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Making Real Money Online: Making it Happen

Making real money online does not happen inside your head, it happens out in the world. If you are like me you will have lots of ideas that never get acted on. We need to go from day-dreaming to doing!

In the previous entry of this series I talked about scaling up your operations. How we can be more efficient and outsource. In this article I am going to discuss probably the most critical element of your success; actually making it happen. First though a word on “ideas”.

Inspiration versus Implementation

There is a popular myth that success is all about having the right idea. I don’t buy it personally.

While there are some incredibly brilliant people who have found success through their inspired genius, it is by no means a requirement. By the same token as I say above, most of us have our own fair share of ideas and never do anything about them.

The power is in the implementation more often than the initial inspiration. Something to truly take on board if you want to be a success.

Consider the people and products you believe to be most successful. How original are they? Where is the remarkability located? Are they completely one-off or is the point of differentiation in the approach?

Sometimes it is not what you do but how you do it that makes the difference.

I was initially shocked when I realized how few radical innovations my heroes had brought to the world. Steve Jobs has many great qualities including smarts, but the iPod? Not the first MP3 player was it? Name pretty much any product from Microsoft, they sell a lot but are the ideas new? Richard Branson takes on existing, bloated markets and out-competes. Stelios has his own approach to doing the same thing. Even Seth Godin, the king of “remarkable” I would argue has made his name from spotting patterns and labeling them brilliantly rather than inventing new concepts.

Some of the most well-known and successful companies in the world are based on excellent or effecient implementations of very old ideas. Starbucks didn’t invent espresso. Dell wasn’t the first to sell computers mail order. Subway didn’t create the sandwich shop. Google wasn’t the first search engine nor the first to use contextual advertising. McDonalds did not introduce the burger. Walmart wasn’t the only superstore in town.

Great Ideas Without Follow-Through Fail

Think about all the genius ideas that never made it commercially. Budget airlines were tried but failed until the right formula was hit upon. The Apple Newton tanked but the Palm Pilot succeeded. Xerox hardly made a cent out of the user interface innovations that Apple and Microsoft both used to develop their successful operating systems.

Being first doesn’t always equate to success.

Ideas are surprisingly cheap. I have so many I give most of them away. It is amazing actually how often you think you have had an original idea only to find someone else, entirely independently has had the self-same vision.

Don’t wait around for your muse to deliver a perfectly formed world-changer. Get on and do something and do it well.

Add as much value as you can, really drive to build the best you can, make it stand out in the market, put in place the most effective team and systems, then move on to the next thing.

Make it Happen Now

Ideas can be a great help but the true measure of success is traction and momentum. Getting started and keeping going. Most of the people I have spoken to with successful business describe the same thing.

Have your ideas, make your plans, but ensure you take decisive action.

You have to create something unique and remarkable, yes, but it can be the implementation that sets you apart. Where are you creating massive value for the maximum amount of people? How can you do it more efficiently and scale without damaging the service you offer?

What it Takes to Succeed

Other than decisive action your idea will need the following essentials in order to succeed:

  • Organization and vision – Where are you going? How will you know when you are there? Who needs to do what and when?
  • Time and dedication – Time is an expensive commodity. Have you got enough time and is this plan competing with other projects for the same scarce resource?
  • Energy and effort – At some point someone is going to have to do a lot of sustained work!
  • Contacts and attention – No budding entrepreneur is an island and we are rarely Jack or Jill of enough trades. What good is delivering your project into a vacuum? Someone needs to tell the world about it.
  • Expertise and experience - Do you know everything you need to? Would it help to have someone on hand who has been there and done that? Are your skills up to scratch?

Whatever you work on, whatever you do, always look for ways you can build up your reserve of all of these. That way you earn money and build up potential for the future.

Hold on – have I missed one? What about money?

Look again, what does money pay for?

Money is traded for products, effort, time, expertise or to open doors that would otherwise be closed to you.

Cash Flow and Financing

Starting out without money but with the other requirements is called “Bootstrapping”, from “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps”. It just means you need to be more cunning and put in more of your own effort. It also means gathering a team who are willing to offset effort now for rewards later.

Cash flow is always extremely important but especially to a bootstrapped project. Don’t pay for what you don’t need and only pay for something as you need it. Learn from the dotcom days; out of the gate you don’t need first class flights, fancy offices and a gaggle of personal assistants.

Finding an investor allows you to open up possibilities, launch more quickly, more complete or make a bigger splash, but usually means giving up some ownership and control. You have to have a working relationship built on mutual trust. They are risking a lot of money, you are risking your work and reputation. An investor will understandably also want to know your plans are sound which means revealing your strategy to someone more financially equipped to action it.

