Want to earn more? Here are 55 lessons from people who have done it.
Create a better offer
1. Write a better headline. — Eugene Schwartz
There is only one dead guy on this list, and we’re going to start with him. If you’re planning on selling anything – including yourself – then you should get your hands on Breakthrough Advertising. While most people are struggling to squeak a 10% increase out of their current offer, they fail to realize that they could see a 500% increase by forgetting about the small tweaks and taking the time to make a new, better offer.
2. Go an inch wide and a mile deep. — Christopher Payne
I saw Christopher’s most recent photography exhibit. It was solely about abandoned Mental Asylums across the United States. If someone has gone deeper into the bowels of these dilapidated buildings, I would like to know who it is. The result? He is making a living off of what he loves and he has the #2 photography book on Amazon.
3. Build the business you would love to have. — Rajeeb Dey
When Raj was a student, he loved entrepreneurship and startup companies. There was just one problem. He didn’t have anyway to get an internship at one. The solution? He created it when he founded Enternships.
4. Branding matters. — Nathalie Lussier
As the “Raw Foods Witch”, Nathalie has created a brand that sticks out in the raw food community. It’s a name that sticks with you and makes you talk about her … which is probably one reason why her business is doing so well.
If you’re just getting started
5. Don’t dismiss what is right in front of you. — Derek Sivers
Derek was living the musicians dream (i.e. getting paid to play music). But guess what? He also was getting a lot of interest in this little system he set up to sell his friend’s CDs online. Thankfully, he was smart enough to run with it and he ended up selling CD Baby for $22 million. What opportunities are right in front of you that you’re probably complaining about instead of acting on?
6. More money is not the answer. — Fred Wilson
Perhaps there is no better person than a venture capitalist to tell you that you don’t need money to make it happen. “I have not seen one company beat another because they raised more money.” – @fredwilson
7. It’s not going to be easy. — Erica Douglass
Erica sold her first business at the age of 26 for $1.1 million. Sounds like a sweet and easy life, huh? Just read this article she wrote. You’ll see that building a million dollar business is no walk in the park.
8. Shoot for the moon. — Tyler Tervooren
Tyler is on a quest to do all sorts of amazing things. Run a marathon on every continent. Raise $250,000 for charity. And a whole lot more. Will he be able to do it? Who’s stopping him? Who’s stopping you?
9. Plan, but not too much. — Sean Ogle
Sean planned his leap from Corporate America, but when the time came for him to make the jump he didn’t have a lot of the answers. He left anyway and spent six months in Thailand figuring it all out. You’ll never have all the answers. You just need to make it happen.
10. You can find creative solutions to make it work. — Lea Woodward
It might not be easy to start a business and earn more, but you can make it work. Lea Woodward and her husband moved to a different country where it would be less expensive to live as they started out. Now they’re flying high.
11. Normal people can build extraordinary businesses. — Pat Flynn
Pat is smart guy, but he’s also a normal dude. When he got laid off from his job, he found a way to make it work. He made $200,000 in his first year and now he is showing others how to generate passive income online.
12. Be genuine. — Adam Baker
Baker displays a genuine interest in people, regardless of authority level. The results? He has a passionate network that loves him and recommends him all over the place. Read one post on his personal finance site and you’ll get a sense of his openness immediately.
13. Be a link between others. — Jade Craven
Jade has already linked me up with a couple different people and she is getting a reputation for introducing others online.
14. Bring others along for the ride with you. — Danielle LaPorte
Danielle has created a brilliant community over at White Hot Truth. Specifically, the results of her pay-what-you-can birthday bash were unbelievable.
15. Implied suspicion vs. implied trust — Brad Feld
This is personally one of my favorite approaches to business, relationships, and life in general. Instead of fearing what could happen and approaching situations with implied suspicion, Brad suggests operating on a system of implied trust. I couldn’t agree more.
16. Get people to buy into your vision. — Michael Stelzner
In the not-so-distant past, Michael Stelzner started Social Media Examiner, got 20 popular online authorities to buy in, and created a million dollar business in less than a year. How can you get others to buy into your vision?
17. Solve communication gaps. — Peter Shankman
People always have and always will need to communicate. Peter Shankman created HARO to help reporters communicate with people that had stories to tell. How can you make it easier to communicate your story to the people that want to hear it?
Building your audience of customers
18. Be weird, but act like it’s normal. — Gary Vaynerchuk
Every time I hear Gary Vay-ner-chuk introduce himself, I think he’s joking. By all indications, he’s not. His $50 million business says it’s working.
