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Business Focus: It’s Why Some People Triumph Online and Others Never Make It

A group of people posing for the camera next to the text Business Focus: It's Why Some People Triumph Online and Others Never Make It

Business focus is why some people are able to build the online business they dream of while others think about it … but never actually create it?

And why is it that some people are able to build an online presence … but never get it to the level where they can live off the revenue it creates?

Related: How to Build Your Business Online, The Ultimate Guide

Why does it seem like certain people come out of nowhere and claim their place in your area of expertise before you’ve had a chance to claim it yourself?

So frustrating …

Welcome to my business focus strategy lesson

Today, we’re going to talk about why focus is important for success. Why it’s crucial, actually!

I’ll share a free tool that will help you put your business in focus and pinpoint what to work on right now — in less than five minutes.

Pamela Wilson smiling at the camera

If we haven’t met yet, my name is Pamela Wilson — and I have been working online since 2010.

I’m a three-time author, a keynote speaker, and an online educator, coach, and mastermind group leader.

I help people build online businesses they love.

In this article I’m sharing my approach to online business growth.

It was born from helping thousands of people create the online presence they’ve dreamt of — and seeing way too many of them lose focus and struggle to get any results at all.

Once you understand my simple approach, you’ll feel much better about where you are in the online business growth process — and that’s a promise.

How can I promise you’re about to feel better?

Because once you understand my approach …

  • You’ll recognize you don’t have to master everything about online business all at once
  • Your to-do list will shrink to 25% of its current size
  • You’ll be able to safely ignore 75% of the online information you’re seeing right now

Get ready to start enjoying the process of building your online business — maybe for the first time ever!

If you are …

  • Trying to build an online business because you have deep expertise on a specific topic — but you’re “on hold” because you’re feeling overwhelmed
  • Wanting to leave a legacy of information and guidance around a topic you’re passionate about — but you don’t know where to start
  • Passionate about the business idea you’ve imagined — but unsure about how to make it happen

… stick around. What you’re about to read is critical information that could change the course of your life.


Business focus: a camera lens

How to put your business in focus the easy way

The goal of this series of articles is to help you steadily build the online business you have in mind right now — without ever feeling lost and overwhelmed.

You’re about to feel the relief that comes from having a clear business focus.

You’ll understand what matters now — and what you can ignore.

This is the key to making steady progress as you build your online presence!

Albert Einstein's business focus

A genius approach to online business building?

Not to get too Albert Einstein on you, but …

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Not to get too Albert Einstein on you, but … Every online business exists in the ‘space-time continuum.'” quote=”Every online business exists in the ‘space-time continuum.'”]

Think about it:

  • You build your website in its own little corner of the internet
  • Search engines find it at the moment in time that it goes live
  • People begin to discover and use it
  • Your relationship with the people you attract grows person-by-person and day-by-day

The faster you can create an online business that exists in both space and time, the faster these benefits will accrue:

  • Search engines will drive people to your information
  • You’ll go from imagining the people you want to serve to serving real people
  • Your email list will begin to grow
  • Your products and services will all benefit from the interaction
  • Your revenues and impact will grow year-by-year

Are you ready to make this happen?

How to avoid falling for every online pitch you see

Before we start, I’ve got to warn you about something that’s critically important. Not paying attention to this will virtually guarantee that you will stay stuck where you are.

And you’ll have a lot less money in your bank account.

Here’s the thing …

When you step into the online space, you’ll meet a whole new cast of characters. And they will try to sell you some pretty compelling stories.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”I’m here to tell you that the Laws of Physics apply to online business just like offline business.” quote=”I’m here to tell you that the Laws of Physics apply to online business just like offline business.”]

It takes time to build a successful business — offline and online.

(I know, radical statement, right?)

I want you to embrace this reality — because I’m about to show you how to get time on your side.

Trying to build an online business isn’t as simple as lots of people would have you believe. It has its challenges.

