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.
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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.
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.
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.
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 …
Table of contents for series: Making Real Money
- Making Real Money Online: What Type of Earner Are You?
- Making Real Money Online: Spending to Earn
- Making Real Money Online: Expanding Your Operations
- Making Real Money Online: Making it Happen
- Making Real Money Online: Confidence and Taking the Risk
- Making Real Money Online: Your Vision
- Making Real Money Online: What is Wealth?