Making Money is Easy Like Getting in Shape is Easy

May 14, 2017 , 14 Comments

There is one promise, one dream, that is the most alluring of all, in our industry.

The promise of easy money.​

The hope for easy money brings floods of newbies into the fold of online marketing, entrepreneurship, digital nomadism etc.

Bold-faced promises of a simple trick to make money easily is the domain of (rather obvious) scams aimed at the naive and​ underinformed. However, everywhere you look in online marketing, there are echoes of the promise of easy money. From headlines of trending blog posts to the sales messages of even the most serious and enterprised-focused marketing tools, the implication is always that this will somehow make you more money, more easily.

Is it just an alluring trap? Or can making money truly be easy?​


Simple ≠ Easy

Here's the thing: making money is simple.

The principle of a value based business isn't complicated at all. You find out what people need and you provide them something valuable, in exchange for money.​

It's simple, really.

You know what else is simple? Getting in great shape.

In fact, it's an almost perfect parallel. Everyone would like to make more money without any added effort, just like everyone would like to be in better shape without added effort. The size of the fitness industry is staggering. There are millions of people who want to be a bit trimmer and slimmer, want to put on more muscle mass. People who want those visible abs, next time they go to the beach.​

And yet, most people are unable to reach their fitness goals.

It's much more common for someone to wish to be fit, but remain overweight than it is for someone to reach their fitness goals.

Why is that?

It's not because getting in shape is overly complicated. Even if you have no interest in fitness, I bet you already know everything you need to know to get in excellent shape.

It's so simple, it can be summed up in 3 bullet points:

  • Eat mainly vegetables and fruit. Don't eat junk food, don't drink soda.
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week.
  • Repeat.​ Don't stop repeating.

That's it. If you follow just this advice, you'll get in very good shape.

So why don't more people do it?

There are two main reasons:

Reason 1: The Details Are Complex

You might think that the 3 points above are overly simplified. So, you do some more research.

How exactly should you eat? What should you avoid eating?​ How often should you eat? How many calories? What composition of macro and micro nutrients?

And how should you exercise? How often? Should you do cardio training, weight lifting, functional strength training, or a bit of everything? Or just pursue an active hobby?

The closer you look at any of this, the more overwhelmingly complex it becomes. You'll find experts having heated discussions about minute details of how to structure weight-lifting workouts or exactly which supplements you should or shouldn't take.​

It's the same with creating a business. The closer you look at the details involved, the more complicated it gets. There are thousands of strategies and there are competing opinions about what you should do and how you should do it.​

How to Solve the Overwhelm Problem

The key insight to overcome this problem is that you don't need to have all the answers before you get started.

​Don't keep eating junk food just because you haven't figured out the perfect diet plan yet.

Stop worrying about the perfect, performance-optimized training plan. Just make sure you get some movement.

The same is true for building a business. Start with what you know. Start making progress and don't allow yourself to be paralyzed by all the details you don't know yet.

Reason 2: Sticking With It is Hard​

Eating healthy and moving more. It's simple in theory, but difficult to stick with, in practice.

Eating healthy is less convenient than eating junk food. Moving takes more effort than couch potatoing.

It's always easier to fall back into lazy habits. It's always tempting to skip a workout.

Just because something's simple, doesn't mean it can't be hard.

And the same is true for wannabe entrepreneurs. Most of them fail not because they didn't know what to do, but because they didn't follow through on doing it.

Keep hustling, even if your strategy is imperfect and you don't know what you're doing yet. It will pay off eventually. In fact, you have to keep hustling to become a better entrepreneur. It's the only way to build the skills you need and arrive at the right strategy.

How to Solve the Lack of Follow-Through Problem

There are 2 things you need to do, to solve this problem.

The first is to create an environment that works in your favor. Positive habits are massively easier to stick to in the right environment.

How can you create the right environment? Place a reminder of your entrepreneurial goals where you can see it every day. Get rid of things that distract you the most. Create or go to a space dedicated to working on your business. Meet up with other entrepreneurs and find find an accountability partner.

The second thing is to apply discipline. There's no special trick to this. Discipline only comes into play in the moments where you'd rather do something else. Those are the moments when you have to break with your old habits and do better. Get used to doing what needs to be done, even when you don't feel like it.

Start Doing

If you're reading this, you probably aren't totally new to the world of entrepreneurship. You've probably been reading and thinking about this for some time already.

I've got good news for you: you already know everything you need to know to get started.

Instead of trying to learn more, to devise the perfect strategy, start doing more. Gain more experience, so that you can build the perfect strategy over time.​ You'll never learn the right thing to do just from reading and research. The only way to arrive at the business strategy that works for you, the strategy that ends up making you money, is by combining your own experience with what you read and learn about.

In case you've been waiting for permission, consider this official: you have permission to get started now. Go for it!​

Shane's Signature

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • That’s a great post. I think people fall into the what do I need to do? How do I need to do it? Is this right? Mindset. I was actually just thinking about how working out is similar to internet marketing with you should lift this way to this cardio workout. It’s all about working hard you said and things will fall into place.

    • Yes, it’s kind of a balancing act: While you do need information on how to do things properly, applying that information is actually more important. And it’s easy to get caught up in just reading about thing, getting new info, new products etc. but never really doing much.

  • Thank you, Shane. Will try harder!

  • That’s exactly where I’ve been stuck for a long time. I read and read (and even buy books and courses)… but applying and doing it has been in small attempts here and there.

    • This is very common for entrepreneurs, unfortunately. I hope this is a good reminder to give yourself a nudge and go do it.

      In my experience, a good balance is something like 20% learning and 80% doing.

  • Brilliant analogy Shane, and so true! So many different ways of reaching the same goal, it’s easy to procrastinate on finding the perfect thing rather than DOING something! (I’m still not going to the gym, though!)

    • Thank you for your comment, Jane! I’m glad you found this post inspiring.

      And yeah, you don’t have to go to the gym to make use of the lesson, here. :D

  • Very true Shane: like with golf as an entrepreneur you are playing against yourself. Some call it the inner game. Because the only one and the only thing which is standing in your way to success is you. And imho you need focus and trust: focus to follow through until completion and trust that you are on the right path and that your path is worth pursuing.

    • Yes, I agree that the inner game matters a lot for entrepreneurs. It’s something that has become clearer to me, lately. You can’t separate an entrepreneur’s business growth from his personal development, his mental fortitude and such qualities.

  • Great post, Shane.

    It’s all about my person. I don’t make money from blog because I want to know more and more. I always think that I don’t know enough.

    Thak you for your reminder!

    I will try to improve.

    • Thanks for your comment, Nick!

      The feeling that you don’t know enough is a very common one. Impostor syndrome, as it’s often called. You really have to learn to get over that feeling, so you can start bringing your value to the world.

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