We preach it every week.
Attract the right kind of traffic by creating exceptional content.
Engage your audience so they know, like, and trust you. Let them know you’re the likable expert who’s going to give them the information (and eventually the products and services) that won’t let them down.
Then use smart copywriting and conversion techniques to turn those raving fans into customers.
No, it’s not paint-by-numbers, but it is a proven, systematic way to build your business.
But sometimes I hear people say, “Geez, that sounds like a lot of work.”
Well, ok, I’m going to give it to you straight. It’s work.
But a lot of work compared to what? Digging latrines? Losing your mind in a cubicle farm? Spouting half-baked opinions on a reality TV show?
So let’s break it down … building a business our way versus building a business by other people’s methods.
Method 1: What normal businesses do
Every day you probably run into dozens of normal small businesses. Dry cleaners, tire shops, dentists, mom-and-pop groceries.
Here in the U.S., we have organizations like the SBO and SCORE that exist to help businesses like this out — because starting a traditional bricks-and-mortar business is incredibly hard.
Most of them have physical space to rent. Every month, whether they’re finding enough customers or not, they need to pay a hefty rent check. Add to that expensive physical equipment and enough employees to keep the doors open.
Starting a small business usually begins with taking out a massive loan. Then you follow this up by busting your tail every waking hour, staying up late into the night trying to make the numbers work, and praying enough customers walk in the door tomorrow.
“Marketing,” if you do it at all, consists of yellow pages, penny-shopper mailers, or putting a really big bright sign in the window.
If you get incredibly successful, some day you can hire a small ad agency to take a scary amount of your money and (maybe) get the word out to a wider audience.
Because so much cash (and time, and energy) goes out the door, every month feels like rolling the dice. Every month you hope the cash flow goes the right direction.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is hard work.
Method 2: What the tricks and “systems” do
Because traditional business is so hard, there’s also a long tradition of what’s called “business opportunity.”
In theory, these should provide business owners with proven systems that automate some of the complicated parts. Franchises, for example, boil a complex business like a restaurant into a three-ring binder of procedures and processes.
But too often, simplified “business opportunities” devolve into “get rich quick.”
What “get rich quick” really means is “have a business even though you’re too dumb and lazy to figure this out.”
“Get rich quick” makes me angry. Because their basic message is garbage.
They tell you the lie that you can’t figure it out. That you can’t find the drive. That you’ve forfeited your basic birthright of curiosity and working hard and learning and growing.
And here’s the irony — the systems and tricks and game-playing are harder than just doing the work. You’re always trying to stay one step ahead of Google. You’re trying to work with methods that don’t work for any of the other 10,000 other suckers who bought into the same system you did.
You’re fighting the natural order of things by trying to take a short cut that’s ten times harder than doing it the right way.
Here’s the thing — work is what makes it worthwhile
I’m not saying you’re going to love every aspect of running your business. Every business has elements that don’t play to your strengths, or are just plain tedious.
But because our business at Copyblogger Media — like every good business — is about providing real value and helping people, the real work is a turn-on.
Giving a kickass webinar that educates and inspires more than a thousand people — that’s awesome.
Writing a post or an email message that helps someone connect the dots and make a real move forward — that’s awesome.
And yes, doing what works for our own business, making it better, and having confidence that our revenue streams remain strong and healthy — that’s awesome too.
And you don’t have to be Copyblogger to do that in your business. You can do it today. You can be that authority — that likable expert — in your own business. You don’t have to wait for more subscribers or more followers or some kind of magic system.
That’s why we created the Authority Rules series — to distill and focus our best advice on having this kind of business right now.
But I can’t pack it all into one post — so sign up for Authority Rules now (it’s free) and let’s talk more. We have a special report to give you a fast head start, a series of 50 things your customers wish you knew, and more. We really want to have you with us.
About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Share your hard work (and success) stories with Sonia on twitter.