Too many influencers have gotten away with perpetuating this idea that running a digital business is incredibly easy.

Not any more.

Digital businesses are NOT easy. Sure, you have the potential for much greater reach and impact than a physical business, but that doesn’t come without hard work behind it.

I’m tired of seeing so many entrepreneurs who feel like they’ve failed because they haven’t had instant, easy success.

Newsflash, that doesn’t exist!

NOBODY in the digital marketing space is talking about this, so I’m sharing my two cents in today’s episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast!

If this episode was a message you needed to hear, share it with me over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh)!

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Emily Hirsh:

Hello my friends, my podcast, friends. How are you guys doing? April is a crazy month in our family. Two of my three kids have birthdays and they’re two days apart. So my oldest is turning six and then my middle is turning four this month. They are insisting this year for the first time that they have to have separate birthday parties. They do not want to share their birthday parties, because one wants to have a Ninja theme and one wants a princess theme. So we cannot do those joint. So we have them one weekend and then the next weekend, literally separate birthday parties planned. On top of that, also, it’s my husband’s birthday, plus Easter, just a lot of stuff. A lot of coordinating gifts, and activities, and events for people. 

When I was growing up, my mom always made our birthdays really special, so I like to do that for my kids too. It just was always like a very thought out day and we’d have surprises, and she just really went all out on our birthdays. I really loved it as a kid. It’s like, I have great memories of the different surprises that I got, whether it was like a trip, or an activity, or present, or redoing my room, all these different things for my birthday. And so I just love to make sure that my kids’ birthdays are really special too. 

So I’ve been very busy with that, very busy with work, as always, content creation. We’re finally rolling out the updated Ignite program. It’s now changed to the Ignite Academy program and we are so excited. It’s absolutely amazing. I cannot believe it. I’m so proud of it. It’s custom built on WordPress. We have over a hundred videos in these different pathways. All the videos are very concise and to the point. The workbook is new. I added in all these sections to kind of envelope that concept of Academy. So it has organic marketing, and email marketing, and funnels all the different funnels, a lot on webinars trainings, high ticket training. So it’s amazing. If it’s something that you’re like, I need to find out more about that, you can go to helpmystrategy.com. In the application, we’ll split you, and that’s our done with you program. 

I am super excited for today’s episode because I get to do a little bit of a rant maybe, and you guys like it when I rant. I always get more messages. People are like, keep doing that, keep ranting. So I was having a conversation with someone about how, I talk about this all the time, that the overall message that sometimes gets put out in the digital world is having a digital business, meaning you sell a digital product or a digital service that is not local, you’re not selling something that’s in a zip code and has a physical location, you are a digital business and there is this overall mentality that that’s way easier. And that if I do that, I’ll be able to massively scale my business a lot more. While that is true, and while I would recommend, I am a big fan of digital businesses because you do have a lot more potential in your reach. I really want to disconnect, I want you guys to think about this hard and disconnect from that idea that digital business equals easier versus in-person business is harder. There are pros and cons to both, absolutely, but here’s the disconnect. 

People think that a digital business is easier because they’re like, oh, well, I can reach more people and I’ll be able to just create this product, and it’s air and I can, you know, sell this, it’s so easy and I’ll find all these people. Then what happens is they throw out the window like core foundational things that still matter to their success. And so what I mean by that is just because you have a digital business, and you’re marketing in a digital business, and your audience opportunity is larger, does not mean you can throw out core foundational things. You still have to communicate the problem you solve for your audience, and that has to be the core focus of your business. If you’re not solving a problem for somebody that is a true problem, that they really struggling with, you’re missing something in your business. Just because you have a digital business where you’re going to reach more people, doesn’t mean you can forget about that component.

The only reason that digital businesses have more opportunity in their reach is because of the impact opportunity. And so what I’m trying to communicate here and shift the way that you’re thinking, because I think a few things happen. People think that a digital business equals easier because I’ll be able to reach more people. So then they, number one, throw out those core components. They think it should be easier, so they throw out the concept of having to buy data, and having to invest in your marketing, and build your audience, and build your list and the patience around doing that. They also throw out the need to really push hard, to go deep in their messaging, which is number one to a business’s success. The reason I was having this conversation is it’s just such a common theme with clients, with potential clients, with students, where our team is constantly like, it’s the messaging, it’s the messaging. We’ve got to go back to the messaging. And I feel like a broken record. 

It’s in so many people’s business because I think sometimes number one, a lot of people in the digital world are solopreneurs, so you’re trying to do it all, which is really hard if you’re trying to do it all yourself. And so you don’t have that support and full-time copywriter, or whatever, in your messaging. And number two, I think because the messaging out there around digital businesses is that it should be easy and if it’s not, you’re failing. That’s the problem that I have. So number one, people are throwing away those foundational components, but then number two, I think people are getting disconnected from the actual reality that your goal with a digital business and the reason why it can be more successful than a physical location business because of that reach is because of more impact, because you can have more impact on your audience. Which comes from solving a problem, delivering a valuable product, having great positioning, being different than everybody else out there, being different than everything else out there.

And so, because there are these influencers preaching that digital businesses are easy, it is setting up so many people for failure and disappointment when they go to start their marketing. That’s what I am sharing is that reality, because where I get excited is when I get to work with, or see behind the scenes, an entrepreneur who has a digital business and is willing to invest, is willing to show up and do the work, and honestly is willing to treat it like a real business. And that’s kind of like if you take it down to one line, what I’m saying. Just because you have a digital product or service that you are selling, whether it’s a course, or a mastermind, or coaching, or even a physical product, that’s digital, but I feel like physical product businesses don’t struggle as much with this because they have to deal with inventory. But anyways, just because you have one of those businesses, it does not equal easy and it does not equal not having a real business. 