There’s a lot of technology to master. There’s marketing involved — a lot of marketing. Maybe more marketing than you’re comfortable with.

And there are all these moving parts — disparate bits of software that needs to interact to present your business and your offers seamlessly.

Today, I’m going to demystify the process of building your online business.

You’re about to save some major frustration, my friend. Money, too! Because it turns out your don’t need to Buy All The Things and Learn All The Things in order to make it online.

I developed this approach to online business building after years of trial and error — mine, and the people I taught.

It’s called Plan & Grow BIG.

Business focus: binoculars

Focus on what really matters in the near future of your business

Plan & Grow BIG helps you eliminate that feeling of overwhelm that might be stopping you from making real progress in your online business.

Maybe you’re just getting started with your idea. Or maybe you’ve been trying for years to build a business idea you’ve had in your head — but it just isn’t living up to what you expected.

Either way, you’re in the right place because today’s information will help you catapult forward.

I developed this framework because I saw so many people who were getting sidetracked by online courses, programs, and books they felt they “needed” to master.

For example, I saw people just starting out taking courses on Facebook ads — before they knew who they wanted to reach with those ads and what they were going to offer.

And I also saw people trying to recruit affiliates before their product was proven in the marketplace. (No self-respecting affiliate will work to sell an unproven product.)

I saw a lot of people wasting a lot of time. 🙁

Smart people! People who were accomplished in other areas of their lives. But they were completely baffled by this “online business thing.”

To be perfectly honest, I recognized the need because I had lived the frustrations myself.

Stairs leading upward to illustrate business focus

True confession: I had to learn business focus the hard way

Before I outline the Plan & Grow BIG approach and the specifics for each stage, you might be wondering how I figured this whole thing out.

I’m going to share a bit of my story so you know how I came up with this.

Back in late 2009, I was managing my booming design and marketing business, Zurek Design.

I had national and regional clients and a roster of freelancers who I funneled projects to. I managed everything from my home office, where I was also juggling a new husband and two children who were rapidly approaching their “launch” phases — they were in high school and starting to look at universities and think about their careers.

I didn’t have a lot of time to spare.

Plus, the online business idea I had in mind was going to require me to become much more of a “public figure” than I had ever had to be in my business in the past. I’d have to put my photo on the internet, where anyone could see it! And I’d need to “put myself out there” on teleclasses, in interviews, on webinars, and in online video.


And although my offline business was making a solid income, my online business idea — to share my marketing and design training with others — wasn’t making a single cent.

Who in their right mind invests in a business idea before they know if it will make money?

I do, apparently!

It turns out that I was more courageous than I knew.

Because I did — I invested BIG in my idea when I purchased an online course called Teaching Sells. It was close to $2,000 at the time — an enormous amount of money to spend on what was basically just a dream at that point.

But I’m glad I did.

I truly believe that actions speak louder than words. And when I made that investment, I was telling myself, “This dream matters. This dream is going to become a reality. I’m taking this seriously.”

Once I swallowed the fear of investing that much to learn something new, things started happening for me.

Within a few months, I (the person who didn’t want to be seen online) had an article accepted by the company behind the course I took — on one of the most-popular websites in the world at the time, Copyblogger.

Then another article went live. And another.

Not just on Copyblogger but on many of the most-important online blogs of the day.

And through it all, my audience grew. I began offering products and then coaching.

Looking back, there are a few things I wish someone had told me before I made the move to the online space.

Watch the video below to see six tips I learned the hard way. I’m sharing them with you to make your journey a little smoother — you can learn from my firsthand experience!

Want to see all my new videos as soon as they’re published? Subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Out with the old, in with the new (and better)

Within a few years of starting my online business, my income eclipsed what my offline business made. By early 2014 I shuttered my offline business completely to focus exclusively on my online efforts.

That’s what happens when you put your business in focus — and you spend time doing what really matters.

