Online Business: Real Life Problems, Solutions and Successes

Hello friends. It’s been a couple of busy weeks. I want to thank everyone who supported IT Arsenal in the Bizbreak Limitless VC contest. Although I didn’t pull out the win, being hundred and hundreds of votes ahead of third place really wowed me. I was humbled by everyones support, learned a lot and was encouraged even more so to break down living life on purpose. Thanks!

Okay. Online business. Seemingly easy, infinitely bewildering. Find a niche, test an idea, create something, market it…Tim Ferriss put it all into a single book, can’t be that hard. Hmm the actions themselves are not particularly difficult (part of the reason outsourcing is so popular), but as a whole, online business is very complex and takes a lot of work, and a lot of screw ups. Nothing new, but as this project entails, lets rip apart the real life problems, provide solutions, and as a bonus, exemplify people like you and me, beginners, newly initiated into creating income online, that are earning a sustainable income online with their growing projects.


I’m about four months into the income stage of lifestyle design. I have a handle on outsourcing, effective efficient time use, and the tools for creating business, but knowing the tools and using them are two different things and I struggle with that. I’ve built a site for my niche, mock tested and developed but not launched a digital product, and now battle to create a following and monetize. In four months of trying to build business here are my biggest problems.

Common Problems

  1. Wanting to do everything
  2. Procrastination, excuse making.
  3. Can’t decide between creating a following or creating a product. Somehow I do neither or do one or the other half assed.
  4. Don’t know where to find potential fans/followers, traffic.
  5. Didn’t realize a large part of creating an ebook would be styling it.
  6. Fear that my idea sucks, and won’t build to anything and I’ll have to buy yet another domain name for yet another idea, product, ect.
  7. The same tired argument of not enough time, which only means I’m not doing enough of what I love.
  8. I find myself more involved with lifestyle designers bantering than with anyone in the IT support world.

We might have different problems amongst ourselves but they all have the ability to paralyze us. Online business is complex, so the problems and possibilities for paralyzation are multiplied. Be on guard.

Solutions AKA Growth

*Each number corresponds to the problems above.

  1. Develop tunnel vision. Enter a contest, do something that commits you to your cause. I recently entered an entrepreneur contest that got me excited, got awareness up, and got me clients. Hire people. I love and advocate outsourcing, but I know how to do almost everything required to succeed here. Should I?…no, and it breaks you down mentally to try. Hiring people helps keep you accountable to someone else and to spending money, a big motivator that beats your brains impulses to do the minimum.
  2. Keep surrounding yourself with people who have the same values. They will keep you on track. Big thanks to @bobbysofamous and @zackshapiro. Implement systems that catalyze action. Although I struggled with Leo Babauta’s latest post about his one thing system, I agreed that you should focus on one thing at a time, so I adapted Leo’s advice. I fill out one of these once every day or two. It’s a slot loading focus exercise for that one thing you need to get done in a few different areas.
  3. I’ve struggled with this one. I love helping people with technology, I’ve created a site where I can do that, but was that the right path for launching a product? Was it really necessary? People either market a product and sell it cold (squeeze pages, salespages, etc), or meld it with more of their lifestyle, create a following and monetize later through a similar means. So how do I reconcile this? I broke it down, compared them, and decided that it’s not important. I’m wasting my time. It’ll depend on the person some of the time, on the product some of the time. Overall, building a following is more akin to a lifestyle business, but takes more time than a pure cash machine. IE. Tim Ferriss’s book and blog take more time than his former muse, selling pills, but I think he enjoys it more.
  4. How to find potential traffic? I know what to try, I just haven’t put the time into it. WTF Rob. I initially wanted the entire post to be about the details of bringing traffic to a site, but I haven’t put enough action in. I’m mad at myself for this. Corbett Barr’s does a great job of breaking it down, and so does Pat Flynn’s ebook on ebooks. Go where your traffic is, analyze them, create an ideal user, give him a name. Hustle required. It’s not hard to find people who need help, which is my target audience, I just haven’t been focused enough. Next post will focus on what works, and progress.
  5. Here’s your insider secret if you haven’t made a digital product, it will take 2 plus hours-ish to stylize depending on how finicky you are. The key elements for big results are header, footer, front page and “bubble” box. If you take the time to stylize each one of those elements, it’ll be the difference between boring ugly text and a resource people will love to share. Note pictures below. Click to enlarge.
  6. Filled with doubt? Get over it. Quote of the week: Creativity isn’t as much about talent as it is productivity. To find idea’s that work, you need to try a lot that don’t.
  7. Slow down and enjoy something once a day. It’ll happen throughout every stage of your journey, you’ll get so caught up and frustrated about your “progress” that you’ll completely forget you are your own world dominator, everything is according to your schedule. Stop the world, enjoy it. Sounds weird, but I finally stopped myself and enjoyed about an hour and a half of making a most magnificent Cuban sandwich, that to me was taking time out that I could have spent networking or testing my ideas in exchange for well being. It’s a few days later, I’m still remembering that sandwich and it impacted my mental state. I’m more clear on my goals. Crazy? maybe, delicious, yes.
  8. Not to insult the lifestyle design community, but what I’m taking away is that I need to focus less on Chris Guillbeau, Corbett Bar and other such lifestyle designers that I really admire for their breaking free advice, and actually break free. I need to go live in my niche’s world and find the Bakers, Rollett’s, etc of that world and partner with them, post with them, innovate next to them. I’ve only just started to and I’m immediately drawn back to commenting and interacting with great people who get me zero inches closer to creating fans or income in my niche. Wake up, that’s not going to work.

