6 Things that Make No Difference to Your Success (And 6 that Do)

Will this work?Tell me, how long is your Things-to-do in 2014 list?

Your resolutions – the promises you are making to yourself. To achieve your business dreams and all the success you deserve.

You do have one, right?

Even if in your head. We all do.

Now, how many of those things truly excite you? So much so that you don’t even wait for the new year. You are already doing them.

And then there are those tasks that cause so much dread that you are scared to go near your list. Admit it, things that make your skin crawl just by thinking about it.

For an introvert it might be the pressure to create videos; for someone who hates writing, it might be writing blog posts itself (both are matter of preference and neither is better – just saying).

Today, I am going to try and put your mind at ease. I am going to highlight all the things that gurus always tell us to do, no matter what. Things that are an absolute MUST if you want to succeed without having any idea of what our business situation is like. But I am saying you don’t.

I am going to tell you what you can easily do away with – and somethings that you can’t. Let’s start with making your list a bit lighter … shall we?

Top 6 things you don’t need for business success 

#1 Split test everything

This might shock you: As a an owner of a very small business, split testing won’t do much for you if you consider all the time, effort and even money you spend implementing this and what you actually get out of it.

Let me explain.

I am guessing your visitor stats look decent but you don’t have tons of traffic coming to your site. If you did attract tens or hundreds of thousands of people to your site on a monthly basis, it would make total sense to split test what performs best.

It makes sense to test variations of headlines, call to actions, call to action buttons, colours and what not. Only when you have large enough a data to work with.

However, if you still haven’t crossed a few thousand subscriber mark or getting substantial number of visitors, you are better off spending your time on other areas.

When you have large numbers to work with, 2% makes a big difference in your conversion rate. When you are looking at 50 visitors to your site, your results are skewed anyway and the ROI on your effort and time isn’t worth all the trouble.

So if you kept telling yourself that you should pay attention to all the people who are advising you to do this: “Split test, split test, split test.”, you can finally stop feeling guilty. There I said it, trust me, you can easily leave this one aside for now.

#2 A shiny newsletter

Okay, I am confused as to why as a small business owner, you feel the need to have a professional, ‘corporate looking’ newsletter?

Unless you are pretending to be a big corporation.

You know what to expect when you receive a newsletter from Myer’s (or Macy’s if you are in the US), from your local charity organization or a college making a case for you to consider them for your son or daughter. That makes sense, right.

These are big businesses with hundreds or thousands of employees and big marketing budgets, or big enough (think your local real estate agency with 19 employees). You expect their newsletter to have fancy graphics, big logos and everything else.

Who says you have to do the same? You are a writing a blog to market your business, I say you don’t even need a newsletter. Many successful bloggers don’t.

Still, you think you want one, feel free to style it any way you want. Or don’t, send it as a plain text with links to a few blog posts, guest posts, news on your upcoming product launch and promotion. Do whatever you like. As long it makes sense.

And stop reading all the blogs giving  advice that is meant for people running companies or those working as marketing managers for them, and not necessarily one person shops.

#3 Massive social sharing

Tell me something, would you rather be a successful solopreneur making 100K a year and getting a handful of comments, Facebook likes, Tweets and what not or would you rather appear to be popular and not make a decent amount of money.

You’d be surprised to know how little correlation exists between these two concepts – popularity and business success.

You’d be even more surprised to know how many bloggers who seemingly have hundreds of tweets and more than 50 comments per post make less than 2K per month. Some hardly make any money at all. If you look closely, you will see the same kindhearted folks (readers, friends and fellow bloggers) leaving comments and sharing posts, over and over again.

How many of these people actually buy from the person running their business? I am guessing, a fraction of those who share.

Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t try and get people to share – that would be insane. Social shares bring other people to your site (hopefully readers that eventually turn into buyers and not those who only share). You also grow your email list.

What I am saying is that you don’t need to obsess about the stats. Don’t go crazy looking at your metrics. Concentrate on creating content that appeals to your ideal customer.

This customer may or may not share – and that’s fine too.

#4 A fancy design

You don’t need to have the most expensive or the best design right away.

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on hiring a designer until you are ready. Until you have reached that point that you are making some money and can afford to do so.

There are many decent options available, premium themes that you can buy for about 100 bucks. This won’t break your budget but you still look professional.

And don’t forget, the world’s greatest design won’t win you any business if your offer is crap and your content puts your readers to sleep. Relax. Your design does matter – a lot. But you don’t need to hire a designer any time soon.

