The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success
  • NOTICE! The forum software is currently being upgraded. During this time, the forum may have intermittent downtime, specific functions may not be available, and/or the user interface may look different.

How to Know It's Time to Move On From a Once Successful Business?

Accelerate wealth. Build a business that pays freedom. Join more than 70,000 entrepreneurs and register for the Fastlane Entrepreneur forum. Remove ads? Join the INSIDERS.

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
I have a question for those who have grown their businesses to what they consider a successful level.

How do you know it's time to move on from it and sell it, automate it, or let it die over time as you focus on something else?

I'm asking about a situation in which your business was way more successful in the past than it is now. Or the market has gotten too competitive or the industry is shrinking, or whatever else is going on that makes you question whether it makes sense to continue because it looks like the golden days were in the past.

For additional context, my business now makes in profit 6-7 times less than during its best days. Profit has stayed roughly at the same level for the past 1.5 years despite various things I tried to make it grow again.

What are your personal symptoms it's time to move on? Do you have a specific income in mind when you decide it's too little to keep going? How to avoid a situation in which you keep stubbornly working on a once successful business while in reality you're justifying your (bad) decision to keep going because of the sunk cost fallacy?

If you decide it's time to move on, do you focus on a related industry or shift to a completely different field, study a new topic/business opportunity, and build from scratch? Any other thoughts you have on this topic that could be useful to make the right decision?
 
Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
@biophase, @SteveO, @Kak and @Kung Fu Steve I'd appreciate your thoughts in this matter as you all have some experience running various businesses and/or transitioning from one to another.
 
Last edited:

Tiago

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Mar 22, 2014
678
924
366
28
I think it's very important what you're doing, by having conversations with other people and hearing other people's opinions.

Short story: I had a business in the same position. It was very successful (for my age, and at that time), but over time profits started declining.

I reasoned that the ship had sailed, and it was time to shut down the business. So I sold it.

Now, someone who I had mentored in the same business niche, kept doing it and is now doing 8 figures annually.

The problem is, I had hit my OWN ceiling. It wasn't the industry's fault, it was that I wasn't seeing a way to grow this.

My advice is to ask a lot of successful business owners that you know, either here or on the forum, to have an honest conversation with you. Explain what's happening in your business, and ask them if they can see something that you can't. Just ask for help.

If I had done that, I would maybe have an 8-figure business now.

A few questions for you:

  • Is there someone in the industry that is killing it right now? Or even growing?
  • Who do you know that might have a different perspective to offer to you?
  • Would you reignite your "passion" or fire if the business started growing again?
 

SteveO

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 24, 2007
4,095
18,142
3,754
Mine was more of a transition toward retirement.

There are times that I wish I had stuck to the original path. You are younger and have different variables than I had.

You are a driven person. I'm sure that you will be able to transition with success.

Tough decisions for you but it appears you are reading the writing on the wall.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
Thank you for your response, @Tiago. I appreciate it a lot. And yes, I'm asking as many people as I can so I can see it from a different perspective (whether it means sticking with it or moving on).

A few questions for you:

  • Is there someone in the industry that is killing it right now? Or even growing?
  • Who do you know that might have a different perspective to offer to you?
  • Would you reignite your "passion" or fire if the business started growing again?

I'm in self-publishing.

1. Those who are killing it in non-fiction are all people who have a separate platform. For example James Clear or Mark Manson and their hugely popular blogs. The guys I knew who were crushing it back in the day are no longer at the top (or anywhere close to it). Other authors I know are also struggling.

It's been a couple of years since I last published fiction but in fiction I'd say it's mostly people writing like crazy (or actually, in most cases outsourcing everything like Bella Forrest) and already well-established authors like Stephen King.

In response to that, you could say that I should change my model and hire ghostwriters then. But this business is so different I might as well not be in this industry. Plus it usually leads to very low-quality books.

2. Everyone on this forum, hence this thread :) Plus I'm also asking friends.

3. Possibly, though I'm not sure if I would still have passion in the same niche. I enjoy writing in itself but not sure if I still enjoy writing in my niche or even writing books in general.

I think that one big limitation here is that I don't want to build a personal brand and prefer not to be known (which is why I use pen names). And it looks like the industry is maturing and more trust/branding (at least in non-fiction) is needed to succeed. So if you don't want to divulge personal information, use social media, etc., you're fighting a losing battle (unless you try fiction where you can still be anonymous and potentially do well).

Mine was more of a transition toward retirement.

There are times that I wish I had stuck to the original path. You are younger and have different variables than I had.

You are a driven person. I'm sure that you will be able to transition with success.

Tough decisions for you but it appears you are reading the writing on the wall.

Thanks. I had in mind your previous decisions to sell the commercial real estate you had, move on to the golf course, etc. But I guess in your case it might have been dictated by the clear market trends (which aren't as easy to calculate in self-publishing as they are in real estate).
 

Kak

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jan 23, 2011
7,833
34,623
4,554
Texas
Interesting question! So at this point in my life I’m wholly opposed to retirement. I would rather be saving money to build up my family, than my own use later. That is a 100% personal choice. I am also building things that are only temporarily demanding of my time. Semi-retirement or sale is the goal in every venture I start (I make an exception for the radio show). Let me be clear, the idea of working in my 70’s and 80’s is probably some phone calls every day making sure the businesses are where I want them and a variety of investing. That sounds way more fun than daytime TV and wearing a crater in a recliner as I slowly die.

I believe business will keep me young and there are a LOT of examples of this.

That said, the best advice in my tool chest for you is OPPORTUNITY COST. What do you gain from shutting down? What do you lose?

Do you gain the ability to do something else? Something that you currently can’t do?

What are the trade offs?

I, like you, understand from first hand experience that sometimes things wax and sometimes things wane. I never get used to living at maximum capacity. That has had a strange effect. Only 5-7 years after that decision and I am so far below my carrying capacity that I could retire with this lifestyle. I never want to give that ability up. That means I can jump, prune, move, do whatever I want, as long as live, if I stay in control. Yes, I could move to PR right now and never look back. But, I recognize that it isn’t the BEST thing I could do at this very moment. It will come, and that’s what I’m working toward, but the opportunity cost says I’m giving up a lot to do it.

If you have something else that you want the time to pursue and you believe in it more so than the current business, start making ways to make the leap. To some people that looks like selling a business and taking that money and bridging that gap as you work on the next thing.

With your business, even though you are upset that it makes way less than it used to, it still makes money with little work. To my knowledge of course, I may be off base here.

As a self published author business, I see two options here:

1. Keep going and potentially experience a further decline in revenue, or potentially a return to greatness on the upside.

2. Quit and let it slowly pay you until it’s gone.

Neither of the above options preclude you from doing something else you might find rewarding to you, financially and otherwise. You are writing books and self publishing them... I get the impression that you enjoy the authorship, you are just disappointed in the revenue changes. So, from the outside looking in, it is an easy choice. Number 1.

The support for number 2 really comes in if you can somehow sell the business, which might be tough. Or if you simply can’t stomach to look at it or deal with it anymore.

I say be the best damn author you can possibly be irrespective of present day response. Blow the doors off it. Even if the search algorithms and other stupid shit aren’t rewarding you the way you hoped, make it so that those who do find you are singing your praises as one of the best books they have ever read. That can’t be a bad thing.

