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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 January 2, 2019

    How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

    How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

    Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

    Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

    Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

    This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

    Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

    What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

    Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

    When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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    How It Leads to Financial Improvement

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

    Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

    Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

    It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

    Types of Personal Finance Software

    When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

    Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

    For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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    Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

    When to Use Personal Finance Software

    So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

    Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

    1. You Have Multiple Accounts

    There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

    If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

    Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

    2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

    Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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    There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

    With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

    3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

    Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

    Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

    Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

    4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

    Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

    You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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    How to Get Started

    From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

    Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

    It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

    When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

    Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

    Final Thoughts

    Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

    In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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