5 Truths About Marketing I Wish I'd Known When I started to Sell Online

I want to sell online. Reach millions of people online.

I want passive income. Y’know, the kinds where I work 4 hours a week and can earn a full-time income? That one.

I want to make money while I sleep.

Yes, these are all the things that not only have I heard from Coffee N Critique clients, but have actually said as well.

The truth is I’ve accomplished all of these things.

I do sell online and with ease. But not to millions, yet.

I do have passive income streams. But not with 4-hour work weeks, yet.

And yes, I do make money while I sleep. That one I have nailed down pat. 😉

BUT…

And this is a biggie, none of this would have been possible if I had continued the way I started.

Here’s the thing…

No one tells you when you’re excitedly working on your eBook or eCourse that creating it is JUST the first step.

The first step of many, many steps that you’ll have to take before it gets easier.

Creating it is in fact, the easy bit. Download the 42 easy eBook ideas guide and you’ll know what I’m talking about!

What comes next is…  MARKETING.

Yes, in order to sell online, you need to put on those marketing pants and sashay down the online ramp like a supermodel.

But what really happens is that you sorta fumble with the outfits, they’re too loose or too tight and don’t fit you right. Your attempt at sashaying seems more like, stumbling in the dark and all attempts to pull off that supermodel poise look and feel superfake, instead.

Yes, been there, done that.

THIS post is about the truths I wish I had known when I first tried to sell online.

The facts that I wish someone had told me when I tried to market my first eBook.

So, without further ado, if you’re planning to sell online and earn passive income from your eBook or eCourse or just make money to meet your bills, you need to read this first so you don’t get caught up in SOS aka shiny object syndrome and FOMO aka fear of missing out.

Marketing Truths Everyone Must Know Before Trying to Sell Online  

1. Marketing is a machine that needs constant attention

Yep. Marketing is the baby that’s always hungry.

It’s like Joey {from Friends}.

You need blogging, email newsletters, social media, advertising, and a whole lot of other bits and bobs to pile up on the plate.

But here’s the thing… it may need constant attention but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Yeah, nothing compares to the joy of having a well-organized marketing plan that lays out exactly what you need to do, so all you need to do is…well, do it.

A plan ensures you don’t faff around on Facebook when really you should be setting up FB ads.

It ensures you don’t scroll through blog posts when really you should be writing one.

So, yes, marketing may need feeding but a plan can help you perfect it’s “menu plan” with ease.

2. Marketing doesn’t mean selling out  

Nope it doesn’t.

It means serving up what you have to offer with elegance, grace and ease.

To give you an example… we recently joined a neighborhood foodies community. All the home cooks in our condo complex have come together and everyday, pop up what they’re cooking and if the others are interested, they buy.

It’s fun. It’s fresh. It’s full of home-cooked wholesomeness and gives this exhausted-from-the-heat entrepreneur a break from the kitchen.

Are those home cooks selling out because they’re pushing their wares pretty much everyday?

Uh-huh!

Selling out is when you don’t live up to your promises and don’t deliver.

Selling out is when you know that your product is weak and you still push it as being the best.

Selling out is when in your heart you know that what you’re doing is wrong but you still do it.

Selling out isn’t sharing what you’ve created with love, poured effort into, and genuinely believe is wholesome.

Marketing isn’t selling out. Period.

3.  Marketing takes time

Tying into the #1 truth that marketing is the ever-hungry baby, is the fact that marketing takes time.

Yes, you may see overnight successes, but even those would have taken years of practice and hustle to get there.

When I look at people I consider my mentors {unofficially since they probably have no clue who I am!} and those who’re my deeply respected peers, I can see years of heart-centered hustle and plenty of time poured into their work.

These are people whose posts I read regularly, whose emails I’m signed up to and whose products I buy.

A really short list includes Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger, Regina {who by the way wrote a post that I wish I’d written about the 6-figure blogger suck-in!}, Bushra Azhar of The Persuasion Revolution, and a handful of others.

I see these people blogging, emailing, networking online and offline. You think that doesn’t take time? Hah!

So, yes, marketing takes time.

It took me a while to realize that marketing takes time but it doesn’t have to be overwhelmed, confused, panicked action-style time. It can be focused, thoughtful and intentional.

Again, this is why you need a plan.

Long story short: Marketing, whether it’s your blog, your SEO, your social media, your email list, will take time.

It will take time to build.

It will take time to show results.

Make your peace with that and you’ll be a happy camper.

As someone who juggles multiple balls at a time, has a Type-A personality, and is an ISFJ, it’s taken me a while to get comfortable with the concept that I may not be able to devote as much time to marketing as others because I have a full-fledged client-centered business, an 8-year old to raise, a husband to love, a home to manage and a life to live.

I still need gentle {ahem!} reminders from my more grounded husband that I cannot compare myself to others when it comes to the time I have.

I’ve learnt to put processes in place to make time for the marketing that I can do.

At the end of the day, if your product is brilliant, your intention is clear and your plan is in place, all you need is time to execute it all.

4. Marketing does take some money

Yes, yes, it does.

As a budget-conscious, bootstrapping entrepreneur, I’ve tested a TON of free marketing ideas. Hey, I’ve shared 50 free marketing ideas with YOU.

But… at the end of the day, when you do want to go to the next level and you have a limited time budget, you need to add a few dollars to the money budget to make marketing happen.

It may mean hiring people.

It may mean using advertising.

It may mean attending conferences.

Also, when you think of your time as money, you’re already spending that, right? So, why not leverage it smartly as well?

5. Marketing doesn’t have to be confusing

Sometimes, we tend to overcomplicate things.

Sometimes, we want to do what everyone else is doing.

Sometimes, we question the simplicity of our ideas.

Marketing doesn’t have to be like that.

For the longest time, my launches were no more than a blog post, an email and a series of social media updates.

They ALL did well, by the standards I set for myself.

Till date, I have NEVER done a webinar, forget a series of them, for any of my launches.

Will that change in the future? Maybe.

But for now, I choose to keep things simple, because remember… time. 😉

So, don’t overcomplicate things.

Look at your season of life and adapt accordingly.

Simple keeps things sane and stress-free.

THAT, for me, is what I want from my marketing.

There you go.

5 “truths” I wish I had known before I even attempted to sell online so that my expectations were more realistic and my results better.

What marketing truths do YOU wish you’d known? What lessons have you learnt?