I am going through a similar thing with the radio show. It takes up some of my time, yet it is NOT compensating me like a real business. It however isn’t stopping me from doing anything else I want to peruse. I easily continue. Why? Because I’m doing something with such excellence, such a screw you mentality, that I believe when people DO listen, they stay. This will be something my future self thanks me for. I don’t know how, but I find it personally rewarding on the journey anyway.

EDIT: I was inspired to talk about this. I kept the specifics out:

 
Last edited:

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
Thanks for your detailed response, @Kak!

Interesting question! So at this point in my life I’m wholly opposed to retirement. I would rather be saving money to build up my family, than my own use later. That is a 100% personal choice. I am also building things that are only temporarily demanding of my time. Semi-retirement is the goal in every venture I start (I make an exception for the radio show). Let me be clear, the idea of working in my 70’s and 80’s is probably some phone calls every day making sure the businesses are where I want them and a variety of investing. That sounds way more fun than daytime TV and wearing a crater in a recliner as I slowly die.

Yeah I don't really believe in retirement, either. I would just like to run businesses as if I were retired all the time, though (so that they don't steal my freedom of movement, location, time, etc.).

With your business, even though you are upset that it makes way less than it used to, it still makes money with little work. To my knowledge of course, I may be off base here.

Yes, it makes money with zero work.

Neither of the above options preclude you from, doing something else you might find rewarding to you, financially and otherwise. You are writing books and self publishing them... I get the impression that you enjoy the authorship, you are just disappointed in the revenue changes. So, from the outside looking in, it is an easy choice. Number 1.

Pretty much everything I released over the past two years made $0 or is even negative. So this means that when I work, it's not even that I don't make money. It's that I lose money (because of all the costs of making the book as good as it can be with proper editing, cover design, marketing, etc.).

The support for number 2 really comes in if you can somehow sell the business, which might be tough. Or if you simply can’t stomach to look at it or deal with it anymore.

Yeah it might be possible to sell it for a 30x multiple but I'd be very, very nervous to lose such a big source of regular cashflow and just have cash instead. If I invested it in something safe it wouldn't really be that much for a comfortable lifestyle.

I say be the best damn author you can possibly be irrespective of present day response. Blow the doors off it. Even if the search algorithms and other stupid shit aren’t rewarding you the way you hoped, make it so that those who do find you are singing your praises as one of the best books they have ever read. That can’t be a bad thing.

Yeah practicing the art in itself won't be a bad thing. But I can't disassociate it from the expectations of getting monetary compensation for it.

In my mind, if my book doesn't make money, it's just not a good book... So if I've been trying for the last 2-3 years to have another big success and nothing came out of it. It feels as if I've reached my peak and now it's a steady decline.

I wouldn't want to be like that sad professional boxer who was once the most admired athlete in the world and is now living off his past triumphs while getting destroyed by everyone.
 

Kak

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jan 23, 2011
7,833
34,623
4,554
Texas
Yeah it might be possible to sell it for a 30x multiple but I'd be very, very nervous to lose such a big source of regular cashflow and just have cash instead. If I invested it in something safe it wouldn't really be that much for a comfortable lifestyle.

Hold the phone... 30x? This has got to be monthly not annual earnings?

30x means 30 years of income today. I’d probably be good with that. Lol.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
Hold the phone... 30x? This has got to be monthly not annual earnings?

Yes, monthly income. Empire Flippers use monthly multiples (and perhaps the entire world of digital investments).
 

Tiago

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Mar 22, 2014
678
924
366
28
Hey @MTF, if you want to jam about this some more on the phone, just hit me up with a DM and we'll make it happen. I usually don't have the patience to write long walls of text :D
 
Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

VentureVoyager

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 19, 2017
160
336
177
31
Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
I'm almost in the same situation as OP @MTF... but only 10x + worse. We are in the same business, KDP Publishing, but the difference is, after over 8 years into self pub, I still don't have my first million saved and I'm not even halfway (more like 1/4 way, almost...), which adds to the feeling of frustration, failure or even anxiety. I've never managed to hit it really big. I also already feel burned out, as this business is super repetative and boring.

I calculated my last 8 published books (over a year of hard work), and I'm either in the red or making peanuts profits, so it also seems that the more I work, the more money, time and energy I lose.

The upside is that I'm still making good money from my older books, so I'ts also a hands-off passive income, that, hopefully, should still run for a couple years to come. For that I'm very grateful and it gives me some peace of mind.

To give other members an idea of the market, here's how it looks from my perspective.

I know some people that are in the same business:
a) @MTF
b) Publisher B
c) Publisher C
d) Publisher D
e) Publisher E, my sister

a) I won't be speaking for the OP about his situation, but many of you know his story, and he has his own thread here. But he's in the same niche I am. But at least MTF went through a period of literally making fortune each month on his books, which never happened to me in those 8 years, and it makes me feel even more frustrated about this biz.

b) Totally killing it in 4 different niches, already a multi millionaire. Never wrote a book in his life, he's outsourcing everything and making waaay over 100k+ a MONTH in profit (right now probably around 200k + or more...). That guy is an absolute unicorn and likely a genius (he used to constantly win 50k+ Usd per game playing poker tournaments, which means his brain is most likely super capable and analytical). I have been trying to analyze/recreate his success since 2017 and I just don't get it. He recently entered a new niche last year and also hit the jackpot, but says it will be his last one.

However, he also told me that it IS getting harder and harder, the organic traffic is almost dead, he's just using paid traffic, but it's also getting more expensive and competetive each month.

His main focus now is maitaining what he has built on amazon, slowly developing those niches on autopilot with project managers and taking his brands out of Amazon.

He also told me that if he was starting allover again now, he wouldn't choose KDP anymore as is yielding less and less returns.

c) A copycat publisher that most likely never used to make lots of money, but now also told me that he won't be publishing new books anymore for at least some time, and will instead sell his KDP course. Also in the same niche.

d) Publisher D is in a similiar situation I am, same niche - he has been working a lot on this business, for about 4 years now (and still making more than I'm making at this point), but is not progressing as fast as he'd like, it's likely that he's losing money too on his new books (as he really hasn't been calculating his loses/income), and is thinking to maybe sell his business on Empire Flippers.

e) My sister, she told me about this biz in the first place. Been doing this since 2013, so she was super early on the market (still doesn't have her $1 mln either). Her previous niche died on her, most likely due to covid and other factors - and also due to her total burnout with the audience and the market.

Her profits dropped dramatically, so last year she got into a new niche. Now she's writing by herself again and rapidly got to 3k+ a month which many options still to grow the income.
But 3k a month is not the kind of money I'm looking for after having worked on this biz 8+ years...Also not so sure If I'd like to write again on a daily basis.

The facts (as I see them):
-It's been increasingly harder year by year to publish books in our niche (me and MTF publish in the same niche), and probably in the market as a whole. Just like MTF, I was never able to recreate my successes from 2015 etc.
Where could it land us in the upcoming years?

-The market has changed so much that I don't recognize it anymore and it's hard for me to analyze it. At this point I don't know at all which idea could succeed and which doesn't stand a chance against all those big names and publishing houses that now are getting ahead in Amazon search results. I lost my ability to read it.

-Let's face it, AMZ is not our friend, they don't give a flying f about the authors or anyone else, even their own workers. They have been playing dirty with FBA sellers, now it seems they could do the same bullshit to the authors, and it's already happened to a big extent (change of algorhytms, lack of organic traffic if you don't use their paid ads, the PPC incrasing dramatically and traffic/clicks decreasing like crazy).

