Nobody can agree on why Copyblogger makes so much money. If you read all the blogs on Brian Clark’s success, everyone tries to simplify his “formula,” but everyone’s answer is different.
The truth is, he built Coppyblogger with very little capital and a lot of hard work. So, I’m not going to sit here and pretend it was easy for the man. That would be disingenuous.
But I am going to dig into how he grew from a fairly successful blog to a successful business in a very short time. So, hold onto your butts, this is an interesting story.
1. He Forgot about Capital Altogether
Brian Clark sees startup capital as waste. Why? Because statistically, most startups fail.
Why burden yourself with investor expectations when all you’re really going to do is toss their money to the wind? Sure, you’ve probably done your market research and created a business plan, but is it enough?
The problem is, it will never be enough. Most people stick to a plan and religiously follow it. But there is no knowing exactly how the market will react to your product or service.
Brian references The Lean Startup in various interviews. Waste nothing, this is the idea behind The Lean Startup.
Figure out what people want to buy first and then cater to that. Brian says this is exactly what he did.
Start with the audience and build your way up. Not only is this cheaper, but it is a sure way to actually sell and make money.
2. Brian Clarke Started with Very Little
It’s popular to think that you need thousands of dollars in capital to build a business. This just isn’t true.
While you might need some money, if you’re willing to spend the time and effort, you can begin with very little. Brian Clarke did just that.
He started out with no more than $1,000 in seed cash and worked incredibly hard to build an audience and help people. He engaged his audience and figured out exactly what they were looking for. And then he gave it to them.
But Brian Clarke didn’t start with Copyblogger. He had experience.
But he was never conventional about how he started a business. The first thing he tells people when they ask about how he starts a business: “I don’t use a business plan.”
He really doesn’t see the point. Instead, he focused on understanding his audience’s problems and solving them.
He also claims that eschewing startup capital made him less lazy and more creative. You come up with new ideas out of necessity and not because some investor said so or because it was in your plan.
He claims you will produce better ideas and have better standing as an entrepreneur.
3. He Built Coppyblogger on Partnerships
No man is an island. But you can be a solo entrepreneur.
Those two things seem antithetical, but they aren’t. You don’t need a partner to succeed in business, but you will need other people.
What if you know how to blog but you don’t know how to code?
This is how Brian says he built Copyblogger. He built it through partnerships. He was the one who knew how to blog and build a business but didn’t know how to code.
When you know how to market something and know what’s a good fit, but you can’t actually build the product, it’s time to start relying on others. At this point, you might need to spend some money, but it will return ten-fold.
There are a thousand ways you might need to rely on other people if you’re starting your own business like Brian Clarke. You might need to partner with someone who already has the product you want to sell. You might have to guest post like Squakia SEO Services talks about on their blog.
You’re not going to be able to fly alone forever. You’ll need a whole squadron around you eventually.
4. He Wasn’t Driven by Money Anyway
Have you ever heard of an entrepreneur who doesn’t care about money? Brian Clarke is one of those entrepreneurs.
And perhaps that’s the real secret behind success in the online world. The people who aren’t driven by money are driven by something else.
Brian Clarke says he’s driven by freedom. He avoids any situation that will limit what he wants to do in his life.
Now that he has a whole business below him, he not only strives for personal freedom, but for the freedom and welfare of those under him.
And this philosophy makes sense. Money is only a means to an end. It should never be the end in itself.
And perhaps we’ve all been thinking about our work online in the wrong light. Instead of looking at it as work or “making money,” we should look at it as creating freedom.
If you’re not creating freedom in your life, you’re doing it all wrong.
No Shame in Starting Over
If you find yourself in a position where you’re limiting yourself, there is no shame in starting over. People like Brian Clarke do have their failures as well.
Clarke admits that he’s had two startup failures in his life. And that’s ok.
Most entrepreneurs know failure. It’s the mark of a true entrepreneur to accept failure and move on.
My dad always said that when you fall off the horse, you get back on and keep riding. (Unless you’ve broken your back, then you call 911.)
Sometimes it takes losing everything to gain a little bit of freedom. And once you have that freedom, you have the ability and room to move forward.
It Doesn’t Matter
It doesn’t matter that Copyblogger makes $1 million a month. That was never the goal in the first place.
What matters is that Brian Clarke, those who work with and for his company, and his audience experience the freedom that comes from having exactly what you need.
That should be your goal as someone building a business. Make it your goal today.