Digital Marketing Hacks

The Ethics of Marketing and Should You Cross It

Ethics of Direct Sales Copywriting and Should You Cross It?

Direct sales copywriting often walk a fine line. It’s something I’ve been interested in recently.

How can I be persuasive in my sales copy and NOT cross the line? How can I make you want to purchase from me, right there and then, and at the same time letting you know the full deal you’re getting out of it?

How can I hold your attention?

The State of Digital Marketing Courses in Singapore: Over Promised and Under Delivered

I told a friend recently: money sells. That’s the ultimate benefit.

How many of us desire:

  • Increase in income
  • Make money online from all around the world
  • Be your own boss
  • No more nasty colleagues

Well, it’s the most of us.

These are the common benefits marketed in most of these courses.

Ethics of Direct Sales Copywriting and Should You Cross It

However, can you really market an entrepreneurship course? Can you really teach entrepreneurship? There’s just so much an entrepreneur has to go through, from writing content to positioning, to getting over his own psychological barriers and charge for his services.

There’s no magic bullet course or formula for entrepreneurial success.

It took me 3 years to go from freelance to entrepreneur. Can you believe that? Was it something that was taught in the digital market courses I paid for? Not really. The majority of it gave me technical advice, there’s very little that addresses the psychology of starting and growing a business.

Ethics of Direct Sales

However, at the end of the day, I know that business owners aren’t looking just for SEO rankings. They want different things. They want benefits, not features. Increased income is a common denominator.

This is why wealth creation courses often flourish in Singapore.

Which brings me to my next point.

What draws the line in direct sales? What can you write and what can you not write in your sales copy? Can you over promise to your customer? If you write something on paper, you have to be surely to back it up.

However, if you’re too vanilla in your marketing. You don’t stand out, and you bore the market.

No one buys from you.

Ethical Persuasion

Marketing is about values. In fact, how you run your company is about values. What does your company stand for? I got into this entrepreneurship thing because I wanted to make more money. I also wanted the freedom. However, there’s something to be said about winning ethically.

If you make a million dollars over promising products and services, you may be a success financially, however, you’re a bankrupt morally.

This goes the same for me as an SEO consultant in Singapore. There are ways to win, and there are ways to not win. In the long run, what kind of brand do I want to build for myself through this channel?

I’m writing all my articles. I’m also pretty sure that most of the SEO experts or SEO course trainers in Singapore don’t write their own content. I only know one other SEO in Singapore that writes his own content.

Persuasion can be misleading and misused. However, I believe in ethical persuasion. If you have a great product, you should feel guilt free and promote it. You should not hold back in marketing it.

The digital marketing world is a noisy and messy world.

How can you stand out in a noisy world?

How to Respond When Clients Think You are Too Expensive

How to Respond When Clients Think You are Too Expensive?

‘Why is your quote 1500 when others are 1200?’

I hate emails like that. In fact, I hate customers like that. The first thing they look for in a service, is price. Not value. Yet, these are the very people that are willing to spend half a million on luxury cars, as opposed to a Toyota.

I hear this time and time again as a freelance SEO consultant. Despite telling them I’m not some random Indian company that spams with your inbox with shit poor pitches, the majority of them won’t take up the offer.

I got butt hurt for a while. However, that ignited a new fire. I was going to master this copywriting and persuasion subject.

Is SEO rankings the end all for my prospects? Or is it clients, sales, enquires, money, million dollar businesses, freedom or choice?

Why did I get into SEO in the first place?

  • I didn’t want to sell to family and friends
  • I want my customers to be complete strangers, so there’s NEVER any hurt feelings involved
  • It’s for scalability. Instead of running around networking meets ups (which is a hit or miss) I get to tap into the laser targeted audience from the search engines
  • I can get enough leads to fire annoying clients

SEO rankings are a means to an end. Yes, I need those rankings, however, why do I need those rankings?

This taught me a huge lesson in understanding the language and psychology of my audience.

How to Respond When Clients Think You are Too Expensive 02

Positioning – Why are You Different?