-The costs of AMS (amazon ads) are increasing rapidly, up to the point where I was losing money on paperbacks without even knowing it (the system interface is very counterintuitive and it sucks, the tracking is total crap and I bet many other authors lose money, not knowing the VAT might be added to the sum, or that anything above 36% of ACOS on paperbacks is burning money, delayed reporting etc).

I spent weeks trying to figure out how to succeed with amazon ads, and failed, I just don't know how to make it work anymore in my niche.

-And the organic traffic in our niche is almost dead. Back in the day you could publish anything half-decent and be promoted by amazon or KDP, now you can write a masterpiece and it will most likely drown in the ocean of similiar books, if you can't make the AMS ads work or don't have your strong social media presence.

-The competition is growing in numbers and the market is getting oversaturated

-I see it as a very hermetic business and the skills or rather strategies needed to succeeded on KDP or ACX don't really translate that much to other businesses.

For example, the "marketing"/book promotions (sounds fanchhhy, right?) on KDP back in the day would go down to... setting your ebook price to 0.99 or 0.00 and sending your books to your mailing list and also many promo sites (you pay them, and they send your books on their social media and mailing lists): it used to work and would sometimes give your book good ranking for months or years to come, but now it's always (but only always) pump and dump + a huge waste of time and money.

So I would say I learned some writing, copywriting, email marketing, basic social media stuff, people hiring and management and overall outsourcing, project management to some degree, but I don't really feel knowleagable enough to start a new thing, and combined with the fact that I don't have that much saved (not a retirement money, not to speak about a small fortune), it f*cking scares the hell out of me.

Earlier I considered starting my personal brand and selling course on KDP on my local market, and it was my big hope, but now when I see that my strategies are not really working anymore, I lost my alternative.

But still:
-I see many publishers (but it could actually be one person/company, you never know with pennames) that, according to their rankings, still make a killing. And I have absolutely no idea how. Their books are not better than mine or MTF's, but somehow they are getting steady sales on a cosmic level and tons of reviews each month...
-There's people still making small frotunes in other niches. The problem is I'm not sure how to look for these niches.
-I published very small number of books but still make 10x more money than many people who I see selling their businesses on empire flippers, or forums, etc, who have around 300-600 titles published on their accounts. I'm probably a person with the smallest number of books, making the most of it.

But what good is it if I couldn't turn profit on last 8 publications?

What options I'm considering:
-Writing out a list of all things and ideas I still have left, that won't take lots of time and money, but maybe could improve the situation a little.
Some of those things would be:

1) Buying some of the biggest courses and seeing if MAAAABYE (I'm extremely doubtful) I can update my knowledge by finding some golden nuggest here and there. But most likely they will just preach BS, or something that I already know.

2) Focusing on ads over again, mabe FB ads or some other ads could help. Maybe me and OP are still verlooking something. It's easy falling prey to "I've been doing it for so long and made so much money, I know everything", especially in such a hermetic business.

3) Only taking 1 day per week to maitain/slowly progress with this biz, while focusing on a new biz 6 other days, since it's now mostly on autopilot.

4) Taking another day (or two) in the week to get into a new niche on KDP, where there's less competition and AMS are possible. If it succeeds, hire a project manager to fully automatize it, and do everything to take this brand out of AMZ, or sell it as an exit strategy.

If after one year of working these strategies don't bring any results, or lesser result that I anticipated, I think I will sell my business too.

I would love to hear what you would do in my or OPs place, especially if some of you went through a similiar experience where your source is drying out and you have no idea if it still makes sense spending your time and energy on maintaing it, or what to do next...
 
Last edited:

Kak

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jan 23, 2011
7,833
34,623
4,554
Texas

Kung Fu Steve

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 8, 2008
2,334
5,960
1,316
Road Warrior
I have a question for those who have grown their businesses to what they consider a successful level.

How do you know it's time to move on from it and sell it, automate it, or let it die over time as you focus on something else?

I'm asking about a situation in which your business was way more successful in the past than it is now. Or the market has gotten too competitive or the industry is shrinking, or whatever else is going on that makes you question whether it makes sense to continue because it looks like the golden days were in the past.

Hard questions to answer in a little post.


For additional context, my business now makes in profit 6-7 times less than during its best days. Profit has stayed roughly at the same level for the past 1.5 years despite various things I tried to make it grow again.

We've entered "economic winter" ... it's nothing to freak out about but it's going to take some innovation to grow again, I think.

During these times, money isn't the currency -- trust is. There's never been a more difficult time to sell someone the first time... but there's never been an easier time to sell someone the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.

I've taken quite the hiatus from business books and do a lot of sci-fi and fantasy novels. When I find an author I like I end up buying everything they have. Even if it's not of super interest to me, I trust the author.

It's possible your industry is "wisening up" and wants to see you, know you, learn who you are -- but I could be completely wrong on that (usually am).

Either way, there are ALWAYS examples of someone who's successful doing it one way... and then someone who's successful doing it the exact opposite way.

To get the wheel moving again, as always it's more customers, spending more with you, more frequently. You already have the customers, are you promoting other books of yours/competitors books/other things they might like?

But let's ignore all of that because here's the real question:

Do you want to do this business anymore?

What are your personal symptoms it's time to move on? Do you have a specific income in mind when you decide it's too little to keep going? How to avoid a situation in which you keep stubbornly working on a once successful business while in reality you're justifying your (bad) decision to keep going because of the sunk cost fallacy?

If you decide it's time to move on, do you focus on a related industry or shift to a completely different field, study a new topic/business opportunity, and build from scratch? Any other thoughts you have on this topic that could be useful to make the right decision?

Questions for you:

  • What do you WANT to do?
  • What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
  • If you were to die tomorrow, would you be proud of what you left behind?

Symptoms of moving on?

My old man taught me the "7 day rule" -- a little ambiguous but if you wake up 7 days in a row absolutely miserable, it might be time to take a look at doing something else...

However, somethings take much longer than 7 days to decide. You have to be the one to decide "7 _______?"

Is it 7 minutes? 7 days? 7 weeks? 7 months? 7 years?

What is your personal cutoff?

I'd suggest you can't call it quits after 7 days of working out...

7 weeks is usually too short to know if your business is going to make it...

7 months might be too long to decide if that relationship was right for you or not...

It's so arbitrary but for me, I like this general guideline. A couple months ago I hit a 7-month threshold for myself in my career and it's time for some changes. It will take some time to grow, but I've made the decision and started down the path.

How to avoid a situation in which you keep stubbornly working on a once successful business while in reality you're justifying your (bad) decision to keep going because of the sunk cost fallacy?

This sentence says a lot about where you're at.

But I also know that in a down emotional state, you'll never come up with positive answers.

You can't solve a business problem (or personal, for that matter) in the same emotional state it was created in.

Meaning: you won't find solutions for a problem that came out of depression... while you're in depression.

You won't find solutions for a problem that came out of anger... while you're angry.

You have to be able to step out of the moment. Not just mentally, but emotionally. The "30,000 foot view" they call it.

If you're in your head, you're dead.

You're not going to be able to think your way out of this problem.

Get into your heart.

The heart always knows the right answers.

This will sound really "woo-woo" but if you trust me at all, I'd suggest set a timer on your phone for just 3 minutes, stand up, put both hands over your heart and breathe as if you were breathing into your heart. Breathe fully. And really fill it up.

Once the three minutes hits simply start a sentence in your head with

"All I need to remember is..."

"All I need to know is..."

"All I need to do it..."


And if you're truly in your heart at that moment, you'll come up with some amazing answers you probably didn't have before.

Would love to hear your responses.
 

