shows, your blog (or online business) isn’t going to be popular overnight. It takes time and a lot of hard work to gain significant traction. If you approach the problem with a “get rich quick” attitude, you’re going to fail. But if you commit to the long haul and consistently create compelling content, it’s only a matter of time before you succeed.
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Chris Garrett is part of what I would like to call the old school group of online nerds. He’s been online since the 1980’s (how else do you think he got such an awesome URL!) and ever since then he’s been kicking ass and taking names. He’s a business consultant, coach, guest speaker, blogger, and frequent start-up participant. He dedicates a lot of his time now to helping solopreneurers build their businesses online by becoming a trusted authority. He is also the VP of Educational Content at Copyblogger. As you can see, Chris has a ton of free time and spends most of his days by the pool drinking Margaritas (he wishes!). You can find Chris on Twitter and on Facebook.
1.) There have been a few but I think the biggest was when a site I had worked really hard to build up and loved was sold. I was only part of the startup as a contractor but I felt emotionally invested in the community. Not only that, I was suddenly out of work!
2.) The main ways I got past it were
a) Through that community I had made some good friends, who were very supportive. One invited me to be a co-author of a book with him, and the other I work very closely with now on a number of projects.
b) I had learned some valuable lessons and I put them into practice in my own business, and especially building up my own blog.
c) While it was a huge setback, I could see that I needed my own identity online so that it would not happen again (or at least so bad).
As a person and business owner it made me a touch less trusting of business partners. I’m not sure if that is a good or a bad thing! The best lesson was how important it is to be nice to other people, no matter what.
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Derek Halpern is the ninja behind social triggers. If you don’t know what social triggers is, you’re missing out. Derek gets into the minds of your readers and makes them do things for reasons they don’t understand. Go here to find out how your readers “tick.” You can find Derek on Facebook and on Twitter.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that people can create their own reality… if they’re willing to take accountability for it. That said, there should never be a time when you think you won’t, or worse, can’t make it. As long as you’re willing to take 100% accountability for all of your results, it’s up to you to decide whether you should take the red pill or the blue pill. (Yes, that was a cheesy Matrix reference :-D).
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Glen Stansberry runs a blog called LifeDev (kind of like Biz Dev but with life). Glen helps people create things. It’s about taking ideas from beginning to end and not giving up half way. You’ll do well to check out his Creative Tools That Kicked His Unproductive Arse. Find Glen on Google+ and on Twitter.
1.) Probably when I helped release a toolkit for developing web video a few years back. I learned a very, very important lesson.
2.) Well, I’ve learned a lot about failure…in fact I’m quite good at it I’d say that becoming comfortable with failing and being able to quickly move on is probably the biggest takeaway I got from the experience
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Danny Iny is the brains behind Firepole Marketing. Like many people on this list, I first heard of Danny through a video interview between him and Corbett. The interview talked about Danny’s insane crusade to post 80 guest posts in one year, bringing Danny from Zero traffic to wow. Danny is best known for his Write Like Freddy course as well as his new-ish book, Naked Marketing. Find Danny on Google+ and on Twitter.
When I asked Danny to be a part of this round-up, he was incredibly enthusiastic about offering a helping hand, but he was having a hard time coming up with a response. “I don’t really have such a low point to point to in my blogging career,” he told me.
Well that was unacceptable. I was determined to have him so I asked him to think harder! He referred me to a guest post of his on The Sales Lion that was perfect for this round-up. I’ve summarized it below. It’s incredibly powerful.
1.) One day Danny found himself staring at empty bank account balances and maxed out credit cards. His startup had crumbled.
He was close to realizing his dream when the markets crashed and he had to let go of all his employees and face the fact that he spent every penny he had to hold the project above water until investors caught on. Every financial channel was red and the debt seemed insurmountable.
2.) It was his perspective on the situation that got him through it. Instead of telling himself that he was retreating from his dreams, which would mean surrender, he told himself it was a ‘Strategic Relocation.’ He set aside his goals for a startup and began rebuilding the consulting business that had atrophied during his startup frenzy.
He put together the broken pieces of his life bit by bit. He rebuilt his consulting practice, repaid his debt, took on new projects and built a new business.
Some final words from Danny:
“Take heart – even the most difficult experiences contribute to a brighter future. Speaking for myself, a lot of the things that I learned through my start-up have become the lessons that I share with my consulting clients, and to our marketing students at Firepole Marketing.”