One of the age old business mantra is to never compete through price. There’s always someone else who’s willing to undercut you. You’ll need to position yourself better in your market.

Here are some position ideas that I came up with for my own company:

  • Stress on the fact that I had invested tens of thousands of dollars in SEO courses and digital marketing training
  • Yes, formal credentials such as a Google partner company is important, however, at the end of the day, it’s about results.

Compete on Value, and Not Price

I often tell my clients and my student, you aren’t just learning SEO from me. You’re getting my business knowledge as well. In my SEO courses, I go ahead and beyond in teach you:

These concepts aren’t SEO concepts, however, that’s MY value add.

Wrong Clients and Opportunity Cost

Once, my Dad told me: why don’t just do it cheap for X client. I did consider it. However, I measured the pros and cons.

I could spend the time building a marketing machine for X client. Or I can spend the time building a marketing machine for MYSELF!

You’ll need to ask yourself: is this client worth it? What are the opportunity costs on taking this client on?

There aren’t just opportunity costs in business, there are opportunity costs such as:

  • You could have spent the time on advancing your marketing knowledge
  • You could have taken a holiday instead (I’m not kidding, I do take these personal issues into account)

Some times, there will be clients who always use price as a means to ask for a discount or slash your prices down. The way to respond to clients that think you are too expensive is to educate them on YOUR value add. Of course, you’ll also need to great at what you do. You’ll need to teach them to revere your work.

Other times, you’ll need to just let your prospect go and say: Sorry, you’re not the right fit at this point of time.

How to Conquer the Fear of Starting Your Own Business

How to Conquer the Fear of Starting Your Own Business

In this interview, I sit down with Jazz, and asked him how he managed to go from zero clients, to monthly paying clients, without any fanciful marketing strategy. He used digital platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to get his clients.

How to Conquer the Fear of Starting Your Own Business: Key Takeaways

  • Just start

Starting is always the hardest and the scariest. However, once you’re up and walking, you’ll slowly be able to run. I held back from 3 years before launching my business as an SEO consultant, preferring to stick with the word ‘freelancer’ for 3 years.

Can you imagine that?

This is why I write a lot on the psychology of growing your business.

  • Create something you’re proud of, be great at what you do

Jazz was sick of working for big corporate gyms where sales and bottomline was the only focus for the company and the sales team.

I personally pride myself as an ethical digital marketing course provider, especially so in my SEO courses.

  • Try out all platforms

He got most of his clients from referrals, Facebook marketing and instagram. It’s up to you if you want to use SEO as a strategy, or social media marketing.

Whilst he’s a born hustler, I’m a systems thinker. This is why I dived deep into SEO as a marketing strategy in the beginning, because it’s a system. 


Study the Masters to be Great at Digital Entrepreneurship

Study the Masters to be Great at Digital Entrepreneurship

You need to study the masters to get good at a certain area of life. There’s no better way to learn about a subject. Entrepreneurship is no different. When I started off, I refused to pay to learn. I thought you can learn almost everything from Google or YouTube itself.

However, that’s false. You may have scattered information, however, what you need is accountability, support and systems.

Over the years, I researched for mentors, systems and guidance to learn from both locally and the internet, there are good ones and there are the outright scams.

Here are Some of the Good Ones to Study to be Great at Digital Entrepreneurship

Study the Masters to be Great at Digital Entrepreneurship 01

Learn Digital Business Systems: GrowthLab

Growth lab is the digital marketing arm of Ramit Sethi’s online businesses. Their content is focused on building and growing online businesses, however, a lot of them can be applied to brick and mortar life entrepreneurship and digital marketing.

Favourite skillsets learned from Growthlab:

  • Copywriting
  • Email marketing

Ramit Sethi is also a master marketer, with one of his strengths being able to dive deeply into his customer’s mind to address their fears, hopes and dreams. He’s also a great business teacher. I’ve learned more from him in business and marketing in a couple of months than I ever did from my modules in business school.