Kung Fu Steve

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 8, 2008
2,334
5,960
1,316
Road Warrior
Oh... and one more bit of unsolicited advice:

Fall in love with your customer, not your product.

Who gives a shit what you sell... what do you DO for this person that improves the quality of their life?
 

eliquid

( Jason Brown )
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 29, 2013
1,722
8,708
1,946
Louisville - Kentucky
I have a question for those who have grown their businesses to what they consider a successful level.

How do you know it's time to move on from it and sell it, automate it, or let it die over time as you focus on something else?

I'm asking about a situation in which your business was way more successful in the past than it is now. Or the market has gotten too competitive or the industry is shrinking, or whatever else is going on that makes you question whether it makes sense to continue because it looks like the golden days were in the past.

For additional context, my business now makes in profit 6-7 times less than during its best days. Profit has stayed roughly at the same level for the past 1.5 years despite various things I tried to make it grow again.

What are your personal symptoms it's time to move on? Do you have a specific income in mind when you decide it's too little to keep going? How to avoid a situation in which you keep stubbornly working on a once successful business while in reality you're justifying your (bad) decision to keep going because of the sunk cost fallacy?

If you decide it's time to move on, do you focus on a related industry or shift to a completely different field, study a new topic/business opportunity, and build from scratch? Any other thoughts you have on this topic that could be useful to make the right decision?

If this is just 1 pen name that is doing most of the prior success, have you considered maybe the niche it writes about is too saturated now?

If it's one pen name mostly, I'd say you need a new niche before you can say the business is failing. Maybe it's just the niche you write about where the titles seem ( to an outside buyer ) too closely related to learn more from. With that, and more copy cats, maybe the niche is the problem and not the business.
 

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
7,880
37,019
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
I'm almost in the same situation as OP @MTF... but only 10x + worse. We are in the same business, KDP Publishing, but the difference is, after over 8 years into self pub, I still don't have my first million saved and I'm not even halfway (more like 1/4 way, almost...), which adds to the feeling of frustration, failure or even anxiety. I've never managed to hit it really big. I also already feel burned out, as this business is super repetative and boring.

I calculated my last 8 published books (over a year of hard work), and I'm either in the red or making peanuts profits, so it also seems that the more I work, the more money, time and energy I lose.

The upside is that I'm still making good money from my older books, so I'ts also a hands-off passive income, that, hopefully, should still run for a couple years to come. For that I'm very grateful and it gives me some peace of mind.

To give other members an idea of the market, here's how it looks from my perspective.

I know some people that are in the same business:
a) @MTF
b) Publisher B
c) Publisher C
d) Publisher D
e) Publisher E, my sister

a) I won't be speaking for the OP about his situation, but many of you know his story, and he has his own thread here. But he's in the same niche I am. But at least MTF went through a period of literally making fortune each month on his books, which never happened to me in those 8 years, and it makes me feel even more frustrated about this biz.

b) Totally killing it in 4 different niches, already a multi millionaire. Never wrote a book in his life, he's outsourcing everything and making waaay over 100k+ a MONTH in profit (right now probably around 200k + or more...). That guy is an absolute unicorn and likely a genius (he used to constantly win 50k+ Usd per game playing poker tournaments, which means his brain is most likely super capable and analytical). I have been trying to analyze/recreate his success since 2017 and I just don't get it. He recently entered a new niche last year and also hit the jackpot, but says it will be his last one.

However, he also told me that it IS getting harder and harder, the organic traffic is almost dead, he's just using paid traffic, but it's also getting more expensive and competetive each month.

His main focus now is maitaining what he has built on amazon, slowly developing those niches on autopilot with project managers and taking his brands out of Amazon.

He also told me that if he was starting allover again now, he wouldn't choose KDP anymore as is yielding less and less returns.

c) A copycat publisher that most likely never used to make lots of money, but now also told me that he won't be publishing new books anymore for at least some time, and will instead sell his KDP course. Also in the same niche.

d) Publisher D is in a similiar situation I am, same niche - he has been working a lot on this business, for about 4 years now (and still making more than I'm making at this point), but is not progressing as fast as he'd like, it's likely that he's losing money too on his new books (as he really hasn't been calculating his loses/income), and is thinking to maybe sell his business on Empire Flippers.

e) My sister, she told me about this biz in the first place. Been doing this since 2013, so she was super early on the market (still doesn't have her $1 mln either). Her previous niche died on her, most likely due to covid and other factors - and also due to her total burnout with the audience and the market.

Her profits dropped dramatically, so last year she got into a new niche. Now she's writing by herself again and rapidly got to 3k+ a month which many options still to grow the income.
But 3k a month is not the kind of money I'm looking for after having worked on this biz 8+ years...Also not so sure If I'd like to write again on a daily basis.

The facts (as I see them):
-It's been increasingly harder year by year to publish books in our niche (me and MTF publish in the same niche), and probably in the market as a whole. Just like MTF, I was never able to recreate my successes from 2015 etc.
Where could it land us in the upcoming years?

-The market has changed so much that I don't recognize it anymore and it's hard for me to analyze it. At this point I don't know at all which idea could succeed and which doesn't stand a chance against all those big names and publishing houses that now are getting ahead in Amazon search results. I lost my ability to read it.

-Let's face it, AMZ is not our friend, they don't give a flying f about the authors or anyone else, even their own workers. They have been playing dirty with FBA sellers, now it seems they could do the same bullshit to the authors, and it's already happened to a big extent (change of algorhytms, lack of organic traffic if you don't use their paid ads, the PPC incrasing dramatically and traffic/clicks decreasing like crazy).

-The costs of AMS (amazon ads) are increasing rapidly, up to the point where I was losing money on paperbacks without even knowing it (the system interface is very counterintuitive and it sucks, the tracking is total crap and I bet many other authors lose money, not knowing the VAT might be added to the sum, or that anything above 36% of ACOS on paperbacks is burning money, delayed reporting etc).

I spent weeks trying to figure out how to succeed with amazon ads, and failed, I just don't know how to make it work anymore in my niche.

-And the organic traffic in our niche is almost dead. Back in the day you could publish anything half-decent and be promoted by amazon or KDP, now you can write a masterpiece and it will most likely drown in the ocean of similiar books, if you can't make the AMS ads work or don't have your strong social media presence.

-The competition is growing in numbers and the market is getting oversaturated

-I see it as a very hermetic business and the skills or rather strategies needed to succeeded on KDP or ACX don't really translate that much to other businesses.

For example, the "marketing"/book promotions (sounds fanchhhy, right?) on KDP back in the day would go down to... setting your ebook price to 0.99 or 0.00 and sending your books to your mailing list and also many promo sites (you pay them, and they send your books on their social media and mailing lists): it used to work and would sometimes give your book good ranking for months or years to come, but now it's always (but only always) pump and dump + a huge waste of time and money.

So I would say I learned some writing, copywriting, email marketing, basic social media stuff, people hiring and management and overall outsourcing, project management to some degree, but I don't really feel knowleagable enough to start a new thing, and combined with the fact that I don't have that much saved (not a retirement money, not to speak about a small fortune), it f*cking scares the hell out of me.

Earlier I considered starting my personal brand and selling course on KDP on my local market, and it was my big hope, but now when I see that my strategies are not really working anymore, I lost my alternative.

