What Makes the Difference Between Success and Failure Online?

exploding the myths of online business

Running an online business seems simple. All of those guru-type people make it sound that way. But what happens when it isn’t?

On paper (or in pixels), it all looks pretty straightforward.

Start an online-based business around helping people reach a certain goal. Maybe it’s a fitness goal, or a parenting goal, or learning a new professional skill.

Online education is exploding, so we know that more and more people are looking online to learn a task or skill they care about.

Some people seem to start a small site, gather an interested audience, and then before you know it they’re making a living with a course, a coaching program, or even a simple ebook.

But when you try it … it’s not so simple.

(It wasn’t so simple for me, either. Not by a long shot.)

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Last Day to Join the Certified Writers Program

the difference is strategy, perception, and a higher pay grade

Last week on Twitter, our own Demian Farnworth reminded us of a stark, lovely post he’d written about just how hard the life of the writer can be.

The piece was called The Year of Falling Apart, and detailed how — even when he’d taken the leap to follow his dreams and live as a writer — he still wasn’t happy. In fact, he was miserable.

I thought it would be the year of flying.

It was the year I fell apart.

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5 Smart Content Strategies from a Stellar Marketer of Ideas

Quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson -- 'We should all build libraries of thought for ourselves, not knowing how we might use them in the future'

Marketers tend to get very caught up in thinking about how to persuade people to buy a product or service. Which makes sense … but it’s often jumping the gun.

Because it’s quite common (and perhaps increasingly so) that we have to market our ideas — and connect our beliefs with those of our audience — before we can do any business.

Which is why, for my money, one of the greatest content marketers working today is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

You think your product or service is a hard sell? Try astrophysics. (So many science, so many math.)

Or even worse, scientific literacy. Challenging your own confirmation biases and saying good-bye to certainty. Yeah, that’s a door-buster.

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Are You a Talented Professional Writer? Read This …

the difference is strategy, perception, and a higher pay grade

Copyblogger loves writers. We always have.

For more than nine years now, the writer has been the most important person we write for. Week in, week out.

I’ve written about making a living as a professional writer.

And I elaborated a bit on that, unpacking some of what it takes to move from “good writer” to “smart, well-paid content marketer.”

It’s why we created our list of Certified Content Marketers.

And it’s why we open that program periodically to new writer applicants.

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What’s the Difference Between a Professional Writer and a Content Marketer?

the difference is strategy, perception, and a higher pay grade

I’ve been a writer for a long, long time. I’ve written something every day for around 30 years now. (Okay, I took about a week off when I had a C-section.)

I’ve been a content marketer since 2004, even though we didn’t call it that back then.

These days, I’m a Chief Content Officer — a job title that didn’t exist just a few years ago.

I love and respect writers, and I know a lot of them. Some are successful, some are struggling.

And I have some thoughts on what can make the difference.

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The Cure for Impostor Syndrome and Other Crises of Confidence

Image of flying books

Ever suffer from Impostor Syndrome? This is the feeling that no matter what external results you see, no matter how “expert” you become, you constantly doubt your own authority and ability.

It’s funny, because the people I know who have the worst time with it are often the ones who are the best qualified. (While Impostor Syndrome classically hits more women than men, I have to say that I know an awful lot of smart men who struggle with it as well.)

In small doses, Impostor Syndrome pushes us to keep working on our skills. To keep stretching, to fill in the gaps, and to focus almost obsessively on improving ourselves. In moderation, it keeps us honest and makes us better.

But it quickly goes from being motivating to being a force that keeps people stuck. Stuck in their businesses or careers, stuck accepting their own distorted self-image, while less-qualified people leapfrog past them.

I’ve been there. And it’s just a hideous drag.

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