I’ve fallen into and clawed out of one of the most dangerous traps this new world of Internet opportunity we’re all living in has to offer. I think my experience might help you avoid the danger and reach the goals you’re pursuing. Let me explain…
It’s been over four months since I wrote a new blog post on Etsypreneur.com. Between that post and the one prior to it… six months! Two posts in ten months time. This from a site that says “Daily” tips at the top! Do I need a refresher on the meaning of the word “daily” and how it differs from its sibling “yearly”?
The truth is that I fell into one of the greatest traps of the Internet opportunity and found myself completely ensnared, unable to move forward, unable to seize the potential that I knew was in front of me.
There is no shortage of opportunity for me here. The Etsy community is growing a record pace that is increasing every day. All of the driving forces behind that growth continue to intensify. The team at Etsy, while maybe not always everyone’s best friend, is doing a fantastic job at improving the Etsy product and the image of Etsy in the public eye. The growth of Etsy, and therefore Etsy sellers is a trend with no end in sight.
And here I sit, the original thinker-upper of the word Etsypreneur and the founder of the blog Etsypreneur.com. At least some level of opportunity seems obvious just with that alone. In addition to that, I actually know a lot about business in general, having owned multiple companies for a period of over twenty years. In fact, other than a few years in my teens and twenties when I worked for my grandfather, I haven’t had an employer for the vast majority of my adult life. I’ve always been an entrepreneur.
Most readers here also know that my wife Kim and I are long-time Etsy sellers and have been blogging about Etsy for almost half a decade at her awesome blog, EverythingEtsy.com. Through that site, we have access to over 100K followers in various social media settings and over 20K people we can send an email to at a moment’s notice, though we rarely do.
In the process of all of this, we’ve become true experts in blogging, graphic design, advertising, photography, and much more. I’ve also been told I write a decent article, that I’m a good teacher of skills, and that Kim and I make a likeable team.
I’m not saying all this to toot our own horn, and I hope it doesn’t sound that way at all. What I’m trying to point out here is that there really is no question as to the “opportunity” that I have sitting here 24/7 at Etsypreneur.com. Yet I stopped. Why?
More importantly, how does all of this apply to you? How does this equate to the experience you might have been living through over the last months or years?
Your opportunity is just as real as ours.
We started all of this a few years ago with no money, no experience, and no knowledge of what we were doing or where it might lead. We just followed the path that felt right with faith that it was leading somewhere good for our family.
The reason this opportunity has grown around us is summed up in one word: Internet.
The internet did then, and does now, represent a huge and burgeoning unsettled territory of limitless opportunity. The paths to success are innumerable (just as the definitions of success are innumerable).
You may sometimes feel that all the good opportunities have been taken; that you’re a day late and a dollar short. That’s just not true. The opportunity has grown, not shrunk. The tools are easier, cheaper, and more powerful. The acceptance amongst the population that the Internet is a real and respectable venue for business is getting stronger, not weaker.
The opportunity is huge and it is now. So the first way our story equates to yours is that your opportunity is massive. Just like mine is.
Your danger is just as real as ours.
Now we get to the debrief on what happened to me. Why did I only write two posts in ten months? Why not, in that same time frame, didn’t I publish two hundred posts, three ebooks, and a few dozen videos?
It’s not for lack of subject matter, there’s a gazillion things to talk about and teach on. It’s not for lack of ability, I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of blog posts already. I could say it was lack of time, but I think that really wouldn’t be true. I certainly had time for more than a couple posts, of that there is no doubt whatsoever.
What happened is that I fell into what I think is the most dangerous and most common trap for Internet entrepreneurs (Etsypreneurs as the case may be).
The Information Overload Trap
We all know there is an overabundance of information, but not all information is created equal. Some is helpful, some is benign, and some is dangerous.
For me, the most dangerous information is information about competition. I’m a product of the eighties and nineties which is an age before all the “economy of abundance”, “Creative Commons”, and Web 2.0 open source love came happily onto the scene. No matter how hard I try to convince my brain that their is room for everyone in this new frontier, on some subconscious level I must not really get it. Because every time I see someone doing anything like what I’m doing, I feel threatened.
I probably should feel encouraged, justified, reinforced… but I don’t. When I see someone else doing the thing I knew I needed to do but haven’t gotten around to yet I feel like I missed the boat. I feel like I’m a day late and a dollar short. Someone beat me to it.
Such was the feeling when a book was published which I felt kind of stole “my” word… Etsypreneur. Such was the feeling when Etsy business blogs popped up everywhere, with everyone claiming to be an expert, many of them younger and prettier than me (hard to believe, I know). The list of “they beat me to it” situations goes on and on.
In fact, I found, these types of feelings feed on themselves and that’s the real danger of the Information Overload trap because the ideas are out there. Other people will see the same things you see and many will have similar ideas. Some of them will act on those ideas. Your ideas!
I mean, how much of a stretch of the imagination is it really to think of the word “Etsypreneur” when talking about people in the Etsy business. I might have been the first guy to try to buy the domain name, but I’m sure someone would have come along right quick to get it if I hadn’t.
The ideas are out there and if you’re tuned-in to your area of interest, you’re going to keep on hearing about people doing the thing you know you need to be doing.
The trap, once it grabs you, makes you want to just give up; do something else. Preferably something not connected to the Internet so you don’t have to hear about everyone else “stealing” your ideas and eating “your” lunch. And that’s the point where you turn your back on the giant, fertile, and wide-open unsettled territory and head back to a life you can better understand.
Either way is fine really… life goes on no matter what. But what happens if we learn to keep moving forward? What happens if we learn to ignore those bits of information, or better yet to take them as encouragement and reinforcement? What happens if we let every single person who does the thing we know we should be doing fuel our own confidence in that path?
Luckily for me, a few things pulled me back in and helped me escape the trap. Our Etsy business continues to grow in terms of sales, products, and profits. It’s still “small” by some standards but it’s not the only thing we do. Our blogs have continued to grow and Kim keeps building a wonderful community in social media, especially Pinterest and Facebook.
My writing has been encouraged by big names that I respect. I was offered the chance to write a regular blog column on PopularMechanics.com in the area of remodeling and home-improvement (you may not know that my experience before all of this was as a remodeling contractor and my first blog was RemodelingGuy.net) and I’ve had positive feedback from editors much more experienced than myself.
I’ve also seen the same thing over, and over, and over again. The people who persevere online, the ones who just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and not quitting, are the ones who eventually become the “overnight success” everyone is talking about.
So, here I am, writing a new post for Etsypreneur.com and I’ve got at least a few more up my sleeve for the days ahead. I hope you’ll stay with me and we can stick together as we grow and help each other avoid the Hidden Dangers of the Internet Opportunity.
Can I get an amen?