Learn Top SEO Strategies: Backlinko

Brian Dean is one of the world’s foremost SEO expert. His site is ranked for extremely hard to rank for keywords such as: backlinks. Brian Dean is at the forefront of SEO, he practices what he preaches, by being able to rank for extremely hard to rank for keywords.

I like Brian because it goes to show that a one-man team can out manoeuvre many of the bigger websites by being smart, and producing the best content on a particular subject.

Unlike many other SEOs, he promotes the idea of a system. Something you can follow step by step to promote your content to other site owners, and not just random tactics that’ll lead you nowhere but tactical marketing hell.

Learn How to Write like a New York Times Best Seller: Mark Manson

There’s a lot that’s written and said about ‘content marketing’.

Great content marketing is almost always personalized. There’s no other more personalized content on the internet than Mark Manson himself. His content is full of F Bombs (in a funny way), and he shares extremely intimate stories from his own personal life.

He’s one of, if not the best writer on the internet, with a blog that drives millions and millions of readers every month.

For anyone that desires to write better, you can start out by checking out his blog. He writes on everything from psychology, habits and in your face self development advice.

Singaporean Mentors 

It’s hard to find a good local digital marketing mentor to follow in Singapore. That’s speaking from experience. That’s because most people do not publish their own content and ideas and the way they are going about digital marketing isn’t exactly ethical.

However, they are mentors that exist that are great at what they do. They are able to practice what they preach. They have Google-able results, validated testimonials and an all round clean reputation. These are the people you can study and learn from.

Note: I’m plugging myself here. However, it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want. I do run an SEO course in Singapore.

Study the Masters

I annoyingly refused to get help for a year straight when I started a blog when I was 22. I caved in only to find myself wasting thousands of dollars on SEO gurus that aren’t able to rank their own websites and gimmicky affiliate marketing scams.

I should have cut through the noise and got direct coaching from masters. It would have saved me years and years of effort, and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Marketing is about Values

Marketing is about Values

In the noisy world of digital marketing, the information economy and the multitude of ways to get results, I’ve been left in a distraught space recently. There are old frameworks that worked, newer frames that still work and the evergreen frameworks that’ll work day after day, year after year.

In the world of SEO there a multitude of ways to win:

Best framework: You can rank for your keywords through great content and genuine content promotion, earning powerful do follow backlinks.

Older framework (but still works): You can rank for your commercial keywords through not so great content, however, by understanding how page rank is distributed in your website.

Oldest framework: Splashing out 200 pages targeting long tailed keywords and waiting for ‘Google to give you ranks’, as said by an ‘SEO guru’.

Unethical frameworks: link purchases, black hat SEO and frameworks I don’t understand.

Marketing is about Values

The question is, should you be spending time on X or Y? Should you always aim for the best framework, despite the huge upfront work, the potential for rejection, and the complexity of the model?

Well, as Steve Jobs once said, marketing is about values.

Ethical Marketing 

I had conversation with an engineer who said he’s genetically hardwired to hate marketing and preferred to take an accounting and engineering point of view towards marketing. However, the truth is, the world is run on marketing.

You’re never really purchasing the technology behind Apple computers. You’re buying the perception of the product. However, is the product great? You sure is. Steve Jobs did an even better job by making his marketing great.

Should you use the best framework, or should you be reliant on frameworks that still work? That’s a question I ask myself almost everyday, as an SEO consultant, SEO course educator and entrepreneur.

Ultimately, marketing is about values. What are my values, what are yours? Something to think about.

Benefits Versus Features Selling - Marketing Teardown

Benefits Versus Features Selling – Marketing Teardown

I had some fun helping a fellow entrepreneur better positioning and come up with marketing ideas for his company and product.

His product (according to him) does not have a digital marketing presence. I told him, that’s alright. I’ll see if I can value add with my SEO and marketing knowledge.

The Marketing Teardown:

Sean runs a technological driven company, that offer features such as:

  • Keeping within regulatory laws
  • Monthly pricing model
  • Lower initial outlay
  • Ability to reduce manpower
  • Automated systems

These are features of the product and service. However, you’ll need to better position your product, understand the language and psychology of the audience.