As I said in the earlier entry, wealthy people look to put their money to work for them. They are often looking for the right project to invest in. This could even be you one day!

Team Building Your Success

Do you have to have a team? Not necessarily but most of the self-made high net-worth people I have spoken to over the years have put networking, leadership and in particular “spotting talent” as most-valued skills to develop if you want to make real money.

Don’t limit your vision to only the resources you have on hand personally. Also by bringing in other people you are ensuring you are committed. You have to take action and teams make the outcome the best solution possible by drawing on specialist efforts, experience and expertise.

Recruiting

There are two teams you need. The obvious is the project team, the people who will produce and maintain what you are creating. In addition you need your mastermind team. A Mastermind Team is your group of advisers, your sounding board and mentors.

Why make mistakes when you can learn from others’ experience and guidance?

You will need specialist skills such as design, programming, writing marketing or project management, and you will have to recruit them.

Your mastermind group on the other hand will help you in more strategic and expansive ways. They can be friends or people you have approached specifically for the knowledge they can provide.

Finding Team Members

You will find people for your project team through word of mouth, forums, job boards, craigslist, etc. Some jobs don’t require specialist skills, just a good system. Local students, stay at home mums, etc might be happy to take on some of the workload. It could be as simple as putting the word out that you are looking.

The best specialists are found through recommendation. Put what you need in writing and make sure all parties agree on what is required, by when and for how much. People with practical skills will almost always have some sort of portfolio, be it design work, case-studies or writing samples. Do check references, ensure past work is really their own, and only pay in advance when you are 100% confident.

Mastermind team members are found through networking, their writing, or through work. It seems some people can just go and ask to get mentors while in my experience serendipity plays the largest part.

Money and Motivation

Many people make the mistake of thinking recruiting team members will be expensive. Getting help need not always hit the cashflow hard.

Yes, it is normally human costs that make up a large part of a businesses outgoings, and wage bills are something to keep a firm hand on, but that does not mean to say you always have to pay a salary.

As mentioned before, if your systems are good then not all jobs need to be performed by someone with stellar skills. Also some work is long term, while other jobs are task-based. Many freelancers are willing to take a lower hourly rate if you will be working together for a long time.

Make sure you pay for specific work done as and when it is required unless you are certain there will be sufficient ongoing work for a longer contract. Don’t take on employees unless absolutely necessary, in my experience it has been better wherever possible to have them work as freelancers who invoice your own company through theirs.

Non-Monetary Rewards

There are also alternatives to paying large sums of money right away. People are often motivated by different things, we are not all money-obsessed! Some people are willing to work for the exposure, education, experience or to fill out a portfolio.

A high profile project could lend a team member much-needed credibility. You could also offer a trade (eg. you write some articles or do some SEO in return for some programming or design), then there are things like profit share, or even a percentage of equity.

Summary

Having the idea is only the start. To make it happen you have to create your plan, work out your financing, gather your team and put the plan to action.

While individually we can earn well, and many people are happy to keep plugging away on their own, never dismiss the help, advice and skills that are out there ready to tap in other people. It can be incredible the difference even a friendly sounding board can make to your overall success.

Have you got a mentor? Do you have a mastermind group? How did you recruit your team members? Is anything holding you back from recruiting? Share your tips and experience in the comments …

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Comments

  1. Great article.

    I am like you in that I have many ideas but I never do anything about them. The reason I think I don’t do anything about them is lack of confidence – I always assume someone else is doing it better/cheaper/more professionally already. The other problem is that, although I think some of my ideas are good ones, I always look at the most negative outcome – “this will never make money because…. “

  2. Chris, thanks a bunch for writing some killer inspiration lately that I just can’t get enough of.

    Keep up the great work mate,
    Keith

  3. Great article.

    I am like you in that I have many ideas but I never do anything about them. The reason I think I don’t do anything about them is lack of confidence – I always assume someone else is doing it better/cheaper/more professionally already. The other problem is that, although I think some of my ideas are good ones, I always look at the most negative outcome – “this will never make money because…. “

  4. Chris, thanks a bunch for writing some killer inspiration lately that I just can’t get enough of.

    Keep up the great work mate,
    Keith

  5. @Steve – Those thoughts can be useful if you can turn them around to things you need, resources you are missing or stuff you should put in place to make the project a success :)

    @Keith – Thanks, glad you like :)

  6. @Steve – Those thoughts can be useful if you can turn them around to things you need, resources you are missing or stuff you should put in place to make the project a success :)

    @Keith – Thanks, glad you like :)

  7. I find myself checking back here almost obsessively, looking for the next installment in this series… Like Steve, I find that many of my promising ideas are stillborn through lack of confidence; and like Keith, I’m finding great inspiration on your pages. Thanks much!

