The ugly truth about going pro online

I’ve noticed an interesting pattern recently.

Obviously there’s no shortage of people who want to make a living online, but it’s no secret that the number who actually achieve it is small, in comparison.

I’ve seen patterns emerge in both groups, and I think I’ve found a few common threads.

So what gives?

What’s stopping the majority of people from succeeding online?

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, because if I can figure it out, my students will achieve more. And that’s enough motivation for me to dive into things.

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It’s kinda difficult to sum-up because there isn’t a single answer. Instead it’s a series of small thoughts and actions that hold people back – often without them realising it.

But because they’re small, it means they can be easily changed.

So first, I’m going to list the attributes that prevent digital marketers from going pro.

Then I’m going to list the attributes that can turn an amateur into a pro digital marketer.

And this applies to bloggers, affiliate marketers, copywriters, product creators, it doesn’t matter. The mindset is always the same.

Listen some of what I’m going to tell you might be painful, but we’ve all been there.

Don’t feel dejected. If any of this stuff is difficult to hear, maybe that’s an indication that something needs to change.

And you know me, Profit Copilot isn’t going to sugarcoat anything or be one of those guys that only tells you what you wanna hear, while trying to sell you the latest shiny magic button. Not on my watch, compadre.

So use this info to your benefit, and see this as an opportunity to improve your situation, to grow your business or even to just make sure you’re giving yourself the right foundations to make a decent start.

We’ve all gone through this, and everyone who’s eventually made it to the pro-level, has experienced some or all of these things.

So you’re not alone, and if other people can overcome this stuff, then so can you.

Amateur Traps

It’s easy to fall into these traps.

You’ve probably seen dozens of products that make all kind of insane claims – so don’t  worry if you’ve fallen victim to the hype and promises of instant wealth. A lot of people have.

When people learn the ugly truth about this, they usually go either 1 of 2 ways.

  1. They think it’s all a big scam, give up and carry on working for somebody else.
  2. Or they get serious, knuckle down and commit to building their business.

Yes, there are scams out there. Plenty of them, and some even have a smiling ‘guru’, with one hand on the whiteboard and the other in your pocket.

As a general rule, if something makes an income claim or income guarantees, it’s bad news.

Ask yourself; why is somebody promoting this, instead of using it for themselves?

The world is full of people who are willing to rip you off. But it’s also full of people who really do want to help you and see you succeed. It takes time to recognise who is who.


So, the common traps that amateurs fall into:

Amateurs consume more than they produce

They invest more time into acquiring products than utilising the ones they already have, or creating new ones from scratch.

If you notice yourself buying lots of products and not using them, or not getting much value from them, it’s something to keep an eye on because it’s easy to start blaming external things for your failure.

For example if you find yourself repeatedly blaming a training course, software, or other people for your lack of progress, it’s a bad sign.

Amateurs look for hacks, shortcuts and magic buttons

They look for that one solution that will do all the work for them. No matter how many times they’ve been it just doesn’t exist, they keep buying hyped-up nonsense.

Ben Mack once asked me why people buy lottery tickets, when there’s almost zero chance they’ll win.

I thought the answer was obvious – because they want the millionaire lifestyle?

He told me that people buy lottery tickets ritualistically because it gives them permission to fantasise about living the millionaire lifestyle.

People do the same thing with weight loss products, with make money products, with dating products… you name it.

Are you buying products, but then only fantasising instead of actually using them?

Do you spend more time reading about successful people or business, instead of building one?

Amateurs think software matters

Sometimes a piece of software comes along that makes me wonder how I ever managed without it.

Building a website before WordPress came along would take hours, maybe even days.

We don’t need WordPress, we’re not dependant on it but it is convenient.

Amateur marketers that become dependant on the software they use are restricting themselves and their full potential.

Sales funnel makers, social media managers, article spinners; these are all tools that make life convenient – but some marketers rely on them to the extent that it’s damaging to their business.

Do you spin every article before you post it? What’s wrong with using your brain, instead?

Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s hard work.

But it delivers a crap-ton more value to your audience than publishing a piece of garbled broken English that only exists to trick Google.

If I could ban just 3 pieces of software from the digital marketing community it would be: spam bots, scrapers and spinners. That’s a rant for another day.

Amateurs are afraid of making mistakes

‘Someone who never made a mistake never made anything’, is the old saying.

Listen, you’re going to make mistakes and that’s ok.

Success isn’t possible without failure. Its part of the process, so roll with it.

If you watched the video at the top of this post you’ll get a behind the scenes view of my Youtube channel. Its FULL of mistakes. They outweigh the successes.

I keep them to remind me that it’s ok to screw-up. Over time, fewer and fewer mistakes are made.

So fail fast.

Amateurs focus on what they can get

They persistently complain about not having enough money. They worry about their lack of success, instead of focusing on their small victories and building on what they’ve already got.

Amateurs are concerned about their needs, only. They can’t see beyond their own problems and panic as a result of fear-based decisions.

If something isn’t working after a few days, or weeks, they move onto something else. And then something else, and on and on the cycle goes.

Attributes of a Professional

On the flip side of that, we’ve got a whole bunch of attributes that professional digital marketers embrace.

Learn, Do, Teach

Professional digital marketers usually follow a 3-step process called ‘Learn, Do, Teach’.

We figure out how to do something (Learn), then we try it out and get results – or fail (Do), and then we show it to our students (Teach).

This simple process is incredibly powerful. In all the top restaurants the best chefs use every single part of their ingredients – nothing goes to waste.

It’s the same online.

We make sure that even the act of learning something new – that will benefit ourselves, is also beneficial to our students.

Show up everyday

Professionals show up every day and do the work. Ok, you might not see them every day, you might not hear from them every day, but they are always working in the background and slowly moving their business forward.

You don’t have to spend hours every day creating new content or promoting what you’ve got. But do something that increases your reach a little further.

If you don’t have the time, outsource it.

Hit a moving target

Digital marketing professionals know that achieving massive success online can take years.

And the cool thing is, what you consider ‘success’ today, won’t be the same in a years time.

Success is a moving target.

And that’s great, because it means you’re constantly progressing.

Think about this. Imagine the first time you wrote a blog post, hit publish, and waited for traffic to show up. Nothing happened, right?

It feels terrible when you pour your heart into something, and nobody even knows it’s there.

At that time, you might consider ‘success’ as someone sharing your post, or commenting on it.

After your 10th post, you might have a few shares and a comment or two appearing on some.

So your perception of ‘success’ shifts a little. And you do a little bit more, and then a bit more, building on the success you’ve achieved.

Studying and testing

Instead of listening to what people are saying, pro digital marketers watch what people are doing.

They constantly test, tweak and experiment – knowing that some of their ideas won’t work as expected.

Give more than they take

There’s one unifying thing that almost every professional digital marketer has in common, it’s their devotion to delivering outstanding value to their audience.

Their focus is on how they can improve people’s lives. They aim to become a positive influence that leaves a marketplace in better shape than they found it.

The Golden Rule

Going pro online is just like anything else in life. You have to start at zero and go from there.

You gain mastery from doing. It takes time and repetition.

In the video at the top of this post I talk about Jimi Hendrix. Even he started learning how to play guitar with a single note on a single string. His persistence paid off and inspired a generation of new guitar players.

If you want to see success, understand that it’s all around you, in the small victories. Build on those and in time, when you look back you’ll see how far you’ve come.

And if you’ve found this useful, please pay it forward and share it with people who might also benefit.

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