In the end, taking action, making big moves, regardless of what they are…still trumps all the special tools and strategies. Execute, execute, execute.


There’s no denying it. A new economy is rolling its way onward. The rapidity with which someone can voice a service, or passion, add some slight twist to a niche, captivate an audience, and monetize, is quickening…and encouraging for me as I continue to battle. You don’t have to “hit it big” either. Since jumping into this lifestyle design movement for lack of a better term, I’ve seen people with as little as 1000 readers, and a few hundred Facebook/Twitter followers earn 1k or more a month. According to what I see, when you hover around that point, you’re hungry and ripe for growth. If your skeptical, I’m not surprised, so here are a few people you might know, their business models and how they’re doing. Deeper conversations to come.

Minimalist Path | David Damron

Niche: Simple Living/Minimalism. Blogs, and writes ebooks. Maintained a website called LifeExcursion which he took a break from about 6 months ago when he started writing on minimalism. Hustled his way into creating a solid resource and being mentioned by a well known minimalist, Leo Babauta of Zen Minimalism. Earns more than enough to pay my rent each month through ebooks. Awesome guy. Check out his Project M31, on simplifying life. I loved it.

Man Vs. Debt | Adam Baker

Niche: Finance/Debt . Adam has been blogging about debt for about 14 months, along the path he became a contributor at which jumped his exposure and connections. He just launched a digital resource called Unautomate your Finances. Really powerful and useful resource to which I’m sure he’s bringing in the bacon with. Adam has a great story.

Muselife | David Walsh

Niche: Systems/Outsourcing. David’s name is no stranger to this website. He maintains a relatively small following (I’d venture under 1500 subscribers), doesn’t have massive followers, but takes big action steps. He wrote a book on outsourcing, friended up to several entrepreneurs who could use it (see it mentioned and advertised at, and before you know it we was mentioned at (because of his hustle)…now he’s in Thailand on his ebook’s dime looking to launch his next huge membership resource, M6, a seriously powerful deconstruction of what it takes to create income online. David has tenacity to rival my own.

These are regular guys that I dug into personally to know it’s not a bunch of flash and mirrors.

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The take away?… persevere, walk your path, don’t just stare at it. I’m speaking to myself, and you too…take action you idiot.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Photo Credit: Conor Keller |

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