This article is about why it’s okay to be average.
It isn’t a trick article either. Sometimes it’s better to under-perform than to get too ambitious or try too many things at once.
In 2015 I was offered a position as the lead copywriter for a seven-figure project.
Over lunch I was pitched the product and sales strategy.
The client had never run a business before and was selling jewelry (for about $50 per piece).
They wanted to market themselves by building a concept store, hosting expos around the world, and doing other grandiose events.
To make matters worse, the client hadn’t even sold a single piece of jewelry yet and had done zero testing to see if the product would do well. They wanted to gamble millions of dollars on something that was completely unproven.
After lunch I thanked them for the offer but politely declined the position. I suspected their plan would flop. And, unfortunately, I was right.
A project that could have been done for peanuts (there are housewives who run jewelry businesses in their free time) ended up costing a small fortune and becoming a huge clusterf*ck because the person in charge was doing too much at one time.
Sadly, I’ve witnessed this type of event numerous times. Someone gets excited to run a business, they get carried away, and pretty soon they’re left with nothing but frustration.
Because of this, I wanted to share a few tips on how you can build a “boring” business that makes pretty good money.
Make Your Business As Basic As Possible
Your business should be as simple as possible. The less stuff you have to do, the easier it is to make money.
If you’re smart (which you are) you can start a business for less than $10 and be turning a profit within days (or even hours sometimes).
A lot of lucrative ventures have zero initial time investment. You can make an ad or talk to the right person, and have your business off the ground right away.
To give yo an example of this, I have a little side hustle where I charge $25 to read someone’s sales letter and give them a few suggestions on how they can improve it. This whole process takes me about 10 – 15 minutes total (I usually read short copy like emails or flyers) and gives the client with a lot of useful feedback (if you’re selling a product for hundreds or thousand of dollars, spending $25 is no big deal).
There are all kinds of other profitable but unremarkable ways to make money like this. They have zero risk, zero time investment, and are pretty easy to get into.
Off the top of my head, here are three super simple businesses you could do right now:
- Buy an expensive book and rent it out for $5 per day (I do this with my copy of Breakthrough Advertising)
- Go to the library, read 10 “how to” books on a subject and take notes. Sell your notes/summary for $1 – $2 per report (Boardroom, Inc. has made billions doing something similar to this)
- Take something that you’re already skilled at and do freelancing for one hour a day (Example: if you’re a computer programmer, do some coding on the side after work)
None of these things are mind-blowing, but they’ll put money in your pocket and give you some great business experience.
A Really Easy Way To Drive Traffic To Your Site
(By giving away a free eBook I was able to double my site’s readership)
If you’re looking to boost your site’s readership, and sales, there’s a very simple way to do so.
Write a short book and give it away for free. When I started 30 Days To X, I had no clue how I could get readers. While I didn’t know much about running a website, I did know that a lot of blogs has some sort of free eBook that they offered their visitors.
(Free eBook I made for this site)
I ended up going to Walmart, buying about $15 worth of vegetables, and then writing a little recipe book about all the different juices that I made with them.
After this I formatted everything as a PDF, put it on my site, and then posted “Free Juicing Ebook” (and a link) to various forums.
If you have a website and are struggling to get traffic, go write up a short eBook. It doesn’t have to be anything long or complex either, even something like a 1,500 word “special report on ” will often work.
No Mailing List? No Problem!
In general, most websites only have a free eBook If they are trying to get someone to join their mailing list.
When you go to their site, you have to exchange your email address for a copy of their free book. While this is fine, you can still offer a free eBook even if you don’t have a mailing list or opt-in.
Lots of websites simply don’t need a mailing list. For example, if you sold home ice cream makers through Amazon Affiliates, you probably aren’t going to have a newsletter. However, you can still benefit from having a free eBook or special report.
Use your book to provide useful content that the reader can benefit from, and then tie that information back to what you’re selling. This way your site gets free traffic and you turn a profit as well.
How A “Dud” Venture Can Still Make Money
Most guys spend their weekends watching Netflix, getting drunk, and playing video games. Yet when it comes to starting a website or building a business they’ll fret over whether or not their idea is “a waste of time.”
If you try something and you learn from it, you’ve invested you time wisely.
When I started 30 Days To X, I knew nothing about sales, marketing, copywriting, or even how to find a product to sell. I was 19 and had zero business experience at all.
While my first year of writing this site wasn’t profitable (I earned less than $1,000 total) here are some things I learned to do:
- Buy a domain name
- Choose a web hosting package
- Write blog posts that ranked well in Google
- Review books and products
- Set up an Amazon Affiliates account
- Write an eBook
- Hyperlink webpages
- Pick a website theme
- Build up readership
- Make a site run on mobile devices like iPads and smartphones
Even though these things weren’t profitable for my own site, I was able to take the things I learned and make money with them elsewhere. I wrote blog posts for other people, helped do web design for local businesses, and even had a little consulting business.
You can always use what you learn to make money. In a worst case scenario you could post a Craigslist ad saying “For $25 I Will Make Your Site Mobile Friendly” or “For $10 I Will Help You Pick A Memorable Domain Name For Your Business.”
Learning a new skill will always open up great opportunities for you.
(Fun fact: I wrote this entire article on my phone while I was sitting in the park)
You don’t have to do anything fancy to run a successful business. There are plenty of straightforward ways to make money quickly and easily. If you’re willing to do a little thinking, you can easily come up with some fantastic ventures.
Lastly, as long as you try something and learn from it, you’ve succeeded. Just by taking that first step you’re ahead of 90% of the population. Even if things don’t pan out exactly as you wanted, you’ll still get valuable experience.
And you can always take what you’ve discovered and use it to create something even more profitable.
P.S. A mediocre job that gets done is better than good intentions never implemented. Case in point: I wrote this article in one draft on my phone and posted “as is” (spelling mistakes and all). Over a thousand people have already read and enjoyed it.