climbing a mountain isn't easy

3 Things They Say Are Easy (But Actually Aren’t)

Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet. Used with permission.

I’ve been pondering lately. Pondering all the wisdom out there on the interwebz that says things are easy. Just do this, they say, and you’ll be living the dream in no time. It’s easy, they say. Yeah, right. If things were that easy, I’d be loved up, have an email subscription list of thousands of fans eagerly awaiting my words of wisdom, and have more freelance work than I could poke a stick at. Of course, this is not my reality.

And here’s why.

1. Meeting someone special isn’t easy

I have written about this topic ad infinitum. I’m writing about it again because people are still staying that I’ll “meet someone when I least expect it” or to “just you wait… it will happen”. Let me put that bullshit to rest once and for all. There are three reasons why there is more likelihood of NASA finding intelligent life on Mars than me meeting my Mr Someone Special.

Firstly, my attachment style is working against me. As a person with an anxious attachment style, I should be trying to meet men with a secure attachment style. Guess where these men are? In relationships. If they are single, they aren’t single for long. Guess what type populates the dating market? Men with an avoidant attachment style. The type that I never should date because it sends my attachment system into a very uncomfortable and unpleasant overdrive. As an FYI, “when you meet someone new, the probability that they have an avoidant attachment style is high – much higher than their 25% share of the population.” And there are more avoidants in the dating pool because more of them are single:

  • They end their relationships more frequently
  • They cheat more than other styles
  • Avoidants who divorce are more likely to divorce again
  • They suppress loving emotions, so they “get over” partners very quickly and start dating again immediately
  • They don’t date each other because they lack the “glue” that keeps people together.

Secondly, we have to add market forces into the mix. Demographically speaking, there is a shortage of men on the market and this has an effect on male behaviour. An over-abundance of men means they have to compete for female attention, and so behave better. A shortage of men (which is what the Western world is experiencing now) means that men behave badly and get away with it. They behave badly because they can. And online dating apps make hooking up easy, and women disposable. There are plenty more women out there, eager to do whatever it takes to find The One. If men were in short supply, they’d have to behave better because the competition for women would be stiffer. No pun intended.

[bctt tweet=”I’m not keen to ruin my idyllic singleness by hooking up with a male who hasn’t evolved.”]

Thirdly, most of the men my age (late 40s to early 50s) aren’t in good shape, and I’m not talking just physically, although that’s an issue in and of itself. Many have left marriages, or have had marriages leave them, and they don’t have a clue why. I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen to ruin my idyllic singleness by hooking up with a male who hasn’t evolved. Ain’t no one got time for dat.

2. Growing your email subscribers isn’t easy

If you want to build a business via an online presence—whether you are an author or affiliate marketer or e-widget salesperson—you absolutely need an email list. You need people on that list who are interested in you and want to hear about you and what you do and what you have to say. People who trust you. This is much easier said than done and I wish I had started working on mine like, five years ago. Before people stopped handing over their email addresses willy nilly.

It’s supposed to work this way: Random Person comes to your site, up pops a subscription box with a juicy enticement (or subscription box with a juicy enticement at the end of an awesome post), Random Person gives you their email address and receives juicy enticement, you start regularly emailing random person and include an occasional offer, Random Person loves your stuff so much they buy everything you will ever sell. Forever.

This is what actually happens: Random Person (yes, that’s a demographic) comes to your site, up pops a subscription box with a juicy enticement (or subscription box with a juicy enticement at the end of an awesome post), Random Person completely ignores it. Crickets.

[bctt tweet=”At no time in history has there ever been so many writers or have words been so under valued.”]

Experts say it’s my juicy enticement or my landing page that’s the problem. Random People aren’t engaging with it. Or that I’m just not solving Random Person’s problem. Or that the wrong Random Person is landing on my site and I need to be more targeted with the kind of Random People I’m attracting. And clearly, I need to work on my SEO or tweak my cornerstone content or build up my social proof so my offer so resonates with Random People. Or do Facebook advertising. Or up the ante on my Pinterest profile. Or remarket. Or start podcasting.

