March 24, 2016

“Six Figures In Six Months.” Five Words with No Meaning.

“Six Figures In Six Months.” Five Words with No Meaning.

I live and work on the Internet now. After 25 years of making money offline, the web is my office these days. And I keep my eye on the market leaders, the competition, the movers-and-shakers, and the talkers.


And almost every day, I see people make promises about how quickly I can make money on the Internet. Not a single day goes by that a hot-shot doesn’t tell me how I can make $50,000 a month, or a million in my first year, or how I can sign clients up for a $10,000 program with ease.


I can only guess that you’re reading these things, too.


And I want to take a moment to call “Bullsh** on the “Get-Rich-Quick” lie.


Now before you get up in arms and send me examples of people who were $225,000 in credit card debt last year and are currently sipping Mai-Tais in the Bahamas while riding the jet skis they own free-and-clear, I want you to hear me out.


This is not my first trip to the business rodeo.


And a big part of my brand is playing it straight with my readers. Many of whom are young. And most of whom are just starting out in business – if not for the first time, then for THIS time.


And I want you to know that it should be a RELIEF that the get-rich-quick stuff is at best untrue, and at worst, dangerous. Because once you realize that, you’ll stop feeling like you’re missing the magic piece of the puzzle that will catapult you to success. You’ll stop wondering why everyone else is doing it, and you can’t.


Because you know what? They’re not.

People are NOT getting rich quick.

At least not in the way you think they are.


I recently surveyed my readers to determine what type of topics would be useful on this blog. And I asked this question: “If you could spend one hour with me, what would you ask me to teach you or show you?”


And one of the answers was, “How did you get the level of success you’ve achieved?” I’ve also been asked this question in several interviews.


My answer to this question has nothing to do with magic, or a secret system, or finding the perfect hook, or closing my eyes and manifesting greatness.


My answer is “hard work and sound strategy.”


You may be calling me a buzz kill right now. And I’ll go ahead and take that hit. Because for those of you who are building an online venture, I want to share with you the things that I KNOW about this playground more than I want to sell you a bill of goods so you’ll like me.


And my hope is that you’ll be MORE motivated, and not less, by the real truth that there is no magic bean.


There is no microwave oven for business success.

  1. Every entrepreneur who makes it big, eats a lot of sh** sandwiches.  The glamour in starting a new business lasts about fifteen minutes. After that, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, month after month, year after year. But trust me when I tell you that this is good news. It means that if you’re committed, and you’re vigilant, and you’re resilient, then you have a chance. You don’t need a million dollar guru, you need something much more solid. Which leads me to #2 on the list…


2. Successful businesses run on viable business plans. This may be my biggest criticism related to what I’m seeing on the Internet today. A Facebook ad campaign is not a business. On online course is not a business. A single product is not a business. A business is so much more than that. And any business worth its salt is the outgrowth of a viable plan.

Business plans include all kinds of things that the “Get-Rich-Quick” gurus don’t tell you about. They include things like start-up costs, revenue projections, cash flow projections, target market analysis, advertising expense, legal fees, staffing considerations, and so much more. If you’re starting a business, get yourself a copy of Business Plan Pro (it’s cheap, and it’s good), and take the time to write a REAL business plan.

Just because the Internet is a virtual space, doesn’t mean your business runs in a virtual reality. Your bank account and house payments are real.

And you owe it to yourself to understand HOW and WHY your business will actually work. If you can’t answer those questions, then work through them until you can. Because if you don’t, you won’t get rich by accident. But you will go bust by accident. I see it happen every day.

And if you feel that you don’t understand those things – that business planning is outside of your wheelhouse – then LEARN it. You wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car if you didn’t know how to drive. The same should apply to your business.


3. Just because you’ve conjured up an ideal buyer, doesn’t mean the buyer exists. This is something that makes me crazy. And I think it’s something that’s misunderstood by so many business owners – especially online entrepreneurs. Here’s the way the idea is presented: “Determine who your Ideal Customer will be.” And here’s how it’s interpreted: “Describe the person you’d like to serve.” Unfortunately, that’s not how it happens.

Just because you’d get on well with a woman named June, who’s 55 and wants a fresh start, and she feels that her life should have more purpose, and she eats healthy and lives healthy and is watching her kids go off to college…. It doesn’t mean that June wants to buy your product. Your ideal buyer is NOT about whom you want to serve, or whom you want to work with. It’s about who wants to work with YOU.

The concept of an ideal buyer is based on developing a product to fulfill the NEEDS of a specific market that already exist. When you apply this concept properly, you identify a legitimate need in a specific target audience, and you develop a product to address that need. Conversely, you can develop a product, and push it out to a market to create a need, based on your amazing marketing and sales skills. This is much, much more difficult. And back to #2 above, it’s a dicey way to create a viable business plan.

