How to Work Really Hard and Make No Money


Would you like to work really hard and make no money at all? If so, you are in for a treat ;-)

Joking aside, this is something I see a lot, and something I was guilty of for a long time…

actually, it is not funny, it is frustrating, annoying, confusing and can kill your motivation…

oh, and I see people making these mistakes daily.

In this post I am going to share with you a mindset shift, and a simple technique to overcoming what I call “rocking chair syndrome”, which means that, like a rocking chair, you are moving, but not getting anywhere.

Here is the big secret: KPI’s.

Have a great day…. tip your waitress, try the salmon.


Only joking…

What are “KPI’s”? I hear you cry.

They are Key Performance Indicators… or in non corporate speak, they are the the key, measurable actions that will bring in $$$$$.

Let’s do an example using one of my businesses: My webinar training business.

My KPIs for this business:

How many opt-ins to my lists?
How many people register for my webinars? (notice that I didn’t include “How many webinars I create”, as I could easily create 100 webinars, with zero promotion, and make zilch)
How many people attend my webinars?
How many people stay on the webinar to the end? (I call this “webinar engagement”)
How many people visit my order page?
How many people purchase?

Then I look at the actions that create these results…

So, for example:

How many emails I send to potential JV partners?
How many Skype calls I do with potential JV partners?
How many emails I send to my lists?
How many people open the emails?
How many people click through?

Notice that I can measure all of the above… “if you can’t measure it, then it doesn’t exist” – Tim Ferriss

Most people don’t do this, and they either go around in circles, or spend time on things that don’t bring in money.

For example, this was my KPI from two years ago (darn you hindsight):

How many blog posts I wrote
How many ideas I had
How much more authority I got

Now, the above 3 may seem important, but they very rarely lead directly to money… they opened doors, they got the ball rolling, but they didn’t put bread on the table.

What are your KPIs?

I spoke with a guy selling a service to local businesses yesterday, he talked of his logo, his ideas, his plans, his video editing etc… but none of these were KPIs that would deliver results… instead, he should have been focusing on: How many quality prospects he targeted, how many emails he sent them, how many phone calls he got asking for a quote, how many packages he sold, how many referrals he got etc…

Still not got the message?

Ok, well in the style of Tyler Durden from the movie “Fight Club”:

Repeat after me…

You are not your plans,
You are not how many friends you have on Facebook,
You’re not the ideas you have,
You are not the contents of your blog,
You are not your f*&^ing logo.

I often tell people they are focusing on the icing, and not the cake… are you doing the same?

So here is what you need to do:

Go grab a pad and paper and make a list of all the measurable KPIs that are required for you to make money.

Then, flip the page over, and make a list of all the ACTIONable KPIs required to make them happen.

So for example:

Measurable KPI = How many Joint Venture deals I do.

Actionable KPI required to make this happen = How many Skype calls I do with potential JV partners.

Once you have all of these, hang them on your wall, and at the end of each week, fill in the numbers you achieved for each… you will find that the higher the numbers, the higher your profits.


PS: In the time it took to write this I spoke via email to a JV partner and lined up a JV webinar… remember, it doesn’t have to be hard. (that’s not what she said)

PPS: I apologise for that childish joke.

PPPS: Seriously, you are NOT your logo!!!!

PPPPS: A big thanks goes to Barry Dunlop he tried to instill this attitude into me a few years ago, but I simply didn’t get it back then.. I do now, so thanks Barry, and I am sorry it took so long.

  • David Walker

    Hi Dean,

    This is a great lesson indeed and I have to admit I was all about the blog posts, Twitter followers and all of that other distracting stuff last year.

    It’s the main reason I did not progress in the way I wanted – there simply wasn’t enough “business” being done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

    While it is nice to be all fluffy and putting out “good vibes” and “karma” into the marketplace, it’s the real marketers (regardless of what your personal opinion of them is) who are cleaning up because they are doing the stuff that matters.

    Thanks for all of your advice so far regarding the webinars – I will be filling up on cake rather than picking at the icing for the rest of 2011 and beyond.


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  • Dean Hunt

    Nice one David.

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  • Angus Fraser

    Twice over same number of days had this brought to my attention … probably just as well so that I take action on it!! Corporate life (& annual bonus, salary review, promotion, etc) was built around KPI’s, but for some reason becoming self-employed they were forgotten! No excuse now not to get my measurable & actionable KPI’s down on paper … thanks for the reminder, Dean :-)

    PS Comment at bottom of your blog that says your CommentLuv plugin needs updating.

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  • Dean Hunt

    Thanks Angus,

    I have an entire blog revamp on my to-do list, but it doesn’t directly fit into my key KPIs at the moment, so will have to wait ;-)

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  • Robin

    Thanks Dean.

    So true. Business is all about systems and efficiencies. If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.

    It took me a while to get it too.

