Seven Steps That Helped Me Increase My Income By 20x In Two Years When my business plateaued, I knew that I needed to make a change if I wanted to see my income increase, and I was willing to admit that I had shortcomings. Until I addressed them, change wasn't going to happen.

By Abdullahi Muhammed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

In 2012, I started my first blog. At the time, I had no idea that I was even starting a business.

I had a talent with words and I had won several writing contests in the preceding couple of years. My friends, interested in how they could replicate my success, asked me for tips and tricks to improve their own writing.

So, instead of spending countless hours replying to emails and phone calls from my peers, I decided to start my blog, Naija Writers' Coach, in Nigeria.

This simple action would change my life forever.

Within 18 months, the blog had over 30,000 subscribers. Using a combination of affiliate marketing, consulting, freelance writing, and selling my book Vertical Writing, I started earning money from what I had originally believed to be nothing more than a pet project.

The blog continued to grow, but in 2014, I hit a roadblock.

My income stagnated, and no matter what I tried, I was unable to break through the US$1,500 a month plateau I had hit.

Now, after two years, a second blog, and a new startup, I have increased my income by approximately 20x, and I'm living a life I could only have imagined before.

Related: Facebook Vice President- EMEA, Nicola Mendelsohn, On Setting Your Enterprise On A Growth Trajectory

If I can do it, so can you- and today, I am going to tell you how.

1. I acknowledged the problem

When my business plateaued, I knew that I needed to make a change if I wanted to see my income increase, and I was willing to admit that I had shortcomings. Until I addressed them, change wasn't going to happen.

If you are not where you want to be right now, then you have to acknowledge the problems that you and your business are facing, and be willing to take action to fix them.

2. I identified the underlying cause of the problem

When you acknowledge a problem, you've identified the symptom. To truly change, you must uncover the underlying disease.

I made efforts to uncover the cause of my income stagnation and realized that the answer was fairly simple: the market.

I was building my business within the Nigerian market, where few people cared enough about creative works to invest in my product, and even fewer people had the disposable income to do so.

But now the question remained: "What am I going to do about it?"

3. I researched before changing course

I decided I was going to pivot into the global market.

But before I invested my first penny, I poured countless hours into researching the global market, reading books and marketing blogs to ensure that if I made this change, there were good chances I would be able to increase my income and reach more people.

Your business may need a pivot but radically changing course with no plan, other than throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks, is a surefire way to waste precious time and set your business back thousands of dollars.

Related: Diversifying Your Business: Broadening Your Product Portfolio

4. I broke through my mental obstacle

I was a non-native English speaker trying to sell writing services and advice to people who had a better command over the language than I did.

How the hell was I supposed to make this work?

But I knew that if I wanted to be successful, I would have to break through my mental barriers and take the leap anyways. So I started my second blog, targeting a global audience.

Maybe you think you are too young, too old, or too inexperienced for people to care what you have to say- it's all a load of garbage.

As long as you have a skillset or product that people want to buy, you can be successful, but you must overcome your mental roadblocks to do so.

5. I had a backup plan

While I had a good plan and was optimistic, I also reckoned my second blog could fail.

Instead of going in full throttle with no plan B, I decided that I was going to continue running my first blog, so that I would have something to fall back on if my new experiment failed.

Having my backup plan in place gave me the peace of mind to focus on building my business without having to worry about paying the bills.

6. I developed a thick skin

In the first month of launching my startup, I cold emailed over 70 companies.

I even researched each company meticulously before I sent personalized emails, hoping to increase my chances of earning their business.

While most of them laughed and said they would never invest their money into a small business they had never heard of, three of the 70 companies signed up for our services.

One of these companies has spent over $20,000 with us, and another has driven nearly $35,000 worth of business to my company through referrals.

I would never have earned that extra business if I had not been willing to face rejection and get turned down… a lot.

7. I started doing free work (strategically)

While it is normally a bad idea to offer your services for free, learning how to strategically leverage free work can increase your income tenfold.

After launching my startup, I started writing free content for popular blogs. Each time I publish a post on the blogs, they get a quality piece for their audience.

And me? I get inbound leads, establish authority within my niche and improve the visibility of my brand.

Smart stuff: win-win.

So, as you can see, I didn't need magic or some closely guarded secrets of the rich and famous to grow my income 20x. I only chose myself for success and took small strategic steps over time- and so can you.

Related: How To Reach Out To (And Get Noticed By) Busy People

Abdullahi Muhammed

Founder and CEO, Oxygenmat

Abdullahi Muhammed is a writer, entrepreneur and the proud founder and CEO of Oxygenmat, a content marketing company. He regularly writes for Forbes, The Huffington Post, and a few other sites.


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