Want to hear about the day in the life of a so-called “successful entrepreneur?”
Yesterday, I stayed in bed until about 2 PM. I watched the last few episodes of Mad Men. Around sunset, I took a leisurely stroll down the beach. When I got back, I hung out with a friend for a couple of hours, ate dinner, and went to bed.
In other words … I goofed off.
And while I was goofing off, my business generated a pretty decent chunk of revenue.
You want to know the coolest part?
I did absolutely nothing to “earn” it.
I didn’t check my email. I didn’t talk to anyone on the phone. I didn’t write anything.
If I wanted to, I could do the same thing tomorrow and the next day and the next day, and it would keep on trucking all by itself. Parts of my business are so automated I could actually die, and it would be months before anyone noticed.
You might think, “That’s not right. Nobody should be able to goof off and get paid for it.”
But you know what?
I’m totally unashamed. Here’s why:
I worked my ass off to get here
For the past three years, I’ve worked at least 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for stretches of around six months without taking a single day off.
For the vast majority of that work, I wasn’t paid a dime. Rather, I was building a machine capable of running on its own.
That’s what truly successful entrepreneurs do:
We build money machines.
We take our expertise and transform it into systems that run without us. Sometimes that means hiring employees, but in my opinion, the best system to put in place is something infinitely cheaper, easier to manage, and simpler to create right now.
(Ready? I’m going to lay my super ninja, “make the internet your ATM” breakthrough secret weapon on you.)
The best “money machine” you can build is content.
Why is content King?
Well, we could argue about whether it really is King or not, but most of the marketing world is coming to understand that content is important … maybe even indispensable.
Well, think about this:
These days, some of the highest paid people in the world are the copywriters who craft the “junk” you receive in the mail. The best ones charge a minimum of $100,000 to create a single direct mail piece.
Obviously, there’s a lot of research and thinking and smarts involved, but here’s what’s funny:
A beginning copywriter will compile demographic data, conduct focus groups, dutifully collect the official line on what the product’s USP is supposed to be — you know, all the normal marketing tomfoolery.
An experienced copywriter, on the other hand, often finds the best salesperson in the company, hands them a tape recorder, and says, “Tape yourself doing your next 10 sales calls.”
From there, our crafty copywriter transcribes the sales calls, isolates the most persuasive elements, and organizes those into a letter. Then they mail the letter to 200,000 people.
It’s not necessarily less work. It’s smarter, more effective work.
Some would say they aren’t being “creative.”
Instead of reinventing the wheel, they’re taking a salesperson whose methods already work, distilling and cloning that salesperson 200,000 times, and instead of paying each of those clones a salary, they can be distributed in the mail for around a buck apiece.
The point? (And I do have one)
Your blog post isn’t just a blog post. Your podcast isn’t just a podcast. Your video isn’t just a video.
They’re components of a system.
If you’re not getting any results from it, it’s not the media’s fault. Blog posts and podcasts and videos and any other media can and will create sales …
… but only if the system wrapped inside the media is effective. If the system sucks, the result will suck, and the flashiest and most whizbang media in the world won’t save you.
So, the question becomes:
How do you create content that sells stuff?
Let’s talk about that next.
How to get paid to goof off
Sounds awfully nice, doesn’t it?
Well, here’s the “secret” formula:
- Find somebody who is good at selling stuff (maybe that’s you)
- Create content that duplicates what they do
- Distribute said content to as many people as possible
- Repeat the process until you have the desired level of income
- Go goof off (hooray!)
If you want to “make money while you sleep,” you’ve got to create the kind of content that does the work for you.
Really, that’s it. It’s the whole shebang.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. And I’d be lying to you if I said anyone can do it.
The fact is, most of the top marketers in the world have experience selling one-on-one. Look into their past, and you’ll find they were on a sales floor, going door to door, or on a telephone, talking directly to customers and convincing people to buy.
Most people are too squeamish to do that, and in my opinion, that’s the real reason why almost everyone fails at making money online. They try to create a piece of content that does the selling for them, but they have no idea how selling works, so they essentially end up cloning the worst salesperson in the world.
That’s not going to get you what you need. Your content is an extension of you, and if you suck, your content probably sucks too.
Does that mean you’re doomed if you hate to sell?
Mainly because you probably don’t understand what selling is.
If you’re afraid of selling, you probably have visions of pushy car salesmen chasing old ladies through the dealership parking lot, willing to say or do anything to make the sale.
And it makes you nauseous. You would rather change careers than become somebody like that.
But here’s the good news:
Good salespeople are not pushy. Good salespeople will never lie to the customer. Good salespeople usually aren’t even called salespeople. You give them your money in exchange for something you want, never even realizing you participated in a sales process.
That’s what you need to learn how to do.
If you’re still terrified, the other method is to study master salespeople and marketers and try to model what they do. In other words, build a swipe file.
The only problem is, you don’t know exactly what to model. In the beginning, you duplicate elements that don’t matter, and you ignore elements that are essential. It’s only after years of trial and error that you finally get the hang of it and do it right.
This method of learning selling does work. Just be prepared to starve for a few years as a penalty for being a scaredy-cat.
Either way though, there’s good news:
You don’t have to work until the day you die
Unless you want to, of course. Some entrepreneurs would have it no other way, and I respect that.
Also, it’s important to realize sometimes you don’t have a choice about when you quit.
As I’ve written about before, I have a (supposedly) fatal disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and every year, I lose a little bit more strength. While I’m fairly productive now, science says I’ll eventually lose the ability to move everything but my eyes. Which isn’t the end of the world, but it will slow me down.
I’m not worried.
Already, my business makes more than enough money to take care of me, and every day I work to make it less and less dependent on me. One day, I might be forced to step away, or I might not, but really, that’s not the point.
The point is peace of mind.
Because of my business, I can afford the best medical care anywhere in the world. Because of my business, my family will be taken care of, regardless of what happens to me. Because of my business, I can scale beyond helping just one or two people at a time and help millions.
Strategic content is what lets me do all that.
And goofing off?
That’s an added bonus. Living is one thing, but enjoying your life is quite another, and nothing is quite so empowering as getting up every morning and knowing you can do whatever you want, not just because you’re the boss, but because your business goes on running without you.
So, learn how to sell effectively.
Clone yourself by creating lots of awesome content.
Distribute that content far and wide.
And then goof off, if you want to. Life is short, my friends, and I don’t know about you, but I intend to savor every last moment of it.
About the Author: Jon Morrow is Associate Editor of Copyblogger. If you'd like to learn more about what it really takes to become a popular blogger, check out his free videos on guest blogging.