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The #1 Reason Why Most Blogs and Businesses Fail (And The 3 Questions You Need to Answer to Save Yours)

The #1 Reason Why Most Blogs and Businesses Fail (And The 3 Questions You Need to Answer to Save Yours)


    You’ve got a blog, you’re working hard cranking out posts consistently, you have a developed social media strategy, a solid game plan, and you’re doing all the right things.

    Or so you think.

    Maybe around month 6, or month 12, or month 18 you just hit a wall. Things aren’t progressing as quickly as they should or your stuff doesn’t seem to be catching on. Facebook “likes” are roughly the same week after week, you aren’t getting many new twitter followers, and you start wondering if what you’re doing matters after all the work you’ve put in. You’ve been contemplating making a paid product but your intuition is telling you that it’d probably flop at this point and be a waste of time.

    You’re stuck.

    But you’re not ready to throw in the towel and call it quits yet – you’re taking some time off to re-analyze, re-focus, and re-vamp your strategy. Through my own failures and the advice of many others, I’ve learned that there is 1 major reason why many blogs and businesses fail. 

    The reason they fail is because we’re all told to start a blog or business about something we’re passionate about. Except we’re never told that what we’re passionate about isn’t what matters. It’s what our audience and clients are passionate about.

    So in case you’ve hit that wall, things aren’t going well, and you’re losing hope that you’ll ever make a living from what you’re doing, here are the 3 questions you need to answer to save your blog and business.

    1. What problem do you solve?

    “You must offer what your potential clients want to buy, not what you want to sell or think they should want to buy.  You must be able to look at your services from your client’s perspective – their urgent needs and compelling desires.” – Michael Port in Book Yourself Solid

    Many people blog about whatever interests them.  They pick their passion and just start writing about it.

    Think about that for a moment.

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    Most of you probably say, “Well yeah, duh…I talk about what I like talking about,” and keep reading without thinking any further.

    But ask yourself this: Is there proven interest in what I’m writing about? Is writing about your passion (your best interests) really the best thing to do, or is writing about your audience’s wants (their best interests) the best thing to write about? There’s a reason why blogs about daily life or just generic musings about life generally don’t grow large quickly, while blogs about blogging grow quickly.

    Why?

    The sad truth? No one cares very much about what I personally write about daily life.  I don’t solve anything.  But people who read blogs about blogging are looking for a solution to a problem.

    • How to get more traffic.
    • How to get more subscribers.
    • How to create a product.
    • How to make more money on the side.

    And what you think your audience wants is rarely what your audience actually wants. If you can’t immediately, intuitively say “my blog solves xxx problem” you’re in a bad position.

    How to fix it: Sit down and write down the top 3 problems you think  your audience has.

    Now sit down and use the following 2 methods to figure out what your audience actually wants:

    • Look what’s popular around you. Products/services/niches that have proven demand are usually found all over the internet. What comes to mind? Weight loss, blogging, making money online. These topics are ubiquitous so you know they are in demand.
    • Ask using 3 tactics. Assuming you already have your blog going for a period of several months, employ the following 3 tactics to get more information about your audience:
    1. Provide two parts to your opt-in email response.  If you have some sort of offer you give for subscribing (an ebook, free course, etc.) use part 1 to say “here’s your free course” and use part 2 of the email to start a conversation. In the second part of your email write: “Wait, before you go, respond to this email and tell me your biggest problem or struggle right now.” The second part was a blogging tactic I learned from a friend, and immediately after I applied it began receiving dozens of personal “I need help with xxx” type responses. Free market research.
    2. Directly reach out to new readers. Have comments from people you haven’t seen around before? Send them an email saying thanks for stopping by and asking if they need help with any current struggles.
    3. Free Consultation via skype. Directly reach out to your list and offer them the opportunity to have a 15 minute skype conversation with you.  It’s a great way to connect with readers more and also figure out their struggles.

    So what are your audience’s problems? If you’re a blogger those may be: getting more traffic, getting more engagement (return visitors), and developing a product that sells well. If you write about health and fitness your audience’s top problems may be fat loss & muscle gain. If you write small biz information, your audience’s main problems might be figuring out how to find good business ideas to turn into a business, finding more clients, and getting the word out about your services. If your niche isn’t so clear cut – self help for example – you should still talk to your audience because self help is a huge category and your audience definitely will have trends regarding their problems.

    Remember that the problem is not always what you think it is. You need to empirically research your audience’s needs, and not guess.

    The truth is that if you’re not fixing a specific problem or set of problems, it’s going to be much harder for your audience to figure out what’s going on with your blog. And it will be much harder for you to get paid for the work you do.

    So…what problem do you solve for your audience?

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    The answer should immediately and intuitively come to mind — if it doesn’t, you have thinking to do.

    2. Determine the biggest result your audience/clients get 

    “What is the number one result you help your clients achieve or get?”

    So let’s say you’ve got your blog/business. If you can’t immediately say “my blog answers x problem” you are in for a rough trip. The purpose and function of your blog (and the problem it solves) should be instantly present in your mind. If you’re stuck thinking, “Well, it might be A, or it might be B, it’s kind of a hybrid, I’m not quite sure yet,” then you’re going down the wrong track.

    The biggest result you give your clients (your audience) should also be clear as day.

