maze

Navigating The Maze

If you're still following along, you're probably sweating bullets and going "how the fuck am I supposed to have a blog and a list and a product in three weeks?!"

Well, you're not. Each of these things is a matter of one to three months. You can pull out the stops and git-'r-done in a month, or you can just kick back and relax and take a quarter of the year to put stuff out there, but if you spend an hour a day on each of these things you'll have something worth holding up and saying "I did this shit" in about sixty days.

This was the whole point of the now-discontinued System Sixty series. Sixty minutes for sixty days is enough to build something stable and reliable. But nobody wanted to promote that series, because... well, the excuses varied, but my translation was that nobody wants to sell things that actually work. I'll talk about that on Sunday, but today I want to talk about the overall thrust of this series.

Sometimes the way people talk about building a business strikes me as being like the worst possible way to give directions. It would be like "go drive down Harrison street for a while and let me know when you've been doing that." So you go drive down Harrison street, and say "okay, now what?" and they go "are you at the A&W yet?" so you go "Wait, what? The A&W? I was supposed to be looking for an A&W?" and then they laugh at you and say "well, of course you are, stupid."

So you drive back and forth up Harrison street until you find an A&W, and then you say "okay, I'm at the A&W" and they say "okay, about a mile and a half down from that you'll find Burton street, go drive down that for a while."

I could go on with this analogy, but you get it, right? Imagine if some dickhead were telling you that for every single street between you and your destination. "Go down that street. Are you at this place? Well, find that place, stupid. Okay, now go drive down a different street." That's how most people are learning to start their online business, and to make matters worse, they are constantly selling you a different street from a different person.

"Hey, remember I told you about taking Burton street off of Harrison?! Well forget all about that, because my friend Joe has just released a brand new hot-off-the-presses instruction for taking a whole different street! Only $7 if you buy today!"

And then you buy Joe's report and it says "go drive down Fern street for a while." So you start to feel like you do not so much need directions as a map.

Map of New Orleans near the French Quarter
Just draw me a fucking picture already.

With a map, you can do so many more things. You can see that Harrison street intersects both Burton and Fern, but that Fern is a one-way street. And given your destination, it may not be the right direction. But with a map, you can see exactly where it is you're trying to go and how exactly to get there. (The map is just an example. There are no Harrison and Burton and Fern streets in New Orleans and I am honestly not sure they have an A&W either.)

The average marketing "guru" will smile and nod his head and say "well, what you need is to be where you're going." No shit, Sherlock. And then he'll say "where you are is not where you're going." Oh, hey, he's on a roll here. Let's see where he's headed: "so drive down Harrison street..."

FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUNow, it's not that driving down Harrison street is wrong. It's that this does not actually solve the problem. The problem is that you want to go somewhere and you are not entirely sure how to get there. So somebody needs to say "Look, see this? Here is where you are. Here is where you are headed. And this is the general direction you are going. Here are the major streets you will be taking. You can take all kinds of little side streets if you want, but you are heading for this area right here."

And the overwhelming majority of success in the online world comes from what I call the SLOT machine: a Site, a List, an Offer, and a Tribe. You need a way to make people pay attention to you, a way to communicate directly with those people, something you can sell those people, and a reason those people need to stick around. Right now, you've got the Site and the List and the Offer, and in the next week I'll be talking about building your Tribe.

This is the core of every online business. Every last one of them. They all have an online presence, a direct communications channel, something you can buy, and a reason you should come back.

But tomorrow is a very, very special day. So we'll talk more about this on Sunday.