But still:
-I see many publishers (but it could actually be one person/company, you never know with pennames) that, according to their rankings, still make a killing. And I have absolutely no idea how. Their books are not better than mine or MTF's, but somehow they are getting steady sales on a cosmic level and tons of reviews each month...
-There's people still making small frotunes in other niches. The problem is I'm not sure how to look for these niches.
-I published very small number of books but still make 10x more money than many people who I see selling their businesses on empire flippers, or forums, etc, who have around 300-600 titles published on their accounts. I'm probably a person with the smallest number of books, making the most of it.

But what good is it if I couldn't turn profit on last 8 publications?

What options I'm considering:
-Writing out a list of all things and ideas I still have left, that won't take lots of time and money, but maybe could improve the situation a little.
Some of those things would be:

1) Buying some of the biggest courses and seeing if MAAAABYE (I'm extremely doubtful) I can update my knowledge by finding some golden nuggest here and there. But most likely they will just preach BS, or something that I already know.

2) Focusing on ads over again, mabe FB ads or some other ads could help. Maybe me and OP are still verlooking something. It's easy falling prey to "I've been doing it for so long and made so much money, I know everything", especially in such a hermetic business.

3) Only taking 1 day per week to maitain/slowly progress with this biz, while focusing on a new biz 6 other days, since it's now mostly on autopilot.

4) Taking another day (or two) in the week to get into a new niche on KDP, where there's less competition and AMS are possible. If it succeeds, hire a project manager to fully automatize it, and do everything to take this brand out of AMZ, or sell it as an exit strategy.

If after one year of working these strategies don't bring any results, or lesser result that I anticipated, I think I will sell my business too.

I would love to hear what you would do in my or OPs place, especially if some of you went through a similiar experience where your source is drying out and you have no idea if it still makes sense spending your time and energy on maintaing it, or what to do next...

Can you give me an example of a niche in KDP non-fiction. I don't understand what you call a niche in books. Is self help a niche? Or is drywalling your home a niche?

While reading your post I can't help but think that your problem is that you are jumping niches and chasing money. Here's my main question, how do I know that you are knowledgeable about the topic that you are writing about? I see a book about XXXX by YYYYY. I have no idea who this is. If I search YYYY and he has 5 previous books about XXXX I may give him a chance. But if his other books are about AAA and BBB, then I'm thinking WTF?

Also, regarding AMZ. I have two accounts in the same niche. I run the exact same campaign for both, same keywords and bids. One account gets much more impressions than the other, one spends $200 a day and the other $25 a day. You would think they would be the same. So you can't really compare your PPC against some others as they aren't all the same. There's definitely a weighted system in the PPC.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
a) I won't be speaking for the OP about his situation, but many of you know his story, and he has his own thread here. But he's in the same niche I am. But at least MTF went through a period of literally making fortune each month on his books, which never happened to me in those 8 years, and it makes me feel even more frustrated about this biz.

To be honest, I was lucky because Audible took a great liking to my books and promoted them all over the place.

b) Totally killing it in 4 different niches, already a multi millionaire. Never wrote a book in his life, he's outsourcing everything and making waaay over 100k+ a MONTH in profit (right now probably around 200k + or more...). That guy is an absolute unicorn and likely a genius (he used to constantly win 50k+ Usd per game playing poker tournaments, which means his brain is most likely super capable and analytical). I have been trying to analyze/recreate his success since 2017 and I just don't get it. He recently entered a new niche last year and also hit the jackpot, but says it will be his last one.

As far as I remember what you told me about him he's all about the ghostwriting model, though. So he hires people to write for him. I believe this is a different business, just like an author and a publishing company founder are two different people in two very different businesses.

-And the organic traffic in our niche is almost dead. Back in the day you could publish anything half-decent and be promoted by amazon or KDP, now you can write a masterpiece and it will most likely drown in the ocean of similiar books, if you can't make the AMS ads work or don't have your strong social media presence.

That's one of the most worrying changes. Before, Amazon rewarded you for publishing a great book and bringing some initial traffic to it. They wanted you to succeed because it meant more money for them. Now their incentive is NOT to showcase good books but instead make authors pay for promoting their books. After all, if your book doesn't sell, you'll at least consider running ads on Amazon. Before, it wasn't necessary (it wasn't even a thing because the system didn't work for books).

-I see it as a very hermetic business and the skills or rather strategies needed to succeeded on KDP or ACX don't really translate that much to other businesses.

I'd say the meta-strategy is to find a platform with a big audience and learn how it works and how you can position your work in the best way possible.

I used a similar strategy for Udemy and it worked a little. But Udemy is tiny compared to Amazon and their tendency is to discount everything, thus not making it the greatest marketplace if you want to create a high-quality course. @Lex DeVille knows something about this.

So possibly our skills are about that: finding a new platform and tapping into its existing audience. Though I'm not aware of any big platforms for writers where it's possible for a regular person to make more than a few thousand dollars a month.

I enjoy teaching in general, ideally through writing but not necessarily. So maybe becoming a teacher at Skillshare or other similar platforms would be a viable alternative. We'd need to learn how to teach via video, though.

-I published very small number of books but still make 10x more money than many people who I see selling their businesses on empire flippers, or forums, etc, who have around 300-600 titles published on their accounts. I'm probably a person with the smallest number of books, making the most of it.

This is usually because their books are of low-quality. And such numbers are a dead giveaway that they hired cheap ghostwriters and it was just a short-term make money scheme.

1) Buying some of the biggest courses and seeing if MAAAABYE (I'm extremely doubtful) I can update my knowledge by finding some golden nuggest here and there. But most likely they will just preach BS, or something that I already know.

I considered buying one of the top courses. But then I checked the author's rankings on Amazon for his non-fiction and fiction books and I'm pretty sure he doesn't make more than a few thousand bucks a month. Also, his fiction books have average reviews so he's primarily a marketer, not a creator (which ultimately we are first and foremost).
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
If this is just 1 pen name that is doing most of the prior success, have you considered maybe the niche it writes about is too saturated now?

If it's one pen name mostly, I'd say you need a new niche before you can say the business is failing. Maybe it's just the niche you write about where the titles seem ( to an outside buyer ) too closely related to learn more from. With that, and more copy cats, maybe the niche is the problem and not the business.

That's possible. I tried a different niche, though, and the book failed miserably. And that's for by far the best book I've ever written. I hired 5-10 editors/beta readers to make it as good as it possibly could be. I hired a much better designer than for my most successful pen name. I spent money on market research to figure out the best title and the best cover. I invested in an expensive pre-launch campaign to get as many early reviewers as possible. I invested in expensive marketing for the launch (including completely new strategies). But maybe it was just a wrong niche.

The problem with books is that you never know if they're going to take off, no matter how much you invest in them. Some of my bestselling books are in my opinion some of my worst books. Meanwhile, the books I'm most proud of (and which often had better marketing) aren't selling much.

Can you give me an example of a niche in KDP non-fiction. I don't understand what you call a niche in books. Is self help a niche? Or is drywalling your home a niche?

While reading your post I can't help but think that your problem is that you are jumping niches and chasing money. Here's my main question, how do I know that you are knowledgeable about the topic that you are writing about? I see a book about XXXX by YYYYY. I have no idea who this is. If I search YYYY and he has 5 previous books about XXXX I may give him a chance. But if his other books are about AAA and BBB, then I'm thinking WTF?

Also, regarding AMZ. I have two accounts in the same niche. I run the exact same campaign for both, same keywords and bids. One account gets much more impressions than the other, one spends $200 a day and the other $25 a day. You would think they would be the same. So you can't really compare your PPC against some others as they aren't all the same. There's definitely a weighted system in the PPC.