  • Keeping within regulatory laws > Benefits: Zero complaints > Zero fines > Save cost
  • Monthly pricing model > Benefits: Lower costs, more accountability
  • Lower initial outlay > Benefits: Lower costs
  • Better technology > Benefits: Keep pool users safe, complaint free, lowering costs from zero fines in the long run
  • Reducing manpower > Benefits: Lowering costs

If you run a company and offer products or services, can you think of ways to include benefits in your marketing process?

I cover these concepts as a value add as an SEO consultant, and in my SEO courses.

The Concept of Burning Pains

Lastly, it’s important to ask yourself, what kind of burning pains are you solving for the customer? If you go to a doctor, the burning pain would be literally a physical burning for yourself. When you’re in pain, you’re most likely be willing to pay any amount to get your pain solved.

Even though Sean’s company was a highly technologically driven company. He has to position is product in a way that solves a burning pain with his target market. That can come in the form of time, convenience, cost, social status, security and safety.

How can you position your product to solve burning pains?

Interview with Heritage Global Fund Founder - Xavier See

Interview with Heritage Global Fund Founder – Xavier See

I had the pleasure of sitting down for a couple of hours with a personal friend of mine. He runs a fund Heritage Global Fund in Singapore managing capital investments up to 8 figures.

Interview with Heritage Global Fund Founder – Xavier See

I’m always interested in how people grow their companies.

Here are our company, I take a digital approach as an SEO expert. However, Xavier grew his fund through a different approach, relying on trust and reputation brought over from his previous position in his tiles manufacturing company.

How to Solve Real Business Problems

In the second part of our interview, we talked about solving real business problems. When he was in the tiles manufacturing industry, manufacturing and selling tiles itself wasn’t the actual solution.

However, customizing the tiles to fit his client’s needs was the real solution. 

This is similar to digital marketing. The real problem isn’t owning a website. However, it’s getting customers and clients. The real problem is generating revenue.

We also touched on differentiation, positioning and how to avoid being a commodity.

Yes, you can have traffic on search engines. However, how can you position yourself as compared to your other choices? How to get your customers to pick you, over their other choices?

I teach all of these in our SEO course.


Why do Majority of Start Ups Fail

Why do Majority of Start Ups Fail? How to be the Minority?

I was busy typing away on another piece of article for this SEO blog in Starbucks and I overheard a couple of start up founders getting into a heated argument/ debate on cash flow, outsourcing ideas and business strategies on their start up. They were attempting start a food delivery service, focusing on hawker fare in Singapore.

They had one huge issue: cash flow issues. The founders were also young and they would be what you call them: millennials.

I got nothing against millennial, I also got nothing against ‘techy start up founders’. I admire the entrepreneurial spirit, however, I think the majority of ‘tech reliant start ups’ in is going to: fail.

Why do Start Ups Fail? Thoughts on Majority of Start Ups

I’ve spoken to a couple of tech based start up founders. These founders often have complicated business models and products. There’s saying that if you can’t explain what a business does in a sentence to a three-year-old, you’re better off not investing in one.

How many ‘tech start ups’ actually become powerhouses like Carousel? How many ‘tech start ups’ can be Uber, Instagram or Facebook? One in a billion.

I’d like to paraphrase that and say: if you can’t explain what your business does in a sentence to a three-year-old, you’re better off not starting one.

When people ask me what I do as an SEO consultant, I say: I help companies get leads through Google.

Simple, short and understandable.

I have nothing against innovation. In fact, I’m all for innovation. I’m a Science geek. However, what I’m saying is: your product or service has to sell. There’s also a lot of dirty, leg work involved.

There’s no point in setting up office, purchasing office equipment such as printers, registering your business, purchasing a website, writing loads of content if your product doesn’t sell consistently.

I once started a business in the dating coaching niche in Singapore. I started a business attempting to provide a service by teaching men in Singapore on how to go to bars or clubs to meet women.