Now, I’m considered an authority on building an online presence.

That company that I took the expensive course from? They hired me to teach their audience for a couple of years.

Here’s what’s different in my life now:

  • My business provides a very comfortable living for our family (and I can work in my pajamas)
  • I am asked to speak and present my knowledge to audiences who are hungry to hear from me
  • My books are well-received and much loved — and deliver income to me every single month
  • People find my website and join my community every day, all year long
  • I’m able to travel anywhere I’d like because my business fits in my backpack
  • I can “dial up” or “dial back” my working hours as needed because I have complete control over my schedule

Here’s the other important thing …

I also have complete control over the direction I take my business. I answer to no one but myself! And I can adapt my offerings to what my audience needs whenever I’d like.

But this story isn’t about me.

What I’m about to share is the exact plan I’ve developed after seeing what truly works online.

It’s the approach that has allowed me to build the business I have today. A business where I’m in control — of my time, my projects, my earnings.

And that’s what I want for you.

Ready to make online business building easier?

You wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t also want to build this kind of online business!

That’s why I want to make it easier for you.

What is your business focus right now?

If you can’t answer that question immediately, read on.

How to use Plan & Grow BIG to put your business in focus and get your mindset straight

The purpose of the Plan & Grow BIG approach is to help you develop business focus — and eliminate the feeling of overwhelm that keeps you from making progress.

Here’s the thing:

[click_to_tweet tweet=”The #1 enemy of online progress? It’s the flood of information about online business tactics that bombards us every day.” quote=”I believe the #1 enemy of online progress is the flood of information about online business tactics that bombards us every day.”]

I want to show you how you can ignore most of the information you see!

And how developing business focus will allow you to build the business you’re dreaming about much faster — and with less frustration.

To get started, I created a simple quiz that will help you get more value from this article.

Take my Focus Finder quiz to pinpoint the stage you’re in right now — and get guidance about how to maximize your results.

Click the button above so you can:

  • Discover what business-building stage you’re in now
  • Assess what you’re starting with — make a list of your current assets
  • Pinpoint what your current business focus should be
  • Get to know what happens in the other business stages — so you can put your business in focus

As we go through each stage of the Plan & Grow BIG approach, I want you to identify areas of opportunity for your current situation.

Let’s get started.

The four simple stages of Plan & Grow BIG

A large mountain in the background with the word PLAN

The Plan Stage: Think and dream productively

It’s the early days of your business.

Think BIG. And work only on what’s needed in this stage.

In the PLAN stage, make these your business focus:

  • Pinpoint your ideal customer: Who will your online business serve? Warning: many people try to skip this step — don’t! You need to become acquainted with the people you want to reach and help before you build your branding and offers.
  • Get your branding in place: The earlier the better when it comes to
    building your brand. You’ll want to decide your business name and
    tagline, select your brand colors, and choose your brand fonts.
  • Map out your first offer: Decide how what solutions you’ll deliver and how you’ll deliver them. Will they be products, services, or both?

That’s it. Once you’ve completed the items above, it’s time to start building your business, my friend. Ready?

A large mountain in the background with the word BUILD

The Build Stage: Create a tangible online asset

Time to make ideas real. As you build these tangible business assets, remember: you don’t have to do it all at once.

Focus on these business goals during the BUILD stage:

  • Build your initial website: You’ll need a Homepage, an About page, a Contact page, and some kind of “commerce” page, like a Store or Services page. Attract prospects by publishing regular content like blog articles, podcast episodes, or a video series.
  • Build your first offer: Don’t build an elaborate, time-consuming first offer without doing a small test with a minimum viable version of it first! What can you create that’s relatively simple — but delivers a valuable solution to your ideal customer? Build that.
  • Build an initial funnel: Build a way to attract prospects, serve them, and convert them to customers.

And now … stop right there, my friend. In the BUILD stage, it’s tempting to look around at Version 9.0 of your competitors’ sites and feel like you have to catch up to them.