Self-help would be a niche, but in self-help you also have sub-niches. For example, productivity, communication skills, motivation, law of attraction, etc.

Both @VentureVoyager and me focus primarily on just one niche with one main pen name. So all of our books belong to the same category and cover similar topics. They have lots of positive reviews and have an instantly recognizable branding (which has been copied many times by competitors). And we've been doing it for 5+ years.

What you're saying about AAA and BBB, that's why we use pen names. I have many interests but I can't write about all of them under one name because it would make people go WTF. Even though it's perfectly normal and common for a person to be an expert in many topics.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
Excellent response, @Kung Fu Steve. Thank you.

We've entered "economic winter" ... it's nothing to freak out about but it's going to take some innovation to grow again, I think.

My income was already much lower before the pandemic so I don't think it's because of that. The drop was mostly caused by the changing industry.

During these times, money isn't the currency -- trust is. There's never been a more difficult time to sell someone the first time... but there's never been an easier time to sell someone the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.

As for trust, one great example that it doesn't necessarily lead to riches is Joanna Penn. She's one of the most trusted voices in self-publishing (her blog is at www.thecreativepenn.com). She writes both fiction and non-fiction (teaching people how to write). Yet, despite all the trust, as far as I know she's not even making six figures or is possibly somewhere around 100-150k, but not more. This is hardly a great result for a person who's so transparent, is considered one of the biggest experts in self-publishing, and does everything the "right" way.

In my case, out of roughly 28,000 people I have on my list, when I launch a new book, at best 200-300 people buy it. That's for a book that costs 99 cents. So it seems it's not that easy to get subsequent sales in my case. Yet my books get great reviews and those people stay on my list. I have a theory that most signed up to get free stuff via my free books but even then, that's a horrible conversion for such a low-priced product.

I remember having a 4-5x smaller list and getting more sales from it than now.

It's possible your industry is "wisening up" and wants to see you, know you, learn who you are -- but I could be completely wrong on that (usually am).

As above with Joanna Penn.

Also, one would think that with 20+ books I've published under my main pen name, most of which have well north of 100 positive reviews, I've gained trust. But maybe people want to know the actual person behind the books, a "personal brand" which I'm not willing to build because I prefer not to be recognized for reasons well explained in this article: The Status Disease

Questions for you:

  • What do you WANT to do?
  • What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
  • If you were to die tomorrow, would you be proud of what you left behind?

1. Tricky question considering that I'm now learning not to listen to my mind and not to think that I want anything from the outside world. My first response would be that I'd want to contribute to reforestation efforts. But the deeper reason is because I want to feel I contribute something tangible to the world and I care about the environment. And that's wrong reasoning because I should feel this inside without the need to do anything on the outside (because if I work on myself and try to be better, I AM contributing to the world).

2. Somehow buy the biggest plot of land there is, rewild it, and turn it into a private national sanctuary. But I'm not doing it not exactly because I think I can fail but simply because it's too much work lol. It's actually the same with pretty much every other goal except for those that are very repetitive and simple (like meditating every day for an hour).

3. To be honest, I wouldn't be particularly proud of leaving my books behind. I don't define myself by them and don't even like to talk about them with anyone. It's just a business to me, not anything I'd think about on my death bed. I'd be most proud of the countryside house I built for my parents (not literally the physical house but taking care of them in retirement and making their dreams come true) and a small forest I planted in their backyard because (hopefully) it'll grow for hundreds of ages.

It's so arbitrary but for me, I like this general guideline. A couple months ago I hit a 7-month threshold for myself in my career and it's time for some changes. It will take some time to grow, but I've made the decision and started down the path.

Curious to see where it takes you!

My business has been on autopilot since November 2019. In other words, I haven't worked on it at all except for some maintenance stuff which takes literally a few minutes a week. I don't think I'm anywhere closer to deciding what to do with it hence this thread.

This will sound really "woo-woo" but if you trust me at all, I'd suggest set a timer on your phone for just 3 minutes, stand up, put both hands over your heart and breathe as if you were breathing into your heart. Breathe fully. And really fill it up.

Once the three minutes hits simply start a sentence in your head with

"All I need to remember is..."

"All I need to know is..."

"All I need to do it..."


And if you're truly in your heart at that moment, you'll come up with some amazing answers you probably didn't have before.

Would love to hear your responses.

Actually what you're saying about the heart is what Michael A. Singer (whom I've been studying religiously for the past months) would call your consciousness or spirit. I guess in the end you both mean the same thing. I'm probably in this state after every session of meditation.

But I did what you suggested (damn man I got some heavy heart palpitations and hyperventilated) and here are my responses:

"All I need to remember is..."

that I want to be free and don't want to waste my life chasing something I wouldn't be proud of anyway if I died tomorrow.

"All I need to know is..."

that I need to work on myself first before I do anything else. Otherwise I'd be repeating the same mistakes as before - creating things for the sake of feeling better (in an ultimately meaningless way) instead of out of an honest, true, deep, endless love and joy.

"All I need to do is..."

give myself more time to work on myself and take advantage of my financial situation to not worry about finances/business/money/work while I deal with my inner stuff.

Oh... and one more bit of unsolicited advice:

Fall in love with your customer, not your product.

Who gives a shit what you sell... what do you DO for this person that improves the quality of their life?

That's my other problem. I find it very, very hard to think of the person I serve, particularly when it's digital stuff (unlike with one on one client work; I then value their well-being over my compensation). I focus on sales, and for me that's just numbers, not people. I have some new ideas for books but I don't feel like writing them because I suspect not many people will be interested in them. And if I can't get sufficient monetary compensation, I'd rather not do it.

Even when I get thank-you letters, I just politely thank them for kind words but don't really feel inspired by them to keep writing more books.

In the end, I 100% believe that mind is the cause of all problems and it's very clear to see in my post. Perhaps I just need to keep working on myself and not seek any answers right now because I haven't evolved enough yet.
 
Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

Black_Dragon43

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
789
2,235
553
Eastern Europe
Actually what you're saying about the heart is what Michael A. Singer (whom I've been studying religiously for the past months) would call your consciousness or spirit. I guess in the end you both mean the same thing. I'm probably in this state after every session of meditation.
One thing that I noticed about the self-compassion and spiritual approaches vs the more militaristic, change your thoughts/beliefs approaches is that they lead you to results in a different manner, and they fundamentally change how you relate to your thoughts.

Scientifically, the "Michael Singer" approach is built around the technique of cognitive defusion (which is also the centerpiece of ACT therapy). Whereas the David Goggins sort of approaches, are built around cognitive restructuring (the basis of CBT therapy).

Think of the following metaphor to understand how cognitive defusion works: say you have a poison, like hydrogen cyanide, formed of a hydrogen atom, a nitrogen atom, and a carbon atom (chemical formula HCN). These are like your limiting beliefs, compounds of thoughts, feelings and self-identification. Cognitive defusion is like breaking the hydrogen cyanide into its component parts -> those are still there, but they're no longer poisonous - you DEFUSE the compound into its parts, and thereby eliminate its poisonous nature! So you still have your negative thoughts and feelings, but you no longer identify with them, and their impact disappears. You are separate from them, and hence they no longer hold you back (or so the theory goes). Actual techniques to implement this vary from mindfulness, to exposure, to letting go.

