Your online business is a bridge from your life as you have it to your life as you see it.
In your new life, you might have the time and the money to do EXACTLY what you want when you want.
Or you no longer have to read the menu in a restaurant from right to left.
Or you no longer have to check the price tag before deciding if you have enough room on your credit card to buy something.
Or your assets will finally grow beyond the pizza coupons.
But that will be then.
For now, you are overwhelmed, underpaid, and just don't get why your busy-ness in your business hasn't gotten you any closer to the life you wish you had.
And you are not alone.
Popularity Doesn't Translate into Cash
I was recently reminded in no uncertain terms that, despite Traffic Generation Café popularity, it barely makes enough money to pay for groceries.
Apparently, I should just join Empower Network and my financial goals will take care of themselves (these comments come from the post I just linked to).
In many ways, they are right.
With my kind of traffic, I should be able to live comfortably off the income, right?
And you've been in business long enough to make more than a couple of hundred dollars here and there.
And everyone else in your niche seems to be making money, so what's wrong with you?
Truth is: we all have our own demons to conquer.
It's just not always easy to figure out the WHYs, so that we can get down to the HOWs and fix them.
I'll Tell You Mine; You Tell Me Yours
So, why isn't Traffic Generation Café not making as much money as it should?
Let's take a look at my income model for a second.
Over the last couple of years since I founded Traffic Generation Café, I've dabble in a few possible income streams, including:
- network marketing (yes, that's how I started online);
- banner advertising;
- odds and ends like writing sponsored reviews, freelancing for other blogs, etc;
- and, of course, affiliate marketing.
The one thing that I've never tried to make money with is launching my own products.
However, the mere concept of spending hours, days, weeks putting together a product that might be outdated by the time it's actually released or be a complete flop makes me cringe.
I know, I know – we can't succeed if we don't try.
But I don't want to try.
If I am going to stay up all night working on my business, shouldn't it be at least somewhat enjoyable?
So, launching my own products is off my income list, no matter how profitable it could be.
However, I LOVE to promote killer products that other marketers spend endless hours, and sweat, blood, and tears creating.
I LOVE affiliate marketing.
Food for thought: assuming that you can have your pick of how to make money with your business (and you DO, by the way – it's YOUR business), what would be your top choice?
What Makes Affiliate Marketing Work?
Now that you and I know how we really want to make money with our businesses, it's time to figure out what we need to do to make it work.
To be a successful affiliate marketer, I need:
- the right products to promote;
- the right people to promote them to;
- the reason people should buy those products from ME and not someone else.
I think that about covers it.
Food for thought: what are the right ingredients you need to start making money from your preferred income stream?
Why Isn't It Working for Me?
Out of the three conditions of successful affiliate marketing I mentioned above, the lack of “the right products to promote” definitely stands out to me.
In the past two and a half years, I wrote only about 8 product reviews total.
Yes, I list all the tools I use and trust in my lil' black book.
Yes, I mention products in my posts as I see appropriate.
But it's not enough.
Why don't I have more products to promote?
- I don't promote anything I don't test/use first.
- Testing takes time; a LOT of time.
- If I only have 3-4 hours per day to work on my business, and it takes me about 8 hours to write a blog post, and I publish 3 posts per week, plus do some guest blogging… you do the math. It just doesn't add up.
- I really don't believe we need that many tools to run a successful online business. Just a few core things I mention in my rolodex.
- There's too much junk out there to sift through to find a few pearls.
So yes, I've got plenty of obstacles/excuses that keep me from finding and offering more worthy products that would make it much easier for my readers to run their business more successfully and efficiently.
Food for thought: what are the main things that you think keep you from making more money?
Working on All the Wrong Things
The only logical step here is this:
You/I need to decide whether you/I:
1. Continue running our businesses as hobbies, keeping ourselves “busy” doing things that have no direct impact on the eventual success of it?
2. Do we figure out how to overcome whatever it is that's keeping us from making money?
3. We might as well quit now and forever hold our peace (and stop whining about it).
Now that it's spelled out in black and white right in front of me, it seems to be laughable that I thought I had excuses for not making much money.
You Told Me Yours
Let's step back for a second.
Why am I writing this post?
I know your reaction might be “Well, if SHE can't make it with all this traffic and popularity, then how on earth would I?”
But see, the point is that the road gets bumpy for all of us.
It just does.
It's what you do with those bumps will make or break you and your business.
By the way, I asked for your “not making money” stories on my Facebook page, and got a couple of links for you here:
- Lots of users but no money (Informly January stats report) – inform.ly
- Not Doing Too Good Lately… – ivinviljoen.net
- I’m Becoming very Lazy – topbloggingcoach.com
Again – not to discourage you.
Let your readers pat you on the back.
Then move on.
So if you want to be in the loop or even be mentioned at TGC, make sure to give my FB page a like and follow my updates.
So What's the Plan?
“You don’t need more time in your day. You need to decide.” ~ Seth Godin
If your problem is that you don't really know how to make the best of the limited time you have to work on your business, I suggest starting there.
That's what I did in December.
I stopped doing everything else, including writing/publishing posts, and focused on learning how to maximize my time.
If you are thinking “I don't have the time to learn how to maximize my time!”, let me tell you: it's not a choice. If you want to stop treading water that is.
I can't say I am there, but I've learned a lot.
Food for thought: Do you feel like lack of time and too many things to do might be the core reason you feel overwhelmed and don't get things done? If so, see what I've been doing about it.
My two best resources of how to set up “systems” that take care of the “busy” things in my business and leave me to the core things that matter were the following two books:
“Getting Things Done” by David Allen
“Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Woking Less” by Sam Carpenter
- Pick it up on Amazon
- Check out Sam's site for more resources – you can actually pick up the book for free there.
Other tools I've been using:
- MindOnTrack mind mapping software – free; works on Mac and PC.
This one goes very well with David Allen's way of organizing things and it's free.
It's even better, imho, than the leading $300+ MindJet.
It's all a part of my new content leverage system, which by the way, is increasing my search engine rankings and traffic.
I am not quite sure about this one just yet.
It seems like I can do all the same things in a folder on my Mac, but I am still giving it a shot.
The bottom line is you/I don't make enough money in our businesses because we don't take time to.
Again, I can come up with all kind of excuses why that is, but it doesn't matter.
Don't make money because you have no traffic?
Then take your time to learn how to drive traffic.
Don't make money because you haven't developed authority and trust with your readers?
Then take your time to build an audience business.
Don't make money because you don't have a product?
Then stop doing everything else and create it.
Don't make money because you have no idea how to?
I bet you there's an app for that!
You see my point though: the only thing that stands between you and online income is YOU.
Some of you noticed that I stopped publishing my income reports and asked me why.
I let the blood-thirsty EN folks bully me with all those “Who are you to run a blog; you can't even make any money from it!” comments.
What I've come to realize since then is this: I am not the best at making money off my readers.
But I AM pretty darn good at driving traffic!
Thus I run TRAFFIC Generation Café.
It's not “How to Make Loads of Money Online” Café.
It's not “How to Convert 100% of your Visitors into Hot Leads” Café.
I know one thing and I know it very well: how to get loads of targeted website traffic to your blog – whatever the niche, the size, or the age.
That's why you are here – learning how to use the knowledge I offer at this blog in your own business.
Here comes some tough love:
So if you like my content, like me (most of the times), why is it that Traffic Generation Café doesn't make much money?
Are you buying, but not from me?
And be honest with me, I can handle it.
What am I doing wrong?
What am I doing right?