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A lot has changed since I started my first online business in 1996. Back then, there really wasn’t anyone doing photos, let alone video… and building a website was this super complicated (and expensive) undertaking. 

But there is something that hasn’t changed in 20+ years of business… and that is knowing what it takes to be successful. Here’s one of my favorite “rules” for winning – not just online, but in any business.

Video Transcript and Relevant Links

I started my first online business in August 1996, and that means we’re coming up on the 23rd anniversary of that first start. 

It got me reminiscing about all the people I’ve known over the years, and I have friends in the industry going back 10 years, 15 years, even 20 years. It’s amazing where the time has gone, and it’s amazing the changes I’ve seen. 

I remember when I started and the first pay-per-click advertising, there was a company called GoTo.com, and you could actually buy clicks for a penny. And then, at some point they changed the rules, and they raised the minimum bid from a penny to a nickel, and I was absolutely outraged. It’s like, how could they increase my spend, my minimum bid by 500%, how can it go from a penny to a nickel? It just seemed downright unfair. 

That was one of my first wake-ups that we’re in a real business and I’m not in control. The only thing I’m in control of is this stuff I’m in control of. I’m not in control of other people’s platforms, so that was a lesson.

But anyway, so as I was going down memory lane and thinking about all the ways this business has changed and how it’s grown up, how it’s like a real business now.  

Back then (it was in the mid-nineties), there were, I don’t know, a few dozen people actually making money online. That was the big question, “Can you really make money online? You know, that internet sounds cool, but can you make money online?”

But anyway, I got to thinking about all these changes I’ve seen over the years, and then I got to think about all the people that have come and gone. The people who had crazy success back then, who just seemed like you could bet the farm on them, they were just having unbelievable success.  And then other people … a year or two later they were gone. Then other people who just persevered, and they kept going, and they kept on getting bigger and bigger.

Frankly, I’ll tell you what, if you had a time machine to go back then, and you would ask people to place bets on who was still going to be around 20-some years later, probably not too many people would’ve bet on me, because I’m not one of those people that is super flashy and whatever. We don’t need a therapy session here, but I got to thinking about the people that have survived, and the people that have thrived, and people that haven’t.  

And it got me thinking about this saying I heard recently, and it’s simple and it’s a little silly maybe, but it goes like this, because I think this is the key. This is a key. This is … No, this is probably the key to success in this business. Probably in any business.

The saying goes like this, “The name of the game is to stay in the game until you win the game.” 

Because no one is a success immediately. No one just comes right out of the gate and just has just, amazing, enormous success. It just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen in any area in life, and it doesn’t happen in online business. The name of the game is to stay in the game until you win the game. You need the perseverance. You have to understand that the first thing you do isn’t going to be the last thing you do. The first business you start probably is not going to be the perfect business that lasts forever.

I started out in a different business. I started out teaching about the stock market. That went for about eight years until I had a partnership breakup. Then I made a major pivot. That idea of a pivot –  incredibly important. You are going to need to pivot in your business. You might need to start a new business. You just have to be okay with it. You just have to understand that in this game you have to stay in the game if you want to win the game. Success is not instant, but if you take those baby steps and keep on pivoting and keep on moving towards the things that are working… 

You know, when I started that first business, that first year, year and a half was a struggle, barely making any money whatsoever, but I just was building up this following. I knew that something was going to … that it was there. It was just right around the corner and when I figured out a tweak to our offer, and I figured out a tweak to our marketing, that business started to grow. You have to stay in the business until you get those little tweaks figured out.

You know, I teach people how to launch and I want everyone to have a massive, amazing success with their first launch, but the reality is that if you just get that first launch done, no matter what it does, it’s a win. It’s a win because you’re moving forward, and you’ve learned. You’ll never learn as much as you do the first time you launch. You’ll never learn as much as you do the first time you put up an opt-in page, the first time you get opt-ins, the first time you put an offer out there. You’ll never learn that much ever again. So you just have to get in the game, and figure out a way to stay in the game until you win the game. 

So, I’m Jeff Walker. Wherever you’re watching this, scroll down, leave a comment for me, and let’s go get ‘em this week.

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35 Replies to “Winning the Game”

    • “The name of the game, is to stay in the game, until you win the game.”

      This line can beautifully and powerfully be applied to the treatment of bipolar affective disorder, of which I am a sufferer. My eyes are closing now but if you would like to know more so get in touch.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom so freely.