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Farnoosh Brock is the author of a blog called Prolific Living. Farnoosh is a corporate drop out like me. Her Smart Exit Blueprint empowers you to take back your life and do work that you love. She has a fantastic 21-Step Confidence Building Series when you sign up for her updates and a ton of free information on her blog. Find out more about Farnoosh here, or find her on Twitter and on Facebook.
1.) The lowest point was probably when my travel guide – my first digital product – which I am to this day convinced is a fantastic piece of work – failed. This was just a month or so after my resignation and I had no doubt in this world that I did the right thing leaving my job but I was pretty disappointed with the first product not doing well. I had been working on it for 4 months straight, and I really believed in it – and still do. I finally realized that it had nothing to do with me or even with the product. It had to do with missing the beat on what my readers and my market needed and I had to learn that lesson quickly.
2.) I had to let it go. I had to realize that just because I spent 4 months on it and think it’s a brilliant product, that it will not turn into income, but that I am far from done. I had to really get my mindset in the right place, and look at things very differently. It’s the stuff you hear about and read about but you don’t necessarily implement. Like being really positive. Like believing in yourself. Like using the power of your creativity to push past obstacles. The stuff that everyone reading this already knows, and if you can find a way to believe them to be true and integrate them into your thinking, your life and your business will grow beyond your imagination. So that’s what I did and it’s been opening doors for me and showing me a new way to create revenues of income that align directly to my values. I wouldn’t trade that failure for anything now!
Natalie Sisson is my token New Zealander! You should listen to her podcasts that are not just jam packed with useful stuff, but it’s also a delight to hear her talk. She is the woman behind The Suitcase Entrepreneur. Natalie is an adventurer and legacy builder along with being a blogger, coach, and toolkit maker. Find Natalie on Twitter and on Facebook.
1.) I think the entrepreneurial journey is a constant rollercoaster of highs and lows. That said I’m a very positive person so if I ever feel less than inspired I ask myself why that is, why am I feeling that way and what lesson can I learn from it. My `lowest’ moment was about a month after leaving the business I co-founded and embarking on my own. I was almost out of money and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I felt immensely scared at what laid before me and the position I’d put myself in. I mean I could have run off and got a job and earned great money, but somehow that felt like cheating.
2.) I wanted to purposefully experience that low to know that I never wanted to be in that position again. There’s nothing like fear to drive you to take action. So I did actually just dwell in the moment and take it all in. I then acknowledged how I felt and asked myself `what’s the worst that could happen?’. I realised that it really wasn’t so bad after all. I was surrounded by people around the world who loved me and who I could reach out to for help if it really got that bad, a short term loan, a place to stay if I couldn’t afford rent, for example. I also knew I could get a job relatively easily and be back on track within a month. When I thought about all the possibilities it was suddenly less scary, and more of an adventure to go on. That was a great mindset shift for me to come back to whenever I had doubts. From there I went from strength to strength in believing in what I was doing and my vision for my lifestyle I wanted to lead and the business I wanted to grow.
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Emilie Wapnick is the creator of Puttylike, a hub for people like me who have so many different interests they have a hard time doing just one thing. She helps Multipotentialites smush their interests together to form a Renaissance Business. She’s also created a Puttytribe which is a private community of Puttypeeps. Find Emilie on Facebook and on Twitter.
There are nagging fears that go along with growing a business, and there have been a few moments where someone sent me criticism that were kind of rough. But the truth is that I always had pretty strong faith in the fact that this would work out.
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Dewane Mutunga is a blogger that I connected with early on in this journey. He’s from my home city in the Bronx, NY. He’s a marketer, and digital strategist. He consults businesses on email marketing, business communications, and all kinds of online media. You can find Dewane on Twitter and on Facebook.
1.) Few years back, sometime in 2008. I was stuck in a rut and back home with my mom. I had left my job and had no idea what my next move was going to be. I had an idea to start an online magazine and a physical newsletter, but was totally frustrated with my life and had absolutely no resources to put this thing together. But I had this fire in my belly that was pushing me to make a move, NOW.
2.) I got past it the only way I knew how, I believed I would. One of my mentors at the time gave me a pdf copy of HTML for Dummies and I absorbed it and started a blog. Next I started pulling strings to get the newsletter printed. In the next 30 days, not only did I get the newsletter printed, but I had secured interviews, got product placement from well-established brands, landed an ad (that paid for everything), and wrote all the editorial pieces.