Nonsense! They started at the beginning, just like you. Own where you are and be proud you’re ready to move on …

A large mountain in the background with the word IMPLEMENT

The Implement Stage: Iterate to find what works

Oooh, this stage is tricky. You are putting yourself out there! And it can feel deeply uncomfortable.

But growth usually does feel uncomfortable, doesn’t it?

The IMPLEMENT stage may last for a while and that’s perfectly fine. Here’s what you’ll focus on while you’re there:

  • Make your offers live: Your goal with your first offers is to begin gathering feedback and data. If you earn a profit, great — but aim first to understand your customers and refine your offers to serve their needs.
  • Focus on building your email list. Most online businesses need a robust list of people to make their offers to because only a small percentage will actually buy. At this stage, you should explore innovative ways to grow your subscriber list — think webinars, guest posts, challenges, etc. The exception to email list building? If you offer a customized service to an exclusive group of people, you can focus on building a referral network.
  • Discover what works for launching your products and services. Launches are a nerve-wracking but important facet of online business. Aim to discover what launch techniques work best for your audience.

Remember, this may be the longest of all the stages for you. It takes time to develop, offer, iterate, and adapt to the people you attract to your business. Patience, my friend!

But once you’ve hit on a winning product or service, you’ll be ready for …

A large mountain in the background with the word GROW

The Grow Stage: Leverage your success

In the GROW stage, you’ve hit on a product or service that converts reliably in your business — and now you’ll focus on leveraging that success.

  • Improve your conversion rates: Your focus in the GROW stage will be to improve conversion rates across the board. You want to double down and do more of what’s working. You’ll iterate and adapt so you can make everything convert at the highest rate possible.
  • Add more revenue streams: As you dial into what’s working well, you may uncover your customers’ unmet needs and build additional lines of business to serve them. You’ll move through the BUILD, IMPLEMENT, and GROW stages as you develop each new revenue stream.

The GROW stage is a pretty amazing place to be! At this stage, revenues are reliable and you’re able to make some serious investments in your business.

Ready? Set? Get your business in focus!

Now that you know your business stage (you DID take the quiz, right?), you can tap into the power of focused attention and make fast progress. Ignore all the techniques you’ll need in future stages, and just aim to master the stage you’re in.

Get the Online Business Success Roadmap for an overview and a handy checklist of all the Plan & Grow BIG stages.

When you do this, you can count on steady business growth — with less frustration and more confidence because you’re focused on the right thing at the right time.

An owl looking at the camera

The next BIG challenge is …

Now that you’re clear about how to use a focused approach to eliminate frustration and make faster progress, here’s the next big online business challenge …

Becoming a “visible” and public leader in your space.

This was a HUGE stumbling block for me.

In the next article, I’m going to share my mindset tips and tricks to help you become more comfortable with becoming a visible online leader. Once you embrace the increased visibility that comes with building an online business, you’ll see all sorts of interesting doors open up.

Your go-forward plan for business focus

The BIG question is, how do you successfully shape an online business dream into a viable online business that gives you the income, freedom, and recognition you deserve?

It comes down to business focus. Which is easy once you know what to focus on, and what to ignore.

Once you’ve built that business, you have to stand out in front of it and represent it in your marketing, on social media, and at in-person events.

If you don’t master this, you’ll severely limit your reach and your impact. So how do you get comfortable with this increased visibility?

How can you step up and embrace the “internet limelight?” Because once you do, online doors will open for you!

Read about that topic in the next article in this series, How to Adopt an Online Leader Success Mindset.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 8, 2018 and has been updated with a video containing six things I wish I’d known when I started my online business. Enjoy!

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is the Chief Marketing Officer at DCS. She’s the creator of the Offer Accelerator Program. Learn more about Pamela’s content marketing books, and read reviews of the tools used to run this site.
Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.


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