The One Mistake That Crippled My Business Overnight and How You Can Prevent It Happening to You

Like most solopreneurs, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my online business. Some have created minor embarassment, while others have led to the loss of thousands of dollars.

My biggest one, by far happened very recently, and with my experience I should have known better:

Not Creating an Owned Distribution Source

Here’s what happened:

Back in 2019 after some time away from the online business world, I decided to start a blog with all my experiences of growing businesses and designing my own lifestyle.

At this point we’d been travelling for around 9 years and had built a 7 figure Amazon business.

I’d never learned search engine marketing and the challenge excited me. So I dove head first into the SEO world, attending conferences, buying courses and working flat out on my website.

It worked!

After a couple of years of keyword research, consistent content and link building, my site was achieving decent domain status and attracting traffic.

By August 2023 I was comfortably attracting over a million pageviews a year and generating 5 figures a month.

That’s When Disaster Struck

What happened next is a lesson for all!

The biggest shift in search marketing history occurred, with Google dramatically changing their algorithms to begin accommodating generative search (in other words AI).

My site, along with millions of other niche bloggers, was sunk overnight, and along with it all my income.

I had, stupidly, put all my eggs in one traffic basket, over which I had no control.

What I Should Have Done

While growing the website and traffic, I should have been focused on building my email list.

My own, owned distribution source.

Once you have an email list, no algorithm, no shift in policy, no new platform, can derail you.

Once you have that direct line to your audience, whatever you do moving forward, you have an instant traffic source.

I knew this.

This wasn’t my first rodeo. But I got caught up in the SEO world and seduced by the promise of the world’s biggest search engine.

The Takeaway

Owned is better than rented!

On social media, on google, on any platform not controlled by you, you are simply renting space.

It can be take away in the blink of an eye.

No matter what business model you’re building, work hard to create your own list of leads and customers (where do you think Amazon’s true value is?)

Use the rented spaces as amplifiers to attract people to your owned distribution channel.

Once you have that, no one can take it away!

1 Powerful Tip I Would Give a 50+Nomad Starting Any Type of Online Business in 2024

Do you want to get started with your own online business?

I’ve been building online businesses for over 14 years now. And what I can tell you (from experience) is that in order to succeed in this industry, you need to be adaptable, willing to learn, and persistent.

However, here’s the 1 unbeatable tip I would give you if you wanted to pursue a similar career path:

No Matter Your Business Model, Build an Email List from Day 1

Why is this so important?

An email list is your direct line to your audience.

Social media platforms and other channels are great for reaching new people, but they can be unpredictable. Algorithms change, accounts get suspended, and reach can be limited. With an email list, you own the relationship with your audience.

Here’s why building an email list should be your top priority:

  1. Direct Communication: Unlike social media, where posts can get lost in the noise, emails land directly in your subscriber’s inbox. This means you have a higher chance of your message being seen.
  2. Building Trust and Relationships: Regularly communicating with your email list allows you to build trust and establish a relationship with your audience. Share your story, provide valuable content, and show your expertise. This will help turn subscribers into loyal customers.
  3. Driving Traffic and Sales: Your email list is a powerful tool for driving traffic to your website, blog, or online store. Announce new products, share exclusive deals, and guide your audience through your sales funnel.
  4. Segmentation and Personalization: Email marketing allows you to segment your audience based on their interests and behaviors. This means you can send personalized content that resonates with each group, increasing engagement and conversions.
  5. Long-Term Asset: Your email list is a long-term asset that grows with your business. As you add more subscribers, your potential for revenue increases. It’s an investment that pays off over time.

How to Start Building Your Email List:

  • Offer a Lead Magnet: Create a valuable free resource (eBook, checklist, webinar) that your target audience would find useful. Offer this in exchange for their email address.
  • Create a Sign-Up Form: Make it easy for people to subscribe by placing sign-up forms on your website, blog, and social media profiles.
  • Promote Your List: Regularly promote your lead magnet and sign-up form through social media, blog posts, and any other channels you use.
  • Provide Value: Consistently send valuable content to your subscribers. This could be tips, advice, updates, or exclusive offers. The key is to keep them engaged and looking forward to your emails.

Building an email list takes time and effort, but it’s one of the most effective strategies for growing a successful online business.

Start now, and you’ll thank yourself later.

The 5 Most Common Habits of 7-Figure Solopreneurs

Ever wonder what separates successful solopreneurs from the rest?

While every journey to a seven-figure income is unique, there are certain habits that many top-performing solopreneurs share. These habits not only drive their success but also help them maintain it.

Here are the five most common habits of 7-figure solopreneurs that you can start adopting today;

1. They Err on the Side of Action

Successful solopreneurs are doers. They think less, talk less, and do more.

They know that overthinking can lead to missed opportunities, so they execute ideas swiftly. By taking action, they create momentum and learn through experience.

Action Tip: Just do it! Trust your instincts and learn as you go.

2. They Take Risks and Embrace Failure

Seven-figure solopreneurs are willing to take risks and aren’t afraid to fail.

They’re willing to suck at doing something new in order to learn how not to do it. They understand that failure is a learning opportunity and that by failing fast, they can improve quickly and refine their strategies.

