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The Small Steps It Takes to Build a Tiny Online Empire Your Mother Will Be Proud Of

by | Aug 31, 2023 | Making Money Online, Money

You don’t want to be internet famous?

Good. Me neither. Fame and riches are for schmucks. The point of a tiny online empire is to be quiet. To work on your online project and not let friends, family, and bosses know about it.

Despite what you may think, anyone can build an online empire. It doesn’t need a Harvard MBA or the blessing of a Tim Ferriss-like guru.

You just start. You just do it. Because none of us have any clue when we start, and we often still have no clue once we’ve got traction.

Take these small steps.

A few unlikely heroes

I find it’s easier to copy than be original.

If I can’t see someone doing what I want to do, I can’t make it happen. I have zero genius or natural-born creativity. Everything is borrowed.

To start an online empire you need a few good idols to follow. Right now many people are learning from leaders like Alex Hormozi. When I started a lot of people were inspired by the 4-Hour Workweek.

I had a local Aussie hero named Joel who inspired me. I eventually got to meet him and learn his most intimate online strategies. Without these influences I’m not sure I ever would have gotten started.

Look for practitioners. Obsess over everything they say and do.

A step you wouldn’t expect

Most people fail with their online goal because they go it alone.

They try a few things and then lose patience. That leads to frustration, and they end up giving up. The key is not to be all in your head.

Get around other people who have a similar goal. The fastest way is to join a private community of some sort. Early on I chose writing communities. Some of my friends chose entrepreneurial groups.

It doesn’t matter which communities you try, as long as you don’t go it alone. Trust me, you will fail alone.

Throw some money at it

Many of you fail at your online empire because you’re a tight-arse.

You want to make money online but you refuse to spend a cent. It’s insanity if you think about it closely. “Spend money to make money” as they say.

The $0 path is the stupid path.

Yes, you can endlessly consume free Youtube videos and perhaps learn something. But that requires you to curate and listen to a lot of unhelpful strategies. And the worst part is it takes a lot of time.

Time is worth more than money.

Don’t waste time trying to do everything on the cheap and for free. Get ahead by paying for books, courses, coaches, groups, etc. There isn’t one successful creator I know who hasn’t done this. Not one.

This month my investment in my online empire is already above $20,000 — and I’ve been doing it 9 years. Coincidence? Nope.

Also, stop asking strangers on the internet who have some level of success for free help. They won’t reply and, even if they do, there’s only so much they can say in a direct message. They’re not going to write an encyclopedia reply of the history of the internet and their journey for you.

Just stop. Free is stupid.

An appointment with yourself

“I’m busy” is another common reply I get.

We all want online empires so we can exploit our creative desires, but so many of us don’t do it because we-think-we-don’t-have-time. We do.

Make an appointment with yourself every week. Add it to your Google Calendar. Don’t let anyone book over it. Then show up and take a few small steps. Not procrastination steps either. Real steps.

What are they?

Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Message that guy. Post that crazy story on social media. Spend an uncomfortable amount of money on some software. Whatevs. Just do it. Small steps before big ones.

You’re too busy *not* to build a tiny online empire.

This is how you get free. This is how you buy your time back. This is how you work less and enjoy the magic of flow states. Don’t forget it.

A pursuit that transcends “interested”

Too many fail because they choose a lukewarm online pursuit.

They follow a trend. They do what looks cool. They do what’s slightly interesting. Or worse, they do what they do for their job, which they hate deep down but have some B.S. loyalty toward.

Stop all this nonsense.

Choose an obsession. What can you *not* think about? What lights a fire under your ass?

For me, it’s writing. I dream about my Apple keyboard when my wife is trying to get to sleep. I imagine touching those soft keys and belting out a banger of a story that’ll inspire others.

How about chu boo?

And don’t say nothing comes to mind. If I ask my wife she would say her obsession is our daughter.

She’s also obsessed with cooking plant-based food. If she ever starts an online empire — and she should — I’ve told her these two areas are the ones to focus on.

Look at your google search history.

My friend Jason did. You know what he found? He just can’t stop searching for memes. He’s obsessed with them. So he wrote a book about memes and built an audience around it. See what I mean? This stuff is child’s play.

The internet and its billions of users mean that no obsession is too small.

Make the first $20

To do that you’ll need a Stripe account.

I don’t work for them and they don’t give me kickbacks to fund my tea-drinking addiction. Just try them because it’s easy.

Chuck something up on the internet — book, template, checklist, illustration/NFT, hand-made basket. Whatevs. Then sell it.

Have the courage to ask people for money online — it’s one of the most important steps. Why? Creative people seem to think they’re selling out or not good enough to ask for money.

So they settle for empty likes, free coffees, or nice feedback.

Making your first $20 won’t buy you a Lambo, but it sure as hell will chuck a spanner into your brain and flip the switch on your mindset.

An email list (not followers that can be stolen from you)

Some of you have been burned before.

You’ve built an online empire on someone else’s app and had them restrict, ban, limit reach, or even crash your paycheck.

The only solution is an email list. It’s the way to own your audience’s data. What no one says though — and I will — is that an email list is only level one. It’s not the holy grail because it’s a one-way conversation.

Ultimately what you want to build is an online community.

A place where you’re not the star of the show but the person who started the movement. A place where other leaders emerge to help you grow your online empire so you have some leverage.

Otherwise all you have is a glorified by-the-hour job.

A catalogue of writing

Wait, what?

I don’t want to be a writer, you say. That’s okay, just remember that every online empire is made of writing.

  • X posts
  • Website copy
  • Youtube scripts
  • Sales pitches
  • Product descriptions
  • Podcast notes
  • Email replies to customers
  • Online business processes

What I found with writing is it helped clarify my thinking. It helped me join the dots between all the things I was thinking about with my online empire. I’m even doing it right now as I write this.

I like to publish on my own blog. It’s a place I’m proud of that I can show to people who want to see how I think or get to know me. It’s a place my 9 month old daughter will be able to visit one day when I’m no longer here.

Don’t dismiss writing. The internet will always be made up of it.

What everybody forgets about online traction

You build momentum by doing.

At the start it all seems a blur. The point is to focus on 10,000 iterations, not 10,000 hours. Don’t just trust your gut like Blind Freddy. Always conduct experiments and be data-backed. Speak to people. Launch stuff. Build.

This is where the real learning happens.

There’s only so much I or anyone else can say before it comes down to just getting started and trying sh*t on.

Build your little online empire and make your momma proud.

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