  8. I find myself checking back here almost obsessively, looking for the next installment in this series… Like Steve, I find that many of my promising ideas are stillborn through lack of confidence; and like Keith, I’m finding great inspiration on your pages. Thanks much!

  9. Very meaty series you’ve got going on here, Chris — I think this one is the juiciest so far.
    :-)

    Literally everything we see around us — especially in terms of creative business products or services — is the result of a great idea. An idea that has been acted upon with follow through.

  10. Very meaty series you’ve got going on here, Chris — I think this one is the juiciest so far.
    :-)

    Literally everything we see around us — especially in terms of creative business products or services — is the result of a great idea. An idea that has been acted upon with follow through.

  11. @Jen – Confidence is like a muscle, it gets stronger the more you use it :)

    @Slade – Yep, very little happens without engaging brain, but many of us think the idea is the most important part when in fact it is just the beginning :)

  12. @Jen – Confidence is like a muscle, it gets stronger the more you use it :)

    @Slade – Yep, very little happens without engaging brain, but many of us think the idea is the most important part when in fact it is just the beginning :)

  13. On Sept. 9 I posted “Our Own Rejected Thoughts” on my blog, inspired by a quotation of Emerson’s:

    In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.

    The gist of the post is that we reject thoughts for a multitude of reasons, but then come across them as a finished work by someone else. That makes us feel even worse about ourselves and our lack of positive and proactive action.

    So what can you really do when you stumble across one of your rejected thoughts made reality by someone else the next time? You can learn from it. Learn that your thoughts and intuitions come from a well-spring of creativity inside of you that you should not necessarily reject, that you might want to pay greater attention to. Learn that there may be great value in what you are rejecting and condemning to failure or brushing off as the silly meanderings of wandering mind. Give greater value to your inner inclinations and indications. Try them out. Then, instead of betraying yourself, you may find that you bring something to life that in fact gives you greater life.

    Gabriella in Spain

  14. On Sept. 9 I posted “Our Own Rejected Thoughts” on my blog, inspired by a quotation of Emerson’s:

    In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.

    The gist of the post is that we reject thoughts for a multitude of reasons, but then come across them as a finished work by someone else. That makes us feel even worse about ourselves and our lack of positive and proactive action.

    So what can you really do when you stumble across one of your rejected thoughts made reality by someone else the next time? You can learn from it. Learn that your thoughts and intuitions come from a well-spring of creativity inside of you that you should not necessarily reject, that you might want to pay greater attention to. Learn that there may be great value in what you are rejecting and condemning to failure or brushing off as the silly meanderings of wandering mind. Give greater value to your inner inclinations and indications. Try them out. Then, instead of betraying yourself, you may find that you bring something to life that in fact gives you greater life.

    Gabriella in Spain

  15. I must admit that I feel largely the same as Steve. I have a horrible tendency to “talk myself down” when I come up with new ideas for making money on my own terms. It all comes down to a lack of confidence, I think.

    Thankfully, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and things like this series are really inspiring me to forget about my worries, and just go for it. Or, rather, forget about those worries which are the result of a lack of confidence, rather than genuine flaws in my ideas (flaws which can usually be fixed, with a little bit of thought and effort).

  16. I must admit that I feel largely the same as Steve. I have a horrible tendency to “talk myself down” when I come up with new ideas for making money on my own terms. It all comes down to a lack of confidence, I think.

    Thankfully, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and things like this series are really inspiring me to forget about my worries, and just go for it. Or, rather, forget about those worries which are the result of a lack of confidence, rather than genuine flaws in my ideas (flaws which can usually be fixed, with a little bit of thought and effort).

  17. Hmmmmm Chris, it seems to me that you are onto something here — with the great group of people in this community, you could probably get a free telephone bridge line and sponsor a few twice-a-month mastermind calls for groups of 5-6 people, they would pay a small fee or not, (you’d just be dropping in on the call once in a while) and having the groups report in on their success, maybe here on the blog. I’ve done this in my circles and people love it, the power of the group is amazing, I don’t do much, and people really get into action…then all that’s left is they say thank you for encouraging them. Just an idea:)

  18. Hmmmmm Chris, it seems to me that you are onto something here — with the great group of people in this community, you could probably get a free telephone bridge line and sponsor a few twice-a-month mastermind calls for groups of 5-6 people, they would pay a small fee or not, (you’d just be dropping in on the call once in a while) and having the groups report in on their success, maybe here on the blog. I’ve done this in my circles and people love it, the power of the group is amazing, I don’t do much, and people really get into action…then all that’s left is they say thank you for encouraging them. Just an idea:)

  19. @Gabriella – Great stuff. I think regrets about stuff you didn’t try are worse than regrets about stuff you tried and failed at very often.