Certain big businesses will tell you that they know their Ideal Customer down to the perfume she wears. But it’s important to realize that this knowledge is based on data. Not desire. And if you don’t have that data, and you do nothing to validate your desire, then the exercise isn’t worth much more than a Christmas wish list.


4. Individual tactics don’t make you rich. There are, without a doubt, specific marketing and sales tactics – even programs and software solutions – that will facilitate revenue generation. You might give a “five-figure” webinar. You might create a Facebook ad that generates $5 for every $1 you invest. But these are tactics. And tactics are nothing more than the building blocks of short-term and long-term strategies.

If you build your business – and your beliefs about your income stream – on individual tactics, it’s like building your house with popsicle sticks. There’s no foundation. And if the winds shift, it’s going to fall down.

If you’re deciding whether to invest your time and money in social media, or Ad Words, or writing a book, or developing an online course, it’s imperative that you do so WITHIN an overall business strategy that will serve your business. The question isn’t, “Should I use Facebook ads?” It’s, “Are Facebook ads a viable and sensible tactic to further my business strategy?” And when you take online classes or sign up for guru training, it’s important to see tactics for what they are. A tactic will not make or break a business. A tactic is a very small piece in a very large puzzle.

When I teach Unforgettable U, my online branding program, I teach long-term strategy: how to build a brand for connection and relationships over the long haul. It’s not about how to earn $50K by next Tuesday. It’s about positioning your business for success using a strategy. And knowing the difference between strategy and tactic is imperative if you want to build a business that will withstand the test of time.


5. There’s a huge difference between revenue, profit and cash flow. Every day I see ads like this: “Learn how to bring in six-figures in six months,” or “Double your income in half the time,” or “How I made five-figures with my first program launch.” If you’re evaluating tactics, strategies or training programs based on these statements, you need to know that they mean nothing. Zilch. Zero.

There is no value in knowing that a program will bring you six figures, until you understand how much it will cost you to implement the program and whether your cash flow will allow you to keep running the program so you can stay afloat (let alone whether your product will fill a market need that allows you to successfully implement the program – see #3 above, or whether the program fits well into your overall business strategy – see #4 above).

In order to successfully run programs, you need cash. Now, I know that people will tell you that you can start a business with zero investment. I hear it all the time. And if creating your own website and launching it is starting a business, then I’ll give you that. You can. But that will NOT earn you six figures in six months. Marketing tactics cost money. And you will have to pay for them with your own cash, or with cash you borrow from the bank or get from investors. (And if you’re going to get cash from anywhere outside your business, you need a viable plan – see #2 above.)

6. There’s a difference between creating an entrepreneurial venture, and creating a job for yourself. If you want to win at your own game, know what game you’re playing. If you’re looking for personal freedom and certain kind of lifestyle (in essence, you want to simply “work for yourself”), then your goals and strategies will be much different that if you’re looking to build a venture that you can grow, leverage, license, franchise or sell.

If you’re going into business, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is how you’re going to come OUT of the business. What happens when you retire? Will the business cease to exist? Will you sell it? Will your partner buy you out? The answer to this question – the question of exit strategy – informs your decisions about how to build the business.

Your business strategies (not tactics) will differ depending upon whether you’re creating a lifestyle business (a job for yourself) or an enterprise for long-term growth and expansion.



You may be reading this right now and feeling angry and frustrated. Maybe you’re angry at the online carnival barkers who are claiming huge money quickly. Or maybe you’re angry at me, for pissing in your Cheerios. Either way, I challenge you to use the power of your anger for good.


Because really, all of this is good news. You don’t NEED a Get-Rich-Quick scheme to get rich. You need a viable business plan, a strategy, and a reasonable plan for cash flow.


Business on the Internet is new. Business is not. Call me “old-school.” That’s cool. It’s better than calling your family members when you run out of cash, or calling that false online guru and asking for a refund.


What do you think? Share with me in the comments, below.

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35 thoughts on ““Six Figures In Six Months.” Five Words with No Meaning.

  1. Suzanne says:

    Here here! Great post and thanks for keeping it real.

    “There is no microwave oven for business success.” Best. Line. Ever.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thanks, Suzanne!

  2. Allie Mae says:

    Love it. Some truth at last. I follow a lot of the self-professed internet Queens of this, gurus of that on Facebook just to see what they’re up to. Soon we will have a world full of coaches ‘teaching’ a whole load of wanna-be coaches how to make a million by teaching a whole load of wanna-be coaches how to make a million by teaching a whole load of wanna-be coaches… The most dangerous new pyramid marketing scheme I’ve seen, all wrapped up with glossy photoshoots and super-white cheesy smiles.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, Allie Mae… I like a bit of substance, too.

