The Five Readiness to Change Stages for All Online Marketers

Readiness to change is something out of the fitness universe called the Trans-Theoretical Model (TTM), however it can also be applied to any subject regarding change. The TTM has five stages, where online and aspiring online entrepreneurs can even compare to themselves and their own readiness.

We’ve been through all five stages and it’s possible to move back and forth between each stage, as I’m sure many of you (myself included) have done for years. But, once we fully understand the TTM, it opens our eyes to new perspectives as it enhances our own awareness on where we stand in our own online marketing journey.

The TTM, for that matter, can easily be applied here in the online marketing world and it will help you find which stage you’re currently in and how long it will take you to reach the next stage.

Some of us might remain in one stage for longer or shorter time periods, but when we reach a certain stage, things really begin to speed up. Therefore, read this article critically, identify the stage you’re in, and you’ll get a solid idea on what you need to do to make it to the next rung on the ladder and how long it may take you to do so.


Stage One: Precontemplation

This is the stage where one is unaware of their readiness to change. They’re resistant to change and they believe that what they’re doing in life is either correct or they’re okay with their path.

In the fitness universe, this is where those who live a sedentary lifestyle while consuming an unhealthy diet reside. In the online marketing world, this is where those of us working a steady job, even if it’s not exactly what we wanted, are located.

We might not like what we’re doing, but we’re making ends meet, we have a house, bills, a car payment, and other utilities as well. We’re content with where we are, but not truly happy, just content. We’re okay, but we might know in our heart of hearts something isn’t right.

Even with such knowledge, the awareness isn’t there just yet. We don’t want to be told we’re possibly not on the right path. We think everything’s okay, or we just tell ourselves it is.

In this stage, there’s no timetable for change and many of us might be stuck here for years or even decades on end.


Stage Two: Contemplation

This is where we take our knowledge and become aware. We know we should change in our lives, but we’re still holding ourselves back. Either way, we still acquire information regarding change.

We’re thinking about change, but no action has been taken. Those in this stage might say, “I’m going to do X this year,” or “I want to get Y done this year.” They have plans, they have goals, but zero action is being taken here.

A lot of information is given in the contemplation stage, and such information might cause us to write some plans or ideas down that will prepare us for the next stage, Preparation.

There’s often change about to occur within the next six months when one enters Contemplation. For me, personally, my Contemplation Stage started in March 2018 and by September 2018, or six months later, the Preparation Stage started.


Stage Three: Preparation

This is the stage where change will occur within thirty days. The plans have been written and are finalized. Irregular activity might start, so in the fitness world, this is where an individual might start exercising inconsistently. Have you ever been to the gym and you see members coming in a few times a month? Those members are in Preparation.

Preparation means change is about to happen; something big and exciting is about to unfold. The individual is gunning for change and it’s imminent. The final plans are being sought here.

As a personal trainer, prospective clients who just joined the gym and have come to see me for a consultation are also in the Preparation Stage. So, in the internet marketing world, joining Wealthy Affiliate as a Starter Member might be the end stage of Preparation.


Stage Four: Action

Now comes the Action Stage, where actual action is being taken in pursuit of a goal. For fitness, it means that the individual has joined a gym and is using their gym access three times a week or more on a consistent basis.

The Action Stage takes about six months of consistency. It’s also a stage where it’s easy to fall back into Preparation, since undertaking the activity might be new to many. However, those who make the changes and stick to them will find themselves in the next stage in the not-too-distant future.

With action comes consistency and with long-term consistency comes rewards for one’s efforts. In the internet world, action involves joining WA Premium, going through the training, getting involved in the WA community, and consistently posting and updating your niche blog. Oh, and consistent learning should also be undertaken in this stage, as I implied earlier.


Stage Five: Maintenance

Finally, after the four stages, which can range as little as one or through several years, depending on how fast one goes through each, they will reach the Maintenance Stage. Now, it is VERY possible to backslide here, so it’s important to remain at the apex.

How do we do this?

We continue doing what we did in the Action Stage, which is all maintenance really is. Continue learning, continue with your consistency, and continue to build your site.

Maintenance might include collecting and building an email list, adding site maps, checking analytics, adding affiliate links, and in time, earning some income on your affiliate networks. Getting your site trusted by and indexed in Google is also a big deal here while gaining more clicks through the search engines, which also enhances visibility to other users.

