“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”
Viktor E. Frankl (Austrian Neurologist and Holocaust Survivor)
“To me, there is only one form of human depravity — the man without a purpose.”
Ayn Rand (Author, Atlas Shrugged)
“Nobody cares about your products, except you. Create interesting content.”
David Meerman Scott (Author, The New Rules of Marketing)
When it comes to being successful in any high-level pursuit, sequence is everything.
I used to avoid “sequence” like the plague.
I wanted success and I wanted it now.
I wanted to be a business owner and I wanted it now.
I wanted to be a world-traveling author, surrounded by people who were into my ideas.
On and on.
So, I created a product as fast as possible (literally — my first product took 10 minutes to create) and put it on a website with a buy button and waited for the money to roll in.
No one bought anything.
I wrote a couple of blog articles and cold contacted publishers by sending them links to my articles.
I never got a response.
That’s when I realized you can’t put the cart before the horse.
You can’t be successful without executing a successful process.
You can’t get the effect of something without the cause.
This is referred to as the law of causality.
Too many people today want to be successful entrepreneurs (the effect) without creating something of value (the cause).
They want to run their own successful business (the effect) without first developing the ability to run a successful business (the cause).
They want to generate passive income online (the effect) without first building up an online platform or creating a product that other people need (the cause).
Cause and effect sequencing can make or break your business success.
Why Every Entrepreneur Needs A Platform And Purpose
An entrepreneur without a purpose is merely a huckster.
An entrepreneur without a platform is merely a hobbyist.
Two common entrepreneurial pitfalls include not having a platform and not having a purpose before launching a product to the world.
According to Inc. Magazine, a common mistake is to decide you want to be an entrepreneur and then jump into a field that you don’t know much about or are not passionate about.
The Journal of Religion and Health published a study that showed a correlation between having a strong sense of purpose and quality of life, stating:
“There is a significant meaning of the sense of purpose of life for well-being and self-efficacy. The ability to maintain the feeling of sense of one’s existence seems to be a significant factor that protects from a decrease in life quality and keeps the feeling of being able to deal in difficult situations, as well as helps to accept depression symptoms.”
If knowing your purpose wasn’t life and death to you before, it should be — research confirms that having a sense of purpose at every age and stage of life is not just preventive against depression, it also improves longevity.
Make more money.
For business, the amount of time and energy that goes into being an entrepreneur will suck the life out of you.
You’ll burn out, give up, or both.
Unless you have a strong purpose.
You might have nailed the passion and be driven by the purpose, but you’re not paying attention to the right information from the right sources and your process is all wrong.
For example, you’re fired up about your business so you take your business plan and vision board everywhere you go, gushing to friends and family, and even recruiting them to come on board and help you with it.
Then you focus on the product, overestimating its value and impact on the world, and forgetting to focus on building a relationship with the client or consumer.
Or, forgetting to build a market at all.
On top of that, you think you can do the whole thing by yourself and fail to invest in good people to be part of your team, and you fail to invest in the right resources in general (like sales and marketing).
As a result, your business fails.
Do you have what it takes to last 2 years?
How about 4 years?
Your ability to last comes down to your ability to execute the right sequence.
Two Common “Sequence” Pitfalls Entrepreneurs Make
Business success is a matter of aligning the right knowledge with the right meaning and the right need.
When it comes to starting an online business, or a lifestyle business, too many new entrepreneurs make the mistake of jumping right into creating a product without first identifying what they’re passionate about.
In other words, they have no sense of purpose.
They have no “reason WHY”.
They also have no clients.
They don’t even have pre-clients, or leads.
No fans, followers, users, readers or people hungry to learn from them.
Their business is aimless and directionless and creates a sequence of failure, not a sequence of success.
Other entrepreneurs are smart enough to find a market first.
They build up a strong platform of followers, but they fail to align this platform or their products with their purpose, with something they actually enjoy or are energized to do on a daily basis.
As a result, these entrepreneurs grow to despise what they do and trudge along in misery, or they burn out completely and quit.
Once again, the problem here lies in the sequence that these entrepreneurs are following.
If you want to maximize your business’s chances of success, you need to avoid these two mistakes.