      With all best wishes

      Ed

    • Cynthia Nelson

      Reply

      Perseverance, Never ever give up!, Yes, stay in the game no matter what and ride the roller coaster! Yes, Thanks for sharing your insights! Helps me refocus on my issues here with our Challenging Agriculture industry that I love and work in.!!! We all need to eat, but lots of people have no clue how hard farmers/ranchers work to help feed the world and that most of us are awesome stewards of the land to protect our valuable limited resources!!

  1. Hi Jeff loved your book and video and authenticity.. you can feel it!! Thanks for your sensible advice

  2. Hi Jeff. I’m here in the UK. Thanks for your wisdom and thoughts. Been a fan for years but i never followed you enough…that’s now changed! Thanks again.

  3. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for share with me these tips and remind us to stay in the game!
    They are very important and I do agree with you that rituals have an essential imput in our health mental, physical and emotional.
    Thanks for share with the world!!
    God blessings

  4. Charlotte Hilding

    Reply

    Thank you for these words. Made me think about the tortoise and the hare. Who won in the end?

  5. Thank you Jeff for the Perfect reminder for me in my business now I am in the middle of a large pivot. Infrastructure with a proof of concept system. Sustainable Retreat Estate/AirB&B with a self maintaining garden. Many years and I have been able to learn, adapt and continue doing so. Your advice and caring has always helped me stay “In the Game”!

  6. SUCH an important message…. The “gurus” would have you believe that if you learn these “7 secrets” you’ll be an overnight success. Except the truth is that overnight successes work many many overnights. Tenacity and resilience matter most. Thank you fort this!

  7. KELLY BLASER

    Reply

    Thanks, Jeff. Good stuff as always. Like everything, building a business is all about finding that perfect balance of staying in the game, staying focused on the goal, but letting go of control over anything that’s not yours to control. And the pivot. Of course. The pivot. All lessons from kayaking, too!

  8. Love this!
    I’m building slowly my business and doing the tweaks to work smarter with each order I sell.
    I’ve learned so much this last year!
    Thanks for your wonderful advice and attitude.
    Personally, I’d probably not still be watching if you were “super flashy”. I like your down to earth manner. Besides, if you were super flashy here in Durango we’d all just think you were a tourist from Texas. 😉 (Just teasing. I love Texans! They buy my stuff. Ha!)

  9. Stay in the game untel you win, i love the dictate, thanks a lot sir Jeff for your unestimable advise.

  10. By far the best Businessman with valuable insight that grows not only your business but the person as well. Amazing Jeff.

  11. Man did I need to hear this! Thank you Jeff, for being transparent. I’m in the middle of my 2nd year and it’s REALLY HARD! But your message of staying in the game is so timely and encouraging!

  12. Great stuff, Jeff. The timing of this video couldn’t be better for me. Reminds me of the old Winston Churchill line, “When you’re going through hell, just keep going.” Or, be like the dog determined to get out of it’s hard. Just keep digging until you find the soft spot. Best – Casey

  13. Very inspiring, thank you. Good timing for something I was thinking of giving up on, but will tweak and keep going.

  14. Massi learn

    Reply

    Jeff, your Messages are Amazing, keep them coming. I feel like you are my lost cousin with infinite wisdom. Many Blessings!

  15. Thanks Jeff, for this reminder and inspiration. Pivot and stay in the game. I am in the process of pivoting. It can be scary and liberating at the same time. But as long as you stay in the game, you stay on track.

  16. love this. It is so easy to get discouraged when that first ‘something’ doesn’t go well. I have been in my business for over two years now and it has gone through a few evolutions and it going to go through another major evolution in the next 1-2 years. I have a huge vision for myself and my business but if I stay where I am now and don’t let my business evolve or go through the changes it needs to then I will not succeed. I love the saying “the name of the game…” So true. Giving up is not an option. Stay in the game. Keep training. Keep learning. Keep moving forward. Follow your heart and your soul’s purpose then you will win the game.

  17. Thank you for this today. My online course starts tomorrow and I have only ever had 13 sales online in a year! I will stay with it, tweak and start again. Needed this today.

  18. What I appreciate about you Jeff is your sincerity. Yes, you’re in business, yes, you have expenses like we all do but what I love about your message(s) is the level of sincerity. To stay in the game you have to love the game. Since business is about people, you have to love them…sincerely love them.

  19. Carole Marek

    Reply

    So true “Never, never, never, never give up” Winston Churchill
    Love the value you deliver Jeff – from a “Raving [UK] Fan!”

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