OK peeps I am still on vacation from the blog, but I simply couldn’t pass up this opportunity to publish a guest post by Bruno. Pond members will know him, and regular followers of the blog will know him from the comments section.
One thing I will say is that this article is going to be unlike anything you have ever read before. If you smoke pot then do not read it, it will mess your head up good and proper ;). For those with all their mental faculties intact then enjoy…………….
Dear Internet Marketer, It’s (Past The) Time To Move On
“But I am working hard! I’m staring at this bloody screen 10+ hours per day and I’m still not seeing the results that I want!”
Has that thought ever occurred to you?
It has certainly occurred to me and it is daunting at least to not figure out why we are struggling to make the progress that we believe we should be doing. I mean, you hear and read here and there that this guy or this other guy is progressing nicely and they probably work the same amount of hours as we do – or maybe even less!
So why the hell was I not making the progress which I believe I should be having!?
If you have ever come across that kind of thought and/or behavior, then continue reading this article as I want to share what direction I’m now taking with my internet business and how I believe you should do the same.
**WARNING! Do not try to skim through this post as you won’t be able to do it so. No, that’s not because I don’t want you to, but this a ‘different’ post and if you do not follow my lead, well, this article simply won’t make sense 🙂
So, for those who do not know me, my name is Bruno and I’m a full-time internet marketer also from down under, but not the “down under” that you would expect. I’m from the five-times world champion Brazil and have been following Dave’s blog for some time now. I’ve been a member of the Pond since the beginning and if you still haven’t joined that, then you are missing a LOT! (no, Dave has not made me write this; I’m saying because it is the truth!)
Dave has actually offered me to guest post a long time ago, but now I felt it was really the appropriate time to actually do it, as I want to share what direction I’m now taking based on personal reflection and much consideration about the current state of affairs.
So, let’s get down to business shall we?
It is one of the worst feelings in the world knowing that you are working your ass off and it seems that you’ve hit some kind of barrier or wall that you simply can’t get past it.
I know the feeling – been there, done that.
I know you would like to receive the answer to all your questions straight away, but you probably know that this simply does not work like this. Believe me – or anyone else who has tried before me – there is no simple magic trick or answer.
Before we proceed, let’s make this a bit more interesting and make it an interactive article where you can decide which direction you want to take. So basically, every now and then you will be faced with a choice – a choice that will shape and determine the future of mankind as we know it and all it has to offer to future generations.
Ok, maybe not that much – but yes!, you can choose!
Anyhow, let’s get this started.
First and foremost, I want to know which of the two conversations I had with some good friends of mine in these past few months, do you want to hear more about:
So, which one do you want to hear more about? Make your choice and click one of the links above.
My article is not boring 🙁
Anyhow, the reason I bring this matter to you is because over the last few months there has been a lot of change both in the way internet marketing works (at least from that old SEO perspective), but most importantly, the way I personally feel about internet marketing and which direction I want to take.
As some people from the Pond might know, my Adsense account got disabled. Yup – diiiisaaabled! “Content is not … Invalid clicks … Yada yada … Puhteytoh, Puhtahtoh” But rather seeing this as a horrible thing, I prefer to see it as a blessing. As Tyler Durden would put it brilliantly:
“It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything”
~ Tyler Durden
And that’s exactly how I feel.
No more bullshit. No more filling the web sewers with crap.
“But my content is good!” I can already hear ravings SEOers screaming at the top of their lungs.
Yeap, so was mine – but according to whose standards?
Also, unfortunately, “good” is a very far cousin of “f*cking awesome!” and his brother “duuuuude…wow!” and it most probably never gets there. You are doing things for the wrong reasons in the first place.
Folks, we’ve seen all our grand masters telling the same thing for quite some time now: cut the crap, start building a real business and move on.
I think it is time for all of us to really think about what we are doing, why we are doing it and what we want to achieve. I believe it is time for us …
TO STOP chasing loopholes and leftovers from other companies and build our own – regardless of its size and reach.
TO STOP counting how many words you need for article X.
TO STOP reading mister “AFFILIATE GURU” with hist latest $47 e-book trick (paid or [GET]) about a “trick” that will shoot your affiliate earnings to the sky.
And rather …
TO START to think more about real market needs and how you can do something about it.
TO START to really make a difference to the point that, if your site is gone, people will miss you. People will e-mail you “hey, is everything ok? Haven’t seen you in a while”.
TO START reading Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, Michael E. Porter, Napoleon Hill, Kotler and many others.