    How many calls made to motivated sellers?
    How many properties have you reviewed this month?
    How many properties offered on?
    How many offers accepted?

    Good post matey. Just working through your webinar training.


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  • epilator reviews

    You are so right and this is the sad truth that most of us fail at (me included, thanks for the post.

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  • Caroline Lingard

    Dean this is such a great article! It has really helped me . . . thank you so much!

    Isn’t it funny how we all have a particular time when we actually ‘get’ something? Just like you with Barry, I first heard about KPIs some time ago but for whatever reason I also did not ‘get it’ at that time!

    Now I see your article today and guess what? You got it . . . I ‘get it’! LOL Awesome . . . thanks a lot!

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  • Soggyfish

    Solid Gold Dean,

    just what I needed to hear right now.


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  • Emma

    Thank you Dean, I needed that. Keep it simple.

    Money making Emma, bloody money making.

    Will send you an update on where I’m at with it all.


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  • Barry Dunlop

    Great post Dean – bang on target!

    “You are not your f*&^ing logo.”


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  • Dean Hunt


    Glad you liked it.

    I am not sure what was blocking me from this a few years back, perhaps mindset? I don’t know… but better late than never! and hopefully this will help others.

    Speak soon.


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  • Darren Scott Monroe

    Hey Dean how dare you tell people to have measurable results!? They should be running in circles while looking important. Darn it! (kidding of course)

    Hey my analogy is usually a “rim” those shiny things that come of the Hip Hop rappers cars? They sipn around and take you nowhere. But the tires which are pennies on the dollar will take you everywhere you want to go.

    Good post man talk to you soon.

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  • Karen Marrow


    This is the first time I have visited your blog and I will be back. Great information you share here that I never thought of in that way.

    I like the idea of writing it down as it then becomes concrete. Also, what we focus on expands, so by focusing on the numbers, you will improve over time.

    But like you said, if you don’t measure it, you don’t know how you are doing. Not only that, but if you don’t focus on the KPIs, you won’t make any money!

    Thanks for the advice,


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  • InspiroHost

    You really mentioned the very important things that not only businessmen should incorporate but others could use as well. I can still recall what my very first employer said – “A website that is bland and drives no traffic is like a billboard placed in the middle of the dessert.” Furthermore, no matter how beautiful and appealing your website is, if it doesn’t rank high in Google and others and not promoted properly then it would be useless at all.

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  • Nick Sutton

    Dean, thanks for this. I needed it! Having just started my own business and relying on that income it’s sink or swim for me and advice like this is gold. Just finished writing down my measurable KPIs and the required actions are definately kicking me in to action!

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  • Fazal Mayar

    ugh, the problem with affiliate marketing and making money online is that you could work 12hrs a day and have no results. Please guys, stick to your full day job untill you can leave it period! thanks for this great stuff dean.

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  • Dane Jorgensen

    Reminds me of the book “Fake Work.” Sometimes we spend 10 hours a day working on things that appear to matter, but really don’t. Work on things that affect your bottom line! Love the Tyler Durden reference.

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  • Justin Teoh

    Hi Dean
    Thanks for the awesome article! That’s definitely something I need to look at – measuring the things that directly affect the amount of money I make rather than measuring the things that seem important but ultimately don’t get you any $$$!

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  • Garious

    Great post, Dean. I guess what you are saying is great and very applicable to most businesses. But the real dilemma is that Social Marketing has its own rules. It’s your authority, engagement, and trustworthiness that yields results.
    Let me apply your KPIs principle on asimple social media campaign:
    Measurable KPI: How many people comment/share my blog content?
    Actionable KPI: Write one blog post per day
    If I followed the actionable KPI for one week and posted mediocre content, I will no comments! And if I kept doing that or even doubled the number of blog posts, my measurable KPI will not improve.

    When it comes to blogging, writing one killer blog post is better than writing 100 mediocre ones.

    So, if I want to increase my measurable blogging KPI (i.e. number of shares/comments), I will have to use my insights and great ideas. They inseparable. What do you think?

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  • mobilefanatics

    good to read this nice blog nice info any good stuff thank you very much well done

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  • Dale


    Truth typically hits you right between the eyes and tends to hurt a little, or a lot. I too have fallen into this rut and thank you for waking me up a little. I say a little, because I have to actually implement your truths.

    Now to get back to outlining my KPI’s and following up with them, (oh wait I think I have a great logo to put on the top of my page of KPI’s)

    Today is a great day, and some are even better!

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  • Alex

    Hey thanks for the great info. I will be sure trying to implement these tips as I develop my own businesses online. Thanks!!

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  • LET light

    Great post.Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

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  • wooden playouse

    I find it a good idea to make a note time, date, method of all the actions and decscions I take. I can the look back and see just what had the best cause and effect.
    I do like your KPI. each to their own method.

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  • Dave

    hi dean

    starting to focus on the cake and not the icing.

    nice work,


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