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Top Reasons Most People Fail To Make Money Online

Statistics show that the majority of people who try their hand at blogging and internet marketing fail to make money from their efforts.

This sorry state of affairs comes about because those people lack a firm understanding of the systems that are necessary to build and grow a successful business online.

They engage in a lot of random motion which gets them nowhere, and ultimately they wind up confused, overwhelmed, and frustrated.

They don’t know what to do next in order to get the results that they desire, and in the end, they just give up.

And yet there are simple solutions to those problems.

If you want to avoid the confusion and overwhelm experienced by most of those who venture into online business (and the failure that will undoubtedly follow), then you need to have a solid foundation.

The foundation will serve as a stable point that you can use to logically evaluate various strategies and tactics from.

In your quest to meet your business goals, you will conduct a lot of research and gather lots of information that will help you to better inform your decisions.

Without this foundation, everything will look the same, and you won’t know which direction you’re headed which means you could be moving backward in your business and not even know it.

The result:

Confusion and Frustration!

But, What Exactly Is That Foundation?

Let’s take a look at the framework that you can start from.

Your foundation should come down to two main factors:
  • A clear understanding of the fundamental principles on which this, and all other businesses function
  • A distinct pathway as well as knowledge of how you can forge your own unique path

In the first factor, we’re talking about fundamental business.

For example, when we talk about providing value and helping people solve problems in order to make money online – that’s a fundamental principle of business.

There are some basic principles of business that are vital for you to know and make use of if you want to build and grow a successful business. These are facts that are true no matter what type of business you’re in, whether you’re a solo-preneur blogger or a Fortune 500 company.

Unfortunately, the majority of bloggers out there do NOT operate using these business fundamentals. The second factor is just as important as the first (if not more so), and it has to do with having a clear pathway.

But, this isn’t just some path that you get from some ‘guru’. It has to be a pathway that is coupled with a basic understanding of how to assess or evaluate all the information that will help you create your own route.

There are certain tools for this:

One of the biggest tools that we use in business (and indeed in a lot of other things in life) is called a ‘System’.

You’re probably already wondering, ‘System? What is it, and what does that have to do with failure to make money online?’

Well, to answer that, we need to take a look at the definition of a system:

According to good ol’ Wiki, a system is a set of interdependent or interacting components that form an integrated whole.

In our case, ‘integrated whole’ refers to our business, and it’s obvious that any type of business will consist of different components working together somehow.

So, Let’s Look At What A System Does, Exactly

The system in your business is simply a series of actions that take place in a certain order.

These actions take a particular input and process it to create a predictable output. This just means that something goes in, things happen to it, and something else pops out – and that result is the goal that we’re shooting for.

Simple, right?

So while a system is an integrated whole, it’s really just a process in much the same way as an assembly line.

As an entrepreneur, you’re a systems designer and you create processes.

Just as a treasure map guides you to whatever treasure you’re seeking, a process (or system) in your business guides you to your ultimate goals.

What’s The Difference Between Good Systems And Bad Ones?

Systems can either be effective or ineffective, efficient or inefficient. And this brings us to yet another fundamental principle:

Your goal is to create a system that works optimally to accomplish the output you desire.

An optimum system has the least number of steps and as few unknowns in it as possible.

It also has the fewest decision points possible. Take a car manufacturing assembly line as an example. The assembly line layout is created by engineers who are essentially system designers.

If they were to find a way to re-arrange it so that the entire process could be completed in 40 steps instead of 50, don’t you think everyone would be happy?

Of course, they would!

Getting rid of those 10 extra steps could potentially save the company a lot of money, and the system would operate more optimally.

Similarly, they would do everything in their power to ensure that the assembly line is automated and relies on human decision making as little as possible.

This is because decisions made by humans introduce question marks into the scenario, and the point here is to remove as many unknowns as possible to ensure that the final result or output that you get from the system is as predictable as it possibly can be.

That is exactly the same logic that goes into the business systems that you’re going to be building.

You want to reduce the steps taken to a bare minimum, and also remove arbitrary motions (if there are any). Basically, if it doesn’t contribute anything to the desired output, then it has to go.