TO START putting our name and face out there and build our own brand and name.
Speaking of that …
… what do Oprah, Schwarzenegger and Hugh Grant have in common?
I’ve just recently finished reading this book by Gary Vaynerchuck called “Crush It!“, and although I believe this guy is so in-your-face that you can almost FEEL getting spit on while you read A BOOK and there is much advice there that I believe will hurt more than help, there is something he said which has struck a chord.
Basically Gary says in his book and in one interview I saw with him the other day that when he started out, one thing he wanted, was to build something that couldn’t be taken away from him; something that would be his and his forever.
His personal brand.
In the book he talks a bit more about it and how he believes that everyone should start building their own name NOW (with a little spit on your face after that. I warned you.) That is really important and something I realized I was far from doing it with the way I used to work.
Sure it was great to not answer to anyone. Sure it was great to not have to deal with angry customers or anything like that. Or maybe not even have the need to answer the phone. But now I realize that was just a lie; a lie that simply could not prosper.
By building your own name, you will be building something that you can later use to leapfrog and jump-start any new project that you want. Or just to get a free meal at a restaurant. Or maybe free tickets. I don’t know, suit your self.
Don’t believe me?
Well, do you think our buddy Schwarzenegger got elected to be California’s governor solely based on his awesome and proven managerial and government skills? I know that was not the case.
You see, when I realized that, I had no doubt in my mind of what I had to do: I needed to put my name out there, start hustling and continue to improve my communication with people that I already know and people that do not know me.
So what now!?
Well now, now it is time to move on.
Yes, I still have affiliate sites earning here and there, but that is a path I’ll no longer pursue and I expect then to die a slow, but sure death. If they don’t, great! Then I’ll always have something to throw at Google and pretend I’m on a “Catch Me If You Can” sequel.
Basically what I’m doing now is that I have this site I created some time ago called Empreendedor Digital (Portuguese only unfortunately). That is my site where basically I will help a couple of friends who have already asked for my help and whoever comes my way to establish and create an online business.
“Ahh .. so you’ve just become another shitty internet marketer making money selling a system!”
Nope, that’s not it.
I don’t want to get into a big discussion about this kind of stuff as this can get wild (as we’ve seen inside the Pond), but no, I’m not selling a system.
I’m not selling a “choose your keywords based on CPC X SEARCHES, consider PageRank in the SERPs and create a site around it” (no offense to anyone as I have also been part of this system) or anything like that.
In my site I’ll be talking about business and my first clients are actually all my friends whom I personally know and I’d never sell them something which I don’t personally believe or work with. I saw a MARKET NEED and I intend to fill it.
But regardless of what I’m doing or not, if you are wondering what you can do, well then at least I can say what helped ME shape what I’m going to do. Here are 3 simple guidelines:
- DO NOT follow your passion: or perhaps I should say “BE VERY CAREFUL on following the “follow your passion model.” Instead of simply following your passion, why not follow NEEDS? Market needs, people needs, pain relief needs, help needs; any need that you see in which you believe you could do something about it.
“But I don’t like that niche/market/area where I see a need.”
First of all, many businesses exist today not because their founder was deeply in love with their product or anything like that. Most probably, someone saw an opportunity and worked to fill and deliver something that would help a need.
Secondly, I like Chris Guillebeau’s advice in his latest book, “The $100 Startup“, where he talks about CONVERGENCE. In his own words:
“The easiest way to understand convergence is: the overlapping space between what you care about and what other people are willing to spend money on. Not everything that you are passionate about or skilled in is interesting to the rest of the world—and not everything is marketable.
I can be very passionate about eating pizza, but no one is going to pay me to do it. Likewise, any particular person won’t be able to provide a solution to every problem or be interesting to everyone. But in the overlap between the two circles, where passion or skill meets usefulness, a micro-business built on freedom and value can thrive.”
- Be the best or forget the rest: another thing to keep in mind is that anything that you decide to start, you must see a clear path on becoming the best in your field or at least very, very close to it.
Does it sound absurd? Well, it doesn’t. If you think that in any particular field that you might have an interest you might think you won’t stand a chance on getting to numero uno, why not narrowing down your area of focus? I mean, we have read and read and read more about different niche markets right? Well, it is time to use this knowledge!
Say you want to be the best resource and tutoring on knitting out there. Just “knitting” might be out of your reach (or perhaps not!?). Well then, now we take all our niche focusing skills and start to see what kind of niche market could we get.
