Blogging is Hard, Selling is Easy? – IMP#010

February 3, 2013 , 37 Comments

In this podcast episode, Paul and I address a really important issue, facing anyone who starts an online business.

If you’ve ever felt like getting enough traffic, enough attention and enough customers is an insurmountable task, then you need to listen to this. And if you are ever afraid to pursue a business idea because you think it’s too difficult for you, or if you are looking for easier options because you’re overwhelmed, you need to listen to this.

We all face these problems and fears. And as is often the case, the truth happens to be very counter-intuitive.

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Podcast Audio

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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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  • great podcast! I totally agree with all of your sentiments. It’s funny but the three people I trust the most marketing which includes Mark Thompson have all advised product creation and list building/lead generation!

    Even if you start out with five dollar or seven dollar products I believe the experiences will make this easier and you can create larger and better products. Shane, Backlink Battleplan enabled me to make my first money online after failing for three years! I have now shifted my thinking away from Google adsense and doing product creation instead! I have a whole bunch of new skills to learn. That makes me excited. Your podcast couldn’t have been more timely.

    • If you implemented BBP to the point where you got results, I don’t doubt that you’ll also be successful with selling your own products. Especially these days, I think it’s easier to learn the skills you need to sell your own product than it is to learn how to get stuff ranked in Google…

  • Soooooo glad your email said “It’s longer than two minutes, which means that many, many of the people receiving this email will not take the time to watch it or listen to it.

    Don’t be one of those people.”

    This motivated me to grab a cup of tea and plan to stay for the entire thing.

    Was this an interesting discussion? Yes. But so much more than that. Pure GOLD in here for sure. Thanks for the insights, guys.

    • Thank you, Cathy! I’m glad you can confirm that this is worth investing a little time in to. :)

    • Hmm… it should be right there, on the left hand side of the page. On a smaller screen it might not be visible, though.

  • Hi Shane/Paul,

    With the exception of blacked out car windows and loud bass, I think the advice in your podcast is spot on :o)

    It’s really sad that this type of advice is so rare in the IM space. Most newbies won’t be lucky enough to uncover this type of advice, and wil instead bounce from bad advice to bad advice, before eventually giving up completely frustrated :o(

    It’s nice to see that more IMers like you two, and Mark Thompson are starting to be heard. Continue the good work!

    Cheers, Gary.

    • Hi Gary,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I think the problem is that this kind of information isn’t very “sexy”. We talk about working hard, failing, facing fear, building skills…

      It will always be easier to get people’s attention by saying something like “I know this amazing secret that will make you successful in no time!”

      But then again, we aren’t trying to appeal to everyone or even get the message out to everyone. Just the right people.

  • thanks for this y’all! It’s fittingly my theme for this week’s work. My site is slowly climbing the rankings and I’m expecting that I’ll make a sale or two over the next two weeks.

    But there’s this little voice of fear telling me that it wouldn’t work and no business will want to work with me. Must be because of my many failures in internet marketing over the last year.

    The trepidation can be paralysing at times huh.

    So I’m going to think about this conversation over the next two weeks, pick up the phone and go close some sales! :)

    • I like to hear that!

      Make sure you set small, achievable goals and celebrate your small victories along the way!

      I’m sure there are many businesses out there that suck, compared to yours, but are still profitable. Go save those poor customers/clients from those crappy businesses, by making them yours.

      • haha “many businesses out there that suck”. How true though.

        Sometimes I see some people create crappy products and services just for the sake of making money off their customers and I get so annoyed because they still make tons of money- and I’m pretty sure I can do a better job out of it.

        THANKS for the encouragement Shane!

  • They say timing is everything. Recently my mind has been hyper-active. I have dabbled with Adsense and made a few dollars there. I have been on Squidoo and made a few dollars there also. I am still on iWriter and make some money there. Sadly I have also blogged some fantastic content and had amazing comments. I have also sold some Amazon kindle books.

    You could say I have dabbled in everything and yes I have bought a lot of products as well. The classic try everything and actually stop even when something was working. The problem I had was trying to compete in a very large pond with a lot of experienced fisher men. It just wears you down. The experienced fishermen are all telling you to fish in different places as well.

    I have also been thinking really hard about just producing a product to sell and no free stuff. That was a lesson I learned in off line world. People perceive free as useless crap. Yes, even when it isn’t.

    I moved tact and built one site to sell a couple of products. I have made more from that site in 2 months than I have made for the last 3 years. I also cocked up and didn’t have a list. (Now fixed)

    I am now building another site along similar lines and after 1 week it is on Page 3 of Google. My first site ranked on Google on Page 1 in 3 weeks.