An example that uses our type of business would involve a person who builds his entire website starting from scratch. He manually hand-codes everything, and does all his HTML by hand!

This ‘system’ of his would give the output of a finished site, but it will have 101 steps to it.

Alternatively, you could simply install WordPress. BAM! This cuts down the steps to just 1 simple push of a button and you still get a finished website at the end of it.

Looking at these two examples, it’s clear that one system is way, WAY better and more optimal than the other.

All that has been leading to this one point:

Why People Fail Online

And the answer is:

They simply don’t have the right systems.

You can break this down further into 3 reasons:
  1. They either have no understanding of systems whatsoever. Or…
  2. They have a constrained or flawed system. Or…
  3. They don’t have a clear desired output.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into each of the reasons.

1st Reason For Failing: No System

Without a system, you’ll find yourself engaged in random motion and constantly wondering what to do next.

A system gives you a clear order of progression and a step-by-step series that you can follow straight to your goal. It serves as a guide and a point of orientation.

Maybe you have some idea of what you want your online business to give you (money, perhaps?), but without a system to get you there, you keep engaging in random motions that you’re thinking (hoping) might get you there.

And often, these are things that you’ve seen other people do.

So you spend time on social media, you engage on Twitter and mess around on Facebook, answer emails, and tweak (and tweak and tweak) your blog theme… anything you hope will get you closer to that dream – but you really don’t have an idea if any of what you’re doing will work… since you don’t have a system.

2nd Reason For Failing: Constrained or Flawed System

In such a case, the person has something resembling a system, but it’s just not working well and doesn’t result in the desired output. Either the output is totally flawed or it takes a very long time to yield.

This can happen because of one or more of the reasons outlined below:
a) When you miss steps

If the system that you’re following leaves things out then you’ll probably get to a point in the process where you’ll find that there are some things that should have been completed earlier that weren’t done.

b) When you take steps out of sequence

This is when the system that you’re following leads you to do things in the incorrect order (or even a random, haphazard way).

This leads to confusion, frustration, and overwhelm.

For instance, this sometimes happens with a lot of bloggers who try to jump ahead in trying to figure out what the layout of their product should be before they have even set up their website or, more importantly, verified whether there is an actual demand in the market for their product, to begin with.

When you consider such things, it’s no wonder that the majority of people are confused and totally overwhelmed by the very idea of starting a business online! It’s because they do stuff out of order.

They bite off a whole lot more than they’re able to chew and that leads to failure.

c) When you have inadequate steps to handle all the constraints

In this scenario, the system doesn’t have enough steps, which leaves sections of the system with different problems that have to be dealt with, or there may be too many decisions that have to be made.

Basically, there are lots of things that are keeping the system from performing well.

The answer, in such a case, is to re-design the entire system to ensure that all the constraints or flaws are dealt with the right way.

By now, I’m hoping that you can see that the idea of engineering systems in your business is actually a very logical one.

By designing your system, you’re literally creating your own success.

3rd Reason For Failing: No Clear Output

As previously mentioned, a system is basically just a series of actions that transform raw input into an outcome that is desired.

If you’re not 100% clear on what you are shooting for in your business, then it stands to reason that your system won’t be very effective in getting you the results that you want.

If you have confusing directions, it’s going to be really difficult to have any kind of system at all.

For instance, if the auto engineer in our first example were to design a system, but no one told him that the output was supposed to be an operational car, there is no telling what could happen on that assembly line!

Likewise, as a blogger, if you’re just spinning your wheels and engaging in tons of random work you’ll never get anywhere. Without clearly naming what exactly it is that you’re shooting for, you’ll never reach your online business goals.

A lot of newcomers to the blogging scene have this attitude:

‘I just need to make money. Tell me what I need to do’.

Someone like that doesn’t have a CLEAR desired output, neither do they have a real sense of the goal they’re trying to achieve. Many novice bloggers also fall into the endless loop of changing the way their blog looks.