Instead, you need to first, find a strong purpose, then build a platform around it, and finally create products that solve your platform’s problems. Here’s how to start an online business…
1. Not having a strong purpose.
You must start with your purpose.
You must start with knowing what you want, what you’re working towards, and why it matters.
You will not pour hours of your day and make sacrifices for a life of freedom and fulfillment if you are not deeply connected to the reason why you’re sacrificing.
If you haven’t found your purpose yet, you need to take a day or a half a day to sit down and map out the endpoint you’re trying to achieve, which is the ultimate lifestyle you want to live, and then work backwards from there to figure out the key outcomes you need to execute and the key priorities you need to live by in order to achieve that lifestyle.
This reverse engineering involves strategically defining what your perfect day (including work and play) might look like.
If your life was what you wanted in every way, what would you be doing for each hour of the day?
Take some time to construct this without your internal skeptic shutting you down.
Get creative and connect with the excitement that builds as you imagine what your ideal life would look like.
If you don’t know your endpoint, you won’t know how to build the path to get there.
You have to know, with clarity, what your vision is and why your perfect day contains those elements.
What’s your purpose?
To make more money and have more things?
Your purpose must be more than money.
To leave a legacy, to help support your family, to help others?
Does your business idea yield benefits that support your other life goals?
Does it solve people’s problems and increase their quality of life?
Do your profits allow you to give to a charity that matters to you?
Does the freedom and flexibility mean your health can improve, your relationships can flourish, and that you’ll feel happier?
Look at every area of your life and what you want to transform in it… how does your entrepreneurial quest solve those problems, improve those situations, and make you feel like you are effecting positive change in your life?
Your purpose has to matter, align with your values, and resonate with a sense of you being able to impact change.
Before you even create a product, you have to define and connect with your purpose and keep that in front of you every day.
On your worst days, your burn out moments, when your confidence hits the gutter and you feel like wallowing in your insecurities, you will need to connect to your purpose to keep going.
Not only will you burn out without a strong purpose, you’ll be easily influenced by people and events.
At the same time, others will sense your disenchantment with your own product.
You’ll lose trust and ultimately, your business will fail.
The only way to avoid this is by mapping out WHY you want to be an entrepreneur and why you want to create something of value in the first place.
2. Not building a platform around your purpose.
Just because you like your product doesn’t mean anyone else will.
Most people simply won’t care.
Too many entrepreneurs make the mistake of building a product for themselves only.
Then, once they realize they have no clients to buy their product, they scramble to find clients.
These people make a product and then try to find or build a market for it.
This is always a mistake.
It’s a mistake of sequence.
It’s a rookie mistake that can tank your business before it even begins.
It’s a mistake that will cost you money and could end your entrepreneurial efforts (and drain your bank account) permanently.
Do your homework on your platform (your market) before you create a product.
In other words, identify what your platform needs?
What are their problems?
How can you solve them?
This is how you add real value to the world.
Start by researching your competition, take notes on their platform, their connection with their target audience, and the voice they use to sell to you.
Then, find out where you fit into the mix.
Where’s the “white space”?
What value can you add that no one else is adding yet?
The only way to answer these questions is by offering value: free articles, e-books, videos, samples, and other resources.
Test and tweak, night and day.
No matter what your product and business goals are, you can establish yourself as an expert by consistently creating content that addresses the needs of your platform.
Focus entirely on your platform’s problems and adding (free) value to solve their problems.
It’s about them… not you, and not the product.
Don’t be lazy and don’t be egocentric.
Eventually, your platform will tell you exactly what they need from you.
Now it’s time to start creating a product.
Once your product is created, make sure you introduce it, in advance, and create buzz and anticipation for it.
But again, only after you’ve built a platform through adding value and building credibility with consistent content.
To be successful and not a total flop, you need to be smart.
You need to be sequential.
Your business idea will never bring you both achievement and fulfillment if you start by building a product or building a platform first. Once you’ve mapped out your purpose, you can start building a platform of like-minded people, and then, creating products for these people, to help them achieve their purpose. If you’re motivated by outcome alone — effect without cause — and neglect adding value, you won’t be able to build a market to offer your product to at all. Define and align with your purpose, build a market by adding value, offer a product while keeping people as most important. This will lead to entrepreneurial success.
To learn more about how to start an online business, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.