Don’t Tell Me What to Do!

Life is funny sometimes. The expectations and perspectives that we have as children about what adulthood is like get completely turned on their head when we actually reach adulthood. Remember how you used to think that naptime was punishment when you were little? Oh, what I wouldn’t do for an afternoon nap right about now.

Not to oversimplify the matter, but you’ll find that it’s largely the same in regards to what it’s like to run your own online business and live the dot com lifestyle. For those of us who live and breathe it every day, we have an entirely different perspective on the matter than people who are peering in from the outside. The grass is always greener, right?

I Do What I Want

If you enter the mind of a child, it’s likely that you’ll hear some variation of this sentiment. I can’t wait until I grow up. Then, no one will be able to tell me what to do anymore. Or, as Eric Cartman once put it, “Whateva! I do what I want!”

This is a big part of the appeal of the dot com lifestyle. This sense of personal freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want is really attractive. This a big reason why people are motivated to get out of the 9-to-5 rat race and enter into the world of online entrepreneurship, whether that’s as an affiliate marketer, an influencer, a blogger, an app developer, a consultant, or any number of other possibilities.

You’re no longer bound to any specific framework or work schedule or work location. If you want to sleep in until noon, you can do that. If you want to go out for a three-hour lunch, have at ‘er. If you want to spend the rest of the day playing video games and binging Netflix series, be my guest. But then nothing will get done.

When there is no one looking over your shoulder, when there’s no supervisor or manager to keep you in line, there’s no one to hold you accountable but you. If something needs to get done, you’re the one who has to do it (unless you outsource it, but that’s another discussion entirely).

Where’s My Allen Key?

Here’s the delicious irony of this whole situation. As kids, we can’t wait to grow up so that no one will tell us what to do. As adults, many of us wish someone would just tell us what to do.

Maybe we’ve gotten lazy. Maybe we’ve had our curiosity beaten out of us by years of experience with the world. Maybe we just don’t feel motivated anymore and just want to have everything handed to us on a silver platter. As adults, we come to realize that our childhood vision of adulthood wasn’t exactly accurate. We come to realize just how much WORK goes into adulting.

And making money online is much the same. You see the success of the big names in the business, but you don’t see the years of dedication (and a little luck) that it took to get there. They’re reaping the benefits now, most assuredly, but the myth of the overnight success is exactly that: just a myth.

While you can certainly learn a lot from those who came before you (and you should), while you can glean key insights to avoid the mistakes they made along the way, you can’t expect anyone to provide you with detailed instructions that are guaranteed to lead you to riches. You’re not building a bookshelf from IKEA. If it really were that simple, Allen key or not, everyone would have already done it.

The Flexible Framework

The truth is that there’s no singular path to success; you need to find your own way. No one can truly tell you what to do and guarantee that you’ll have millions of dollars in your back pocket tomorrow. It doesn’t work that way.

Realistically, you really do need to borrow a page out of Eric Cartman. Do what you want. And by leveraging the insights and experience of those who came before you, figure out how you can take what you want to do and turn it into a legitimately profitable business, now and into the future. Or whatever. You do what you want.