It sounded like a great idea. You may even argue: sex is a primary desire. However, was there really any real demand? Is learning about dating a primary desire in itself? No.

On the other hand, if you took something dry and boring like SEO, SEO is readily demanded by almost every business/

Idea Validation

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Why do Majority of Start Ups Fail 02

Let’s look at the Japanese food market in Singapore. Look at the number of Japanese food brands in Singapore. It started off with Sakae Sushi dominating the market. Now, you have dozens of other brands competing. Is Sakae Sushi worst off when they started? Perhaps. However, are they still generating tons of cash?


That was because there was already a market to begin with.

Your business idea has to have a market and your idea has to be validated. One of the best ways to research and validate your idea this is to look at what people are searching for on Google, using the keyword research tools such as the Google keyword planner. I teach this in my SEO course.

The second best way to validate your idea is to pitch the product or service even before building the product or service. Instead of wasting months and months of creating your company, why not pitch to potential customers, see if there’s a demand, and even secure the contract for it first?

This is a concept called: front loading.

Here’s my take: the majority of start up founders are focusing on shiny objects. It’s fun to be called a start up founder. It’s fun to name yourself CEO. It’s not fun to actually build a product or service that actually sells.

Unlike 98% of people in the tech world, I have zero interest in blockchain, fintech and bitcoin. These terms and concepts paint an unrealistic picture of actual businesses that provide dry boring services that’s actually demanded.

When I say I help businesses rank their websites on Google, people look at me as if I am an IT geek. Nothing against IT geeks, however, some times, it just isn’t cool at all. However, you know what beast being cool? It pays. It also pays consistently.

The Model I Prefer: Old Models, New Marketing

There’s something I learnt from my father, who runs a humble fish stall in the wet market in the east of Singapore. It’s the power of conventional business models. If there weren’t any wet markets, there would be thousands of households that went without grocery in Singapore. Food is a primary need.

However, the majority of these start ups aren’t addressing a primary need. Their business models are too fanciful, their founders splash me with complex terms that I (and the majority) don’t understand. Furthermore, they are always talking about funding through VCs or Serie A and etc. When your business is focused on funding as opposed to the service or product itself, let’s just say it isn’t really a profitable business.

You may say: Marcus, you’re such a hypocrite. Your company falls in the category of ‘tech start ups’ right? Isn’t web design or digital marketing ‘tech’?

Nope. SEO is just another conventional digital marketing strategy. There’s no fanciful ‘tech’ or special technology to obsess over. There are many other conventional marketing strategies such as Facebook marketing and email marketing that isn’t ‘tech’ as well.

Here’s what I prefer: combining old models with new marketing.

When I built my father’s wet market business a website using Weebly when I was 21. He received a call from a restaurant from Marina Bay Sands to take a huge order that he eventually couldn’t fulfill. That’s the power of combining old models with better forms of marketing. The seafood and fish retail business is already a proven business model with thousands of households as paying clients and… what if I took it online?

Personal Mistakes

I made the mistake for starting entering the relationship coaching market that has little or no demand in Singapore. I spent 6 months planning out my content, purchasing the themes, writing copy and invested huge emotional efforts into marketing the business.

I’ve also seen start ups that my friends started struggling to make money from a sustainable model. They find themselves pivoting to side projects and side ventures whilst not making the original product or service from the company work!

I’d rather you’d take proven products and ideas: and re-invigorate them with laser targeted marketing methods such as: SEO, Facebook ads and etc.

Lastly, I’m not saying that all of the start ups are going to fail. What I’m saying that if you’re looking to start your business, you need to find paying customers.

Skills Needed to be an Entrepreneur 02

Skills Needed to be an Entrepreneur when You’re in Your 20s

I attended a networking session a week ago at a co-working networking event in Singapore. I went in with some fears. I knew that digital marketing in Singapore had a bad reputation in amongst start ups and entrepreneurs.

If you asked me what I did 1 year a go, I would simply say, I provide SEO as a service to small medium enterprises in Singapore.

However, many business owners and people (strangers mostly) have feedbacks and said:

  • You mean you’re scamming people?
  • Is SEO a scam?