Maybe you could be the best in your state? City? Neighborhood? Or perhaps knitting with a specific type of fabric? I don’t know. Just quickly using Google Auto-complete feature I was immediately able to find other ideas like “Knitting for Charity”; that’s something I wouldn’t have thought about it.
Well, I believe here we are more than experienced in doing this kind of research right? After all, that’s basically what we did all these years – now the difference will be that your REAL name will be on it which brings me to my last fancy bullet point.
- Build your personal brand: as I’ve mentioned before, I believe we might be better off sticking to something that we can put our name on it to really get some traction. No more hiding in the bat-caves.
I hope these are good guidelines to get you started and I know this is something I’ve thought about it for a long time.
So now to wrap this up, no more choices – there is only one direction now:
Yes, I also disagree with him and that’s exactly what I’ve told him when he told me that:
“- […] the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
– Sorry Al, but I beg to differ. I don’t believe that statement is entirely true …
– Huh? What do you mean!?
– Well, let’s consider runners for instance. If they run every single day say, 10 miles over the exact same course over and over again, don’t you think they will get different results out of their training? I mean, they will be doing basically the very same thing over and over again, but their body will slowly adapt and evolve with that training until running 10 miles would be easy for them. Don’t you think that they are basically doing the same thing over and over again and getting different results!?
– Well …
– Well what!?
– Well … It is relative …”
And then he started talking some nonsense, mumbo jumbo about light and matter that I simply couldn’t follow (which happened more often than not by the way). After that he just left mumbling about some theory that he just thought about that and how it would change the world and … Yeah yeah yeah … Do what you gotta do Al …
So I was left all by myself in the bar and started thinking about what my pal Al had just said, and then later I understood what Al meant by “It is relative” when we had that discussion.
It is relative to what phase are you currently in your work: is it something that you have yet to master in order to surpass that plateau that you find yourself in OR is it something that you know how to do it but even doing it flawlessly would still not get you the results you want!?
For example, inside the Pond we have created this Marathon Accountability Topic where we are pretty much a bunch of people who decided that we would try running a marathon.
So, to start off, I first read this book to find out what kind of training would I need to go through in order to run a marathon and I found out that, to start the training, I’d needed to be able to run for at least 30 minutes at least 4 times a week. Now, bear in mind that I do play soccer 2-4x a week, but it is different than just running. Soccer you stop, look around, position yourself – you are not running ALL the time.
So, at first it was a pain in the ass to keep at it for 30 minutes – 30 minutes!! That’s nothing when you think that you will probably be running 4-5h in order to finish your first marathon – or maybe even more!
Anyhow, so before I started the real training for the marathon, I had to make sure I was able to run 30 minutes at least 4 times a week. The very first few times, it was a pain: half an hour seemed WAY too long – but I kept at it and even though I could get to the 30 minutes mark, it was certainly not pleasurable.
So now here’s the key point:
I kept running only 30 mins for about 3-4 weeks until I was finally comfortable running that time. When I reached that point, then I understood that now was the time to start the real training where you progressively raise how many miles you run every week. Usually you will start with your longest run (once per week) being 5 miles, then 6, 7, 11, etc. all the way to the coveted 26.2 miles mark.
My point here is that you need to fully understand and realize where you are at this point: am I running constantly to try to hit the 30 mins mark and maybe not even reaching that OR am I constantly raising the bar to reach new distances?
The former I see as what I used to do it before – and which maybe you did/do too – and endless loop trying to rank our sites or something like that which never seem to happen the way you want or at least not as stable as you want.
The latter is where I believe we should be at: constantly challenging ourselves to new distances, i.e. setting the bar higher to reach new levels.
But here’s the thing: right now, the bar HAS been raised whether you like it or not.
Whether you wished for it or not, the bar has been raised and we better act accordingly or we might never run more than 30 minutes on any given day.
With all these cute animals flowing around, sometimes is hard to figure out which direction should we take: shall we continue to do business the way we used to do it or shall we adapt and change our approach!?
I believe this is the time to stop and really think about this, because otherwise you might find yourself in 5 years from now, still saying the open phrase of this article again and again: “But I am working hard!”
But what’s the best way to go about it? What should be taken into consideration? Which direction should I go? Should I just follow the old adage “Follow your passion?”
Well, there are two ways you can go about it and I’ll leave it to you to decide which one is the right one for you:
What’s your take on this? I believe you should really think about this for a long time before moving on … Nahhh, now I’m just messing with you 😀 Just pick one and off we go!
So you wanna hear more about what my favorite team player has to say huh!? Good choice.