You know what? I think that people are sick of having shit in their inbox (not that my stuff is shit, of course). They are sick of handing over their email addresses only to be bombarded with emails wanting them to buy, buy, buy. Conquer your fears for $9.99! Learn to rock your blog for $49! Take over the universe for $20! Get all the stock photos you can eat for .99c per month! No wonder Random People are hesitant to hand over their email address. I am too.subscribe

3. Quitting your day job isn’t easy

I absolutely love the idea of quitting my day job. The notion of getting paid well as a freelancer to work on meaningful projects with awesome people—or working on my own projects and getting paid well—is something I would do in a heartbeat if I could. Forget about burning my bridges… I would light a stick of dynamite and throw it over my shoulder and turn around and watch with glee as every single corporate bridge I ever had the dubious pleasure of crossing blew up. Unfortunately—for me anyway—this is easier said than done.

Or maybe I’m just doing it all wrong.

The only way I can quit my job is if I have income to replace what I’ve lost from the job that I’ve just quit. It’s quite the paradox, actually. And the way I see it, replacing my income falls into two categories: active and passive. (There’s a third category: illegal, but that’s not an area I want to get into. Obviously.) Active income can be earned from gigs like freelancing and consulting and teaching and coaching and speaking. Passive income can be earned from stuff like advertising and affiliate marketing and online courses and information products and merchandise (at my age, I’ve completely missed the stocks and shares and property options). Easy enough, I hear you say: all you need is skill or two, and a website or five. SEO the crap out them and you’re good to go. Build it and they will come.

Except it’s not that easy. Take earning active income. The one thing I do well is write. There are a lot of people out there who also write well. In fact, every second person out there is trying to hustle writing—and writing’s first cousin, editing—as a freelance gig. There are more writers and authors and editors out there than ever before. They frequent sites like Upwork and Freelancer and Airtasker and Fiverr and, more often than not, it’s a race to the bottom on price. At no time in history has there ever been so many writers, and at no time in history have words been so under valued. Don’t believe me? Check Upwork and Freelancer and Airtasker and Fiverr and see how many writers (and editors) are competing for jobs that pay chicken feed. Or bread crumbs.

(Back to old-fashioned, face-to-face networking I go, which is how I used to get my gigs before the interwebz…! I’ve ordered some speccy business cards from Moo.)

When you think about it, passive income should be much easier to get a hold of than active income. Except it’s not. To have a shot at a decent level of income you have to have a decent level of traffic. I am here to tell you that getting eyeballs to your site—let alone getting those eyeballs to stay there long enough to build up trust so they buy from you—is hard. I can’t even get people to subscribe to my email list! There is so much competition for eyeballs it’s not funny. The market is fractured and fragmented and has the attention span of a gnat. I’m competing with free porn, for God’s sake (not that porn viewers are my target market, but you get the picture).

Last word

Look, this is not supposed to be a complaining post. This is a post that simply tells it like it is from my perspective: that it’s not as easy to do things as what people say it is. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Hell, no! I’m simply readjusting my expectations.

Oh, and if you’d like a writer like me to work on your meaningful projects, I’d love to hear from you.

4 thoughts on “3 Things They Say Are Easy (But Actually Aren’t)

  1. I’m with you on the freelance thing. It’s bloody hard. Most people don’t want to pay for copywriting, editing or proofreading, because their cousin’s brother’s girlfriend does it. I give quotes out for VERY CHEAP RATES and still don’t get the business. I tried the in-person networking thing, too, and got a bite or two but found mostly the people who went to those things were just as desperate to hand out their business cards as I was. That said, I am sure you’ll have better luck than I. Rock it!

    1. I hear ya, Melsy. I was at a workshop last month and sat with an immigration lawyer who used a writer in Chiang Mai (or similar) sourced via Upwork. I asked him why he didn’t go local. He said it was price, pure and simple. Having said that, there was an issue with the writer’s English that made more work for him, but it was cheap enough to be worth it. This is what we’re up against. I’m of the opinion that you have to value add e.g. writing + SEO/social media management or editing + book publishing/publicity package. Even then price is still an issue. Le sigh.

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