After a few months of delays, I just put the finishing touches on my good habits blog.
This website will be the focal point of the Authority Internet Business (AIB) case study that I’m officially launching today.
Moving forward, there will be a lot of content related to this case study. I guarantee you’re going to learn a lot of things about how to build a business from scratch. Plus, I’ll provide specific examples of what does and doesn’t work with Internet marketing in 2013.
Today, I’m going to reveal the URL of this case study website. Plus I’ll talk about eight valuable lessons I’ve learned while putting this website together.
I’ve already talked about how developing good habits will be the topic of my authority business. Fortunately for me, I was able to register an excellent domain name related to that keyword:
The goal of this blog is simple. I’d like to help readers eliminate their negative habits and build a life that is full of successful routines.
My approach to the “habits market” will be different from other bloggers. I’m not going to position myself as an expert on this topic. Instead, I’m going to chronicle my attempt to build a better life through habit development. It will be what Joseph Campbell would call a Hero’s Journey.
I won’t claim to have all the answers. Instead I’ll provide an insider look at what it’s like to actually develop lifelong, positive habits.
Before I move on to the meat-and-potatoes of this post, I’d like to thank a few people for their help with this project.
First, there’s Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind. Tom and I connect on a weekly mastermind call where we bounce ideas off one another. For the last month, he’s given me a ton of constructive criticism on DevelopGoodHabits.com (DGH). Plus, Tom was kind of enough to let me “borrow” the inspiration for my blog logo.
Next are the behind-the-scenes freelance workers who handled a few specialized tasks. There’s Kyle who designs most of my eCover graphics. Then there’s Soniya who helps me with technical WordPress tweaks. And there’s Shaz who is part of the team that designed my logo. Finally there’s Ian who created the customized subscription form that’s on the sidebar of DGH.
All of these people helped immensely with the launch of DGH. It would have been impossible to put everything together without their help. So I highly recommend their services if you need technical help with your authority business.
Starting a brand new website isn’t always easy. It’s more involved than writing a few pages of content. Your goal is to have a “marketing ready” website on day #1.
With that in mind, there are eight lessons I learned from this experience:
Most “how-to-blog” gurus talk about the importance of having an established base of content before formally launching a site.
I absolutely love this idea.
Unfortunately, I also don’t think it works in the real world.
Most people thrive and survive on positive momentum. Mentally it’s hard to create 20+ pages of content without getting any feedback from the market. Oftentimes this strategy becomes a creative excuse for why you can’t launch a new website. (This happens because of Resistance, which we’ll talk about in a bit.)
Really, there is no perfect moment to start driving traffic to a website. This type of thinking often causes people to procrastinate on a great idea.
The simpler solution is to do a “soft launch” when you’ve published a few blog posts.
I think Seth Godin puts it best:
“ Are you a serial idea-starting person? The goal is to be an idea-shipping person.
I think what Godin means is we all get great ideas, but we also encounter Resistance along the way.
When you wait for the “right time” to launch a site, sometimes that perfect moment never arrives.
I know DGH is not ready for primetime. It only has a few blog posts and an email offer. But I’m not afraid to do a soft launch and tell a few friends, which includes YOU.
Kaizen is the Japanese belief that you should focus on continuous positive improvement. Like I said, DGH is not perfect. The reason I’m launching it today is to provide a “warts and all” example of how to start a new business. Moving forward, I’ll show how I’m going to make this site a little bit better each month.
Today this blog only has a 10 articles:
- Six posts that define habit-related concepts
- Three posts in my monthly “30 Day Habit Challenge” series
- One Massive Value Post (MVP) with 3,500 words of content
This is a pretty humble beginning for what I picture as a six-figure-a-year business.
I’m okay with showing a basic version of this blog because I know there’s a lot to learn from the process of building a business.
Simply put, you should:
“ Never focus on perfection; instead focus on the journey towards perfection. (Tweet This!)
You don’t need a lot of content to kickoff a website. What’s more important to have one really good article and a mechanism that starts building your audience.
List building should never be an afterthought for your authority business. It’s not something you’ll “get around to doing”. It should be the focal point of your website – starting on the day you launch.
Frankly, I think email marketing has more long-term value than a blog. I could survive if something happened to SteveScottSite.com, but I’m not sure what I’d do if I lost my list.
In my opinion, list building is kind of big deal.
Yes, you should start a website with a few good pieces of content. But it’s equallty important to have a free offer that encourages readers to subscribe to your list.
So start building a list today (if you haven’t already)! There’s no excuse here. Anyone can compile a list of tips that directly relates to their niche. That’s what I did with my “77 Good Habits to Live a Better Life” report.
There’s a lot more that goes into building a list. Get started by reading this post on how to use lead magnets to encourage people to subscribe. Plus, I’ll cover this topic in more detail in future updates of the AIB case study.
Odds are, your goal is to make money with your authority business.
That’s why I suggest a simple strategy:
“ Always have one “income project” in the works (Tweet this!)
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day doldrums of blogging. Sometimes you forget that the main reason you’re online is to make money. That’s why it’s important to always be working on one income project.
An income project can take many forms. It can be a simple page where you recommend an affiliate marketing offer. Or it can be an in-depth information product that solves a niche-related problem. The important thing is to start your authority business by working on an income-generating offer of some sort.