Action Tip: Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they might not work out. Embrace the lessons that come with setbacks.

3. They Surround Themselves with Experts

Despite working independently, successful solopreneurs understand the power of networking.

They actively build relationships with peers and mentors, and collaborate with others who have the knowledge and skills they lack. Networking opens the door to new opportunities that can propel their business forward.

Action Tip: Get out there and meet people! Join online communities, attend events, arrange meetups. Set a goal of making at least one new connection each week.

4. They Never Stop Learning

They engage in ‘CANI’ – continuous never ending improvement.

Top solopreneurs are always upskilling and improving their strengths. They stay updated with industry trends and seek new knowledge to stay ahead. This keeps their skills sharp and their business strategies effective.

Action Tip: Set aside time each week to learning. Take an online course, listen to a podcast or read a book. Make self improvement a non-negotiable part of your routine.

5. They Focus on Their Strengths

Successful solopreneurs identify their strengths early on and double down on them.

They delegate or outsource tasks that aren’t their forte, allowing them to maximize their productivity and impact. By honing in on what they do best, they drive their business forward more efficiently.

Action Tip: Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Focus your efforts on your strengths and find ways to delegate or outsource the rest. This will allow you to work more effectively and scale your business faster.

Bonus: They Give Back

Happy and wealthy solopreneurs build businesses not just for profit, but also to add value and make a positive impact.

They give back to their communities and support causes they care about. This not only creates a sense of purpose but also enhances their business’s reputation and reach.

Action Tip: How can your business give back? Whether through charitable donations, community involvement, or simply via the content/products you produce, for ultimate fulfillment beyond monetary gain, find ways to make a positive impact.

6 Strategies for Aspiring Solopreneurs to Build a Thriving Business and Travel the World

I’ve been in the online business game for a while now, travelling the world and building my lifestyle brand.

But I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for these amazing people:

Chris Farrell

Chris, the creator of one of the most successful membership sites ever, taught me the value of community.

Building a strong, engaged community around your brand can quite simply transform your business. By building strong relationships and igniting passionate movements, your community can become your advocates who will propel your business forward. (Plus you make some amazing lifelong friends!)

Jason Fladlien

Jason, known in the business as the ‘100 Million Dollar webinar man’ taught me about sales. I’m still not great at it, but everything I do know, I learned from him.

If you can’t sell, persuade, encourage, or cajole people to buy your stuff, then your stuff won’t sell. For invaluable insights on selling without sounding like a car salesman, sign up for as many Jason Fladlien webinars as you can. It’s millions of dollars worth of training for free!

Marie Forleo

Marie, the super successful creator of the acclaimed B-School and author of “Everything is Figureoutable, taught me about packaging.

It’s not what you sell; it’s how you package it.”

Presentation and perception can make all the difference in attracting customers.

Amy Porterfield

Amy, a leading online marketing expert and host of the top-ranked podcast “Online Marketing Made Easy,” taught me the critical importance of building an email list.

Your email list is your most direct line to potential customers, enabling you to nurture relationships and drive sales effectively. It’s also the only online distribution funnel you effectively own.

Justin Welsh

Justin Welsh, a highly successful solopreneur and LinkedIn influencer, who has generated over $7 million in revenue, is teaching me the power of consistency.

Consistency in your efforts, whether in content creation, communication, or marketing, builds trust, leads and keeps your audience engaged.

Tim Ferriss

There are many more, but I couldn’t not include Tim Ferriss as his influence completely changed my life.

His book “The 4-Hour Workweek” inspired me to pack up my life, start my online adventure, and travel the world.

His views on productivity and lifestyle design showed me that it was possible to work smarter, live better, and explore the globe while running a successful business.

In Summary

  1. Be consistent with your content like Justin
  2. Build an email list like Amy
  3. Create amazing offers like Marie
  4. Sell your offers like Jason
  5. Build a community like Chris
  6. Design your life like Tim

I can’t thank these people enough for the value they’ve given me over the years.

I hope, as they have with me, to pass along my own learnings to the next person and inspire others to chase their dreams and create a life of freedom and adventure.

The Best Piece Of Advice I Was Ever Given

When I was in my 20’s, a friend (and technically boss) gave me an unforgettable piece of advice.

I was heading quickly up the ranks of my management career, and was desperately frustrated with the limitations of working for others. There were so many things I wanted to do to improve the business I was managing, but found the unnecessary focus on reporting and time spent in meetings to get committee led approval, exhausting.

After a particularly tiresome meeting which had produced precisely zero results, I found myself ranting to my friend about how much I could accomplish if only I could have a clear path and be left to make my own decisions.

I remember the moment like it was yesterday as what he said changed the trajectory of my life forever more.

He took a puff on his cigarette, looked at me intently and said;

“Jo, only focus on what you can control”

That day, my whole life changed.

Rather than continue to fight against a deeply engrained system that showed no sign of change, I decided to take control of my own destiny and chart my own path.

No more than 6 months later I left the company I worked for and started my own business.

That was 20 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.

There is much in life we can’t control. The weather, taxes, bad governments, other people’s reactions and worldviews and more.

The sooner we start focusing only on that which we can control the sooner we can become masters of our own destiny.

P.S. Thanks for the life changing advice Sean!