19. Do more of what works. — Allie Brosh
Allie runs the super popular blog Hyperbole and a Half. Her posts routinely get over 1000 comments. Why? Because she figured out that people love her drawings and so she gives the people what they love.
20. Take it to the extreme. — Rolf Potts
Granted, Rolf has been traveling the world for many years, but deciding to travel around the world in 6 weeks without a single bag of luggage was a stretch even for him. How did it go? Visit the No Baggage Challenge to find out.
21. Don’t be afraid to take a stand. — Everett Bogue
If you’re looking get people’s attention online, then just take an extreme stance and stick by it. If you’re looking for someone to show you how, then just follow Everett’s work.
22. Mix things that shouldn’t be mixed. — Bill Simmons
The Sports Guy, as he is called, writes for ESPN and has over 1.3 million followers on Twitter. Why? He appeals to people because he finds ways to pull seemingly everything imaginable into his posts. More than once I have been referred to a WWE Smackdown video when reading about Lebron. His ability to randomly combine a wealth of sports knowledge is unparalleled.
23. Be shockingly real. — Frank Warren
PostSecret is loved by millions because of it’s shocking view into the lives of everyday people. It’s private in the most public way possible. How can you be so real that people can’t get enough?
24. Stir things up, but don’t just make a mess. — Ashley Ambirge
Ashley has no trouble being bold and taking a stand with her Middle Finger Project, but she doesn’t just create shock and awe. She provides value too. Being bold is great, but you need to provide value while you’re starting fires.
25. Create a win–win–win. — Karol Gajda
Karol (along with Baker at #12) dropped an Internet commerce bombshell last year by offering over $1000 of guides and ebooks for just $97 – and convinced 22 other entrepreneurs to buy into the idea.
26. Learn how to launch a product. — Dave Navarro
This self-titled Launch Coach has done more than a few launches in his day. His videos are worth their weight in gold. You have to pay attention and grab them when you can though, because he doesn’t keep them up for long.
27. Know what you’re worth … and charge for it. — Amy Harrison
It would be easy for Amy Harrison to act like most other writers and charge $25 per article. Instead, she charges thousands for her skills. Why? Because she knows that’s what a good sales page is worth.
28. Sell something before you make it. — Clay Collins
Clay is a brilliant marketer in many ways, but perhaps his best idea is known as the Presell Formula. Put simply, the best way to know if people want to buy your product is to have them pay for it before you make it.
29. Do something interesting. — Tammy Camp
Tammy is a world–record holding kite–boarder and the CEO of an interactive agency. Some people even call her the “Lara Croft of the Internet.” That’s more than a little bit interesting and it makes people pay attention.
30. Don’t be all things to all people, but be more to some. — Yaro Starak
Advertising, coaching, membership sites, products. Yaro has developed a reputation for making income from a variety of areas online. This is often known as diversifying your income, but it’s also known as serving different customer groups. Many people may be interested in what you’re doing, but they have different price points and they want information in different ways. How can you appeal to those varied interests?
Marketing, copywriting, and promotion
31. Tell a story. — Johnny B. Truant
Any time you read an email from Johnny, you are invariably taken on a ride involving three fighting monkeys, a sleigh with no reindeer, and one of the kids from Sandlot that no one remembers. And guess what? People love hearing those stories.
32. Learn how to play the self–promotion game. — Tim Ferriss
He’s a productivity expert. No, he’s a health nut. No, he’s blah blah blah. Forget about all the rest, Tim Ferriss is one of the world’s best self–promoters. There are thousands of experts with the same interests as Tim, but he rises to the top not just because he is an expert, but because he knows how to sell it as well.
33. Build a system that works for you. — BJ Fogg
34. Leverage new media. — Laura Roeder
Laura has built a rocking business as of late and a big reason why is due to her command over popular new media channels. She’s great with Twitter, but her video skills are just as stellar.
35. Appeal to curiosity. — Maria Popova
Humans are curious creatures and that’s why thousands of them love Maria Popova and Brainpicker. Follow @brainpicker on Twitter for absurd amounts of interesting information.
36. Develop a truly unique selling proposition. — Steve Kamb
Steve runs a fitness site for nerds. Try finding someone else that does that.
37. Ideas are cheap. Execution is rare. — Paul Singh
Paul is a results junkie. He is an expert at making businesses hum with efficiency. One of my favorite tips from Paul, “Spend most of your time on your most important relationships.”