Well, one quote that I have here from him that really stuck in my mind is when he said:
“Magic sometimes is very close to nothing at all”
That message has stuck with me basically because many people (including myself) used to waste so much time searching for the next big thing or maybe for that one great idea that would make them millions and millions like an act of pure magic when the reality is nothing like that.
I believe reality is pretty much what my buddy Zizu has been able to sum it up in that nice little quote above: magic, whatever you want to call it which might be your business, a good relationship with your family, travel the world, etc., is indeed very close to nothing at all – it is those small steps and actions that make everything work.
On the same line of thought, one “image” I used to have and I notice a lot of people still have, is this image of an entrepreneur being that crazy, perhaps almost obnoxious, with that challenging attitude towards authority and pretty much everything else which, all of a sudden, has this spark of genius (almost like a House episode) and goes on to build something amazing.
We’ve all seen it and some of the most famous people do not help in getting that image away from us: Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes, and many other entrepreneurs which are great for movie theaters, but unfortunately are a small portion of what the majority of the entrepreneurs look like.
Folks, in their majority, entrepreneurs are much more like to be some down-to-earth guys, who know how to live with risk (but would much rather avoid them completely if possible) and are usually spending most of their time figuring out their cash-flow for the next month than some of these crazy romantic figures you see in the movies – and that’s where my buddy Zidane has it right.
To start something, contrary to what many people believe, we don’t need a really big and great idea; as a matter of fact, if you read “Built to Last” from Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras, they state in their book that they have found that starting a company with a big idea is actually DETRIMENTAL to a company’s success in the long term.
You might be wondering why exactly would that happen?
Well, one of the reasons is that companies that DO NOT START with a “great idea” usually won’t have that hubris born out of success and they will often think first about the company itself and THEN about which products will they create.
Do you find that strange?
Well, HP started with no product at all! They sat down, decided to start the company and THEN went to figure out what would they offer to the market.
Henry Ford, contrary to popular mythology, did not come up with the Model T idea and then created the company; quite contrary actually: he was only able to capitalize on the Model T because he had his company in the first place!
Sony’s first product was a failed attempt of a rice cooker. Did that stop them? Well, I don’t really need to answer that one.
So, as you can see, one important lesson that we can learn here is that we do not need to wait for a big idea or something like that to make “magic”. You can start small.
“Ok Bruno, I get it, I don’t need a big idea to start out. But what’s your point?”
Well, now that we showed that we don’t need a big idea to start something, let’s hear what my buddy Al has to say about some other very important matter.
Before Al, Zizu and myself say goodbye to you all, I just want to clarify that I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pursue affiliate marketing or that you should do X or even Y. We all have different opinions and you are free to do whatever strikes your fancy; BUT if I would still go through the affiliate road, then I’d make it as a complementary source of income to something else – and not my main goal.
Take a look at websites like http://www.thekitchn.com.
If you intend to still continue on the affiliate road, this is a type of site that you will be seeing more and more – can you compete with that? Can your $5 dollar article compete with that? Just take a look at their editorial team and think about it.
And to be honest, it is not JUST about quality in your articles – that would be naive to say as it is certainly way more than just that. As Claude Hopkins would put it in his book “Scientific Advertising” (free BTW):
“The product itself should be its own best salesman. Not the product alone, but the product plus a mental impression, and atmosphere, which you place around it.”
So you see, that site is able to do that. At least to a certain point.
Honestly, that site ranks for some terms for some reviews which are shit. And I’m not saying that “just because”, because they really are! Posts with almost no real content which do not help that much – but they have the whole atmosphere; the feeling of being on a place cozy and warm – and it seems Google recognizes that (for better or worse, doesn’t matter here).
Maybe try something different, even if that fails. Do you think this jumpish article is fun? Did you like it? I don’t know, but I know that at least I tried something. Maybe it will be the worst decision I ever made, but at least I tried and there are no regrets on that.
Please, DO NOT WASTE YOUR POTENTIAL!!
Another thing is that I see so many people with such great backgrounds, skills and abilities to WASTE their potential hiding behind affiliate links and stuff like that which just kills me.
Yes, I did the same and realizing that was not easy.
It is like looking into the mirror and suddenly finding out that you don’t like the person you have become (or are becoming) or even what you have done these past few years. Those acts which you thought were good deeds, perhaps were more harmful that you’ve ever imagined. – especially and mostly to you!
Yes, I was wrong and I need to be the first person to realize and admit that if I want to see change. I needed to get disturbed. It was a hard realization, but much needed.
