Updated: Dec 24, 2019
You know what I am just so tired of?
Inauthenticity and competitiveness.
I’ve been trying to learn how to make a living online for a while now. I think we live in an interesting time where we have access to the internet and social media. There are a lot of things I really don’t like about that, and I’ll probably talk about that in a future post, but one thing I do like about it is the ability to share information around the world pretty easily. And in turn, that offers us really cool opportunities to do really personal, artistic, and impactful things and make a living doing it.
Like vlogging or film-making. Singing and song-writing. Painting or graphic design. Dancing. Or writing. These beautiful artistic expressions. People have the means now to share them with the world and the world can support them.
Or more practical things like inventing or building or fixing and repairing and teaching. We can share our knowledge and our skills with everyone with an internet connection.
It’s quite wonderful.
And it’s something I’ve been working toward for a long time.
And I kind of hate it.
I mean, not really hate because words are important to me and they’re really powerful so I try to be intentional with the words I use. Hating it sends a message to myself that limits me from having success, I think.
But I am just so tired of the world I have found online.
Particularly the world of online business.
I mean, the truth is I might just dislike business in general. But there is just something about trying to make a living online that I have found to be so…. Life-sucking.
Internet Marketing, SEO, Keyword Research and other terrible stuff
The issue that I have isn’t with a lack of resources or information.
The truth is, the ability to share information online means that there’s no shortage of tutorials, lessons, blogs, vlogs, courses, and professionals willing to share their wealth of knowledge about how to run a successful online business or make a living online.
The issue I have is the mindset that is cultivated in the pursuit of online success.
The mindset of competitiveness and inauthenticity.
This mindset might be present in business in general, but I see it so abundantly in online business.
Let me explain.
When you search for ‘how to make money online’ you’ll be presented with all kinds of blog posts and youtube videos talking about how to do just that. How to grow a business. How to grow a brand.
And pretty much every person is giving similar suggestions:
Do keyword research to find keywords that have high search volume and low competition and then create quality content around those keywords, making sure to structure with titles and subtitles with those keywords in them and make sure to mention the keywords as much as possible throughout your posts. And then either link a product that you sell or do some affiliate marketing with Amazon or someone where you promote their products and you make a commission if one of your visitors buys something.
Then, if your blog post is keyword-researched up correctly, you’ll eventually start bringing in traffic and a percentage of those visitors will buy your product or Amazon’s and you’ll start making money.
Create a lead magnet, which is just a digital product you can give away for free in exchange for an email address so you can send people emails.
Then create a web-site with a click funnel on a landing page (a click funnel is just basically a series of manipulative intentionally-crafted questions and answers and paragraphs designed to convince a visitor that they need your product) and insert an email hook so you can give away your lead magnet and capture an email address.
Then start bringing in traffic, either through the aforementioned blogging or maybe through running an ad somewhere and start capturing email addresses. And then before you know it, you’ll have a bajillion email addresses and you can start sending those people emails and selling them stuff.
You can do dropshipping. You can find products on Alibaba or Aliexpress from china and sell them online for a profit. You can create an online store on a Wordpress site and then run ads through facebook or google and make a ton of money.
Speaking of facebook, you can’t forget social media.
You have to “crush your social media game”. You have to build a following. You have to create “sick content” every day and post constantly, making sure your ig feed is beautiful and exciting and compelling. Or that your youtube channel is better than your competition. Or that you use snapchat or tiktok. And then if you’re old you can use facebook.
And don’t forget Pinterest. It’s a search engine more than a social media site. So it’s got great potential to help you drive traffic to your site and sell products.
Here’s the problem:
None of it works.
I mean, I’m sure it does. Tons of people have made a lot of money online doing these exact things.
But not me. I’ve tried for years. Tried all these things.
And didn’t sell a single thing.
Actually, that’s not true. One time I “sold” a Konjac sponge from my woocommerce site because I accidentally put the price in wrong and basically I just gave it away to someone.
And I actually have sold 2 copies of my ebook on Etsy through Pinterest.
And I’m grateful for those 2 people and those 2 sales.
But I have disliked most of this process.
Inauthenticity and Competitiveness
See, at first I tried dropshipping. And it was a lot of work. A LOT of work. And a lot of money. And time.
And in the end all I had to show for it was that one single Konjac sponge and a realization:
I felt very unfulfilled and fake and unsatisfied throughout that whole process.
I didn’t really care about the products I was selling (natural beauty supplies, which I basically know nothing about). And as a minimalist, I don’t like a lot of material stuff anyway, so selling material stuff felt disingenuous to me.
So I didn’t like that.
So then I moved to blogging and trying to do some affiliate marketing.
In the end, after months and months of trying to design, build, and develop a couple of websites, I had the same to show for it as the first attempt: nothing.
Except another realization that I didn’t like it.
That something was off.
And then there was the mental health challenges.
Exhaustion, Burnout, Anxiety, and Depression
After the dropshipping debacle, I realized one of the issues was that I wasn’t doing something I cared about. Something that meant something to me. That felt important or helpful for others.
And what did I care about?
I have suffered from anxiety and depression for much of my life and it was just my dream to find some answers, to find some healing, and to share that and help others who suffered. Because I know the pain of it. The darkness. The suffocating weight of it all.
And I wanted to help. I didn’t want anyone else to suffer.
That mission felt important. Something I could really get behind. That I could really put myself into.
So that was one of the websites I tried to develop. A mental health site.
Except…. Keyword research and SEO and analytics and competition! And anxiety and depression and burnout and exhaustion!
They all combined to crush me.
The thing I dislike the most about online marketing is that it stifles creativity and authenticity. It trains you to constantly ask the question: “what do other people want to see and what does everyone else want me to create?”
“How can I make sure I’m competing in this space?”
“How can I make better content than all of these other people?”
“What do I need to write or produce to make sure the right people see it and it makes them want to take action?”
Instead of thinking: “What do I want to produce? What is beautiful to me? How do I feel? How can I just share what is in my heart with the world?”
I get it, you can look at it differently. Doing SEO and keyword research can help you share your value with the world.
I just was never able to feel free and creative and authentic when I was trying to create content with the goal in mind to have it seen and liked by as many people as possible.
I felt manipulative and insincere when I was trying to craft the perfect post with all the right keywords and all the emotional triggers to get people to take action and buy my stuff.
Authenticity and Finding Myself
I’ve had to fight the urge to structure this post in ways that I think will be accepted and liked by the most amount of people. It’s still with me.
There’s a chance nobody will read this because I didn’t do keyword research. Or if they do, they won’t like it because it isn’t teaching someone how to do something or it isn’t written with the intent to motivate anyone to buy anything.
It’s not my best writing, to be honest.
But it’s a real representation of my skill level at this particular point in time and it’s a real representation of how I feel right now.
And that’s my new goal.
Authenticity and connection and vulnerability.
That’s what this site is about now.
Yes, you can still buy my book and I hope you do. And you can still give me your email address in exchange for a freebie. Because I have accepted that a person needs to make a living and I can only add value to the world if I have the resources to give.
But my content is not going to be crafted and developed with the goal of mass appeal. Rather it will be created with the goal of authenticity and vulnerability and connection.
I think that vulnerability and connection are the secret keys to mental health. So it will help me. And hopefully it will help others as well.
So there you go.
I’ll post what I want and when I want to. And maybe not so many people will find me or like it. But maybe there will be enough people that will see the value in it and will feel the connection from it that it will all work out.
And in the end, at least I will have authenticity to show for it.