You still need to have the foundations of a real business, which means you need to have clear messaging. Number one, first things first, clear messaging. If you can’t have that, everything else will fail, but also you need to have process. You need to have delivery. You need to really focus in on your customers. It’s not, even when I started in this industry for some time before, I really started to realize, because the message is so strong out there, how easy this is. I thought like, oh, you could create a course. This was like seven years ago when I was starting, oh, you can create a course, it doesn’t even really have to be that good and you can sell it. I’ve literally read books where people are like, you don’t even have to be an expert, you can just start a digital business and pretend like you know things, like in so many words that you say that. And then it’s not true. You need to have foundational components to your business. You can’t just create a course and be like, I have a digital business and I’m going to make millions of dollars. 

I know a lot of people are not to that extreme, some totally 100% are, but one theme I’ve just seen is that it seems like in this digital world, our industry of influencers, and courses, and coaching, people don’t want to do a lot of work. They’re like, I want it to be easy. I want running a business to be easy. And it can be after you’ve done the work, after you’ve built the process, and the product, and nailed your messaging. But if somebody’s motivation is to start a digital business because they think it’s going to be easier and it’s going to produce more results, less work, they don’t have to try that hard, and because they can reach a bunch of people, it’s just going to be easy to sell… Newsflash, that’s not true. You still have to absolutely nail the problem you’re solving for your audience, the product that you’re selling or service that you’re selling, and build solid process and structure around that. It’s not going to be three months, it’s going not going to be even six to 12 months. It’s probably going to take a couple of years to get your business to that level, and then continue to get it to that foundation, and then be able to build off of that foundation. 

I mean, the beginning of my company, which I’m nowhere near perfect here, but I mean, I work hard and I’ve created a business that’s now easier for me to run. I can step away. I only have three direct reports right now. I can step away and I can go on vacation and my company runs. I can talk all day long, I could get on this podcast and be like, I have a digital service business and it’s so easy because I can go on vacation and my company runs without me, and you would see that. But what you don’t hear if I was to do that was I’ve been building my team for four years, coming up on four years, and it has taken that long to get my company to this place. And so if you think anybody who is, whether it is that marketing their digital product business or service business is easy, or running it as easy, and that you can sit back and not do a lot of work because all you need is wifi, whatever that message is, it’s not true. It’s just not. I’ve never seen that be reality if you want a sustainable real company. 

The ultimate message that I want you guys to understand is, honestly, the biggest thing. If you’ve had struggle building a digital product or service business, that is normal. What I don’t want is you to give up, because if you have felt like you didn’t nail your messaging somewhere, and you had a marketing campaign that didn’t work, or you’re having issues with your process in the back end of your company and it running on its own, and you’re having to work late nights, or you’re having to step in, or you are feeling like everything is broken right now, that is actually normal. And nobody is not feeling that, whether they let you see that from the inside or the outside, or not.

What I get really upset about is the people who have that mentality that, well, in one month or two months everything should just be working and marketing, you know, everything should be easy. I should just be selling my product and service, no problem, and, and not have to put in that work. And then when that doesn’t happen, they think that something is either wrong with them, or their company, or that it’s not going to work for them. That’s not the case. You’ve got to stick with it through that, and if you can stick with it through that, then on the other side you will be one of the few who can achieve that success. That’s also the reality, one of the few, do you know how many, I don’t know the statistics, but like, there’s a lot of businesses that fail. It’s in, I think it’s above 80% of businesses fail. I don’t know about digital businesses specifically. And that’s honestly, probably a lot, because of people have the expectation that it’s going to be easy to start a business and then when it’s not, they quit. 

So if you’re serious about starting, and growing, and scaling a really successful company that’s going to be here for the long run, number one, it’s going to be hard work. And number two, there is no easy business, and so what you need to focus in on is that impact. The reason I love digital product and service businesses, and why we work with people who sell online, whether that’s a digital product, physical product, or a service, is because you can have such a bigger impact than a local business. Now that is the true difference. Not because it’s easier, but because you can have that bigger impact if you’re able to crack the code and be different. I don’t even want to say crack the code, or take that back because it’s not cracking the code, it’s following the process, which I’ve laid out many times in this podcast. But if you’re able to do that and commit to that process and be relentless with that process, then you on the other side of that are going to find that success and that impact, but that means you need to stand out. 

I see it a lot where people have a digital product business and it sounds just like all the other 25 businesses that are just like theirs. So think about what’s the problem you solve for your audience, what’s the impact you’re here to have with your business, and how are you different than any other business out there doing it? Why are you better? There is something there, there’s a process, there’s a way you’re looking at it. there’s a perspective, there’s experience you have. And is all of that being communicated in your marketing to get the ultimate result? If you can do that successfully, you will then achieve more impact because you have a digital product business. It is not easy. There are not steps you get to skip because of it. You’ve got to stick with that and follow that process to achieve that success. 

So I feel like nobody’s talking about this, and my hope would be, if you needed to hear this, somebody out there needs to hear this, if you needed to hear this, it’s that it gives you the hope and the confidence to keep going if you haven’t nailed it yet, because you’re on the right path and that’s part of the process. Now, if you are looking for something that’s easy, business is not easy, and no business is easy. Anybody tries to sell you on that, they’re lying. It’s not. So shift that perspective. Don’t listen to those influencers who are saying that because you absolutely have to have a solid foundation understanding of your ideal customer, a great product or service better than your competitors out there, ideally. And if you can do that, you’ll create that success that you so badly want.

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