This is where I admit that I was wrong and where I ask you – no, I BEG you: please, do not waste your potential as I did with mine – there’s so much more out there for us that is not even funny.
To conclude, this is much more an article where I’m expressing what I think and my feelings toward my future and my business than anything else. If you believe that I might have a point here, great! If not, no worries. We are all entitled to our very own opinions 🙂
Now, get out there and try to find something to do that you can explain to people WHAT and WHY you are doing in ONE SINGLE SENTENCE (you know what I’m talking about) and also, why you are proud of it. That will certainly make you simplify things and probably help you on staying on the right track.
Bruno has no idea what he has been doing for the past two years and he has not helped anyone with his shitty sites. Today he is dedicating himself to his new smelly adventure at his website where he talks about keywords, 404 errors and where he will try to REALLY help people.
If you want to laugh at this pathetic attempt, please feel free to get in touch with him any time either through your current favorite social fad, morse code or through smoke signals.
* How about that for a really awe-inspiring author box!? Again, trying something different. They all praise themselves in these author boxes, I’ll do the complete opposite: I’ll trash myself as an anti-hero of the modern age!
PS: for those who might have missed it, here is what my buddy Zizu had to say
So you want to hear more about what mu buddy Al has to say, huh? Smart choice.
So it is a cold Wednesday night and I have nothing better to do than watch TV as I’m completely knackered from work and from the match we had Saturday (at least we won huh Zizu!?). So I decided to call up my buddy Al and see what he was up to. He’s always working non-stop and sometimes I don’t really understand what he does.
But anyhow, I ringed him up and asked if he wanted to go out for a beer. Surprisingly he said “Sure – why not?”
So we got to this bar and after many a few pints, we got to this point in our discussion where he basically said:
“- You know Bruno … I’ve been thinking about..WHERE IS MY BEER!?!? Damn it … those bartenders … How long does it take to get a f* beer here!? Jeez … Anyhow, as I was saying, I’ve thinking about this and for some reason, I believe that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results …”
Please take into account that we were well into a couple of pints at that point, so even though I consider Al a very smart guy (almost a genius, some people might say), I wasn’t sure if I’d agreed with what he just said – and that’s why I want to ask your opinion:
So, do you agree with him or not? Why not? You might want to give a little thought about that before you proceed.
PS: don’t you hate those posts, articles or books that say that you “should give a thought about it before proceeding” or “take the time to really think about this before moving on”. Yeah right … Flip the page and off I go 😉
But you should really think about it this time.
Sorry to disappoint you, but I do not know the way to make that amount of money in such a short time.
BUT if I were to guess and thinking along the lines of what I read in the excellent “Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ DeMarco (I know, title might be way too cheeky, but it is one of the best books I’ve ever read!), I’d say that people who DO know how to make that kind of money in such a short amount of time are actually not fanatically pursuing for that one EVENT of making that amount – yes, they might find that, but I believe that will be simply the result of a big PROCESS of perhaps many years studying the market and working hard until one day, they almost “stumble upon” some kind of deal.
I believe that is a much more plausible situation than someone who just wants to experience that one EVENT instead of going through a whole PROCESS to make it possible.
What? Do you want also me to teach you how to fly? Because I can! I certainly can! Unfortunately I’m sold out but if you sign up to my mail list I will …
You know the drill …
And my article is not boring :(, so let’s get right back to it (yes, click here)!
In a way I also agree with him: if we keep doing the same thing over and over again, we might never see any different results whatsoever.
One thing though that we need to pay attention to is what George Leonard mention in his book “Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment”, where he says how usually anything we try works: we have times of progress and other times where we hit a plateau.
One of the most important skills we can have is to distinguish each phase and act accordingly.
Sometimes we might be on a huge plateau on a long time and that’s exactly when I fully agree with my buddy Al in that if we do not change what we are doing day after day, well then, we might not leave that plateau for a very long time.
On the other hand, it might be that we just need to keep doing what we are doing again and again and again, until we are finally able to overcome any adversity and leave that plateau.
The change here will be in our ability to execute with perfection a determined move or action due to rigorous work, training and repetition. We might not be doing something that much different daily, but we are indeed training ourselves to respond differently, to respond BETTER to whatever challenge we might be facing.
So as you can see, there are times where a immense change is needed if you ever want to achieve something greater; but there are other times where you just need to keep digging until you finally see a breakthrough.
Now, that we saw why it is important to understand when it is time to change and when is time to continue doing what we are already doing, let’s see what happens in my discussion with this so-called “genius”.