  3. Excellent post. Really valuable perspective.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      I’m glad it had value for you, Vito. Thanks for reading along.

  4. Absolutely. Those adds don’t half wind me up (as we say over here). Such bull shit. It damages the integrity of those of us trying to do a good job, a proper job. Struggling to set up or keep the money coming in. These get rich quick schemes do make you feel a bit shitty and it sucks. Because here we are working hard to be purposeful and authentic and strategic!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Lucy — You keep on keepin’ on. Purposeful, authentic and strategic wins the race, my friend.

  5. Cat Volz says:

    “Just because the Internet is a virtual space, doesn’t mean your business runs in a virtual reality.” YES !! ???

    1. Julia Hook says:

      🙂 Sound like a Tweet to me, Cat Voltz!! Thanks for reading along.

  6. Bravo #1

    I agree … Avatars are a load of bollox. I’ve paid $10,000 to be in a room and the other folks there have almost nothing in common except … the offer & timing were right for them

    Bravo #2

    Articulating the distinction between a lifestyle business & a venture that you can grow, leverage, license, franchise or sell. People need to hear that ‘you now just own your own job’ is NOT a bad outcome if your ‘job’ is based around lifestyle being the goal. Authors, speakers & coaches aren’t selling up any time soon. No exit strategy baked into those models, and that’s just FINE if lifestyle is the goal (which I applaud BTW)

    Best article I’ve read in ages. Thank You x

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, David. That’s an amazing compliment. Thank you. And your observation about being in a room full of people who are part of the same audience — all of whom have nothing in common — is super valid. I’m going to use that one, if it’s OK with you!!

  7. Are we not always looking for new giants on who’s shoulders to stand? By standing on yours I can now better articulate an idea, so feel free x

  8. Thank god someone has said it. A friend and I have been having this conversation for months – it’s a world of emperor’s new clothes. There is a place for learning new platforms and tactics, but evaluating how it actually helps you is essential. I’m not in for get rich quick – I’m an artist! – I have no idea yet whether building my internet following will result in more sales or just more likes. Can’t eat likes, however I do enjoy the interaction and it’s part of the way to share my work. It takes time to see the impact of any effort that’s worth taking. That’s fine, I have no plans to stop working but I’m so glad I’ve learnt to see through these ostentatious promises that seem to be based on quicksand!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Alice. I love, “It takes times to see the impact of any effort that’s worth taking.” That’s so very true. I also think that growing into a business is a responsible approach. If we’re new in business, then we don’t know how to run a small business, let alone a big one! Thanks for reading along, and for speaking out.

  9. Esther says:

    “Or maybe you’re angry at me, for pissing in your Cheerios.” Epic. You’re keeping it real. I like that.
    Thank you for highlighting the difference between ‘working for yourself’ and ‘building a venture’. Many marketing strategies out there are tailored to the latter and that’s not what I want – I want to work for myself, and preferably not too much!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, Esther. I do try to keep it real. I’m not sure how else to do it. And I like that you know what you want — that you want to work for yourself. And the “not too much” part? Brilliant. I hope you’re killin’ it.

  10. Liz says:

    Oh juju you have so hit the nail on the head! It drives me mental how they are all driven by money! “My secrets to your next 15k month!” – like seriously?? It frustrates me that the money is the driving and marketing factor, that there is no real strategy and no bigger vision. And recently I have been really surprised how angry it makes me. These people are spinning in circles, always chasing and chasing for the dollar and as you said, there is no foundation – no authentic, connected foundation. And it will stop one day and they are screwed. And it will fail because it is empty. I know a coach also of whom has been through this – this pigeon chest high, fist pumping mentality that she said was “f&^%*ng exhausting” and she felt even more disconnected than ever! And this “luxury lifestyle” really sucked. Yes – she earnt 250K in one year, but she hated it. She was disconnected, exhausted, lacked a solid foundation – thus when she “physically” could not handle it anymore – she stepped back, the money stopped, then the long time acquaintance of “self hate” came back in, the emotional eating came back. Not nice….

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Liz. You bring up an entire side to this issue that I didn’t even touch on — which is if the money actually comes (and the claims are true, even for a while), and we’re not prepared to deal with it. One of the things I like about a business growing over time (vs. busting out like a race at the starting gun) is that we learn to deal with it, to live with it, to manage it, to conquer it. Everything is a process. And if we begin in the middle, we may sorely miss what we should have gotten in the beginning.

  11. Liz says:

    and I mean “physically exhausted” 🙂

  12. Thank you for this. Brilliant article

    1. Julia Hook says:

      You’re welcome, Beaulah. Thanks for being here to read it.