    Two reasons I think. I went to a smaller pond, with better bait and less experienced fishermen. (less advice as well)

    Your conversation has just reinforced what I eventually worked out. Strange thing is, it is actually enjoyable, because I am doing what I love now, and not being that concerned what people think of my posts.

    For that matter I am even less concerned about SEO and all that back linking stuff that I hate.

    If you two guys chat again, please allow me to listen in and thanks again.

    • Hi Enda,

      Thanks for your comment!

      It’s great to hear that your first attempts at selling your own product have gone so well for you. I wish you continued success with this model. :)

  • Hi Shane and Paul.
    Thanks for the inspirational podcast. I have been “Trying” to make money online for a few years now and I realize that I got off to a bad start, falling prey to hype-filled sales pages and the Shiny objects.

    After listening to the two of you and accessing my current position, I am understanding that at this point I have had so many failures that I find myself paralyzed by the fear of failing.

    Now that I have actionable plans of attack, I know that I must feel the fear and do it anyway. I am going to pick a plan of action and go for it with gusto. Since I need to make money as quickly as possible, that will be a major influence on my decision.

    Any advice on a good place to start will be well received.
    Thanks again.


    • Thanks, Bill!

      If you need emergency money, trade your time for money. Offer some sort of service, to pay the bills.

      A good place to start is anywhere where you already have some skills and can provide something highly valuable to a very specific group of people.

  • The lighting along with video and audio quality from Paul was exceptional.

  • Shane/Paul

    this is the 1st podcast i have watched & its inspiring to actually listen to straight talking guys, no BS lots of sensible common sense advice & I shall definetly keep an eye out for you, thanks.

    Oh BTW I acknowledge free content but accept lots of potential clients don’t understand the concept: give your best stuff away for free!


    • Thank you for your comment, Michael!

      I don’t quite agree with the “give your best stuff away” principle. I know it’s a widely recommended one in marketing, but I think it’s not quite on target.

      “Don’t hold back with your free products!” – yes.
      “Give some of your most impressive stuff away!” – yes, if it’s small and easily consumable.
      “Give your best stuff away!” – no. For many businesses, that would mean giving away their main product, which would severely impact their revenue, which would lead to the demise of said product, as it could no longer be sustained and paid for.

      Sorry if that’s being nit-picky. I can’t help myself. :)

  • Hi Shane, this was another great podcast, I totally agree with the product creation thing, I love how Paul says even if you only sell a few at first, that’s ok, that’s still a success. And then Shane’s comment that you only get better and better at it, so keep going. I think many IM newbies hear “get rich quick” stories and don’t realise that endurance will pay off with a master plan, sales funnel, website/blog, list etc. They think “get rich quick – or you’re not gonna make any money”, but in fact, that’s not correct. I also loved the comment that the harder the goal, the less comp, I don’t know that i’d say it’s easier tho…. :/
    :) Kate

    • Thanks, Kate!

      You’re right, “easy” is probably not the right word, when it comes to having more and more ambitious goals. I can’t quite describe it, but it may be something like this: the work is equally hard, but your chances of success are better.

      I wouldn’t bet on myself to be able to create a top blog in any niche, no matter how hard I would work on it.
      But creating a top product in a niche? Still a lot of work, but I fancy my chances of achieving that goal.

  • Hey Shane,

    I listened to your Podcast and really was totally blown away. Not the first time, bth with your material and products, but this time I wanted to respond to it.

    Sometimes as you referred to in your podcast, certain people or marketeers
    have a unique style or approach… which “stick” and ad value to the reader, or consumer.

    I also took careful note of how you instructed us that it is much easier to gain that loyal fan thru creating a paid product vs. creating some extraordinary blog post.

    I also could relate to how you guys have failed miserable before, yet kept the success metric separate from the result of what you were trying to accomplish. In other words, or the way I interpret it, just because you may not accomplish exactly what you set out to do the very first time, it’s important to realize by making a step toward your goal can be a just as much as a success.

    As a consumer of your product, Hybrid Connect, I could immediately related to how much more beautiful and extraordinary your product was compared to the competition.

    Which leads me back to what I was saying earlier that about creating products and or any content which will attract attention and loyal fans. You guys do it for me. Your style and approach to IM is second to none, and the effort and perfection you put into what you sell and share is extraordinary. Thanks so much for your valuable insights and experiences.

    • Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment, Mike!

      The bit about success metrics wasn’t really planned for the podcast, but I’m glad it came up. How you choose your goals and how you measure your success can make such a massive difference and it’s something I’ve experienced very intimately in my own life. I used to be depressed all the time, because I felt like a failure. Really, it was mostly about how I chose to measure my success and not so much about what I was actually doing and achieving.

  • Hi Guys,
    Great video, and good input. Lots of small and medium business owners just don’t see the value of all this content on a blog, so they are stuck with AdWords – perhaps Google’s masterplan? To them it’s a cost trade off – content + slow vs PPC + fast(er).

