Here on ActiveGrowth, we talk about creating things of value, improving your skills, building and shipping things rapidly and generally becoming better at challenging, creative work.
If you're thinking that all that sounds like a lot of work, you're absolutely right! Not only do we advocate doing a lot of work, we also advocate doing very difficult work.
This could be a problem. Maybe you got into online marketing because you wanted to do less work and because you were hoping for some hands-off, passive ways to make a living...
If that's the case, I've got some bad news and some good news for you.
You're a Creative, Whether You Like it Or Not
I'm writing this post because many people feel enormous resistance towards creative work. If you're not sure what I mean by that, think of getting in front of a camera to record a video for your business, right now.
You don't wanna do that, right? You probably really, really don't wanna do that.
Because it's a difficult, long process and it puts you in a vulnerable position. And even if you've done it 100 times before and you try your best to make a great video, you probably won't like the result very much.
And here I am, telling you that you should do this difficult, unpleasant thing, not just once, but many times, continuously, for many years to come.
The Easy Way Out?
You don't have to do any video marketing for your business. You probably should and it would probably help your business grow, but you don't have to do it.
There are other marketing channels that feel a bit safer and a bit more hands off. Blogging, for example. Or Facebook ads. Or what about that Amazon FBA thing?
here's the problem: no matter what you pick, you still have to do creative work. There is no easy way out.
And I can prove it. With logic.
The Logic (Read it & Weep)
We are all creatures that seek comfort. We like the path of least resistance. And so we want something that's hands-off, that doesn't put us in a vulnerable position and is as easy as possible.
The problem is that if any such opportunity exists, it is immediately eroded by market forces.
If there's an easy, reliable and hands-off way to generate traffic, it will be immediately automated, outsourced to cheap labor, scaled and commoditized.
When a new opportunity arises, there's a very brief window of time during which a solopreneur can benefit from it. If it's a real opportunity, the market will very quickly be flooded and the solopreneur will be competing against larger companies that use software and workforces to squeeze this new market for all it's worth. It's a race to the bottom and unless you're the one with the software and the workforce, you'll be crowded out.
If this sounds familiar: it's the exact same reason why the business opportunities on every "hot new social platform" must decline steeply, as more people use the platform (see: Instagram Created a Monster: On the Inevitable Decline of Social Platforms).
What if You Do Get the Software & Workforce?
So, I stated that unless you have the software and workforce, you'll be left behind. What if you go for the software and workforce, then?
Bad news: creating software is complex, creative work. Using software may be expensive and time consuming, but it's not enough to get you an advantage, because many others will be using the software as well. Unless you have a better way to use the software or have staff that do work for you, you're stuck in that race to the bottom again. And of course, coming up with a better system and hiring people to implement the system for you is, you guessed it, creative work.
Creating and then selling software for all those people racing to the bottom is better. It's a way to move up the food chain. But as already mentioned: doing this involves highly complex creative work.
So, what to do about this situation?
Embrace the Challenge
This post is one of many pieces of content I've created that basically does two things:
- Discourage readers from pursuing hands-off, seemingly passive, seemingly easy business opportunities.
- Explain why I always advocate creating real products that offer real value and selling them directly to real people.
I keep emphasizing this in my writing because I keep seeing this same problem. I keep seeing entrepreneurs looking for the easy way out, looking to avoid the difficult, complex, creative work.
Let me end this on a more positive note than usual (yes, I do enjoy being the harbinger of doom in this space - maybe a bit too much): I want to encourage you to embrace the challenge. Creative work is difficult, but doing difficult things can be immensely satisfying. Doing difficult things is how you grow your skills and your skills set you apart from the competition.
And there's the good news: by trying a little less hard, you'll get better, faster.
Let me know your thoughts on this. Especially if you disagree! I'd love to hear from you and start a discussion so please leave a comment below.