Monday, July 13, 2009


So why do we try so hard to be successful in our online marketing business? What energises us so much that we do whatever it takes to succeed? Why don’t we just pack up and return to the corporate 9-5 world when the going gets tough? What motivates us to keep on going? Money is certainly not the reason.

Earning lots of money, sometimes in the six-figure income category is not the motivation behind our desire to succeed. After all, there are lots of examples of people from the corporate world earning that sort of money, packing it in, in favour of starting an internet marketing business, which has less certainty and security. If money is not the reason, there must certainly be a reason or few why we are motivated.

The answer lies in the theory of a man known as Abraham Maslow who in 1943 published ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’. Although Maslow’s theory focused on employers’ responsibility to their employees in terms of understanding their motivation needs with a view of helping them achieve their potential, the same principles apply for the internet entrepreneur who is effectively both employer and employee of himself.

Maslow identified five motivation needs and placed them in a hierarchical order. According to the theory, the needs must be satisfied in turn starting with the lower order needs. It is only when one need is satisfied that we can focus on the other. The five stage model developed by Maslow is, starting with the lowest order need:

• Biological and Physiological Needs – these are basic need for survival and include things like the need for food, shelter, air and sleep

• Safety needs – the need for security, law and order, stability

• Love and Social – the need for family, relationships, marriage, work groups, social clubs

• Esteem needs – these are needs associated with recognition, status, reputation and achievement

• Self Actualisation – the need for personal growth, fulfilling potential

At a basic level what Maslow is trying to say is that if an employee has been evicted from her home and is looking for somewhere to stay (Safety needs), it would be difficult for her manager to motivate her to join a work group (Love and social needs) or to improve her sales targets (Esteem needs).

For the internet marketer, especially the one who leaves the six-figure income corporate job, he may have achieved the biological, safety, love and esteem needs but feels like he is not fulfilling his own unique potential. He may not feel he is contributing to society or achieving his life goals. Therefore, his need to self actualise will be his chief motivator. He is willing to achieve this even to the expense of losing his six-figure income.

We all have our motivation. Some people work very long hours which impacts on the amount of time they spend with their families. Their love and social needs will force them to turn their backs on reputation (self esteem) and money and opt for internet marketing business where they could address the social needs first and still be in a position to satisfy the self esteem and self actualisation needs after the lower order need has been satisfied.

Conversely, the reason why some people decide against starting an online business is not always because they do not have the money to do so or because they do not believe in the opportunity. One reason could be that their security needs have not been met. They need a stable job in the meantime to pay off that nagging debt or to support their household as they are the only breadwinners. The promise of earning a fortune in a relatively short space of time may be tempting but their safety needs will act as a stronger motivator than the lure of money.

Money is a means to an end. It is not required for the sake of it but to satisfy a need. In a war torn country for example, the need for security may appear the most important. However, if for example, a family has been holed up in a safe haven for a week without food, the dad may risk his life by coming out of hiding to scour for food (physiological need) even in the heat of battle. If he had money hidden with him, it may help him get food quicker especially if he knows where to look.

As internet marketers, it is important we understand what our motivational needs are at any given point in time and tailor our goals and plans accordingly. As our needs change we must review our goals. It is much easier to achieve our goals if we are motivated to do so.

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