Walking 5 Miles to School Uphill Barefoot in the Snow

Thursday, January 7, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 1:12 AM

Originally Published 2007-05-22 01:52:30

No, this post isn't about nostalgia, although that subject is always curiously tantalizing (why is that?).

Mercator Map from die.net/earthI was just contemplating subjects to write about and thought about applauding the World Sunlight Map for simply being a marvel of engineering. (That's where this nifty Mercator map to the left came from.) Could I do it? Yes. Would I ever bother? Heck no. So the folks over at die.net deserve a huge pat on the back for making the web a cooler place.

Then I thought about discussing the recent news that Google is slapping the AdSense arbitrage folks around and squashing the Made-for-Adsense bonanza. But lots of other people have already mentioned the topic and it's old news at this point. I've never made any significant revenue using this business strategy, personally, so I'm not too passionate on the subject anyway. Boooooring.

So I guess I'm left with talking about some core business stuff. I was pondering my recent experimentation with FuelMyBlog and noticing that google analytics reported that I received only a half dozen or so click throughs from FMB in the last couple of days (it was actually 7, but I'm not sure if one or two of those CTRs were me clicking my own smiling face :-)) . I didn't get too excited about those numbers, despite the fact that most of them were new readers and the not-too-shabby coincidence that my RSS Feed count went up by about the same amount in the last 24 hours.

The business lesson here, aside from "always be grateful, even for small steps" -- or whatever form of that cliche you prefer -- is that growth snowballs. (Oh, and FuelMyBlog is worth it, in by book, btw.)

Getting started in business -- any business -- is hard. It takes lots of working for free to get the ball rolling even a tiny amount. Once you push with all your might for days and days with seemingly no reward, you only, then, start to get some payback. And it's still minimal. It won't feel worth it. You have to have an extraordinary amount of passion and/or vision. Usually an entrepreneur has both, because one tends to reinforce the other synergistically.

One of the business books I read as a teenager (yes, I was a geek even before it was chic!) stated a rule that I still remember (albeit paraphrased after 15 years): When you start out in business, ten units of effort earn one unit of results. Later, however, one unit of effort will earn ten units of results. If you care, it was Wealth Without Risk by Charles Givens. I don't wholeheartedly recommend the book, but it's definitely better than Rich Dad, Poor Dad! (Post a comment and ask me for a real review of both if you'd like to see it.)

That one statement is definitely true, as my FuelMyBlog experience helps illustrate. At one point in the history of this blog, I cared so little about my number of readers that I didn't even check. When I did start checking, I found I had only ten or so regular readers -- and all of them, pretty much, were friends, both new and old. Getting 4-5 new readers in a single day back then would have been like striking gold. But adding a handful of new readers on to 100+ subscribers isn't quite so earth shattering, now is it? Heck, I lose that many when I don't post for three days. (Not that I don't love y'all, please DO keep reading! And don't hesitate to contact me and let me know what I should be babbling about if this banter isn't suiting your taste.)

For bloggers and folks making their money (or trying to) on the web in particular, remember that the web is a network -- and the ability to grow improves with every new node added. In some respects, getting your first ten customers (or regular readers) takes as much effort as the next 90.

I have a real estate investing anecdote as well. I bought my first house back in 1999. I got told no several times. I knew I could afford it -- I was the thriftiest guy you'd ever seen. I drove a 12 year old car and was used to surviving on less than $1000 a month. The banks and mortgage people, however, just saw a 22 year old kid with eyes too big for his stomach. Getting that first mortgage and handling the subsequent landlord duties was definitely a whole lot of work without any reward. Changing locks at 6am before heading to my tech job at a startup was pretty brutal, not to mention the pain of getting acquainted with custom plumbing supply vendors on my lunch break. And boy, were those property tax bills scary!

The second time I applied for a mortgage, however, banks were lining up to give me money. I closed 4 new lines of credit in 60 days the second time around (that's a good story, too, but you'll just have to subscribe for that one ;-)). Some of it is learning the ropes -- like giving the banks what they want in the format they desire, nothing more, nothing less. Some of it is simply that getting the ball rolling is the hard part -- like having a track record of paying my mortgage on time, not to mention actually owning a screwdriver so I could change those locks. And some of it is due to the economies of scale -- my on-paper net worth was higher, in this case, so banks looked at me as less of a risk.

The moral of my stories? Get started. Define your customer. Craft your product. Tell said customer about product.

Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Don't worry about the rewards, because if you've laid your foundation well, the rewards will follow without question. You'll look up one day, finally notice your profits (or your peers will) after solidifying your processes, and wonder how you got there.

Comments

On 2007-05-22 02:00:02 Chee Kui said:
A good entry. Yeah, stay focused and don't quit :)

On 2007-05-22 02:03:55 Uncle Johnny said:
Dang that was fast. I was still editing!

On 2007-05-22 03:11:31 Walking 5 Miles to School Uphill Barefoot in the… said:
[...] Walking 5 Miles to School Uphill Barefoot in the… [...]

On 2007-05-22 18:04:21 Mortgage Tip: Banks are in the Business of Loaning Money » Really Smart Guy » GeekSpeak, Real Estate, Landlording, Technology, Business Ideas, Web Marketing » Blog Archive said:
[...] Marketing About   Contact   Link Exchange   • « Walking 5 Miles to School Uphill Barefoot in the Snow 22 May 07 18:01 [...]

On 2007-06-27 16:32:49 Credit Guy said:
I agree with your philosophy. Keep working hard and building a strong foundation.

Feel free to drop by my blog: http://www.creditservicer.com/blog/

On 2007-06-28 00:10:17 Johnny Fuery said:
Thanks for visiting, Credit Guy. Looks like you've got some useful information over at your blog. How long have you been at it?

On 2007-10-28 21:41:26 Barry said:
I enjoyed reading your post.

At one point, I was convince that the real estate investment market is more hard work than high return.

By the end of your post, I was even more convince, but also intrigued by the information.

For someone considering jumping into the market, I am still pondering do I or don't I, having read your post.

On 2007-10-29 17:03:27 Johnny Fuery said:
B,

Every business is hard work. You work hard at your day job, don't you?

Most people you see who don't work very hard either
+ don't have a high degree of success,
+ used to work harder than you can imagine,
+ fake it really well,
+ or have a trust fund.

fwiw, I personally work harder and stay "on" longer than anyone I know.

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