This is because of the black sheep in the industry. You can read about online marketing scams article I wrote awhile back.

This is why I hate to say: I am in digital marketing. Or I provide ‘SEO consulting’. It almost always seems like I’m a snake oil salesman.

With that being said, I sat down with a friend over drinks and we discussed about entrepreneurship. Both of us were in our twenties. Both of us didn’t have rich parents or rich friends to fund our projects. However, both of us had a blazing desire to be entrepreneurial for the independence.

I told him blankly: the majority of people and business owners don’t appreciate the power of digital marketing. Just take a look at Google and Facebook advertising revenues. They are billion dollar companies in their own right.

This is why it was so frustrating as someone who sees the potential in digital marketing, and be in an industry that’s extremely cynical to the true value of such skillsets.

With all being said. If you’re looking to be an entrepreneur, here are the 3 skillsets I recommend you to pick up. All of them do not require any form of formal education.

3 Entrepreneurial Skillsets to Pick Up in Your Twenties

Skills Needed to be an Entrepreneur 01

  1. The ability to read basic financial reports

First, you must have basic accounting knowledge.

This not only helps if you’re looking to start portfolio as a retail investor, this will also help you understand where the money is being spent/ invested on in your own company.

You can pick up basic accounting books in the libary. It’s not as complicated as you think.

  1. The ability to negotiate and persuade

Secondly, you’ll need the ability to negotiate and persuade in person, which requires social skills. You’ll also need the ability to persuade, online. This requires copywriting skillsets. This is why I often stress to my clients and students: SEO rankings isn’t enough. You need to be able to convert the traffic into hungry buyers.

  1. The ability to launch and test your products without rent or high costs

In most businesses, start up costs almost kills everything.

When I bought my first domain name, I operated my first website with no office out of a four room HDB flat. I kept everything lost cost. When I was a freelancing as an SEO consultant, I registered a sole proprietorship which was the cheapest form of legal structure. I used my direct phone line to contact clients and my home as office address.

Okay, aside from keeping your start up costs low. There’s another magic concept. It’s called frontloading your work. You must be able to validate and test out your products at low cost. This means doing your customer research, securing paid contracts far before hand, and planning out a 6 months marketing campaign.

Execution wise, you’ll require a website, digital marketing skillsets, and you’re good to go. You’re able to run operations that are extremely low cost.

This was why I invested 5 figures into SEO courses and digital marketing mentors. I knew the potential of digital marketing. I was determined to figure this out.

To further break this down. There are many types of digital marketing skillsets to get good at.

You can get good at:

  • Google marketing, mainly content marketing, search engine optimization or pay per click
  • Copywriting, how to write persuasively to get your audience to purchase/ trigger an action
  • Facebook marketing, how to drive paid traffic from Facebook to your site

I personally ignore all other forms of marketing: LinkedIn Marketing, Instagram Marketing because I’ll like to dive deep into the major marketing channels, namely Google and Facebook.

These skillsets, even though they’ll take time, effort and money upfront to get good at, will pay huge dividends later in your entrepreneurial process.

Ultimately, these forms of skillsets do not require huge huge capital cost or investment, hence, you should good get at them in your 20s.


How to Grow Your Small Business

How to Grow Your Small Business – The Psychology Behind

There’s so much psychology involved in business, especially in how to grow your small business. However, surprisingly, there’s so little written about. When entrepreneurs start out, there’s always psychological barriers between starting, executing and finishing.

How to Grow Your Small Business

When I started out writing a blog when I was 22, I gave up after 3 months of zero traffic, closed shop, and went freelance. I thought: this just isn’t for me.

It was only when I realized that I wasn’t educated in the means of entrepreneurship that I started again. Over the next couple of years, I attended a multitude of SEO courses, affiliate marketing courses and stock investing courses, many of them were a hit and miss, and some of them were actually good.

It was something that is a constant work in progress. Something that adds up month after month, year after year.

