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Threat Assessment

Start Earning Online – Lesson 9

Course Progress

Watch the video or scroll down to read this lesson instead.

Legend has it that, back in 2007, J.K. Rowling was struggling to finish the final book in her massively popular Harry Potter series.

As she explained in an interview:

“As I was finishing Deathly Hallows, there came a day where the window cleaner came, the kids were at home, the dogs were barking, and I could not work…”

So what did Rowling do to solve that problem and get the book finished?

She checked into the 5-star Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh…

… and she stayed there writing her heart out until the book, and the entire Harry Potter series, was finished.

Now, let’s take a step back for a moment and dissect what Rowling did there.

First, she had a goal, which was to finish writing her book.

Then came a threat to that goal. And the threat was a very distracting work environment, with kids running around and dogs barking and all kinds of madness.

To keep moving towards her goal, Rowling had to neutralize that threat.

So what did she do?

She moved to a quieter, more peaceful environment, much more conducive to finishing her book.

Now of course she’s super-rich and so her quieter, more peaceful environment was a big fancy $1000-a-night hotel.

But that’s besides the point.

The point is: she had a goal, something threatened that goal, and she neutralized that threat.

Goal → Threat → Neutralize

Since you’re doing this course, I’m going to assume that your goal is to build an online business.

And to give yourself the best chance of success, it’s worth considering the biggest THREATS to that goal, and having a plan to NEUTRALIZE those threats.

Just like J.K. there in the big fancy hotel.

Assess Yourself

Say your goal is to be earning $1,000/month via your online business, three months from now.


  • What are the top 3 reasons you are most likely to fall short of that goal?

Or to put it another way:

  • What are the top 3 threats you are likely to face?

You’ll probably find that these are the same reasons, the same threats, that have held you back from achieving goals in the past.

Some examples of top threats I hear from students of mine while building online businesses:

  • Procrastination
  • Not enough time
  • Not enough skills
  • Not asking for help
  • Low self-confidence

Listing out and acknowledging such threats is the first step towards overcoming them.

The second step?

Be Proactive

And by that I mean, once you’ve identified your biggest threats you’ll want to come up with a plan to neutralize them.

Or, if they can’t be neutralized, to at least mitigate them.

Let’s take “procrastination” as an example here.

Say you’ve identified procrastination as your biggest threat, the thing most likely to knock you off course and end your dreams of building a thriving online business.

  • What actions can you take right now, up front, to lessen that threat?

If you’re struggling to come up with an answer, think back to times you’ve successfully overcome procrastination in the past.

How did you manage that? Did you have someone holding you accountable? Were you in an environment especially conducive to getting things done? Was there a big penalty or reward that motivated you?

Note that the more specific you can be with the threat, the easier it will be to come up with a plan to handle it.

For example, maybe you procrastinate by spending hours browsing Facebook and YouTube. In that case, an effective action could be to install software to block those websites during your designated work hours.

The sooner you take that action or similar, the less likely you are to succumb to the threat and the more likely you are to succeed.

Do This Right Now

Share your answers to these two questions in the comments below:

  • What are the top 3 reasons you are most likely to fall short of your goal of building a successful online business? (i.e. What are the biggest threats for you?)
  • What actions can you take right now, up front, to lessen each of those threats?
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  1. Not enough skills – Find and enrol in suitable courses.
    Not asking for help – Use all available resources, ie course teachers, Niall Doherty, and anyone else that can help me.
    Low confidence – I guess I’m going to have to grow a set and just do it.

  2. Definitely procrastination… and lack of confidence that I can actually succeed. “not enough time” is an excuse. Not having the actual skills is a big obstacle at this time as well.

    – For me the best way to get around “the big P” is to jump at it in the moment I feel inspired. By not trying to “get ready” for it, I tend to get myself jump started and then I will keep going.
    – I need to acknowledge and keep mindful that I CAN succeed if I can follow through and figure it out.
    – Skills is the easy one… learn it! Whatever “it” is…

  3. Doing to much at same time.

    I need to stop multitasking like I am now and do one project at a time Niall

  4. My top 2-3 reasons for not starting my online business journey is

    1.Procrastination. Maybe due to having a huge pile of savings that can last me a few years, so I feel no emergency to get started.
    Solution. Just get started as maybe there will some kind of emergency where I lose those savings.

