The year is 1977 and Abba are taking their massively successful World Tour on the road to Australia.
On their way to dominating the airwaves and becoming arguably the most successful pop artists ever “Abba, the Movie” was released at the cinema in this year.
Abba were at the height of their powers and five years away from the marriage meltdown that would spell the end of the band. However, between the years of 1975-1982, they would earn millions as a superstar pop group, and the royalties continue to flow to this day. Is there anyone alive in the developed world who hasn’t heard the inviting introductory tones to “Dancing Queen” before spectacularly making a fool of themselves on the dancefloor?
As part of the ritual angst and humiliation that every teenager in their early teens has to suffer I endured the ignominy of being marched to the cinema accompanied by his mother and younger brother to watch Agnetha and Frida strut their stuff on the big screen.
Abba were the most prominent box-office draw in the world both on stage and screen, and you would not miss any opportunity to see these queens of pop in their pomp.
Abba the movie gave a rare and accurate insight into the workings of a band tour with none of the bad language or sex that you would typically associate with this type of production, and it’s no wonder it went down a storm at the box office with both parents and children alike.
All The Hits Are Here In Glorious Technicolour
Money Money Money, Ring Ring, Fernando, Mamma Mia, SOS, Thankyou for the music… a musical legacy that anyone would be proud of.
Rewind three years earlier to 1974 and Abba had just become an “overnight success” with their rendition of “Waterloo” at the Eurovision song contest.
The track has subsequently been voted the best Eurovision Song Contest entry (although given some of the dross served up over the years it’s a dubious accolade) and Abba went from strength to strength on the back of it.
For the younger readers, Abba is an acronym of the first letters of each band member’s name. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anna-Frid.
The Early Years
Agnetha Faltsog had many self-composed hits during the late sixties in Sweden and had a number one at the age of 18. She released four solo LP’s between 1968 and 1971 before joining Abba.
Anna-Frid began singing at the age of 13, and she first met Bjorn her future husband in 1963 while doing the folk circuit rounds a full twelve years before “Waterloo” became a hit.
Bjorn fronted the ”Hootenanny Singers” when he was just 18, and it became a favourite folk/skiffle group in Sweden.
Benny Andersson was a member of the “Hep Stars”, and at age 18 they covered international hits and were known as the “Swedish Beatles”. Andersson played keyboards, and his bands had several hits in 1965/66.
When the band eventually got together as a foursome, it was clear that the output was (to use one of my favourite expressions) greater than the sum of the parts. The harmony between the two girls sounded like a full choir on some of their more memorable tracks – in particular, their signature song “Dancing Queen”.
Is there a more harmonious pairing in pop history? Simon and Garfunkel and The Everley brothers spring to mind. The Proclaimers, unfortunately, don’t feature in my top list of talented harmonious pairings.
Overnight Success Takes Years Of Hard Work
The point is we are accustomed to the concept of “Overnight Success”. Celebrity Big Brother and other TV “reality” shows have blinded us to the fact that to be a success in any walk of life requires an apprenticeship. A period of learning.
For some, this learning period is more extended than others but trying to skip it and look for shortcuts only ends in frustration and break up.
Abba were at least ten years in the making, by the time the foursome got together to make “Waterloo” they had paid their dues and they had the chops to make the music and make the gig look easy.
Next time you hear of how someone became an overnight success look beyond the superficial preface and examine the deeper story.
Consistent Application Wins
In 1999 I was working a contract for a local automotive engineering company here in Telford, and we were rolling out a new NT server rack and Windows NT desktop replacements to a user base of around a 200 workforce.
I did quite a few years in IT contracting around this period and as well as the money being good the work was varied and interesting which made it a fun time to go to work.
Part of my brief in the two-man team was to setup a Proxy server. This would be the cache between the ISP and the 200 users to try and limit the bandwidth usage which at the time was pretty expensive, and any savings we could make in that department were most welcome.
It was at this point that the scales fell from my eyes.
A kind of weird saying huh?
I got that one from a line in the Sopranos where Artie Bucco is lying up in hospital after having his restaurant blown up – it means to be able to see clearly what perhaps you should have been aware of earlier.
In this case being able to view the Internet through the new proxy server opened up my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.
That was when I registered my first domain, and I started some simple attempts at affiliate marketing having a few successes here and there but nothing to write home about.
When that contract finished I immediately began to seek work in the Internet industry, the trouble was at that time it was such a new medium that no one really knew what they were doing and I went through three or four start-ups before settling down at Property Mentor and building a successful Internet business.
After creating a plethora of sites for different projects I can tell you categorically, with seventeen years’ experience – yes seventeen, that being consistent in what you do is far stronger than just having a good idea.
Having both is even better but to get your new website start-up running, you need consistent application over a six month period to make the breakthrough.
Out of 100 new start-ups – especially those with limited funding I would estimate that 80 of them don’t make it to the magic six-month mark. People give up because they don’t see immediate results – or any results, and it becomes too disheartening to continue.
What the experienced internet marketer knows is that it takes at least six months of consistent effort to begin to gain traction with search engines. If you make it to the six-month mark, then the chances are you’ll have a good shot at building something that will last.
Why This Is A Good Thing
If you could create a website and have it rank number one for its primary search term in just a few months then how do you think the business owner who has put years of effort into their site is going to feel?
Yes, that’s right- I’m glad it’s difficult to make a new startup because it weeds out all the dreamers and those that try to take shortcuts when their heart isn’t really in it. If it was that easy everyone would do it as my Mum is often heard to say!
The cold hard truth of the matter is that in the real world two out of three new businesses fall by the wayside in the first two years of business. That’s just how it is. It’s the survival of the fittest.
The Internet has made it possible to build a successful eCommerce business at low risk simply by consistent application of effort. Not all starters will be winners of course, and there are no guarantees that just by getting unscathed to the six-month mark you are going to build a world beater, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded with traffic.
So write consistently and keep your social media channels updated frequently. Don’t fret that after two months all that work has been for nothing because it takes more time than that to build an online business.
Be patient and stop checking your analytics every day – that will just make you feel bad. Once a week is plenty enough and whatever you do don’t focus on the lack of traffic or audience.