They mess with the logo, sidebar widgets, colors, plugins, yada yada…

The one problem here is that without a clear desired output, the system (in that example) could go on endlessly because you just keep getting newer and better ideas, and you keep tweaking and tweaking…

So many bloggers confuse this sad merry-go-round with real progress.

That’s why it’s vital to get specific not only on what you are shooting for in your online endeavors as a whole but also in the smaller sub-components that you put into it.

This will help you keep moving in the right direction and stop you from going round and round, never seeing any real results.

So, To Bring It All Full Circle…

Understanding systems is the key to any entrepreneur’s growth online.

If you’re building a blogging business then this is something that you need to focus on as it will allow you to not only build and easily maintain your business but also scale it to any level that you want.

Feel free to post your comment below.  An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!


Updated: Originally published November 11th 2018

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. AnxietyPanda

    I was definitely guilty of reason number 2 for quite some time. Everything is going much better since I sorted that out!

    This article provides valid reasons why most people fail to make money online, and I will definitely share this with my friends and family 🙂 Having and following a solid and reliable system is absolutely crucial to reach success status online. Do you have a specific system that you recommend?

    1. Steven

      I have built my system through trial and error over time. It takes a while to develop a system that works perfectly for yourself. But with experience, one will develop and evolve that keeps things efficient.

      Thanks for the comment AnxietyPanda!

  2. Chris

    I feel that a lot of people fail to make a business succeed online because they are constantly ‘badgered’ by so-called success stories off certain marketers. It doesn’t only happen in poor internet marketing training – it actually happens in the good training communities as well. 

    Building up an online business is hard work – and I should know, it has taken me 8 years to build five successful online businesses. I advise anyone starting out to put the idea of making money out of their head for at least 12 to 16 months – in most cases it just ain’t going to happen. 

    Don’t worry about what the ‘boasters’ are saying – concentrate on your own journey. 

    1. Steven

      There will be a few who get lucky, make their first money in 2 months…

      But you are 100% correct. Expecting to make money in the first year will likely be met with disappointment. This is an awesome business but there are no get-rich-quick shortcuts and you have to have patience to succeed.

      Thanks for the comment Chris!

  3. Terry

    You have made a fair point in having to have a good system. Drawing an outline of why people fail at online business. I agree a good efficient system is important. In forming and maintaining an online business. 

    Systems  is a little vague, what are some examples of good system to adopt? What are specific signs of a bad system, you have mention improving  the system you use. What are some examples of improving the system.

    I agree with you fully on why people fail. What are some ways to improve or fix a system?

    1. Steven

      A system refers to something you develop with experience that lets you get everything done in an efficient and reliable way. To fix issues with your system, break it down and see if there could be improvements. Maybe something you do in your routine could be changed to save time and energy.

      Eliminate random efforts that go nowhere or accomplish little. It’s common sense really.

      A good system comes with experience.

      Thanks for the comment Terry!

  4. Maria

    I liked your considerations on the failure of online business, and you are absolutely right. As a beginner it had been very difficult, the programs always tell that “it is for anyone with or with out knowledge about…” it is not true, we need some knowledge, if don’t is toooooo hard. Before started in WA I made a research about a lot of things related to Affiliate Marketing and any way it has been hard. Thank you for this post 🙂

    1. Steven

      There is a lot to learn when first starting out. Personally, I enjoyed that part. Getting into the nuts and bolts, learning the technical side as well as the art side of the business.

      Sounds like you have got over some big hurtles. Keep at it, there are rewards.

      Thanks for the comment Maria!

  5. jessie palaypay

    As far as doing random motions without any rhyme or reason is concerned, I realize a lot of new aspiring online entrepreneurs disobey the K.I.S.S. Principle and tend to over complicate something that is otherwise simple. 

    I figured my process to be to find a specific audience, write specific content towards that audience, and simply share with them. Eventually my audience was starting to visit my website and I slowly attracted the right people.

    1. Steven

      I’m glad you found a simple strategy that worked. It can be tough to nail down at first, but once you do, you have a working system which is invaluable.

      Thanks for the comment Jessie!

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