The experience stretched me to the max. I learned that the pain I was experiencing was from silencing my passion, and I just gave my all to what I wanted to do so that I could make anything happen.
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My name is P. James Holland and this is how I became Coach Comeback. I share my experiences and others at http://coachcomeback.com that teach people how to apply “CPR” to your life. I believe everyone has a story. And I believe somebody out there needs to hear that story. That is why I started working with some of the greatest achievers I have come across on my latest project The 30 Day Comeback found at http://30daycomeback.com.
New Favorite quote “Realists (which is how pessimists describe themselves) are more often right, but optimists are more often successful.” ~Danny Iny
1.) The lowest point in my career would be when I lost all of my rental properties as well as my own home. Not because of the market, but because my family crumbled!
I had a few choices to make: I could easily get back into a 6 figure corporate position that I had just left a year prior that I hated or I could see this as an opportunity to try something new.
2.) What ended up happening was that I become completely liberated! Do you know how powerful and freeing it is to overcome your worst fear?
It’s like if you were being terrorized by the biggest bully in school the entire year. You pretty much hate going to school. You are in fear of every corner. You walk with your head down. It makes even the great moments seem dull because you are paralyzed with fear.
Then one day, quite by accident, you find yourself in the middle of a fight with the bully. You can either “fight for your life or lay down and wait to die (quoted from Jon Morrow). So you choose to fight! And you fight! You swing for the fences. And while you are fighting it gives you a surge of energy! You realize you have never actually defended yourself your entire life.
You feel empowered! You start getting stronger. You don’t even feel the bully’s blows anymore!
You are starting to back him down. Soon you realize you are chasing him away!
How do you think your school days will go after that experience?
That is what has happened to me!
I no longer fear what “could” happen. I know that even if the worst does occur… I WILL SURVIVE!
Knowing that I am free to go after anything was the biggest “consequence” of surviving my worst fear.
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My teacher always told me to create epic content. I hope that’s what I’ve done for you. But that’s not all he taught me. He also taught me to go the extra mile and to always over-deliver. That’s why I have three bonus guests.
They are set apart because when I began putting together this round-up one month ago, I promised myself that I would get everyone that I admire on this list. I knew that in order to do that, I’d have to have a back-up plan.
I knew I’d need a back-up plan because all of these bloggers are busier than I can imagine.
I also know that sometimes, timing is everything, and I was bound to catch a few of them at the wrong time. A time where they were just so busy that the thought of answering my question sent them into spasms. Not because they didn’t want to, but because they are juggling so many things at once that it becomes incredibly difficult to break a piece of themselves off for everyone.
If they did that then there would eventually be nothing left.
So I decided that if I got the timing wrong for any of the bloggers I contacted, I would ask them another simpler question.
I asked Joel Runyon, Jonathan Fields, and Gary Vaynerchuck to sum up their thoughts on failure in a few sentences, one sentence, or even one word.
This is what they gave me.
Gary Vaynerchuck is the author of my favorite audio book, Crush It, and my favorite e-book, the Thank You Economy. Gary has the personality of a forest fire and the business sense of someone who will buy the NY Jets in the near future. He’s known for his amazing keynote speeches and his devotion to his customers, both small and large. His focus these days is on Vaynermedia, but you can catch Gary on Twitter or on Facebook.
‘I adore it, it drives me never to taste it’
Joel Runyon does the Impossible at a blog called the Blog of Impossible Things. He’s very serious about his work and I can’t be sure that I’ve ever seen him really smile, which is probably why he always gets me moving. Joel challenges you in a way that no other blogger does, in that he really makes you feel like he’s rooting for you and if you don’t do something, you’ll be letting him down. He’s also created an Impossible League to help you on your adventures. Find Joel on Twitter or on Facebook.
Failure sucks. And while it happens a lot, the consequenc- es of failure are often overrated.Most of the time failure isn’t fatal.
Just because you fail doesn’t mean you have to stop.
Don’t be afraid of failure. After all, if it was easy, there would not be so many people saying it was Impossible.
Acknowledge failure. But don’t let it stop you. Failure is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be inhibiting.
Jonathan Fields is the author of one of my favorite books, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance. Jonathan is also a highly sought after speaker and blogger. If you want, you can also borrow Jonathan’s brain if you need some inspiration. I fully intend on doing this in the near future. Find Jonathan on Twitter and on Facebook.
In the quest to do great work, failure is not mandatory, but the “possibility” of failure is. Opportunity never comes free of risk.