    2. Distraction from leisurely pursuits. Mostly Youtube and Netflix.
    Solution, Designate a reward system, which I used before. For every 4 hours of work, I do on my online business/training. I reward myself with a movie or two episodes on a tv series.

    3. When I start to doubt myself or lose focus, play your youtube video ” 7 Years as a digital nomad” each morning. Remind myself that I did make a successful transition into being self-employed, not once, but twice.

  5. kathleen Edwards

    1. my biggest threat is being all enthusiastic about something and then coming up with a problem …. a “threat”. Instead of overcoming the threat I give up and look for something else.
    Solution : I need to make an effort to overcome those threats and get on with something.

    2. Distraction. A big threat to me completing ANYTHING. I start one thing then see something else that needs doing which leads me to a third thing and fourth so by the end of the day I still haven’t finished the first thing
    solution: Learn to focus on one thing at a time. I will take a day out to complete all the things I have started one by one so I don’t have that distraction when I do start focusing

    3. Money or the lack of it. That is now a big threat to any online business BUT
    solution: If I start small and with something I don’t have to have any equipment for I can steadily build up cash to buy equipment/tools/ etc to do what I really want to do

    I have a fourth ……….. putting things off till another day …. which is a bit like the distraction one but a little different.
    solution ……. I was told this by a very wise lady who actually read it in a book about business.
    “Give it 5″ …….. in other words, if you have something that you keep putting off because it feels too overwhelming or it is difficult or you just plain don’t want to do it, then ” give it 5mins” and before you know it you have done it all.
    Writing this down is very helpful 🙂

  6. Procrastination has been my biggest problem in the past. So I went back to college to become a CPA. I am in the end of my junior year or starting it due to my transferring to the state university. I go to the school library so I must work on my school work before I get onto other projects, which did not make me any money. My second problem was not having the skill of copywriting. I just signed up for the Udemy courses as I could afford them right now.

  7. The Threat
    1) Analysis paralysis
    2) Shiny object syndrome
    3) Skill needed
    How to Neutralize
    1) Make a top 3 pick one(if you can’t pick roll a dice) and stick with it, for a minimum time before you even think of thinking of try something else.
    2) plan to get it done with a hard time line that is broken down in as many little parts as you think you need.
    3) Use steps 1 and 2 to get 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 annnnd beyond. Just remember to appreciate the learning process as you grow your life to live the way you would like to. 🙂


  8. 1. I’m still searching opportunities so there are too many things to try out.
    2. Financial constraints.
    3. I have got a lot of debts.
    1. Work on little opportunities first.
    2. To be patient when an opportunity arises.
    3. Aim at reducing debts by not being extravagant.

  9. My biggest threat is Facebook and whatsapp notifications.
    Since you said there is a software app to block those i will google that and install.

  10. thinking small= ‘As a man thinketh’ by James Allen may help
    opinions of others=smile and stay focused
    not follow Nialls advice= trust my fellow Irishman!!!

  11. The biggest obstacle (or threat?) I have found is trying to survive without a reasonable income. Currently, I have some time off from work and am exploring the idea of making an income online. But soon enough the draw of a pay check and steady income will come bounding in!

    Another threat is the more obvious; noise and distraction. I have taken to spending hours in the local library to get anything which requires focus finished, as it’s generally very quiet and you’re always left alone.

  12. 1. I won’t NEED that income as I’ll be studying and getting money from my parents for the next years —> I’ll try to keep in mind the reasons I want to develop that business or I could spend a percentage of the income (instead of saving all of it) to reward myself and motivate me not to stop/slow down.

    2. I’ll have a time schedule that will change continuously —> I’ll try planning my weeks in advance, so that I’ll have something to stick to. Also, as there will be periods during which I won’t be able to work (during the exams), I’ll need to force myself to focus on work after those.

    3. I struggle focusing —> I wanna start doing meditation seriously and do other exercises to get better in that field (and I’ll read the book you suggested).

    (I didn’t comment the last video because I still haven’t done anything to get the first 100€, which I only plan to do around the end of August/beginning of September).


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