Whatever it Takes KDS: 054

whatever it takes

This is a little bit of a piggyback from last week’s episode (What it Means to Just Show UP). 

After a conversation in a Facebook Group, I felt inspired to take one concept further and go a little deeper into what it really means to build an online business and what that looks like.

First, let’s go on a little journey into what I thought was going to happen when I started my online business… way back in 2008.

I’ve shared my story before, so I won’t go into a ton of detail here, but I truly thought I was going to be an information marketing millionaire.

Well, not right out the shoot, but that certainly was the plan.

My introduction into this somewhat unknown space was pretty much a seminar I heard at a “Wealth Expo” in San Francisco and a recorded workshop from Mark Victor Hansen (Build Your Mega Speaking Empire). there was one speaker at his event who talked about making all kinds of money online (his primary recurring revenue was as a reseller of 1 Shopping Cart, which by the way, I just looked up and it looks like it’s stuck in 1995).

Here’s the kicker…

I was NOT tech-savvy at ALL. My husband was the computer guy… he had been programming in junior high, was Microsoft certified, and loved all things tech (I remember him telling me about these things called MP3 players… I think he’d be in awe of the tech we have today).

Fast forward to being widowed in 2003 with two small kids and I knew there had to be a better way.

In 2008 I had a little bit of a cushion and decided I’d go all-in with internet marketing. 

I signed up for a course on social media marketing (that was $1500 and the most I had EVER spent on digital training) and here we are today.

12 years (closer to 13) later and I have a solid brand, an e-commerce brand, an audience, and can quite confidently say “I know my shit.”

And it’s quite safe to say I DIDN’T know donkey about ANY of this when I started.

How did I get here?

I did the work.

Before I get into what will keep you from succeeding, know that this is going to be sort of a ‘tough love’ episode.

As a self-proclaimed optimist, I always try to frame things in a way that makes it easier to swallow (or at least so people truly hear what I mean, as opposed to being yelled at or shamed). However, I’m feeling a little ranty today so we’ll see where this takes us.

No One Owes You ANYTHING

I want it now

Like I mentioned, this episode was inspired by a conversation in a FB group (I’m not going to go into it because it’s irrelevant). But the gist of it was that people need to stop acting like things are easy online… ie., making a living, making lots of money, etc.

Here’s the thing…

No one needs to do a DAMN thing the way you think they should.

That being said, I know this is coming from a place of fear and frustration. The frustration that it’s not as easy as they thought it would be… or they bought into a ‘promise’ that something would work.

Guess what?

ALL of this stuff works, if you know what the hell you’re doing.

It can happen quickly, it can take years.

There are so many moving parts when it comes to building an online business but most people get pissy because they don’t want to do the stuff they don’t like or don’t understand.

Deal with it.

Hire someone or put in the time to learn what you can’t hire for.

Here’s a great example.

This was shared with me by a friend years ago.

She had purchased Amy Porterfield’s course on webinars (I’ve never taken it nor do I know if she’s still selling it… and I’m not interested enough to go look haha)…

Anyway… she was in the private FB group for this course and someone posted a huge rant that she purchased this webinar course and now she was being told she had to get LeadPages and some other software or something.

It went into more complaining about how every time she gets a course or training there’s always more she needs, has to buy or has to learn.

My response?

Suck it up buttercup.

What made you think an online business was going to be easy?

AND… why would you think a course on webinars is going to solve ALL your problems?

Webinars are ONE tactic for marketing your business.


Not ALL.

Here’s where things get dicey… in this case, it wasn’t Amy’s responsibility to make sure people understood every aspect of online marketing.

She promised to teach how to use webinars… and I’m sure she delivered. 

Be Self-Responsible

I really don’t know of any other business or market where people think things should all be easy (and yes, that’s a hugely general statement, but you get the point).

I’m sure there are courses, programs, etc. out there that provide some sort of ‘business in a box’ for starting an online business… but I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re probably crap.

Let’s do a bit of a brain dump and bullet list:

  • website
    • programming
    • design
    • hosting
    • managing
  • content
    • SEO
    • written
    • audio
    • video
  • marketing
    • email marketing
    • social media marketing
    • paid traffic
  • conversions (relative to ALL the above)
  • tech (relative to ALL the above)
  • building an audience
  • measuring/tracking data
    • products
    • courses
    • services
    • coaching/consulting
  • direct sales
    • copywriting
    • different mediums (snail mail, email, ads, etc.)

Each of those areas goes much deeper than I’ve just listed.

I literally knew NOTHING about any of this when I started my business.

But I continued putting one foot in front of the other.

One thing I’ve noticed with friends, colleagues, clients… often times you can understand how all of this is supposed to work together.

Meaning, you get that you need a website, you’re supposed to create content, add a lead magnet, and email people who sign up to your ‘list’ (don’t get me started on ‘building a list’).

BUT… that doesn’t mean you get all the “behind-the-scenes” stuff (yes, that’s my professional term of choice).

Getting clear on who you serve, the problems they have, and how you help them solve them.

I can’t tell you how many websites I created for people who spent hours on how the site looked, what packages or services they offered, yet never produced a single piece of content or thought about what they were actually solving for their ideal customer/client.