    As an aside as new user of Hybrid Connect, I wished there was a way for it to sign up people to a list without leaving the page they are on.

    I was watching your video, the popup came up, I signed up even though I wanted to stay on the page.

    • Thanks for your comment, Henk!

      I know what you mean about staying on the page. From the user perspective, this seems like a desirable option. From the website owner’s perspective, it is not, though.
      When someone subscribes to your list, you want them to drop everything they do, go to their inbox and confirm their subscription.
      Also, you want to send them to a custom landing page, where you have a chance to personally introduce yourself and make a good impression. The most important first step in any email marketing campaign is to make sure that you and your email is recognized when it hits the inbox of the subscriber.

      If you keep people on the page, some of them will inevitably have forgotten about the subscription by the time they go back to their inbox and you’ll get the dreaded “who is that and why are they sending me email?” reaction.

  • Norman Holden says:

    I felt your “advice” was rather difficult to grasp.

    This is the podcast title : “Blogging is Hard, Selling is Easy”

    I think it would be a little more accurate if it was titled:

    “Blogging is Hard, Selling Your own Product is Easy”

    You gave the impression that you can start with some “simple
    little product” as if that in itself is “simple” when in fact
    it certainly is not.

    You seem to imply that as long as you are willing to keep at it
    then sooner or later you are going to become successful – in my
    own experience that is a load of “meadow mayonaise”.

    You did mention on a couple of occasions that some degree of
    “expertise” will have to be added to the mix but not once did
    you bother to point out that not all are going to have that
    necessary degree of expertise.

    “Selling is Easy” — do you consider that encompasses selling
    products as an affiliate? If not , why not?

    Worth listening to but too many “platitudes” and not enough
    practical advice .

    Cheers ,

    Norman Holden

    • Hi Norman,

      How come you believe that creating a small product is not simple?
      I don’t see any reason why someone who managed to learn how to build a website and write content for it could not manage to learn how to create and sell a product.

      Basically, you can use Google to find various instructions as well as free or cheap systems and services to set everything up.

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. As it stands, you say I imply it’s simple, without going into further detail. You, on the other hand, imply that it’s difficult, also without further explanation.

      But here’s the important part:
      “You seem to imply that as long as you are willing to keep at it then sooner or later you are going to become successful.”

      No, I am not implying that. I am making a very explicit statement about that.

      Specifically, I am making the statement that if you keep practicing and honing certain skills, you will inevitably get better at them. If you choose skills that are a business asset, then you will eventually become successful.

      There’s a big difference between “keeping at it” and honing very specific skills.

      As it relates to IM, to my knowledge, there are many people who have been keeping at it for years, without results. If you talk to them, they will tell you how they’ve tried everything and are coming to the conclusion that A) everything’s a scam or B) life is unfair towards them.
      But if you ask them to show you their assets, they will almost inevitably come up short.
      They may have bought dozens of different courses, created a handful of AdSense sites, a handful of Squidoo lenses, a handful of blog posts, a couple twitter accounts, tried their hand with a few banner ads, bought a few solo ads,…

      They have a collection, but no skills and no assets.

      So, I want to be very clear about this: do not just “keep at it”. Pick skills, then hone those skills through deliberate practice, repetition and pushing yourself past your comfort zone. This is what I call The Grind.

      Here’s an example:
      Let’s say I choose web design as my first skill. I immerse myself in it. I read books about design. I study and collect examples of great web design. And most importantly, above all else, I design. Each and every day, for hours. Even if I have no clients and make no money from it, I work on my design skills.

      At some point, I’m pretty good at it. But no one’s buying my service. I have a marketing problem.
      I keep working on my design skill, but now I choose a marketing skill, to add to that. Maybe online networking. Maybe some copywriting, to make my website effective, as well as pretty.

      Again, I beat on this craft until I get significantly better at it. I learn how to attract clients (and I read books about it, practice and test what I learn, etc.). Now, I have more work than I can handle. I want to grow my company. I need to learn how to find, hire and manage great people to work for me. That’s my next skill and I focus on it, learn about it etc.

      That’s what The Grind is about. Every time I hit a new obstacle, I have to start with a skill, from zero. And that’s tough. But I keep up my deliberate, daily practice until I see results.

      Which brings me to this:
      “You did mention on a couple of occasions that some degree of
      “expertise” will have to be added to the mix but not once did
      you bother to point out that not all are going to have that
      necessary degree of expertise.”

      No one has a necessary degree of expertise in anything, when they’re born.
      “I’m not an expert at this” or “I’m no good at this” is not a valid excuse for an entrepreneur. If you’re not good at a skill that’s vital for your business to grow, either get good at it or hire someone who’s good at it.

