Apr 222012

Flogging a dead horse

Flogging a dead horse

Just before starting this rant I really want to emphasise something, I am not talking about me here, I am just not. However I will use some of my experience with one particular project (Which shall remain nameless) to tell you when it’s time to call it a day.

I see so many people flogging a dead horse online these days that sometimes I just want to scream at them “Just give it up” However I do want to emphasise one thing here, this should not be done if you haven’t really followed through. Lots of people give up just before they would have struck gold because they haven’t really done everything, they just haven’t dug deep down into the niche and milked it for everything it might well be worth. Lots of people choose the wrong path.

My experience is as follows. I went to the States in 2007 and saw a great opportunity that I wanted to bring to Europe. It is still a great opportunity to bring into Europe but the company offering the product have made so many false and erroneous steps, changed their CEO so many ┬átimes, changed their country focus so many times… in fact to put it bluntly, pissed me off so many times that there is no way now that I will be pushing their product around Europe. This is despite the fact that they look now to be on the point of making the breakthrough into the Western European market that they should have done four years ago. (Lesson for large American potential multinationals, don’t piss me off ;-))

So what dead horses do I see getting flogged regularly on and offline? (There may be a couple of surprises for you here)

1) MLM: Just give it up people. It’s a scam and it will not work for you. It is not a biz opp it is a scam. (I know there will be those who disagree with me on this but I am sorry it is. Anything that depends more on recruitment than product is a scam waiting to drag people into it. Only works for people with huge networks, only recuits people with huge networks to take advantage and the desperate looking for a knockut punch and a quick win in the make money online niche.)

2) Franchise opportunities: See above comment re MLM. The huge majority of franchise opportunities are simply buying yourself a job. Instead why don’t you just go out there and create your own? You might not have the backup but you don’t have the initial cost and royalty you need to pay to the franchisee and with all of that money that you save from not paying the franchisee you can go out there and get yourself a sh*t hot business mentor.

3) Adsense Riches: Google has sucked all of the profit out of adsense unless you have great back end or recurring sales (Or you are a total genius at it like a couple of people I know who just blow me away with their levels of hugely in depth knowledge of the area). The days of the 5 cent click are long gone for most keywords and people are getting ad blind now so your “teenager groping in the dark single, non a/b tested” ad will not cut the mustard.

4) Real World Stores: Just as Google has sucked the life out of adsense then landlords and huge rents have sucked the profit out of high streets the World over. To get the foot traffic you need, you will have to be on a road with lots of people and that is going to cost you big time. Unless you are selling Apple computers in a fake Apple store in China then don’t expect to make money with small ma’ and pa’ shops now. It is much more cost effective to make your store online and virtual with dropshipping and no stock. The risk is lowered enormously and the potential return is much higher.

5) Social Media Gurus: I know more about social media than you do, full stop. (This is true for over 95% of you who will read this, even those of you working on social media and community management for businesses. However there are exceptions who I will defer to) I make it work attaching it to a real World and virtual business, Valencia Property, and I make it work well while enjoying the experience. I have not been able to make it work for a few other start ups I have had despite my knowledge of the area. If the real World business is not there in the first place it is very, very difficult to make it work (Unless you strike it very lucky, which is a possibility of course.) Creating something out of nothing is what entrepreneurs manage to do but selling smoke and mirrors and snake oil isn’t.

You need to stop looking for the knockout blow in the first round then giving up when you cannot land it and spend more time going for the little wins, the jabs that work, and then turn those small successes into bigger and bigger wins, follow up with the hooks.

What do I mean?

Well, find something that works for you in a small way and then refine and work on it until it works better and better. Once you have found your niche then it is easier to tune that niche rather than finding another that works better. One small change in an email sequence more than doubled sales in one of my online businesses. And that change was simple. So simple that it pains me to write it here. I just gave the people who had signed up to the mailing list the opportunity to purchase the product in every email they receive by putting a simple link in rather than just being offered the chance to buy it in the final mail of the sequence. (Embarrassing I know)

If you already have a business that is having a modicum of success then tuning it and making small changes can make huge differences. Listening to a lot of podcasts recently I really liked one done on Preneurcast about this called the Seven Levers. It explains how making small, incremental changes can radically affect the bottom line of any business. You will like it and it will be very useful for you. Also sign up to Ramit Sethi’s mailing list at “I Will Teach You To be Rich” (Sounds cheesy but isn’t) for some really good tips at how to start out small and ramp it up bit by bit.

Which all brings me back to the point of this, how do you know if you are flogging a dead horse? Well I know of at least seven horses that are not dead that you could be flogging online. You can find them in Laptop Entrepreneur. The way to get into online business with little or no risk, using your own skills and knowledge and applying it to the opportunities that are available online without any snake oil or smoke and mirrors. I wrote it last year and it has worked really well for a lot of people already.

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