#5 Persistent namedropping

This one will not earn me any brownie points but I have to say this. Sucking up to A-listers won’t do you any good.

I wrote a guest post on Problogger about this. If you are in no mood of reading it, let me summarize it for you. If you need the attention of the A-listers – the influencers, you do it AFTER you have something to show for yourself, and not BEFORE.

In my experience, no matter how much ‘link – bait’ posts you do, and who hasn’t really, aside from a surge of traffic you get for a day or two (as a result of influencer sharing the post), and a handful if subscribers, you don’t get much.

There are much better ways of genuinely connecting with people – influencers, peers and readers – that don’t come across like you are just kissing them on the proverbial.

Like personal emails of how they made a difference in your life, results you have gotten after following their advice (my personal favourite) and of course, guest posting.

If you need to get attention, from the movers and shakers and from their followers, you have got to earn it. Don’t publish so called epic link posts. This is losing effectiveness fast because it is easy and anyone can do it.

Come up with a better plan.

#6 Elevator speech

What is elevator speech or pitch?

According to helpful Wikipedia, “An elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.”

Basically, it is your answer to the question ‘what do you do?’ given in the time it takes you to ride an elevator – in about 60 seconds.

A lot have been preached about elevator speech, but it doesn’t apply to you unless you go to many networking events, have your own office or regularly ride such elevators where business suit clad people routinely ask you this question.

Stop obsessing about coming up with a perfect answer to this question. It sounds exactly like what it is – a perfectly rehearsed pitch, and who wants to hear that? 

While it is helpful to give it some thought but when it actually comes to meeting people, please respond to this question like any normal human will, and not the salesperson that you are not. You know, the sleazy kind.

And now let’s look (briefly! as this post is getting too long) at 6 things that WILL make the biggest impact on your success in 2014. I promise

#1 How consistent you are

Many bloggers will tell you that their lives changed the day they started publishing on the same day, at the same time, every single week.

While this may work for them, there is no evidence to show that publishing on different days or times negatively impacts your business.

The only consistency that matters is the consistently of quality, and in keeping the promise you made to your readers. Being on brand and being helpful. Same day/time doesn’t matter that much. Trust me.

#2 How strategic you are in creating content

So you do know that creating all these blog posts actually does have a purpose – to qualify your audience and pre-sell your products.

By creating the right kind of content, you attract the perfect reader who happens to be a really good prospect with the likelihood of buying from you in the near future. That’s all you want.

All because you want through the trouble of choosing to say the right thing on your blog.

#3 Building the email list the right way

By publishing the right content, and offering the right opt-in offer. An offer that speaks to your perfect customer and have them sign up.

#4 Improving and creating products or services

Identifying under served markets, creating products to fill this gap, differentiating yourself from others.

#5 Making offers the right way

Learning email marketing and writing sales pages and making irresistible offers that won’t take no for an answer.

#6 Mastering the inner game

Keeping yourself motivated, understanding your highs – and lows and keep going no matter what. Once you develop the right mindset, you will finally’ make it’.

And that should be at the top of your list in 2014.

Not spit-testing, or hiring an expensive designer, or sending out a shiny newsletter or sucking up to others ..

Aren’t you glad to hear that?

Have you taken my 3-minute Client Attraction Quiz? Check it out now, it’s awesome! 🙂


  1. Rohit Sharma Says :
    Posted on December 21, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Great list Marya – You’ve hit nail on the head!

    Initially I felt disagreeing on the Elevator Pitch part…

    After a deep thought, I realized it’s rather a doer’s approach…

    Cheers 🙂

    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on December 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks, Rohit.

      This has been bugging me for a while so it had to be said. Glad you approve! 🙂

      All the best in 2014.

  2. Flora Morris Brown Says :
    Posted on December 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Marya,

    You’ve definitely pinpointed what’s important. We are so easily drawn to the 6 that we don’t need for success because they are the external things that the “gurus” preach the most. The internal things we really need to do are essential but less glamorous.

    Whether we are newbies or veterans, we need these reminders of what’s important for success.


    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on December 24, 2013 at 4:13 am

      I agree, Flora. We constantly need reminders of what’s important. That’s the goal on the blog … 🙂

      Thanks for your comment and have a fab 2014!


