Why Overnight Success In Online Business Is A Myth

04 Jun, 2021 By Bobby Klinck
Overnight success in online business is a myth. If you want to build a successful business, you need to move beyond it.

A lot of people are fascinated by the “overnight success” stories they hear about in the online marketing space. 

They think, “Oh, I wanna be like that too.” So, they find shortcuts to entrepreneurial success and buy into the plug-and-play strategies. You know, the kind where they say, “Just buy my program and follow exactly what I do, and you’ll make lots of money.”

That’s the point… it’s all about making money. It isn’t actually about serving people.

I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but it takes time to build a successful business that will last. Taking shortcuts and not wanting to put in a lot of work will backfire eventually.

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

As kids, we were often told the story of the tortoise and the hare. It was a metaphor that encouraged us to keep at it even when it seemed slow. The moral lesson it taught was slow and steady wins the race. I’d say that applies to growing a business too.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most entrepreneurs are trying to be the hare. They’re looking for the shortcuts. They’re looking for the secret that will let them sit around and do nothing. They’re looking for the easy button so that they don’t have to actually put in work.

But that’s not how business works, yet people try to do it.

On the other extreme, some people will tell you that your success is tied to how much you work. Look, I agree with you that at some level, we don’t wanna trade hours for dollars.

The problem is this message is given without context. When you get to the point that you have a thriving business, you don’t necessarily want to build it based on trading hours for dollars.

Now people who get that message often have a distorted view of what it really takes to be successful in the business world. People naturally like a quick fix. They admire overnight success, thinking that it came out of nowhere or it’s their first time. But quick fixes and overnight success just aren’t true.

People often forget that the “overnight successes” have put on a lot of work for years before they hit the inflection point. The truth is many successful entrepreneurs today have tried other businesses first that didn’t work.

Overnight Success Methods Don’t Last

It’s true that some people have found various ways to shoot up and have quick success. But let me caution you against this hare approach: overnight success methods don’t last, and the people who rely on them will often see their success go away overnight too.

For example, between 2010 and 2015, black hat SEO (search engine optimization) was widely practiced. You could stuff your website with keywords and rank on top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). You could also buy links, trade backlinks, buy followers, and so on. When Google found out, it changed its algorithm, and those who built their businesses around those tactics saw their traffic disappear overnight.

Other examples you might be familiar with are:

  • Growing a huge following on your Facebook page and earning tons of money because your followers see every single one of your posts. Then Facebook changed the algorithm and hardly anyone sees your posts.
  • People saying that Facebook Messenger has higher open rates so forget about email. Then Facebook changed the rules for Messenger bots.
  • People teaching you to write a book in a day, which often turns out to be a piece of junk. Now people who read it don’t wanna do business with you anymore.

When you look all of these examples, you’ll notice that none of them are focused on serving your people. They’re all about serving you, the marketer, helping you make more money.

The serve-first way takes longer and you need to approach business with the long view in mind. But success actually comes from the gradual accumulation of wins and goodwill.

Take The Long View

Have you ever been tempted to buy a course or an online program that promises you a successful business within 30 days? Even without a following? Even without experience? Even without money to invest?

Or have you been offered a five-minute abs fitness program? Just do a five-minute workout, and you’ll get amazing abs within a certain period.

I’m here to tell you, it’s ridiculous to believe that you’re going to build a successful business using the overnight success BS that they’re selling you. You’ve gotta be the tortoise, not the hare.

This is what being a serve-first entrepreneur is about… recognizing that the shortcuts, the tactics, all those gimmicks, first of all, they’re not gonna work. Second, they’re not about serving people, because serving takes time.

High-pressure sales and forcing people to make a decision that’s not right for them isn’t serving your people. It’s about you and your need to get money. The serve-first way is letting your customers have the time they need to make the decision. It’s about taking the long view.

What I can guarantee you is that the serve-first way works. Find your people, understand them, and put their interests first. Think about the long term. It’ll work, but you must commit. You’ve gotta be willing to put in the work, sacrifice, and understand that in time, it’ll pay off.

A Better Way

The online marketing space is full of tactics, shortcuts, and promises of fast results. However, there’s no easy button for growing a truly successful business. Overnight success methods don’t last and aren’t about serving people. What works is the serve-first way. It takes time, but it brings you the success that lasts.

If you want to learn more about how you can build a successful online business and be a serve-first entrepreneur, you should join my FREE signature program, BADA$$ Online Marketing University. It’s our way of showing what it means to take the long view and living out the principles we’ve been talking about.

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Bobby Klinck

Harvard Lawyer and Online Entrepreneur