Cognitive restructuring works based on different presuppositions, namely that the way you feel is the result of the way you think, and therefore you must alter your thoughts to alter your feelings. The process involves challenging your negative beliefs and seeking to replace them with positive beliefs that empower you. Whether you first do a state break á la Tony Robbins, or you keep a record of your recurrent thoughts, doesn't really matter, as these are just different techniques that serve the same end: replacing a negative belief with an empowering one.

Now, since the two processes are directly opposed in their presuppositions of how change happens, they do come into conflict. And here's how: you no longer identify with many thoughts, and when you do, you always know that you can break that identification. So a quote on quote empowering belief, no longer means much to you either. It's just another thought, that is not your real Self, because you have broken your identification with it. Your behavior is no longer bound to your thoughts. You can think thoughts that previously aroused anxiety, BUT you no longer feel compelled to react through avoidance behaviors for example - instead you react in accordance with your true values. Once you rise above the level of thought even once, it's hard, if not impossible, to go back to identification with thought when what your thoughts were actually mattered a great deal to you.

Watch the following podcast and notice the tension between Dr. David Burns (one of the foremost practitioners and promoters of CBT), and Dr. Steven Hayes (the founder of ACT):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH6y7UC00ds&ab_channel=DavidBurns


These people fundamentally disagree about how change happens.
 

Martin Boeddeker

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jun 5, 2018
175
342
174
37
Paderborn, Deutschland
Not sure if I'm qualified to answer your question but the first thing that came to mind was:

You need to come up with much better questions.

@Kung Fu Steve had mentioned a few great ones.

One book that has a lot of amazing questions (especially if you want a business related answer) is this

https://www.amazon.com/Road-Less-Stupid-Keith-Cunningham

In the end you really have to decide what you optimize for.

The online marketing space is changing so rapidly it's hard to keep up for everyone.

In the end it's really about what the market wants.

I think the time of just being an author is over for the majority of people.

Now you need a much deeper backend and an insane reach.

Everything is going more 99/1.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg:

There are many more changes happening very very soon espcially to your niche.

Think the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text.

The same will happen to tracking for the guys you run paid ads for other marketing funnels.



Just some final thoughts:

Decide upon what you like to do and align that with what the marketplace is willing to pay for.

In your case: Maybe could make 6-figures for being a ghost-writer for someone else who does not like books? Or whatever.... I don't know.

In the end the market place decides and you want to catch a raising tide and work with people who pay more than a couple of bucks for your books.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
Once you rise above the level of thought even once, it's hard, if not impossible, to go back to identification with thought when what your thoughts were actually mattered a great deal to you.

And each time you do it the disassociation gets larger and larger. Which in this case is a good thing because you don't believe the BS that your mind comes up with.

One book that has a lot of amazing questions (especially if you want a business related answer) is this

https://www.amazon.com/Road-Less-Stupid-Keith-Cunningham

Sorry, I tried reading this book and couldn't stand the author's arrogant tone and the overall corporate kind of self-help.

In the end the market place decides and you want to catch a raising tide and work with people who pay more than a couple of bucks for your books.

Yeah that's a great observation. And then you either go with it or if you don't like where it's going you find something else.
 

Black_Dragon43

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
789
2,235
553
Eastern Europe
And each time you do it the disassociation gets larger and larger. Which in this case is a good thing because you don't believe the BS that your mind comes up with.
Right... which is why the story you tell yourself becomes less and less relevant and you realise that it’s not about that story at all. In the past few years I’ve also had a harder time listening to motivational talks -> just like the voices in my own head, they’re a lot less relevant, and you sort of see it like empty chatter. Doesn’t actually “DO” anything.

I sympathise with your struggle. I wish I had an answer to give you, something that could help, but I really don’t. These are the sort of issues that I think we always have to ultimately face alone. You’re not just trying to make money here, you’re trying to make an impact that’s meaningful to you, and it’s hard to do that. The road to self-discovery is a long and hard one.

All I can advise is that you keep going... ultimately you will find an answer - your answer.
 

Taktik

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 15, 2018
117
83
129
One thing that I noticed about the self-compassion and spiritual approaches vs the more militaristic, change your thoughts/beliefs approaches is that they lead you to results in a different manner, and they fundamentally change how you relate to your thoughts.

Scientifically, the "Michael Singer" approach is built around the technique of cognitive defusion (which is also the centerpiece of ACT therapy). Whereas the David Goggins sort of approaches, are built around cognitive restructuring (the basis of CBT therapy).

Think of the following metaphor to understand how cognitive defusion works: say you have a poison, like hydrogen cyanide, formed of a hydrogen atom, a nitrogen atom, and a carbon atom (chemical formula HCN). These are like your limiting beliefs, compounds of thoughts, feelings and self-identification. Cognitive defusion is like breaking the hydrogen cyanide into its component parts -> those are still there, but they're no longer poisonous - you DEFUSE the compound into its parts, and thereby eliminate its poisonous nature! So you still have your negative thoughts and feelings, but you no longer identify with them, and their impact disappears. You are separate from them, and hence they no longer hold you back (or so the theory goes). Actual techniques to implement this vary from mindfulness, to exposure, to letting go.

Cognitive restructuring works based on different presuppositions, namely that the way you feel is the result of the way you think, and therefore you must alter your thoughts to alter your feelings. The process involves challenging your negative beliefs and seeking to replace them with positive beliefs that empower you. Whether you first do a state break á la Tony Robbins, or you keep a record of your recurrent thoughts, doesn't really matter, as these are just different techniques that serve the same end: replacing a negative belief with an empowering one.

Now, since the two processes are directly opposed in their presuppositions of how change happens, they do come into conflict. And here's how: you no longer identify with many thoughts, and when you do, you always know that you can break that identification. So a quote on quote empowering belief, no longer means much to you either. It's just another thought, that is not your real Self, because you have broken your identification with it. Your behavior is no longer bound to your thoughts. You can think thoughts that previously aroused anxiety, BUT you no longer feel compelled to react through avoidance behaviors for example - instead you react in accordance with your true values. Once you rise above the level of thought even once, it's hard, if not impossible, to go back to identification with thought when what your thoughts were actually mattered a great deal to you.

Watch the following podcast and notice the tension between Dr. David Burns (one of the foremost practitioners and promoters of CBT), and Dr. Steven Hayes (the founder of ACT):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH6y7UC00ds&ab_channel=DavidBurns


These people fundamentally disagree about how change happens.

Very interesting. Have you tried both approaches? If so, which one do you prefer and why?
 

Black_Dragon43

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
789
2,235
553
Eastern Europe
Very interesting. Have you tried both approaches? If so, which one do you prefer and why?
I have tried both, as for which one I prefer, it is very difficult to say. Naturally, my heart leans more towards cognitive defusion, while my brain towards cognitive restructuring. If I had to choose one, despite the lack of definite evidence, I'd go for cognitive defusion as being more effective. I don't think the assumption negative feelings are caused by negative cognitions is true, hence cognitive restructuring would by default be less effective. But it's just a personal hunch, I don't have proof.

The reason why it's very difficult to say is that it's very hard to isolate what is responsible for change. To begin with, every therapy has a very STRONG placebo effect, which is there merely because of the patient's belief in the therapy. In fact, if the patient does NOT believe in the therapy, it is unlikely to yield any meaningful results. So every "technique" some guru gives you, if you believe in it, it's likely to help. Is it really the technique though, or your belief that's doing the work though?

Second of all, each therapy has its own proposed mechanism of change. Cognitive restructuring for example claims that your feelings change when you shift your thoughts/beliefs. Now, there is no way to JUST shift your thoughts and beliefs, without also having other factors change.

