The REAL Secret to Succeeding Online

by Jason Gracia · 48 comments

1“So…what does it really take?” he asked. “What is the real secret to succeeding online?”

I didn’t blame him. When I started my first online business in 2001, I was under the same spell, convinced the men and women succeeding online knew some secret code that I simply needed to crack.

While the rest of us were struggling with snail-paced tactics and low-level strategies, the super successes were playing a different game, making behind-the-scenes moves to create massive results.

I imagined it would be something like this…

My Night at The Insider’s Club

It’s midnight. I’m walking down a lonely city street when I notice a shadow leaning against a wall ahead of me.

“Hey. You looking for the secret to succeeding online?” he asks in a hushed voice, peering side to side to make sure I was alone.

Slowly, I nod. “Yeah. You got the stuff?”

“Follow me.”

He turns and leads me down a dark alley. I follow. Gripped by excitement and uncertainty, I jump as a black cat hisses at my feet when I pass a dumpster filled with old computer parts. This must be the place they all talk about.

Up ahead, a faint glow outlines a door. My guide approaches, peers again over each shoulder to make sure the coast is clear, and knocks three times…then knocks again. The secret password.

After a few seconds the door swings open, unleashing a beam of light into the alley. The shadow steps back, nods his head toward the entrance, and waits for me to enter. I accept.

The light overwhelms my eyes as I walk through the door, squinting to keep from going blind. In an instant my ears are filled with the laughter and excited chatter of the men and women inside. This is the promised land of super success.

My eyes adjust and the scene slowly comes into focus: A 1920’s jazz band plays at the front of the house, electrifying the crowd of party goers on the dance floor. Round tables are scattered throughout the club, holding the drinks of the Internet’s icons.

I first notice the bar along a side wall, a stream of faces in conversation filling every nook. Through their shifting stances I notice Clay Collins, keeping close tabs on quantities purchased and sold, his fingers rattling along a register to keep track of the latest conversions.

I look into the club and see David Siteman Garland in animated conversation with Melanie Duncan, his hands punching the air, sharing tales of his latest product’s success. At another table is Pat Flynn, earnestly explaining his plans for peaceful world domination with Chris Ducker, who listens intently. Marie Forleo and Laura Roeder are across the room, hypnotizing a group of onlookers with stories of early partnerships and life-changing results.

Derek Halpern is on his feet, speaking with gusto about the ties between psychology and business, Ramit Sethi close by to tag in when he needs to catch his breath. Lewis Howes strikes the Heisman pose for a small gathering in the back of the room, surely an introduction to the story of his football past and LinkedIn future.

A map hangs against a wall, dimly lit by a delicate chandelier. Chris Guillebeau stands before it, guiding an enraptured audience through his journey ’round the world with insightful commentary by Jonathan Fields. Corbett Barr and Caleb Wojcik sit close by, gripping their table to keep from falling down with laughter, compliments of Chase Reeves.

An empty chair catches my eye. A name card sits on the table in front of it, Scott Dinsmore written in bold black letters across its surface. No doubt in a far-away land teaching the world to live their legends.

Off in a corner, far enough to quiet the thumping sounds of the band, Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, and Jon Morrow sit, relaxed, in a semi-circle of plush cushion, listening in on a conversation between Chris Brogan and James Altucher.

In the opposite corner, guarded by a velvet rope, sits the VIP table, holding the drinks of such luminaries as Godin, Ferriss, and the wily Burchard. They clink their glasses and enjoy the view before them.

As I take it all in, one voice stands out, near a table close to the entrance. Sleeves rolled, wine in hand, four-letter words flying like poison-tipped darts, Gary V admonishes a handful of Lost fans on the need to stop watching their favorite show and start hustling.

I step further into the club. When I do, the music stops, heads turn, and a voice from the front booms: Ahh! We have a new guest! Welcome, welcome. Right this way!

A path opens before me, leading to the stage. As I take careful steps toward it, approving smiles guide me on either side, knowing grins happy to welcome another member to the club. We were once in the dark, but after we discovered the secret, everything changed.

I reach the stage and hoist myself up. An empty chair waits for me. As I take my seat, the entire club gathers round, ready to share the one thing I’ve waited for my entire life. The REAL secret to success.

I rub my hands together, ready for the key to quick riches and fame. The group of icons murmurs quietly, waiting for the moment when the truth finally hits me and changes my life forever.

A spotlight flickers on, illuminating the space in front of me, just off the stage. I see a mic stand, and up to it walks Gary V. He taps the mic, clears his throat, and leans in, moments away from sharing with me the real secret to success. I can hardly wait. 

Hey, moron, there isn’t one.

Fade to black.

The Truth

As the years went on and I began to experience some success, the truth started to come into shape. A few more years and the truth smacked me in the face. I get it now.

I remember looking for the secret, thinking if I can just figure out what it really takes, if someone can just tell me the actual steps, I’ll do it. At the same time, I’ve now worked with many of those super successes, I’ve seen the inner workings of their empires, and I’ve discovered firsthand what it really takes. It’s nothing like I imagined.

I’ve struggled with the gripping fear of mounting bills and I’ve enjoyed the elation of $10,000 days and I can safely say the secret to success is letting go of the Secret to Success.

There is no secret, no behind-the-scenes magic worked by the biggest names in the industry. There are no special moves or methods that, once uncovered, will change your business overnight.

There is only the truth: Success is a matter taking one successful step after another.

Brendon Burchard just finished another million-dollar launch. How did he do it? He added email subscribers to his list, provided value, developed a product, and sold it.

Yes, he’s a savvy businessman who uses many systems to grow his empire, but it isn’t anything you can’t do or aren’t already doing. He has no trick up his sleeve, no mysterious power shared alone among the gurus. He’s simply doing the right things, day after day.

Selling over $900,000 of my programs began with a single sale.

One sale. Then two.

I slowly but surely moved forward, doing promotions, adding partners, advertising in newsletters and on blogs. The results compiled and eventually led to six-figure success. But a hundred thousand dollars started with one.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many moving parts to a successful online business (and I’m here to teach them all to you), but don’t be fooled into waiting for the secret–it’s never coming.

The Dangers

That’s the danger…the waiting.

People who suffer under the myth avoid taking action because they’re waiting for the REAL thing to show up. They buy just one more course, hire just one more coach, read just one more post.

I clearly remember hiring a millionaire coach, confident she was going to reveal earth-shattering advice that would revolutionize my business after a single session. I simply had to figure out her secret.

I hadn’t taken any real steps forward. Why waste my time and effort on small moves when I could leap ahead with the actual keys to making millions? She shared no secrets. She had none to share. Her millions came on the back of hard work, proven systems, and consistent growth.

Ahh, but you’re not out of the woods just yet. There’s another danger. When you believe there’s a shortcut to massive successes, you ignore the small ones along the way.

An old client of mine was an expert in writing sales copy. After helping her put the pieces of a winning business in place, we flipped the switch and it went live. And it worked. Within days she had paying clients, which, given the fact that 99% of websites don’t earn anything, was incredible.

But it wasn’t overnight riches.

My client was disappointed. She wanted to know the REAL secret, as if I had been holding back the truth path to success. Her disappointment grew and eventually she gave up. Little did she realize the keys to success were already hers; she had the golden ticket in hand and simply had to expand what was already working.

The myth killed a sure thing. 

The REAL Secrets to Success

If you want to succeed online, my friend, I want you to do three things: First, let go of the myth. Second, build a solid business that delivers results to you and your audience. Third, grow that business.

Six- and seven-figure experts aren’t working magic. They’re simply following small steps, one after the other, building on proven results and repeating the process day after day.

And, apparently, they’re living it up in the 1920’s.

_____

What Do You Think?

Have you been taken in by this myth? (Perhaps even now?) Have you discovered the truth? What did that do for you and your business? I want to hear your stories, insights, comments, and questions, so click below and share your tale.

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