    @Adam – This is another reason to have friends and mentors as sounding boards. When I am drooping in confidence it really helps to speak to people and have them give me a slap upside the head :) Just choose well as many people actually DON’T want to see us succeed as there are people who see others success as diminishing them.

    @Erica – Great idea, I had a similar idea but didn’t think of using telephone conferencing :)

  20. @Gabriella – Great stuff. I think regrets about stuff you didn’t try are worse than regrets about stuff you tried and failed at very often.

    @Adam – This is another reason to have friends and mentors as sounding boards. When I am drooping in confidence it really helps to speak to people and have them give me a slap upside the head :) Just choose well as many people actually DON’T want to see us succeed as there are people who see others success as diminishing them.

    @Erica – Great idea, I had a similar idea but didn’t think of using telephone conferencing :)

  21. Either I need to get around more, or I just read some the best business advice ever from… a blogger? :D
    Seriously, this is great, Chris! I am in just the right spot to benefit from your series here. I’m lovin’ it. Thanks so much.

  22. Either I need to get around more, or I just read some the best business advice ever from… a blogger? :D
    Seriously, this is great, Chris! I am in just the right spot to benefit from your series here. I’m lovin’ it. Thanks so much.

  23. Chris,

    I am an idea man too. I have tons of ideas that go unimplemented. I have a friend who is an “idea man”, who has managed to make a good living online. He is my part time mentor. Probably the best advice he has ever given me is to stay focused on your first step and don’t get sidetracked by other things. I haven’t exactly kept that advice, but once I master staying focused I am fairly sure I will make a lot more money online.

    I am going to bookmark this and re-read it a couple of times. Great post.

  24. Chris,

    I am an idea man too. I have tons of ideas that go unimplemented. I have a friend who is an “idea man”, who has managed to make a good living online. He is my part time mentor. Probably the best advice he has ever given me is to stay focused on your first step and don’t get sidetracked by other things. I haven’t exactly kept that advice, but once I master staying focused I am fairly sure I will make a lot more money online.

    I am going to bookmark this and re-read it a couple of times. Great post.

  25. Very interesting article! Fortunately I come across your blog but it is really worth to stop by and reading now. Definately I’m agree with the inside of this posting. I, too, write about them in my journal giving some real examples from the life. Making money online…hmmm, I was seriously thinking how to do it. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be visiting here again:)

  26. Very interesting article! Fortunately I come across your blog but it is really worth to stop by and reading now. Definately I’m agree with the inside of this posting. I, too, write about them in my journal giving some real examples from the life. Making money online…hmmm, I was seriously thinking how to do it. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be visiting here again:)

  27. Chris,

    I meant to mention this earlier. Do you have a mastermind group? Could you write more about how that works for you sometime? I feel the need to start one myself and would love extra tips on creating/running a mastermind group.

    All the best,
    George

  28. Chris,

    I meant to mention this earlier. Do you have a mastermind group? Could you write more about how that works for you sometime? I feel the need to start one myself and would love extra tips on creating/running a mastermind group.

    All the best,
    George

  29. @Michael – Glad you are liking it :)

    @George – Focus is important but you can help yourself by getting someone else involved who will help motivate you

    @Nihal – Make sure you do visit again :)

    @George – I have a lot of contacts who I bounce ideas off and tend to form “tactical” mastermind groups for specific projects. I am also a member of a group that functions a lot like a mastermind group but where we help each other with ideas and encouragement. The key is to find people who have ideas and positive attitude and have a giving rather than taking approach. You have to enter into it with sharing rather than what is in it for you. Start small and with people you know.

  30. @Michael – Glad you are liking it :)

    @George – Focus is important but you can help yourself by getting someone else involved who will help motivate you

    @Nihal – Make sure you do visit again :)

    @George – I have a lot of contacts who I bounce ideas off and tend to form “tactical” mastermind groups for specific projects. I am also a member of a group that functions a lot like a mastermind group but where we help each other with ideas and encouragement. The key is to find people who have ideas and positive attitude and have a giving rather than taking approach. You have to enter into it with sharing rather than what is in it for you. Start small and with people you know.

  31. hey chris, great ya.. I mean i had heard about making money online .But after your this post actually makes me feel money can me made online too. I mean a good way to earn extra bucks easily & who does not want that.
    The way u have explained each step is like really amazing .

  32. hey chris, great ya.. I mean i had heard about making money online .But after your this post actually makes me feel money can me made online too. I mean a good way to earn extra bucks easily & who does not want that.
    The way u have explained each step is like really amazing .

  33. Chris,

    Thanks for the great mastermind tips.

  34. Chris,

    Thanks for the great mastermind tips.