We all lie to ourselves about things that are a little scary and outside our comfort zone.
Because I’m a leader on the social web, a superconnector, and someone who coaches people on how to build their own online platforms, I run into these horrible lies frequently.
And now I want to kill these lies. I want to kill them dead.
Why? Because these horrible lies are so vile that they can stop us from acting on our deepest visions.
So today, for the sake of us all, I figured I’d just go ahead and stamp them down forever.
1. “I’m not ready to share my message with a big online audience! I don’t even know what exactly my message is yet. People will think I’m unprofessional.”
Here’s the weird, trippy secret: no one knows what their message is until they really start putting themselves out there.
You might even think you know, but you don’t, really. It’s only when you have ears listening to you that you find out what you truly want to say.
In other words, you discover what your unique message and perspective is in the process of being in a large-scale conversation about something, over time.
You might not make all that much sense at first. You might be all over the place. It’s okay. Just start.
Don’t worry about having to figure out a neat little message that you’ll broadcast to the world. Just begin sharing stuff (in the form of articles, social media posts, podcasts, videos, etc.) on topics you already think about.
And by “topics you already think about” I mean these intimate thoughts that are so natural and normal to you that maybe you imagine they’re just obvious to everyone and so no one needs to hear them: this isn’t true.
There’s astounding insight in your particular perspective. Never forget that.
You’ve had experiences and realizations that have given you a certain rare understanding, and you can do us a favor by communicating your understanding.
You just don’t know, your thoughts on any given subject, thoughts which are “ho-hum” to you, could very well turn out to be wildly important to a lot of people.
Furthermore, the age of “professionalism” is winding down.
Expertise will always be valuable and, of course, it needs to be cultivated and communicated effectively. You can learn to do through practice! But stuffy, uptight professionalism where one embarrassment costs you your reputation?
That uptight stuff is so over.
We all embarrass ourselves online all the time, we’re all figuring it out as we go along.
So the longer you put off “putting yourself out there” the longer you just postpone putting the learning process into motion.
2. “I don’t know how to build a fancy website. And I’m too broke right now to pay someone a thousand dollars or more to do it for me.”
This is a scary, seductive lie indeed.
Know this, though: You absolutely do not need to build a fancy website to start building an online platform. In fact, fancy beautiful websites can sometimes get in the way of doing the one nitty, gritty thing you really need to do, which is to collect email addresses.
The only things you need for this fundamental task of audience-building are the following:
A. A service that can collect email addresses into lists and send out mass emails.
I use Aweber, and there are many others.
B. A service that allows you to customize a simple email list opt-in page from a template.
I like LeadPages (again, there are others the great Google can tell you about, too) so you can tempt people into joining your email list.
That’s it. No fanciness required! I pay $25 a month for Aweber and $40 for LeadPages.
Obviously that’s not free, but it’s also a lot less than paying about a thousand bucks to a web designer. You can get the fancy website up once you’re already in business and rolling along.
Think of it this way: an email list provider and an opt-in page provider are investments.
These investments can quickly pay for themselves when you learn how to make sales offers to your email list (in other words, how to do what are called “launches”).
The LeadPages template will serve as your “web page” which collects the email addresses of people in your audience, and you can easily customize or revise it in about one hour.
So, in other words: you create the simple opt-in page (using LeadPages or a similar service), you create the digital gift that your email list service will automatically send out when someone opts-in to your list.
These digital gifts are also known as a “lead magnets” or “opt-in bribes.”
A lead magnet is usually an amazing PDF or a video with some kind of very valuable rad free lesson or useful training related to your subject matter designed to tempt your reader into signing up), and then your email list service automatically collects and organizes the email addresses from your new audience members.
Awesome! So you can contact your audience in the future, just by writing an email and hitting send.
That’s really all you need as the foundation of your platform: the email list service, an opt-in bribe, and a page that persuades people to sign-up for your email list.