6 months after the site was done I’d go back and see they hadn’t produced one piece of content (or imagine this, sold any of their ‘high ticket’ packages they were so adamant on having).

They had no audience.

They “looked” like they were in business, but at the end of the day, they were playing at it.

Here’s another little story.

A very dear friend. of mine who I met the first year I was in business (we met via a Facebook group and hit it off immediately. And yes, we’ve also met in real life, even though she lives in another country).

She’s super smart, helped me really figure out a lot of the tech side of things (there were many a Skype call where she would show me how to do things) but found herself doing work she really didn’t want to be doing (this is the short version of her story).

After the last frustrating client, she decided enough.

She was going to pivot her business, work with a different type of client, and shift more into the consultant/expert role (she has the skills and experience to back this up).

I offered to coach her through this transition.

She spent three weeks doing the work to get clear on who she served, what she offered, and the problems she could solve.

This wasn’t her just sitting around thinking… she worked through Donald MIller’s Story Brand exercise (mystorybrand.com), did every bit of homework I gave her, and followed some copywriting exercises to drill down.

Many Google Docs later… she nailed her tagline.

I’ve known her for 12 years and have never felt this much clarity and conviction from her.

Ask yourself if you’re willing to spend THREE weeks getting clear on a tagline (or UVP – unique value proposition).

Copywriting is one of those things that I truly despised… for no other reason than I simply didn’t “get it.”

It wasn’t until I decided that I better get good at this and made a conscious decision to really try and understand how and why good copy works, that things started shifting.

Am I good at it? Getting better.

Would I call myself a copywriter? Hardly. Especially after only a couple of years.

I am, however, much more confident in my ability to write copy. And then edit, tweak and edit some more.

My interest in getting better at writing started about 4 years ago when I wanted to figure out story-based email marketing. 

I had zero expectations other than I promised myself I was going to #showup and do the work.

I called them my ‘almost daily’ emails, but you get the point. It was really more about showing myself I could stick with it and see what happened. I had read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and knew that small, incremental, and consistent action was the way to long term results.

It worked brilliantly.

The first month it was crickets and a lot of unsubscribes (I had after all taught my list of subscribers that I was all about free and helpful).

By month 3 I had tripled affiliate income for one product.

To refer to one of Jodi’s and my favorite sayings, “This shit works.”

Quit blaming other people

That’s the harsh and less pleasant way of telling you to be self-responsible.

It is NOT the fault of anyone else for the condition of your life, your business, or the decisions you have made.

Since I’m not a therapist, I’m going to stay in my lane and focus on the business side of things.


Because I clearly have a love of pre-qualifying things, I want to make sure you understand that I know there are plenty of charlatans out there as well. 

Not everyone has the right intentions or does things on the up and up all the time. For the sake of time and sanity, we’re not talking about those people, k?

Good marketers know how to sell.

And they don’t need to apologize for it.

Just because you spent $2k on a course you had no business taking, doesn’t mean the marketer/business owner did anything wrong.

It’s your responsibility to do your due diligence.

And I get it.

You don’t know what you don’t know. 

So… slow your roll friend. Anything you try to push out or knock out for the sake of “needing” to make some money is going to flop.

You’d be better off getting part-time work (and there are SO many ways to get hired for work online now, and no, I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole right now. And if you don’t have the skills? GET THEM. We all have access to YouTube).

The pandemic has turned our world into something we don’t really know how to navigate, but the majority of us have access to the internet.

Learning a new skill has NEVER… I repeat NEVER been this accessible.

To build a successful online business you will have to pay for it. 

You’ll pay with time and/or money.

And like many before you, you’ll probably end up paying the “newbie” tax… where you purchase things you don’t need, you buy into the promise of the latest shiny object or guru course (both of which may absolutely deliver what they promise if you have the skills to do the work) and end up feeling like you just flushed money down the toilet.

Par for the course my friend.

When I had a physical retail scrapbook store we had fixed costs before we even opened the door! (rent, cam charges, inventory, etc.). 

It’s ALL O.K.

This is how we learn.

Recently I was on the fence about signing up for a monthly membership (Ryan Daniel Moran’s 1%). The price is going to be going from $97 to $297 and I wanted to get ‘grandfathered in’.

But I didn’t sign up.

I literally do NOT have the time to devote to another community AND… have two courses I’m working my way through as well as running my business.

I respect and value what he teaches and am willing to pay more if later on, I decided to join.

Right now though it would just be throwing that $97 a month away.

The Bright Side

Lest you think I have completely turned into a crabby Appleton, I want to end this episode on a positive note.

It truly has never been this easy to build and create something from scratch that can change the course of your life forever… or simply cover your monthly expenses.

It absolutely takes time and hard work, but aren’t you worth it?

Fall in love with the process, not just the end result. You’re going to miss out on so much if you think the only way to feel good is to have a million-dollar launch.

Of course, we all want the income… whether that’s 50k a year or you want a 7-figure business. Money is the currency we need on this planet to do the things we want to do.

Don’t apologize for what you want, just be willing to do whatever it takes. 

whatever it takes

Image: property of Walt Disney Studios

Links from this episode

What it means to #JustShowUP KDS: 053

Ryan Daniel Moran – Capitalism.com


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    1. Thanks, Ryan,
      A class act as always 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll continue listening to the podcast as always.

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