      Finally, in my experience “selling is easy” only applies to selling your own product and to some degree also to running an ecommerce business, where you resell stuff from a distributor (who is inaccessible to the end-consumer).
      The same “attention hack” we talked about just doesn’t work if you’re the affiliate and not the vendor, because if you promote something as an affiliate, what you’re doing is providing this “attention hack” for the vendor and his product.

      Ask any vendor who’s also an affiliate what conversion rates they get on their own products vs. what conversion rates they get when they do an affiliate promo. The results are usually very strongly skewed towards selling own products.

  • Oh I smiled when I heard you guys talking about dating :)
    You need to pop over and read some of my posts haha
    Good content, guys.
    Despite my own marketing background, from personal website point of view, Optins and sales have have been dismal, to say the least.
    Your words were, if nothing else, encouraging and honest. Always good to listen to people who’ve experienced the same downsides and give the ray of sunshine when needed most.

    Kudos and love ya work!

  • Shane thanks for the mention.. I was wondering where the signups were coming from ;)

    This podcast should be compulsory listening for anyone in IM, you make some excellent points.

    • Thanks, Mark! I enjoyed your report and I think there needs to be more awareness about how much value you can give and get on a small scale.

  • Shane, Paul

    Great content that really resonated…

    Over the last 6-12 months I’ve switched to becoming very good at ‘launching’… doing what I can to get stuff to market fast… not crap stuff, but stuff that is better than what others in my niche are producing… just getting it out there means I have made more money, but also created greater demand for my services to partner with people to help them launch too.

    BTW Your post was recommended to me by Mark T…

    • Getting a first version out there is key, I agree completely. That’s also something I had to learn, because I tend towards being a perfectionist and spending too much time refining, adding, building etc.

  • Great podcast guys and well worth the time to listen in.

    Like you say Shane, this stuff is not sexy and people don’t want to hear it, but they need to.

    Ian McConnell
    Western Australia

  • Hey guy’s,
    Thank you for this podcast, until now I am learning from each one of the mails you are sending me.
    I am far away yet from making money on the internet (very far) and yet I feel I am closer every day to reach my goal.
    I have started against all odds this project of mine, not because I wanted it but because life brought me to this. I was a marketing director and sales person all my life until the resection hit on me too and found myself unemployed in a situation where I am about to become a father (for the first time at the 40’s) and at an age that it becomes harder to get a job (when you have younger guys with more knowledge then me in this internet field that become so important to all companies).
    Starting to work for peanuts or invest in me and my family future was my dilemma.
    Well, the decision was taken and for the last 2 years I am working on my project: creating my own business.
    First I needed to take the time and see “what will be my business?” so the first year was all invested on checking variety of possibilities trying to find what I believed in and checking does it have a future. More than 5 business plans where made until I have chosen my project!
    I have decided to build up a new brand for personalized gifts on the internet with some unique business ideas that will make it new and unique (this is not the time nor place to mention what my (future) business will be unique with) but for sure I narrowed the competition on the “business idea”.
    All of it took me around of one year to study, analyze, and create the business plan and much more before even start moving on with it.
    For the last year I am working hard on learning “what do I need to make it work?”
    How to create the web site and what kind of web site it will be?
    What are the marketing possibilities? (Affiliate, drop shipping, importing /exporting Etc’)
    What shell I do once my web site will be launched? (All the marketing strategies I would use and more…)
    I have spent (invested) lots of money buying different courses and software and invested all my time on it.
    And the biggest problem I am facing – is my English!
    This is not my language and it takes me lots of time to try and understand all the courses and software’s I am buying.
    And you know what? I am still feeling so far from getting there it is sometimes frustrating but I am in no situation of giving up (especially after everything I have learned until now – I don’t want it to be unused ) .
    Your podcast really encourage me at a difficult moment so I want to thank you for it.
    I would also appreciate if you wouldn’t mind taking some time (not a lot) to try and assist me to make my dream come true by “personalize guide” me on what you can so I can benefit out from your experiences before I make some mistakes that could save me time and money, as the finance rope is really becoming stronger now that my first and new son I almost one year now. Even if you cannot I understand.
    Any way – I will keep my eyes on your e-mails and try to get the most out of them for sure.
    Thank you from my heart.

    • Great place, low living cost (means more money to invest into the business), beautiful women… what more could you ask for? :D

  • in my world, i knock on 10 doors, see 3 buyers, make 1 sale. but that is after i know what the heck i am talking about. i also learned that it takes 7 engagements/inter-actions with a potential before i made a sale.

    bottom line it takes work. but then again i thrived on the hunt and the kill/sale. Once the sale was made i re-engaged again.

    Good program i do enjoy your ideas.

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