And then to promote your platform (so lots of people have the opportunity to see your opt-in page, get tempted by your amazing opt-in bribe, and give you their email address) there are two essential strategies to master:
1. Write for online magazines:
Locate an online publication that you love to read which also has a large following.
(Hint: Elephant Journal is obviously awesome!)
Study their most popular articles and brainstorm of how you could come up with something that would likewise be a hit.
Then, write a great article for this favorite online magazine of yours that they will want to publish (it isn’t as hard as you think, online magazines are usually looking for multiple pieces of content to publish each day—trust me, I co-edit a popular magazine myself, BAD WITCHES!), and then include a link to your opt-in page in your author bio section.
This is fantastic free advertising! People see your writing, they dig it, they click your opt-in page link, they want your offer, they give you their email address. Ba-da-bing, bad-a-boom! Now you’ve got an audience.
2. Use Facebook advertising:
You can make Facebook ads to promote your opt-in page and collect those all-important email addresses.
Note: you don’t have to do any article writing and submitting to make this promotional strategy work, but you do have to give Facebook some cold hard cash monies.
If you’ve got a compelling opt-in page and offer, and if you’re smart about targeting your Facebook advertising, you can expect to pay about $1-$2 per new email lead.
Which ain’t bad at all, especially when it’s possible to make thousands of dollars in sales in a launch to even a small email list of just 100 people. I know, because I’ve done it myself recently.
So: $200 advertising investment, about $25 a month for Aweber, $40 a month for LeadPages—some creative work—learn to do a solid launch and you could make $5,000. That’s a great business deal.
3. “Growing my online audience is just too hard. I shouldn’t bother.”
Okay, so, there’s some slight truth in this big stinky lie.
Growing your online audience is “hard” in the sense that it takes a deliberate decision and commitment to put all the pieces into motion to make it happen. It’s not quite as easy as slipping on a banana peel.
And it is “hard” in the sense that it definitely takes some time, too: you’ll probably put in at least three months on the project as you find your footing and get good traction.
Thing is, though, once you’ve created an online audience for yourself it opens so many doors: doors to financial and location freedom, doors to networking opportunities that you would never otherwise have.
Growing your online audience flings wide the gates to Big Rock Candy Mountain, essentially.
So when you think about growing your online audience, do not think: “Too hard, too much work! would rather watch Netflix!”
Instead think: Big Rock Candy Mountain.
See, sometimes I complain to my mother that I’m a bit stressed out from stuff like answering customer emails (I try to personally correspond with everyone who signs up for my virtual courses—and most recently, that was over 80 wonderful people for my course on practical magic, INFLUENCE!) and my mom is all like:
“Yeah honey, you sure have it rough, living in Bali typing all day on your laptop. That’s just like working in the coal mines.”
In other words, it’s about a billion times nicer than working in the coal mines.
And it’s way, way, way nicer than just about any other occupation on earth that I can think of, short of being someone who gets massages for a living. Like, being a massage test dummy. That would be a nice gig.
What I’m trying to say is this: There are things that are way harder, actually, than growing your online audience.
Things like: showing up for jobs you don’t like for the rest of your life, feeling perpetual pangs of regret that you didn’t take the leap and make it happen, putting all your creativity into arguments on Facebook instead of into your deepest ambitions.
That stuff is much harder.
You and me, we can stop telling ourselves these boring lies and we can just get in the flow of doing the steps that it takes to massively grow our online audiences.
I promise. It’s worth it.
In fact, if you’re feeling pumped up about it right now, you can click here to get my free lesson on the The Dangerous Secret to Growing Your Online Audience to 1000 Raving Fans.
I’ll also send you other mind-shattering wisdoms and updates about the next iteration of the life-changing virtual masterclass that I teach on writing for the social web and getting paid, THRILL, and about my upcoming riveting podcast, Superconnectors!
Author: Carolyn Elliott
Editor: Travis May
Image: lucahennig/ Flickr