Updated: February 17, 2019
Back when I launched Thrive/Strive I figured that I would be able to grow it pretty quickly.
I mean, I was writing in the health & fitness niche which is huge and it also happens to do well on Pinterest.
What could go wrong?
Apparently a lot.
In the first 90 days, the site received a total of 1,148 pageviews.
Look at that number again.
1,148 pageviews in 90 days. That's less than 13 pageviews a day.
You could get more pageviews if you stood on a street corner with a sign showing your site's URL.
I was writing what I thought was valuable content. Content that shared my opinion with the world with regards to health-related topics.
I was doing what I was supposed to on Pinterest so promotion wasn't an issue.
But nobody was coming to the site!
Let me pause here for a second...
This is an issue most people encounter when they start an online business. They find that the things they are creating just aren't gaining any traction.
Some people quit too soon meaning their value is great, they just need to find the right audience.
Other people quit without trying something else.
Back to my story...
I had been at this for 90 days. That's more than enough time to get a little traction on some piece of content but nothing was hitting.
So, I had to make a change.
I just didn't know what.
After a ton of frustration, I decided to go for a walk. I don't know what it was about this walk but a giant lightbulb went above my head and I realized that the content I was writing was just for me.
It was to entertain myself. While some people might've found it entertaining, it wasn't helping them with their problems and that's the key to getting started.
You need to solve a problem that your audience is having.
They don't care about your backstory, who are you or what you do. When they first come to you they want to know what you're going to do for them.
The people that were coming to my site weren't finding a thing to help them so they had no need to share it with their people.
I realized it was time to get out of my own way and see what others were doing.
Because I was trying to utilize Pinterest to the best of my ability, I figured I would see what was working well on Pinterest.
Back then, it was easy to see repin counts on pins so I would scroll through and take note of all of the pins that were getting a ton of repins on the topics that I wanted to write about.
I made a giant list with probably over 50 content ideas and then I went to work.
I started to write my version of these content ideas. This is known as the Skyscraper Technique by Brian Dean.
The gist is that you find content that is doing well on social media or Google and then you craft a better version of it. You build a better skyscraper.
Once I started to do that, things changed.
I eclipsed 18,000 pageviews in September 2016. In November 2016 I did 130,000 pageviews and it kept going up from there.
I was still writing in a way that interested me, but I was writing on the problems that my audience was having and they loved it.
Start with What Works
Now, when I start a new business, I find what works.
I know most people want to be completely original, but everything is a remix. Original is cool once you already understand what works. It's much better to start from a place of success and try to branch out than it is to try and branch out without a tree.
If I'm going to start a business around gardening, I'm going to look for the problems that people have with gardening and I'm going to write about them. A little bit later I can write something on my awesome new gardening technique that uses spoons, but doing that right away isn't going to bring people towards me because they don't understand the value.
You don't open a burger joint and sell mostly chicken sandwiches. You start with the basic burger, do it well, and then you can do whatever from there.
Most people that start an online business fail to address the problems of their audience. Instead, they focus on their own interests with the belief that their audience has the same interests.
This may be the case, but when people go online, they spend time looking for solutions, not something new they don't know about.
Instead of blindly jumping into new audiences, I now spend time researching and coming up with a gameplan.
Let's see how I do it.