For example, the standard CBT way of doing cognitive restructuring involves keeping a log of your negative thoughts and the associated feelings. You note what they are, and the intensity of the feelings. To do that presupposes that first you introspect, and become mindfully aware of them. Then you have to write each negative thought down, and identify what cognitive distortions you're engaging in (such as All or Nothing Thinking, Labeling, Catastrophising, etc.). Once you've done that, you need to replace the negative thoughts with more empowering positive thoughts that you actually believe in. Now out of this entire process, which part was actually responsible for change? Was it that you stopped and listened to yourself? Was it that you became objectively aware of the cognitive distortions you were engaging in? Was it that you replaced the negative thoughts with more positive ones? Was it that you became mindfully aware of your thoughts? Was it all of them, or a combination of them?

So the point here is that we do certain things, change happens, and then we come up with a mechanism that explains why the things we've done work, in the hopes that that theory enables us to further expand the tools for change that we have available. Different approaches disagree over that theory, so they also disagree over how therapy should be practiced.

And finally, there is very little research that actually goes into comparing therapies and different models of change. Largely has to do with politics in-between the groups that are involved. ACT therapists lose their bread if ACT is proven to be ineffective. Same for CBT, and so on. So in truth, we know very little about what's actually going on when change happens. We have many theories, often contradictory, but that's about it.

What we need actually, which we don't have, is more work being done on the underlying theories, to identify the exact points of opposition, and then devise experiments that can stress test each theory to find which ones are closer to the truth and more useful.
 
Last edited:

Darius

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 8, 2013
701
1,663
761
27
Cleveland, Ohio
@MTF You're going through a dilemma similar to what music artists go through after they have an amazing 1-2 years during their first peak but then profits, popularity, and whatever other metrics they're monitoring die down and stay down.

While I can't speak from experience since I haven't built anything as profitable as your self-publishing was in its prime, I will say that you may be looking at this on too small of a time-frame.

Most businesses outside of digital require a decent amount of upfront funding, several year commitments before OK profits ($50k+ yr) , and a ton of both physical and mental work. Those businesses require looking at long time frames (10+ yrs) before deciding if it's time to move on. That long time frame allows you to average out both your gains and losses to figure out if it's worth it.

I think you've been at this for somewhere around 7-10 years now. 1.5 years of lower profits than your prime and stagnant growth isn't that big of a deal to me. Especially since big money in self publishing, similar to the music industry, is based on producing a hit.

All you need is 1 book to do well and it compensates for all of the losses (or at least it used to). Based on the changes in self-publishing (specifically those amazon/kindle driven), you may never get to the levels you were at previously.

I think that's OK as long as you're fine playing with the new rules/rewards. There's always a way to move forward and I think you have both the skills and ability to move forward successfully.

Since the landscape is different now, are you OK with making less profit than the "golden days" with the same amount of work? Is that a business you can be happy with? Is that enough profit to live the life you want to live?

These are answers that only you can answer. But, let me answer the questions you asked in your post.

I typically move-on from online businesses when I find myself consistently complaining about doing work (even if it's profitable). When it comes to digital businesses, I'm better at starting than I am at finishing.

I typically move-on from offline businesses when It feels like I've done all my current skillset allows me to do. I'm much better at running/finishing offline businesses than starting them.

In both scenarios, I try to move-on by hiring people to take my place and run it completely (even if profit drops really low for me). As long as profit is enough to make me feel OK with answering the occasional phone call or email, I'm good. Then I let that seed grow on its own.

If that doesn't work, I let it phase out on it's own. Online businesses continue to pay out for yrs and offline businesses usually get shut down or sold (both intellectual property and materials).

For the past 4-5 years, my decisions haven't been based on money. My decisions have been based on making my life as stress-free and enjoyable as possible while still keeping my life goal in mind (financial independence).

Whenever I do move-on from a business, I usually make a bad decision and start a business in something unrelated. That's because of where my interests lie at the moment.

When I was growing up, I had no idea there were so many things you could do in life. I didn't learn that until I was about 18-19. Since then, I've been basically marking off a list of things I would like to do and using business as my adult version of video games/allowance.

So, if you're focused on money, you should start a business related to the one you left and utilize as much as you can from the old.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
Thank you for your thoughtful post, @Darius.

@MTF You're going through a dilemma similar to what music artists go through after they have an amazing 1-2 years during their first peak but then profits, popularity, and whatever other metrics they're monitoring die down and stay down.

Good comparison. Though I was mostly in the right place at the right time. I don't consider myself talented compared to real artists.

I think you've been at this for somewhere around 7-10 years now. 1.5 years of lower profits than your prime and stagnant growth isn't that big of a deal to me. Especially since big money in self publishing, similar to the music industry, is based on producing a hit.

It'll be 7 years this August. My profits have been lower for the past 2+ years.

Actually in books, over the long term, most authors don't win because of a hit but because of a big backlist. But in my case almost all of my income comes from my early works during the golden years. New books (every title since 2018) never make a profit.

I understand the point and it does make some sense, though for this to work I'd probably have to build a personal brand and use social media heavily. And that's a step I'm not willing to take (to protect my mental health).

Since the landscape is different now, are you OK with making less profit than the "golden days" with the same amount of work? Is that a business you can be happy with? Is that enough profit to live the life you want to live?

The landscape is very, very different now. Me putting in work doesn't affect the results. In fact, it actually lowers my profit because my investments don't work as they used to. So this isn't the case of being happy with less profit with the same amount of work. There's no way forward, at least not using my current business model.

For the past 4-5 years, my decisions haven't been based on money. My decisions have been based on making my life as stress-free and enjoyable as possible while still keeping my life goal in mind (financial independence).

I 100% respect that because that's my approach as well. So I guess you can understand why I have certain rules for this business (like not wanting to build a personal brand, I'm trying to kill my ego, not build it up lol).

So, if you're focused on money, you should start a business related to the one you left and utilize as much as you can from the old.

Actually, after a conversation with a friend in the same industry I realized (or to be more precise, he helped me realize it), that I'm at a level where I shouldn't necessarily follow the standard Fastlane rules. What I mean by that is that I have more freedom in deciding what to do because money doesn't necessarily have to be the first key factor.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,823
23,381
4,304
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwMkydJT6rs


What an excellent video relevant to his thread.

The idea of the "one last startup" is incredibly powerful. The stages he talks about (clinging to the old business, distracting yourself with shiny objects that are too early for you to consider) is spot on.
 

Sponsored Offers

  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE  Freelance University: Solve Every Freelance Problem (Especially on Upwork)
FU. 4 DAYS. 50% OFF BLACK FRIDAY SALE! If you're an Upwork freelancer, you'd be a fool not to...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE  NEW: The Best School for Going Fastlane (50% Off Deal Now On)
Just added in some more bonus courses so now up to 4... We have a full super detailed...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE  You Are One Call Away From Living Your Dream Life - LightHouse’s Accountability Program ⚡
One year ago, I was just your average software developer who always consumed content about...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE  For Sale: Food Brand with 4 Years of Happy Customers in a Fast-Growing Niche
So to get certified, it cost a fortune? How much exactly? That sucks that these "health...
MARKETPLACE  Fox Web School "Legend" Group Coaching Program 2021
Fox's Web School helps you learn a specialized skill which you can use to get to Fastlane. It's...
MARKETPLACE  Not sure how to start? This free book will teach you how to build a successful web design business
Hi Fox. Starting the book and got through the introduction. Had a conversation with Andy Black...


Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

New Topics

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom