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The most highly correlated skill with success in online business is the skill that most aspiring business owners are trained not to use. The successful entrepreneurs I know have this skill. The failures I’ve witnessed (and experienced personally) lack it.
It’s not a brand new software tool, copywriting trick or video-webinar formula. It’s a simple decision, but not necessarily an easy one. The decision is to be consistent.
Let me explain with a story: My favorite way to market my business is through guest appearances on podcasts. I’ve written before about the unique advantages of podcast guesting, but I’ve noticed an insidious trend over the last couple of years.
Occasionally, I’ll interview on a show that will spontaneously disappear before publishing the episode we recorded. It could be episode 100 or it could be episode 10. The hosts lose interest or fail to see the spectacular results that their gurus told them they would achieve, and so eventually they move on to the next thing.
I find myself having to pester these people repeatedly to at least get a copy of the episode that I recorded with them. I want that content for my own site if they won’t be posting it. But it doesn’t stop there. I constantly hear people say they are starting a YouTube channel, a podcast or a New Year’s resolution. These commitments last for a couple of weeks before the next shiny object calls their name.
And with these observations comes a profound realization: The only businesses and people worth partnering with are those who are consistent. Online business is becoming more and more challenging because each day there are a hundred more wishy washy wantrepreneurs you have to sift through to find people who are consistent. It’s not that these new entrepreneurs can’t be consistent, but that they’re actively being trained not to be.
The overused fast lane and overnight-success carnival are recruiting anyone and everyone who wants to achieve his or her destiny, make money and become successful without working hard or investing money, time or energy into it. How do they accomplish this? By pretending to be consistent (bonus points if you Tweet about it).
This presents a problem: Most people you interact with will flake out on you.
But it also presents an opportunity: In order to win in your industry, all you have to do is be more consistent than your competition. This doesn’t require more skill or charisma, a larger audience, a head start or anything other than your commitment to your word. That’s what makes it so powerful. Anyone can win on consistency.
Here’s how you’re going to do it.
The math adds up
As humans, we’re inclined to think in linear terms. When I first started publishing daily emails about content-creation strategies, I thought that after a year, I would have 365 pieces of published content. I ended up with about 330. What can I say, I missed a few days. But I also wrote two books, a paid monthly training series, a complete course and a handful of articles for my website and others.
My writing was structured with a long-term strategy and written in a way that allowed me to combine each daily post into larger, more comprehensive blocks with minimal editing, resulting in the books, trainings and course. And this is the non-linear benefit of consistency, which most people call compound interest. Compound interest comes from the financial realm: By consistently leaving your money in a bank or fund, it will earn interest. That reinvested interest earns more interest, and over time, your fund grows non-linearly.
The only difference here is that with a fund, you don’t have to do anything. With content creation, you do. And believe me, just as you’re tempted to take that money out of your fund and buy a new car, you’ll be tempted to stop writing daily in the beginning. It seems hopeless. You won’t notice results until six or eight months down the road.
Which begs the question, how do you stay consistent through the tough times to reap these rewards?
Enjoy the process
My best advice for you to become more consistent is to enjoy the process. Enjoy learning, enjoy creating, enjoy the grueling hard work. If you don’t enjoy it, there will inevitably come a day when things go wrong and you skip. You give up on consistency.
I spent years trying to start businesses that I thought could make the most money with the least amount of effort. But I gave up on each one of them as soon as it got difficult. I didn’t believe in what I was doing. It didn’t matter to me, and it wasn’t valuable beyond the money that I could make.
When I found my passion for content creation and online business, I realized that passion brings meaning, value and excitement about the work, allowing me to persevere through setbacks. There are often days when I don’t want to write. But it’s not about me and my feelings. I do it for the people who are on this journey with me to create better content and build bigger businesses.
Start with what you value — and why you value it. Then, develop consistent routines around that.
What do you value?
There is an unlikely hero in the realms of consistency. That hero is Wall Street Bets: the community of retail investors who heroically call themselves Apes and aim to take out hedge funds with their investments. Think what you will about their investment strategy, but they’ve got at least one thing right: It’s a concept called “diamond hands.”
Having diamond hands means holding a risky position regardless of it’s performance. The stock could be tanking or it could be at all time highs — either way, you’re holding it. This stance is taken when the position means more than just the monetary gain one stands to make. It’s not just financial; it’s ethical or personal. Most entrepreneurs have what are called paper hands — the opposite of diamond hands.
Consider this: You’ve invested everything into your business. Most people around you consider it too risky, saying, “You should go get a nice paying job instead, honey.” You believe in the cause that you’re chasing more than anything in the world. You’ve sacrificed so much to get here … and yet you can’t stay consistent. You can’t publish every day. You can’t hold the position.
There is always a new shiny object, a better software, a smarter funnel strategy guaranteed to work better than what you’re doing right now. And so you change your approach. You give up on the YouTube channel. You stop emailing daily. And as a result, you lose everything that you worked for.
Starting a business is like rolling a boulder uphill. As soon as you stop, it rolls back to the bottom and you must start over. What I love about the WSB community is that they’ve made consistency cool again. They made it cool to invest in things that matter more than money and to stick with them no matter what.
When you find something worth fighting for, something that you value and enjoy, go all in on it. Roll the boulder all the way to the top of the hill and over to the other side. If you could only see where consistency will take you over the long-term, you’d have no trouble doing it.
Consistency doesn’t change the game for you overnight. This is why nobody online cares about it. Consistency changes the game for you over the course of months and years. It improves the quality of your work, builds trust with customers and partners, and demonstrates your leadership in the industry. Nobody wants to work with unreliable people.
And if not through talent, you can always win through consistency. When your competition is tired and decides to rest, you will be there, consistently moving forward.
As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Plant the seed today, water it consistently, and 20 years from now, you’ll be glad you did.