    • I help blogs get more traffic.
    • I help people lose fat.
    • I help cubicle slaves get clients for their own biz so they can quit their day job.

    Clear as day, straightforward and easy to share at a cocktail party in 3 seconds.

    If you can’t specifically say what benefit people get come from coming to your blog, from reading and digesting your content, you’re in trouble.

    How to fix it: Your audience’s problem should be obvious, and so should the solution you provide.

    In fact, these are the two most important factors in developing a successful business.  If you don’t solve a problem, and you can’t specifically say what benefit your clients/audience will achieve, why would people stick around?

    Sure you can get people that stick around for fun, or because they enjoy your writing, or because you talk about lofty aspirations, but the majority of people are searching for a solution to a specific problem or ailment.

    Provide specific results for a specific problem and your blog will thrive.

    3. How good of an investment is your product/service/content?

    “Do potential clients within your target market see your services and products as opportunities that will give them a significant return on their investment? Clients should get a return of at least 20 times their investment. “ -Michael Port

    When people compare online products to offline ones, they sometimes comment on how a $50 ebook is a huge ripoff. Or how a $120 affiliate marketing course is such a scam.

    But are they really? What if you pay $120 for an affiliate marketing course, and then spend 6 months setting up a couple mini sites?

    Let’s say after 6 months of work, 1 site brings in $300/month. After a year of income ($3600) your $120 was just returned 30x. That’s a good financial investment.

    Or, what if you spend $100 on a class on getting more clients?

    Within a month you have your first client paying you $100 an hour, once a week, every week. The next month you add on another client. The third month you add on a third client. With the addition of your third client, you’re making $300 a week, or $1200 a month.

    And it all started with a $100 product or mini course.

    That’s a good financial investment.  But your audience needs to know that. So you honestly need to ask yourself how much of a return will your audience get from what you give, and how tangible it is.

    The sad truth is that the less tangible your return is (e.g. “happiness” “peace of mind” etc.) the harder it will be for your audience to find a reason to pay you product-wise.

    Happiness is obviously important, but in terms of having people pay you, it’s much more intangible and thus hard to quantify and guarantee, and so is the return for your audience. The easiest way to turn something intangible into something with a clear reward is…. You guessed it, make it tangible, or make the intangible benefits a side-benefit.

    So instead of offering “peace of mind” “feeling like your time is worthwhile” or the like, you might say, “find your passion and turn it into a business that pays you.”

    The physical return you can guarantee? Money.

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    Other returns? Happiness, meaningful work, peace of mind.

    You need to be totally clear about what result your audience / clients get, and even if you’re dealing with a somewhat intangible niche you can make it physical and the returns very real and easy to quantify.

    How to fix it: If your service or product isn’t a worthwhile investment, people won’t come back.

    People will be very hesitant to fork out money for your product or service offered unless they are sure that the investment they put in will return many times over.

    And they will have a hard time forking over money for a product or service where they can’t quit measure what they’ll get out of it.

    The problem with intangible rewards like “happiness” or “peace of mind” is that it’s hard to estimate the return on them because they are intangibles.

    The solution is to use those as side-benefits, and instead make the main benefits more tangible.

    You need to mention that your “get more clients” course is both a smart financial return (“$1000 in 6 months guarantee”) and a smart emotional return (“quit your day job to do work you love”).

    So…can you prove that your product or service or blog content is a good investment for people? How?

    Having immediate, clear answers to these 3 questions will already set you ahead of most bloggers that aimlessly shoot for dreams of financial independence.

    And if/when that day comes where you’re about to throw in the towel: make a cup of tea, sit down, and ask yourself these two questions:

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    1. What problem does my audience have?
    2. What specific result or solution can I provide to fix that problem?

    Turn your only focus into helping your audience and clients achieve what they want, and you’ll find a much clearer, less messy road to success.

    (Photo credit: Desperate Businessperson via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

    The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

    Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

    Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

    Identifying All of Your Debts

    The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

    Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

    1. Own Your Debt

    Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

    Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

    2. Make a Debt Tracker

    It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

    Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

    3. Get Your Debt Number

    Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

    Prioritizing Your Debts

    All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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    1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

    Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

    There are three main types of bad debt:

    • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
    • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
    • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

    Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

    • Student Loan Debt
    • Mortgage Loan
    • Business Loans

    2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

    Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

    Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

    If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

    3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

    Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

    Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

    Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

    1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

    “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

    It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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    Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

    Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

    2. Hide Your Credit Cards

    If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

    Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

    3. Automate Everything

    Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

    4. Plan Ahead

    Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

    For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

    5. Live Cheaply

    The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

    • Live with roommates
    • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
    • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
    • Take public transit or bike to work

    Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

    The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

    If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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    1. Maintain a High Credit Score

    Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

    • Never miss a payment
    • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
    • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
    • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
    • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

    2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

    Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

    Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

    If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

    How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

    Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

    1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

    Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

    Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

    2. Earn More Money

    There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

    Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

    Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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    Talk to Your Boss

    Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

    Start a Side Hustle

    This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

    Build an Online Business

    There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

    3. Celebrate Your Wins

    As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

    While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

    4. Set New Financial Goals

    Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

    Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

    These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

    Conclusion

    Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

    Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

    More Tips on Getting out of Debt

    Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

    Reference

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