Maintenance is not where lifestyle change is complete as lifestyle change is never complete, however, it is the stage you want to remain in once you reach it. I don’t like to tell people to “keep doing what you’re doing,” but I love telling them to continually improve upon what they’re doing, as with continual improvement comes greater returns.



So, I’m sure you’ve either identified the stage you’re in right now and where you may have been in the past. You may have also had flashbacks to being in certain stages as well as the length of time you may have spent in such stages.

Some of us may be in the Maintenance Stage while others may be Contemplation, Preparation, or Action. Those in Pre-Contemplation may not come across this article just yet, or they may glance at it and look away.

Some of you might be disheartened with the fact some of these stages last as long as six months, but if you spend six months in Contemplation, one month in Preparation, and six months in Action, then you’ll be in Maintenance within thirteen months. So, if you started this today, right here, right now, you can be in Maintenance by next August.

And from there, it’s all about growing.


  1. Hi Todd,

    This is a good read, thanks for that. Noe you have outlined these stages, I can relate to all of them. I have made some big changes in my life over the past few years, changing careers, emigrating to France, starting my own business are just a few. And, thinking back, I went through all these stages with every one of those changes.

    1. Emigrating to France? Nice one; I’d probably go for the Nordic nations as I heard it’s relatively easy to start a business there than it is in many places in the world…helps that I have a nice little grasp on the Swedish and Danish languages too. Lol.

  2. The Five Readiness to Change Stages for All Online Marketers. I have enjoyed your explanation for each stage and I realized exactly where I was, what I have been through and where I am right now. Stage one took me so many years, this Pre-contemplation stage, it was the time that I want to do some big change in my life but it was like they come and go and would forget the thoughts in a long stretch. Then came the Contemplation Stage. It was caused by the futility of a 9-5 office job. Long years of the same without really having a big difference in my income. I realized I have to have real change. I contemplated seriously what I must do.  Then came the preparation, it was rather short because I was already in a sense preparing my self to get extra sources of legit income as I had bad experiences with MLM that are a scam. Then I took immediate action when I research about legit online business. I joined Wealthy Affiliate and in one month, I become a premium member doing all I can do every day. I  do all that is required and which I think I should to get the result. From almost 300,000 rankings I came down to 1318 rank in almost  1 month and a half of non-stop work in the WA platform. Diligently doing all the tasks and extra work to make my plan come to fruition in the soonest possible time. So maintenance for me is a way to go but I’m coming there. What is beautiful is this blog has spelled out where I am and what I have to do when I reach the maintenance stage. Great input for my action plans. Thank you.

    1. Stage One can take a long while, too. Pre-contemplation may last for years on end, decades even. The next big step is contemplation, but the good news here is that even though it might take up to six months to move to preparation, awareness grows and seeds have been planted. Preparation is almost always the shortest, lasting about a month before moving to action. 

  3. Hello, interesting article you have written up here and I must confess, this is looking right through me. You are spot on with your stages that you mentioned and I couldn’t help but smile when I realised that I belong to the preparation stage. Not bad right? I try to make actions sometimes, then I quit back and I keep on going over this again and again. I really wish I would finally be able to move towards the action stage but I’m still trusting the process though I believe nothing could be done without taking the actions. Great post

    1. Preparation stage isn’t bad at all; it means you’re starting to take some preliminary action. You will eventually get to the action stage, and once you’re consistent for a few months, maintenance is the final stage that involves continual improvement. 

  4. Interesting reading; I can safely say I am in the action stage and has been for a while; had to change course also more than once. Internet marketing is not as easy as it sounds, it may be a walk in the park for some, but challenging for a greater percentage of persons; an ever-changing technology, scams, lack of patience or investment,I am a producer and have reaped moderate success so fa and hopes to do better. one issue the cost of help can exceed the benefits. I feel those learned in IT might have an advantage. Where can you find an honest and reliable account of Internet success, not those who are selling How To, but those Selling affiliate programs? Thanks For sharing.

    1. Internet marketing can definitely be a challenge. I think the trickery is that it’s very clear-cut and straightforward. There’s really a clear path to internet marketing and it’s very easy to start; however it does get challenging over time when we start building content and look to drive traffic to our sites. It takes a lot of time, but it will pay its dividends if one sticks to it. 

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