  3. Jack Says :
    Posted on December 22, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Great post, Marya. Helps me to put things in perspective for myself when I try to do things “by the book” and end up spending way too much time on things with little ROI potential. I like your advocating for a larger picture perspective.

    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on December 24, 2013 at 4:14 am

      That’s the goal here, Jack. I am all for the ‘refreshing perspective’. Thanks for dropping by.

      Have a great 2014 and happy holidays!

  4. James Says :
    Posted on December 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    I’m really bad at the elevator speech! I wish I could improve it, but you’re telling me, don’t worry! OK, I’ll stop worrying.

    People often ask what I do (I’m a counsellor/psychotherapist), but I find myself giving one of about ten different answers depending on what the other person does, and how I’m getting on with them. If I’m feeling non-committal, I’ll say I work with drug addicts (which is part of my work). It’s easier when I’m speaking with fellow professionals. It’s difficult when you work in an area that involves listening to upsetting things – it can really put a downer on things at a party I have found.


    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on December 24, 2013 at 4:23 am

      Hi James,

      This is the thing – if you give an answer depending on the situation and what the person does, then you are doing it right. Your gut will tell you what sounds right and what doesn’t.

      I know marketing gurus probably advise you to treat every person like a prospect, but it is up to you to decide. I think some situations warrant it but many don’t. I personally never needed one because my business doesn’t come from social situations and I never go to any networking events ..

      Thanks for commenting and all the best in 2014! 🙂


  5. Kelly Pietrangeli Says :
    Posted on December 24, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I’ve just breathed a big sigh of relief on the elevator pitch! I rework it over and over and still end up adapting it to whomever I’m speaking or writing to. Which is what I should be doing! Being natural about it. Thank you.

    As for getting on the radars of influencers, I’m going to share my success story here. Last week a blog post I wrote 3 months ago suddenly went viral. I shared the link on Twitter in a private message to parenting guru Dr Laura Markham. She retweeted it and posted it on her FB page. Within 24 hours it got 24,000 views and my mailing list doubled overnight!

    Now, less than a week later the numbers keep growing as the blog continues to spread – 33,000 views at last check.

    It would have taken me months to grow my mailing list this big and it happened literally overnight thanks to me reaching out to an influencer in my market. And I now have a deeper understanding of the most common struggle busy mothers share all over the world! I will use this to create even better content to help them. And I will continue to connect with influencers. I would never be annoying about it or put all of my efforts into this, but I’ve experienced first hand what can potentially happen.

    • Marya Jan Says :
      Posted on December 25, 2013 at 1:48 am

      Hi Kelly

      Fabulous success story!! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. 🙂

      For anyone else reading through the comments, I want to make one thing clear. Kelly is one of the hardest working people I know. She has done everything to launch her blog right and continuously puts in the hours. It is not a matter of getting a break or simply getting lucky, she had the goods and she reached out to the influencer and she got the result she so clearly deserves.

      Well done, and thanks for your story, Kelly. It proves exactly what I said – do the work before you reach out to the A-listers. And you are much more likely to see success.

      Happy holidays!

  6. Pau Says :
    Posted on January 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for putting some of my fears at rest. I wasn’t planning on doing any split testing or having a newsletter, YET. But I read so many times in so many blogs how important they are, that they were constantly in the back of my mind nagging at me.

    Not so much anymore 🙂

  7. diwaker Says :
    Posted on January 15, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    hi Marya,

    Thanks for such a nice info and you saved my money. I have planned to purchase good tamplate and hire professional newsletter developer. Now i try to follow your advice.

  8. Caroline Says :
    Posted on January 24, 2014 at 10:07 am

    It is so easy to get overwhelmed with every social tool that is available! i just started blogging, thank you so much for your tips, they are invaluable to me 🙂

  9. Carol Says :
    Posted on February 2, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for your tips! One thing that I always forgot is to build the email list. I should have begun that from the first time, now I am working on it!

  10. Dilip Says :
    Posted on February 10, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Howdy there. Very well written post with tips that can be of value to many of us.
    Many thanks and cheers 🙂

  11. Karol Says :
    Posted on March 12, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    This is great, Marya! The first 3 things on the list hit a home run with me.

    And looking at the things that do matter, I have to say that creating content with purpose has had the most impact for me personally.

  12. Muhammad Mairaj Says :
    Posted on September 25, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Hi Marya,
    Indeed a wonderful post. Whenever i visited your blog I got some thing Unique and different thats the real beauty of your blog. Thanks for sharing such an informative post.