  13. Milica says:

    Brilliant as usual!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thank you, Milica. Means the world to me that you’re such a loyal and vocal fan. I love having you here.

  14. Laura says:

    Well said and all very true!! I do not buy into those get rich quick schemes and never will. I have never paid for advertising, or anything else that I could do myself. A lot of people don’t know that you can promote and even have your business on the first pages of search engines for free. I created a web site to explain to people how to do this and much more. I enjoy helping others and was sick of hearing about people being ripped off and not getting any results. I don’t know why people believe these scams. Find your passion! That’s what I did and created my own company which I am bringing back in April. There are plenty of articles that will tell you everything you need to know. Starting your own business is a lot of hard work. You must create a plan, follow through and keep at it. All the best! Great article – I look forward to reading more! Thank you for taking the time to do this and being honest

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Laura. Congrats to you on your new company. On on sharing things that are truly useful to your connections and followers. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  15. This is a great post Julia, thank you! When you work with business owners every day, you soon realise that success is based, as you say, on “hard work and a sound strategy”. I would add “a big and compelling vision, being focused on the right things and getting sh*t done” to that! Keep BIGthink!-ing, jd

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Thanks so much, John. I agree — you’ve added some hum-dingers to the list of things we need to make a business soar. Thanks for reading along. Cheers to you. -Julia

  16. I love this, Juju! I get pissed off with the idea that you can do almost anything worthwhile super quickly. There’s been quite a lot of research showing that to be excellent at ANYTHING takes about 10,000 hours of committed practice. That’s ANYTHING – including learning how to run a business.

    As some of the comments above have said – even if you make a bundle, if your foundations are sand, your whole structure is going to slide.

    There are too few people pointing out the obvious – that real success is not measurable in dollars or pounds or euros or whatever. it’s measured in joy in what you do, having a real pride in your work because you know you make a real difference and you’re blooming great at what you do, having good relationships with a community that is wider than a few cronies, and knowing you are learning and growing as a human being.

    Enough money to keep a roof over your head and food on the table is clearly good, but without the joy etc, your swishy car and your 47-bedroomed mansion are meaningless. he who dies with the most toys is still extremely dead!
    Anyway, thanks for this – great stuff1

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Wendy. You are so right on every count. I’m not sure where folks get the idea that running a business is quick and easy. Or that you can start right out making a million bucks. But I’m on a mission of truth. And I’m glad you’re on it with me.

  17. Roni says:

    Thanks Julia. I love this. I think these thoughts whenever I see 10000 in 10 days!
    Specifically, everything takes data and experience; The ideal client is a great example of this in my biz. I have shown at festivals for years. I make Native crafts so lots of leather and feathers. I sold tp bluegrass festivals and biker rallies.
    When i went online i had a group from university to help me “start-up”. They had me targeting my ideal market…..people making X dollars with families. Well people making X dollars with families shop at crate designs, Ikea, and buy walmart paintings! I made ZERO sales. I would love to teach families the native way and sell out my crafts everyday to people with X dollars but the truth from experience and data is: I need bikers and other freedom fighters who like leather and hippy-trippy woowoo people like ME who like feathers.
    Often in life and biz the ideal is not the same as the real.

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Roni. Aaaahhh, yes. $10,000 in 10 days. I always wonder about the other 355 days. What happens then? And you’re right to know your ideal client. There are lots of bikers and hippies with money to spend. There’s no “get rich quick,” but you can surely find that group of folks who value what you have and are also able to pay for it. My best to you… and to everyone who loves feathers!! That’s an amazing crowd.

  18. Sandra says:

    I have been working home, trying to put a business online at the top of the market…. And I have been told that it was possible with tools like sharing posts and create YouTube Videos and… Right! Guess I much I have spend and I much money I made?? I guess you know the answer. I spend the last year seeing my bank account go down the hill… I Found you and it’s like all the ideas to make it happen are more real. Thank you for helping me and others and I am very sorry for my english… I am a french Canadian. 🙂

  19. Tia says:

    This is beautifully written and very true! I have been approached by several ‘Master Manifestor’s” who are teaching the secret tips that will double and triple my income in weeks. I call BS! I am so glad that I chose to embark on the journey of Unforgettable U and am getting clear on the strategies that will give my business longevity and not be a One Hit Wonder! Thank you JuJu!

  20. Badu says:

    Wow.. this is good and bad news for me …but absolutely true! You do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle without learning to drive. Whew.
    \Are you available for consultation and if so what is the best way to contact you. I’ve been getting your emails but never fully read the articles until today. Appreciate the candor & knowledge. Kindly let me know. Thanks.

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