How to Grow Your Small Business 01

The Progression Principle: Moving Up the Value Chain

When I started out, I was over worried about not being a famous internet blogger the next day. In my head: I should be a success, right? I read the business books, I gave up my degree to start a business, I totally SHOULD be successful right?

No. That’s the completely WRONG mindset to go about growing your small business. I was aiming way to high too early. That caused me to freeze, and not take tiny actions daily towards my goal.

There is a progression to it. Just because you read a couple business books does NOT mean that you know how to start a business. Just because you have first class honours in your business degree does NOT mean you know how to grow a business.

Just like most other eventual entrepreneurs, I started off as a middleman, making some cash off government claims in Singapore, bounced between employment and freelance. I also once went back to University, thinking: perhaps I need a business degree to get good at this.

However, when started freelancing and successfully accomplished a couple of SEO projects for a couple of companies as a freelancer. I thought: Hmm, that seems to work, okay, let’s try starting my own website. Wow! I manage to sell a $700 service through my website. Now, let’s tune it up a little. I invested in more courses, and soon enough, I sold $3000 worth of products in one deal.

I slowly figured out business concepts like minimum viable product, positioning, systems, marketing tactical hell, deep customer research, frontloading your work, planning for failures, how to create high quality content, how to create content whilst teaching/ working, how to differentiate the buyers from customers that will never ever buy from you.

These came progressively as I moved up the value chain, had some cash on hand, re-invested them in courses, books and training.

The majority of entrepreneurs attempt to rush business, expecting to be an overnight success. They want results the very next day. They end up in tactical marketing hell. They have no systems, no mentors, no environment and no accountability. None of that. I understand that. I used to be like that.

Think about it, if you can’t get your first class honors overnight, what makes you think you’re going to build a successful business overnight?

The A students are the ones putting in effort day in and out in their work, the Z students are the ones dreaming about the As. Hey, I used to be a Z student, you can ask my teachers. Instead of focusing on the progression principle, I was constantly aiming and dreaming for the stars.

This is the same with entrepreneurship (or all areas of life).

Only by building up your business resume, testimonials and skillsets that you can charge more for your services and products. Today, I am a much more sophisticated digital marketer, SEO consultant, than I was 6 months a go. Today, I am in a much better position to form partnerships, pitch to investors than I was a couple of months ago, and rest assured, I will be a lot more 6 months down the road.

Find Paying Clients to Free Up Your Time to Serve Your Market Better 

I used to have this crippling mindset of charging for my services. Should I REALLY be charging for my services? I have this: imposter syndrome. However, I learned to make the switch of mindset.

Firstly, by getting compensated rightly for my work, I get to serve my clients better. I get to invest in books, videos and training courses on SEO, digital marketing, advance my knowledge, serve my clients and students better. The most of all, I free up time to do it.

When I make a profit, I can hire someone else to produce nicer videos, create premium products and services, rent a nice classroom for students, and more.

When you make a profit, you have the resources to not have to do everything yourself. That’s the right mindset to grow your small business.

That’s how you move up the value chain as well: gaining skillsets in time management, people management, hiring, building systems, being a leader and etc.

Yes, you should also be in entrepreneurship for profit. If you’re not in this to make a profit, then you shouldn’t be starting a business. However, it’s not only just about making money and freeing up my time. It’s about improving my services, classes, digital marketing company and growing your small business.

Growing your small business and earning a profit may scare you. This makes some people feel like a king, and others a fraud. The thought of charging for your services cripples people. I know for sure it still stifles me a little and I still second guess how I charge for my services.

However, it’s necessary for yourself, and the company so that at the end of the day, you can service your clients better. When you come from that mindset, you’ll free yourself up to charge what you are actually worth, and invest those profits to build better products and services for your clients.

Yes, there are entrepreneurs and business people (especially in Asia) who boast about their net worth and you’re sitting there thinking: I don’t want to be an asshole like him.

However, the revolutionary entrepreneurs are the ones that create kick ass products and services to better serve their clients. Think Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. They are both billionaires in their own right and yet, they are always innovating their companies, aiming to better serve their clients.