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Hard Work, Research and Asking For Help

I have always been the type of person where if I wasn’t the best at something, I would get pissed off and quit. My aspirations of becoming a professional soccer player, video gamer (seriously), skateboarder, UFC fighter and countless other things have been cut short. The chances are, you’re probably average or just above even when it comes to your best abilities. That’s okay though.

Even though I’m never going to be a professional athlete, I still use some of those same principles and incorporate fitness into my everyday life.

Something that has stuck with me is,*

Hard work will always beat talent that refuses to work hard.

At GiftCardRescue, we competed directly against companies that were venture funded with multi-million dollar bank rolls (TechCrunch). Like Manny Pacquiao trying to box Wladimir Klitschko, we could have been knocked out in the first round but instead we were resilient and did things that others wouldn’t.

Was it pretty? Not always, but we survived and managed to become profitable when everyone else was losing money. Just like there are better music blogs out there than ours, we continue to work hard to create our own identity in the space. Sometimes you just have to do the hard work that no one else is interested in doing.

Research is Hard Un-Fun Work

A recurring theme on benhebert.com that I will continue to preach is all of the information and resources you could possibly need are available to you online. It makes the potential for entrepreneurs and individual limitless when compared to those before us.

The access to information like tutorials or how to guides can be found free everywhere and the cost to create all different types of businesses or start a hobby is low. If you wanted to try yoga before the internet, you’d have to sign up for a membership or lock into a contract. Now you can follow a guide on youtube or purchase a Groupon for unlimted sessions in a month. Earlier this year I decided to start photographing concerts and bought a DSLR off of Craigslist. If you want to do it, money shouldn’t stop you.

Business-wise, there are guides to setting up a website, contacting suppliers, prospecting for clients, how to bill, making sure you get paid and almost everything else. If you’re looking for something and can’t find the answer, there are community resources like Quora or you can go straight to the experts.

Contacting Experts For Help

When you realize that you’re not the best and that there are far more intelligent and capable people out there than you, you open yourself up for criticism and advice from others. Online you can expand beyond your local circles of friends, family and co-workers to almost anyone. Mark Cuban is one example as he commonly responds to emails and actually does almost everything by email including buying a jet.

As you know WhiteRaverRafting.com recently had its one year anniversary and I’m starting to look into serious options for monetizing the site and the brand. We have a loyal following of over 3,000 facebook users who are interested in songs, events and news. While I’ve tried a few channels like adsense, merchandise, paid advertising and sponsorships, none have been significant enough for me to say okay this is it, let’s go for it.

Normally I would take an idea and run with it, but monetization can impact the relationship that we have with our readership. This is something that I’m not willing to jeopardize. The most rewarding thing for me has been meeting people at festivals and shows, who will come up and say, “Do you work for WhiteRaverRafting.com? I love that website and get all of my music from there.” I’ll smile back, tell them our story and then explain how they can get involved. It’s been about creating a community rather than being just another blog.

So since I haven’t been able to figure out the best way to monetize WhiteRaverRafting, I thought I would turn to a few experts for advice. One of the podcasts that I subscribe to is the Lifestyle Business Podcast, where Dan and Ian offer real tips to building sustainable businesses. Often you find bloggers or podcasters who are “thought leaders” that aren’t actually doing shit but talking. The LBP isn’t like that and their program is a great resource for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Here’s the email I sent (click to expand).

In the introduction I butter them up slightly (who doesn’t love a complement) and then connect to their work by telling them that it’s my intention to get out to South East Asia next year. Then instead of just asking them question directly, I decide to tell them a story. You can read the narrative that plays out about what WRR is and where we are in the space. I then describe the marketplace and how I think that the only people making money are the dj’s and event promoters.

What did this email accomplish?

It told a story and humanized my brand and our current situation. Dan and Ian picked up the question for the podcast that has over 30,000 visitors per month. You can listen to the full podcast or fast forward to 23:30 where our question comes in. So we got awesome exposure for our brand and some advice that you’d normally have to pay a hefty consulting fee for.

While we work on some of the initiatives now, my question for you is:

If you were in my position how you would make money from WhiteRaverRafting.com?

If you need help finding something or starting, contact me. I will point you in the right direction, but you’re going to have to do the work.

**The slogan was found on a Lloyd Irvin trained BJJ fighter who gave me a thorough whooping. *

image via UFC

benhebert

I make money online through websites and business consulting. Everyday I'm challenging myself to learn and do more.

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