38. Focus on what matters. — Leo Babuata
With a wife and six kids, you can bet that Leo is mighty busy. When you realize that he runs one of the top 25 blogs in the world, you can be sure that he is swamped with work. But, by every indication, he keeps things simple and remains calm. You can download his latest ebook, Focus, for free by clicking here.
39. Manage your energy, not your time. — Charlie Gilkey
You can choose to block out time, but it’s what you do with that time that matters. Charlie can show you how to take advantage of when you are most productive. (Hint: It’s not always from 9 to 5.)
40. Know what you’re good at … and what you suck at. — Mike Moon and Quoc Bui
These two built Free The Apps, an iPhone app business that pulls in $75,000 per month. Oh yeah, one more thing. They outsourced pretty much the entire operation to people that were good at it.
41. Focus on actions, not advice. — Ramit Sethi
I love reading Ramit’s posts because they give me things to do, not just things to think about. Planning matters, but in the end, ideas are cheap and execution is rare.
42. Always work towards developing a better workflow. — Chase Jarvis
Just watch this video on Chase’s photography workflow. How long do you think it took to develop that system? We are talking thousands of hours. And yet, you can be sure he is still refining it. You can always become more efficient, more stable, more complete.
43. Do something exceptional and forget about the rest. — Cal Newport
Cal is an expert in understanding how students can become exceptional while still having normal lives. If you put just a little bit of thought into it, you can quickly see how his student advice applies to all aspects of life.
44. Separate the signal from the noise. — Jay Baer
Jay is a real social media expert (yes, some of them actually exist). Follow Jay on Convince and Convert for a week and you’ll realize that he is all about measurable business objectives, not Twitter followers. Instead of chasing trendy buzzwords, he uses social media to get business done.
Things to keep in mind
45. Choose to build instead of destroy. — Chris Guillebeau
Chris is known for many things, but at it’s most basic level he is someone that creates. He builds a following, builds a movement, and builds something he is proud of on a daily basis.
46. Hustle. — Scott Stratten
Guess what? Building a business, an audience, an income is not easy. Scott Stratten has sent 60,000(!) tweets on Twitter. Now he has over 75,000 followers and a book on Amazon. Before you whine about how Twitter doesn’t work for you, try sending 60,000 real tweets and see what happens.
47. Don’t worry about moving slowly. It’s better than not moving. — Henri Junttila
It took Henri almost 3 years to earn $3,000 per month from his online business. Once you get there, it’s not that bad. But if you’re working your tail off, you can bet those 3 years get pretty long. Keep moving forward and stick it out.
48. Be energetic. — Mars Dorian
You literally can’t hold this guy down. He’s super excited, super enthused, and super ready to rock it out every day. People naturally gravitate to that kind of energy.
49. Small steps, taken seriously, turn into very big accomplishments. — Lori Deschene
Lori has built a small empire with her site Tiny Buddha. She recently landed a book deal and this is what she told me, “I later realized that a book is just many smaller pieces put together–and that’s true for a lot of things in life. Anything that appears to be big grows from one small act built on top of another.”
50. Tell the world to stuff it. — Gary Ardnt
Quick, name another middle-aged man who dropped everything, traveled to over 60 countries, and spent his nights in hostels and backpacker hotels. Oh, that’s right. That’s not the “normal” behavior. Who cares.
51. Keep it real. — Naomi Dunford
Yes, earning more, building a business, and creating something you are proud of is serious stuff. No, you don’t need to be so uptight about it. Naomi can show you how to run a serious business without being serious.
52. Don’t get hung up on perfection. — J.D. Roth
J.D. runs a very popular personal finance site called Get Rich Slowly. This quote sums up why it’s popular. “Stop making excuses. Your best choice is to start now. You should compare interest rates, but you shouldn’t completely obsess – who cares if you don’t find the absolute best interest rate? Who cares if you don’t find the best mutual fund? You’ve found some good ones, right? Pick one. Get in the game. Just start. Starting plays a larger role in your success than any other factor.”
53. Make others happy. — Tony Hsieh
The CEO of Zappos gets it. Building a business is all about solving problems and making people happy. This is true whether you’re freelancing on the side, starting a small business, or running a billion dollar corporation.
54. Don’t take it all so seriously. — Tim Siedell
“Holiday vacation. I have reached a level of inactivity normally associated with a Kardashian library card.” Follow him on Twitter. You’re allowed to crack a smile every now and then.
55. Know how the system works. — Aaron Wall
Aaron’s expertise is in search engine optimization, so if you’re doing anything online he is worth a look. But even if you’re not, do you know how the world around you works? Not just the systems in your business, but the ecosystem that surrounds you?