On the surface, DGH only has 10 blog posts and a list building offer. But behind the scenes, I’m currently working on an iPhone app and a Kindle book. Both should be available by the end of May. So as I build my audience, I’ll also have something they can purchase.
Without a doubt, your monetization strategy is will be the difference maker in your authority business. Starting on day 1, you need to consider how you’ll make money.
Again, this is a topic that I’ll cover in more detail. In fact, we’re going to talk about monetization in the next blog post.
Let me get something out of the way:
“ Building an authority business is a long-term strategy. (Tweet This!)
Yes, yes. We live in an instant-results society. If something doesn’t happen overnight, then we quickly lose interest.
Unfortunately the “instant results mindset” often leads to the death of a great idea.
Building an authority business requires hard work and a financial investment before you see anything in return.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.
I recommend adopting a step-by-step mindset as you develop an authority business. Set small, but challenging goals. Then map out a strategy where you work towards these benchmarks.
For instance, here are a few goals I’ve set for DevelopGoodHabits.com:
- Reach 1,000 unique visitors for a month
- Launch my first habit-related iPhone app
- Publish my first habit-related Kindle book
- Make $1000 in a month
- Write a guest-post on a major site like LifeHacker.com
As you see, these milestones are fairly modest. Yes, my long-term goal is a six-figure yearly income, but I’ve chunked it down into short-term outcomes. All I have to do is rinse and repeat till I’m hitting significant numbers.
There are two philosophies that have formed the basis of my online business strategy:
Minimalism and The 80/20 Rule.
Put these together, and you’ll see it’s possible to be successful without doing a thousand things in a single day.
“ The simplest way to run a successful online business is to focus on the things that work and ignore everything else. (Tweet This!)
These two philosophies can also be applied to web design. You don’t have to load up a site with lots of bells-n-whistles. Instead, it’s often better to keep things simple. Write great content, push one or two offers, and encourage readers to join your email list. That’s all you need to start a brand new website.
Your time is precious. Really, it’s the only finite thing you have in the world. You can always make more money and get more stuff. What you can never get back is your time.
As I build DGH, I’m already looking to hire outside help. Specifically I’d like to find a few writers who are equally committed to the idea of habit development. (Read this post to see how I hire freelance writers.)
You need to do a lot of things to build a successful authority business. The important tasks are strategizing, marketing and creating offers. Writing great content is crucial to this process, but you don’t have to do it all yourself. Often, the better solution is to hire on a part-time writer who can handle some of this time-consuming task.
Ultimately it’s important to view your authority business like a publisher, not as a blogger. You shouldn’t treat it like a one person shop. Instead, plan out how you’ll delegate and outsource the day-to-day activities. Really, this is the only way you’ll be able to scale this business.
Oftentimes people don’t take action on a big idea – like starting an authority site. Usually this is due to a fear of making mistakes. What I’ve learned recently is almost all of our mental blocks stems from something called Resistance.
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield talks about the danger of Resistance. This is the external/internal pressures that prevent us from going after a really big goal. Resistance can be brutal. Let Resistance go unchecked and you’ll fail before you’ve barely started.
Resistance will throw many obstacles in your path. It’ll take the form of friends and family who tell you to start a “real business” and quit playing on the Internet. Or it’s an internal voice that says you have no experience in a specific niche. Or it’s an impulse to skip work for the day and watch Game of Thrones.
When starting something new, Resistance can and will be your worst enemy.
That’s why I recommend you:
“ Kick Resistance in the Balls! (Tweet This!)
Like I said, Resistance is a fear of making mistakes. We often won’t take action because we’re afraid that we’ll screw up and look foolish. Whenever you experience hesitation or fear, that is the time to take action. Kick Resistance in the nards and move forward with the project.
Why am I talking about Resistance?
It was something I personally experienced as I built DGH. Resistance happened so many times that I almost scrapped the project – before it even started.
Here are just a few thoughts caused by Resistance:
- “What if this site doesn’t make money? Then I’ll destroy all of my credibility as an Internet business expert.”
- “The Kindle books are working, so why shouldn’t I just focus on them?”
- “Nobody wants to build an authority business; they’d rather focus on the short term stuff.”
- “Habit development is a stupid topic. Nobody really cares about improving themselves – they only want quick fixes.”
- “I can’t find any quality affiliate offers related to habit development. So there’s no way I can monetize this site.”
- “The case study has just begun and I’ve already made a ton of mistakes.”
What’s sad is I’ve been an online marketer for ten years and I still encounter Resistance with every new project.
Odds are, it probably happens to you as well.
What separates the doers from the wannabes is how you handle Resistance.
Will you let this fear prevent you from taking action?
Or will you master it and start building a long-term asset?
The choice is yours alone to make.
This is the first post that officially launches the AIB case study. You can look forward to at least one article each week moving forward. Specifically, here are a few things I have in store for the rest of May:
- How I’m going to monetize this authority business
- How to pick a topic that combines passion with profitability
- How to select a domain name that gets long-tail search results
- How to design a content strategy that maximizes the reach of your blog
Plus, I’m thinking about starting a Facebook group where people can meet and share ideas about building a long-term authority business.
Then leave a comment below and tell me what you’re currently doing to build an authority business.Take Action. Get Results.