The Snowball Effect

A couple of interactions yesterday and today with some of the people I mentor prompted me to write this blog post.

The first one was with a client who I coach on his branding and marketing. A few weeks ago, he published his first book. He had a great marketing plan, a very cool style, and a theme that involved a half  dozen books in the same series. The branding was excellent. Yesterday, as we were deciding on the details of the second book in the series, he changed his mind. He wanted to do a completely new cover design with totally different branding and marketing. When I asked him why he said this to me:

“The first book just hasn’t done very well. I haven’t sold very many copies and the marketing just isn’t working so I want to try something new.”

Hold that thought while I tell you about the second conversation I had this morning.

A person I mentor in the online business arena was discouraged that he was working hard and things just weren’t moving along as fast as he wanted. He was also a little bit discouraged that he hadn’t gotten started many years ago (that would have put him way ahead of the game from where he is now).

To encourage him, I sent him a screenshot of my email inbox this morning. It had over 50 emails of payments made to me for various products and services since I went to bed last night. They ranged from $149 to $24 yearly subscriptions.

Is it nice to wake up and see a healthy paycheck for that day sitting in your inbox? You bet it is. Was it easy to get to this point? Did I do it overnight? Did I just get lucky and stumble onto some online business success? Not a chance. Being blessed with an inbox full of purchases today is the result of years of the “snowball effect.”

The Snowball Effect

Every business effort, online or not, has to start somewhere. It has no mass and no momentum. To understand that statement, stop and visualize very clearly in your mind what I’m about to describe:

Create a giant snowball that is plummeting down a hill with increasing speed and power.

Got that visual in your head? How do you make that happen?

To begin, your snowball has no mass and no momentum. To begin to build mass – what you have to do? You have to manually gather snow and start packing it up in your hands. No one is going to do it for you. It’s not going to magically appear on its own. You have to start. You have take action. You have to begin with nothing and create something.

Then you take that small grapefruit-sized ball of packed snow, lay it on the ground, bend over, and roll that ball through the snow so that it gathers up the snow it rolls over. Little by little, more snow sticks to it and it picks up mass – but you’re still doing all the work. Your back hurts, your hands are freezing, and the only way the  snowball rolls over one more time is if you stick your hands underneath it and give it a lift and a push.

Gut-Check Time

After a while, the snowball starts to get pretty heavy. It gets harder and harder to roll around but it doesn’t have enough mass and weight to cause it to roll downhill by itself. This is the time of testing your fortitude. It’s gut-check time; time to separate the pretenders from the contenders.

This is the phase of your business where it seems like you’re working your behind off and not getting far. This is the phase of your business that requires patience and perseverance. This is the phase of business that separates the winners from the losers – the victorious from the quitters. This is the phase of your business that requires long-term vision wherein you keep your eyes focused on the end result, and not on the temporary aches and pains.

Then comes the magic… You push and you push and you push and you push… and one day you realize your snowball has become big enough that you can turn and head downhill. Ten feet down the hill, you realize for the first time that your last push was a little bit easier because gravity is starting to help.

Momentum

With each successive push down the hill, it is now becoming noticeably easier to roll that snowball. Pretty soon, all you are doing is nudging it and it’s starting to almost roll on its own; and it’s gathering speed, mass, and momentum quickly. A few more yards and the snowball actually rolls on its own . . . and you give it a good hard shove.

All that hard work, backache, frozen hands, sweat, aggravation, setbacks, and discipline is now paying off. You watch that snowball gather speed and size. Now it’s barreling down the hill – picking up significant weight and miles per hour with every turn!

Your Online Business

This is not some pie-in-the-sky fantasy concept. This is exactly the process that any business (including an online business) must go through. You are not going to buy a program or pay for some gimmicky get-rich-quick business package and be able to skip the snowball process. If you could, everybody would. If the thought of doing the long hard work at the top of the hill scares you off, then maybe you don’t have what it takes.

The reason I share this analogy with you is the same reason I shared it with those involved in the two scenarios I opened this blog post with. Once they realized where they were at in the business cycle, they became re-energized and enthused.

It helps to know that building up mass and momentum in your business is normal and required. It helps even more to be able to visualize the process and know that you are doing what it takes NOW to get you where you want to be LATER. If you can see in your mind that snowball barreling down the hill from its own weight and momentum,  then bending over and gathering up the snow to get started isn’t quite so arduous.

Know where you are at in your business growth journey. If you are just starting out at the top of the hill, don’t be discouraged that your snowball is not rolling on its own yet. You have to do what it takes to get to that point – there’s no magic to it. Like my friend this morning, maybe you see someone else’s snowball barreling down the hill and you are deflated. You’re still breaking your back at the top of the hill – pushing around 50 pounds of snow that won’t roll by itself yet.

Going back to the two situations I started with:

  1. Changing the marketing plan for the 2nd book in the series would like discarding the 20-pound snowball he had worked hard to create and just starting over. The snowball wasn’t big enough yet to start rolling downhill on it’s own, but it was still a long ways from the first handful of snow. I encouraged him to stay the course, and keeping pushing his snowball. He is now re-energized about the original plan and sees clearly which phase of the journey he is in.
  2. The person is newly refreshed and realizes he is still at the top of the hill and just need to keep pushing. Don’t look at someone else’s snowball a hundreds yards down the hill  – rolling on its own – and be discouraged because you aren’t there yet. Be encouraged that IT CAN AND WILL BE YOU if you don’t give up.

Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged. Your hard work and efforts will pay off. Wake up every day and keep pushing that snowball, making it bigger and bigger, and start heading down that hill. One day, you’ll feel gravity and mass start to take effect and your momentum will build. The excitement that comes next will make all the hard work up to that point worth every minute of it.

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