There’s no free beer. Period.
Nothing in life comes easy and before you realize the better (said the grumpy ol’ man ;)).
Building a successful business requires effort, whether that is a bad ass venture funded iPhone app developed at the corporate offices in the Valley or a lifestyle business where you’re the only person operating the thing from a hammock in Bali.
Now this year my goals included launching a couple of membership sites and writing a book.
Well I have launched two membership sites and my book is currently in the editing phase, not too shappy if I might say so myself.
The problem is that the membership sites should really have launched in the spring of this year, and both of them was only beta launched within the last couple of months.
Me whining about quitting
And that leads me to the topic of this post. Because before I continue to whine (and trust me whine I will) I wanted to put this post into context.
Because there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who quit and those who succeed. As Robert Kiyosaki says “Quitting is the easiest thing to do”. And you know what? He’s absolutely right.
The problem is that we’re tempted with quitting again and again because of the fact that it’s the easy way out of the pain.
Moving outside your comfort zone
Now if you just go about your usual grind going to your job each day and living like you’ve done for the past 5-10 years (or maybe more) chances are that you are acting well within your zone of comfort. This is a nice place to be because then you are a success in everything you do, simply because you know it so well.
But if you’re trying to build a business (or run a marathon, jump from space or any other crazy ass venture) then you will be pushed outside your comfort zone again and again. And when you’re pushed outside this nice and fluffy place of comfort, you will experience obstacles (and pain ;)).
So the easiest thing to do is to quit what you’re doing and retract back to the comfort of what is known and safe. But the problem is that this won’t build you a business! This won’t push you into new ventures or realize your dream goals.
I see a lot of people wanting to build a business but gives up at the first sign of trouble. The problem here is that building a business will be nothing but trouble, so if you quit in the face of the first one or two, then you are very far from reaching your goals.
And you know what? This is perfectly ok! Not everybody wants to build and run a business. But if you’ve made the decision that this is something you would like to do, then you should stick your nose to the ground and kick ass all the way through the obstacles you meet.
Let the whining continue
So why am I telling you about quitting and kicking ass and all of that? Well because I’ve had some – you could call them technical issues – that has continued to annoy me for more than six months. And I’m an IT guy with more than 12 years of experience used to dealing with pretty intensive problems for my clients (the few months each year where I have clients).
Both membership sites were pretty much ready to launch in the spring this year (2012) and I had chosen the platform 1ShoppingCart to automate my business. The platform of course has a full shopping cart with support for recurring products that I need for membership sites, but also full affiliate management and autoresponder built in.
As I didn’t want to use PayPal to receive payments (and I didn’t since my customers need a paypal account if they want to pay me automatic each month) I had to go find a “real” payment gateway.
Since 1ShoppingCart is a hosted platform I was kind of locked into the ones they support. And this is actually quite a long list.
First problem was that since I’m based in Denmark I couldn’t go with a US based gateway. For some reason most US based companies don’t really know that there are quite a few potential customers in Europe.
But luckily 1SC also supported a few UK based payment gateways. So I went with one of them and started the application process. They would also make sure that I got a merchant account (something you also need to get paid).
And let me just say that the amount of paperwork involved in getting a payment gateway and merchant is a lot. They basically need to know that I’m a real person and my company is really a legal registered entity here in Denmark. So this took some time (close to a month as far as I remember).
Then when everything was in order the bank that should supply the merchant account stopped taking in new customers. I got a couple of lames excuses that I couldn’t do anything with.
After months of waiting I started working on a backup plan (another merchant account) but then suddenly the first bank started taking in new customers again. Then after four months I get the message that the merchant account had changed their policies and no longer would take recurring payments.
WTF?! That was pretty much the only thing that made me apply for the damn thing in the first place.
So 4-5 months wasted. I had already paid the payment gateway close to $1500 in signup fees and so on (and I just recently got that money back from them).
After all these months I was back to square one!
So what did I do? I launched with PayPal – I mean, what could I do? I might as well get some experiences with the whole thing while I licked my wounds and came up with a another plan.
Getting back up on the horse and kicking ass
So I started looking for other UK gateways and merchant accounts, but all of them took a crazy time in setting up and most of them had terms that I just didn’t want to apply with, like 1) recurring products can only run for a maximum of one year and 2) you cannot offer someone a “lifetime access” to this product.
Again… WTF. It seems like they are all just super conservative and don’t really know much about selling informational products online.
So what was the end result?!
I dumped 1ShoppingCart! It’s a nice (although a bit old product) but I simply found something that was better and let me use a Danish payment gateway. Of course this also means that I’ve wasted $100 per month on this product (and I prepaid for a full year).
I ended up with a product called Zenbilling. It is targeted at people and companies who want to sell informational products, workshops and seminars and does most of what 1SC does (although much nicer I might add).
It’s created by a Danish guy so it supports Danish payment gateways and merchant accounts. Recently he integrated with a product called SpreedlyCore (it’s a nerdy code thing so I won’t link to here as you most likely never have to hear about it again) so the product now integrates with over 40 different payment gateways all over the world.
Now I’m closer than ever to getting my gateway setup and all I’m currently waiting for is to get a dispensation from my merchant account that will allow me to process foreign VISA and Mastercards without running them through 3D Secure (an extra security measure that is just annoying most of the time).
So why this story
So why do I share this with you? Well I thought of telling the full story and naming the UK gateways and merchant accounts that I wasted so much time with. This would hopefully have learned you a thing or two, especially if you’re in Europe and needs a payment gateway.
And surely, this whole thing has certainly more than once made me swear out loudly (and a few time I think I actually did just that ;)). But then I got to think about what I’ve learned about this whole charade and I came up with how I face obstacles.
Obstacles are just the way the world is. I never even considered quitting. The goal was to be get that payment gateway and merchant account so I could process credit cards and not depend on PayPal, so if that was the goal then I just had to continue until I reached that goal.
Now I of course considered alternate strategies along the way, but I kept trying and kept struggling even though it in some periods drained all my energy completely.
But this is building a business! It’s filled with nasty obstacles you didn’t plan for and your job is to navigate in this clouded water.
So my advice is to… keep moving towards your goal. It might be longer that you planned, it might rain a whole lot more, you might get terrible annoyed but in the end you will reach it!
If you quit a long the way you definitely won’t….