For a long time I was stuck in a doom loop that was systematically killing my online business.
OK, OK, I know I’ll need to explain that.
Let’s start from the start.
Who Is Jim Collins?
For business & business model nerds like me, Jim Collins is an absolute must read.
I’m sure many of you have heard of some of his classics such as Good To Great and Built To Last.
Recently I was reading one of his newer efforts: a very short book called Turning The Flywheel.
It’s about understanding your business as a self-sustaining “flywheel”, where each element drives the next. By systematically feeding each element you can build momentum over time until your business becomes virtually unstoppable.
Amazon is perhaps the most famous example:
Amazon's famous flywheel... Jim Collins says he was the one who gave
the concept to Jeff Bezos in the first place, and who am I to doubt him?
A fascinating topic.. but not one that I want to go into in depth here.
Maybe another time.
Or if you want to check it out for yourself, you can always pick up the book on Amazon.
The Doom Loop
The opposite of the flywheel is what Collins calls the “doom loop”:
When caught in the doom loop, companies react to disappointing results without discipline - grasping for a new saviour, program, fad, event, or direction - only to experience more disappointment. Then they react without discipline yet again, leading to even more disappointment.
Falling into the doom loop...
Collins’ point is that companies that are successful are the ones that have a good flywheel, and understand it. When looking to scale… or weather a crisis… they back in their flywheel.
Or… if they recognise that their flywheel is not as strong as they thought… or is no longer right for them… they invest time, money and effort into developing a new one.
Unsuccessful companies simply go looking for a ‘saviour’… and end up succumbing to the doom loop.
So How Does This Apply To Us Little Guys?
Collins was writing with established businesses in mind… but a similar concept applies to building your own online business.
The doom loop is definitely a real threat for solopreneurs.
I know, I’ve been there.
In my first 1-2 years online, I went looking for a saviour that could make my online business dreams come true.
I tried plenty of secret underground systems and viral businesses-in-a-box.
In the online business world we call it shiny object syndrome… but it’s just the doom loop by another name.
It took me a long time and a lot of money to learn that is NOT the way to build a successful and sustainable online business.
I was lucky in some ways… most people who get into that doom loop never find their way out.
They either give up, disillusioned and bitter…
Or they run out of money and then give up, disillusioned and bitter.
She's already disillusioned and bitter, and if she hasn't given up she's about to...
I eventually learned to avoid all the shiny objects out there trying to lure you with their lustrous gleam and siren songs.
I eventually learned that instead you need to:
1/ Find a ‘flywheel’ (model) that is proven and that works for YOU
2/ Learn it from someone who has already done it and can teach it to you
3/ Back it in with consistency and persistence
That, my friends, is the simple formula for building a successful online business.
But Wait, There’s More
I could stop there.
For some people, that might be enough.
Avoid shiny object syndrome, invest in ONE program, apply yourself.
Some people have the motivation, discipline, focus and problem-solving ability to make it happen with just that.
Especially if they have the right mindset, a strong why and burn their boats.
But it will still be hard work… and they’ll still have to solve a bunch of problems along the way.
Many won’t get there at all.
Even very good courses have a lot of students that aren’t successful.
The good news is… there is another level.
Another way to stack the odds in your favour.
One that the most successful people use to accelerate their learning and reach higher levels of performance.
Investing In Yourself… Redux
If you find yourself in a doom loop, you’ll probably end up spending a lot of money on different courses, programs and softwares.
The thing is, the people who are the most successful spend… even more.
The difference is what they spend it on.
They don’t buy a bunch of different courses… they buy one course and then invest in coaching to accelerate their learning.
They don’t buy a “secret system” or “business-in-a-box”, they focus on (and invest in developing) fundamental skills.
They don’t constantly change models searching for a quick buck, they pick a model and then go deep on that one model.
For the same level of investment… you can be mediocre at a bunch of things or really, really good at one or two things.
I can guarantee you that those that take the second option are almost always more successful than those that take the first.
Who gives a shit if a few gurus are killing it on Tik Tok or Clubhouse, and they start advertising a new course that will teach you to do the same?
People kill it on all platforms. With all models.
And they do it by getting GOOD at whatever platform and model they use.
Not by flipping around from one to the other… or by trying to make 10 work at once and half-assing them all.
This poor woman is half-assing Facebook, Tik Tok, Clubhouse and Instagram all at the same time!
And the best… they continue to invest in their core model and their underlying skillset… while having the discipline not to get caught up in whatever the latest fad is.
Choose your model. Invest in a good program. Double down. Profit.
The Bottom Line: Know HOW To Invest In Yourself
I’ve always believed that investing in yourself is one of the keys to success.
And I still firmly believe that.
But now I know that HOW you invest is just as important.
I’ve gone through three phases of understanding on this.
The first one was investing in multiple shiny secret systems to hedge my bets and avoid FOMO.
The second was making a rational decision about which model is the best for me, investing in the best course I could find, and then focusing on implementing what it teaches.
The third was amplifying those teachings through coaching, and supplementing them with targeted investments that go deep on specific fundamental skills. All in service of maximising my results with the core model.
This has been the big learning for me.
Don’t throw your money away searching for the next big “secret system”.
Find your model… commit to it… and then invest as much as you can in making yourself the best you possibly can be at that business.
Do that… and I’ll see you at the top.