In my last article, I’ve explained what I’ve learned from my failures. In this one, I’m doing the opposite – explaining what my victories taught me. To be honest, this is a lot harder, because a lot of things happened in very specific circumstances and I do not know if they would happen otherwise. So for all intents and purposes, I’m sticking to universal, evergreen principles.
Principle #1 – Networking matters
No matter if you are a copywriter or a product developer or a marketer, you need other people. It is too slow and sometimes too hard to do everything yourself. Building a list of 10000 people may take you two years but if you find someone who has such a huge list and you offer a win – win deal, you can build it in three months.
My progress in life is tied to a large degree by what people I meet and what value I can create to them. While you can get your first $1000 or even $10.000 alone, eventually, you need partners or advisors or mentors. Even if the people you meet don’t help you directly, a good piece of advice provided at the right time can do wonders.
Everything you do and learn is just a means to an end. The end is serving others. The better you serve by creating value, the more money you’ll make. If you serve the marketplace, the better you’ll create value for them, the more will buy. If you serve someone like a boss, the more money you make for him, the more he’ll pay you (or will have to pay you if he doesn’t want you to leave).
The best marketers I know, people earning seven figure per year, real seven figures, not fake PayPal screenshots are master networkers. They go to every possible internet marketing conference. They invite the people they know to dinner, often, building a relationship and usually receiving great advice. They’ve made a process out of this, constantly improving their network.
Principle #2 – Systemize
From time to time I get rare moments of inspiration like “go to the gym you dumbass’. So I go. One day, two days, three days. Then I step and I sit on my ass for another six months until I get another moment of inspiration.
This is how most people live their life. They do take good decisions but these are short lived and rare in between. And as you know, eating salad only once is not useful, if the rest of the week you’re eating burgers. Walking 10.000 steps a day and then sitting on a chair every day is not going to keep you fit and healthy. Working for a full day and then not working for two weeks won’t win you any awards.
Almost everything that’s worthwhile doing must be done on a recurring basis. You must work almost daily. You should read daily. You must shower daily. You must go to the gym daily. You must clean your house weekly. You must cut your hair monthly and so on. Nothing is a one time event. Everything is part of a process that repeats itself.
And this is how I structured my life, based on rituals that I need to repeat. Some things are daily. Others are weekly. Yet, my entire life is built on repeatable tasks. I know that reading one book won’t make a big difference. I know that reading one hour a day for one year it’s going to make a huge one.
So it is with marketing. You must email your customers on a periodic basis, post on your blog, create products. Let’s focus a bit on the products. There is a thing called product cycle. For example, you know that the iPhone is launched every year in September. This means that Apple develops a new iPhone within 12 months. That’s a ritual, a system for them. You’re not going to see them break for this and I think they stuck with this system since the very first one.
So you must have with your own products. Set a development cycle. It can be three months. Every three months, launch a new product. It doesn’t matter if you are making a killing with your existing one. Divert 20% of your resources to the new one and keep innovating, keep finding better ways to produce value.
Any great success is built by having a cycle that you repeat again and again. You can improve this cycle, you can tweak it but in essence it must be a wheel that spins until you reach the destination. Forget about Eureka moments. Real life looks more like a marathon than a sprint.
Principle #3 – Progress is better than perfection
I hate the concept of perfect. It’s never perfect. The last 10%, to get from 90% to 10% usually takes more effort and time than the first 90%. For me, good enough is good enough. I’m aiming at that sweet spot where my effort has the highest ROI as opposed to spending considerable more effort to have an incremental improvement.
Let’s say that it takes you 20 hours to write a good sales letter and 100 hours to write a great sales letter. If that 0.5% increase in conversion accounts for tens of thousands of dollars in extra profits, sure, invest the time. But if it doesn’t, if the difference is too small to make a dent, then just settle with what’s good enough.
The “good enough” rule is generally 80%. This means that if you achieve a “score” of 80% on something, you can use it. Of course, you get better results by getting to 100% but here’s the kicker, investing that time that you’d invest on the last 20% can get you another 80% on another goal. So would you rather have two 80% quality goals accomplished or a 100% quality one? In most cases, the first solution is better.
Principle #4 – Taking decisions based on emotional estimations
You meet a beautiful girl. You go on a date. You kiss. You go home and daydream about her. You see the two of you having children and living together. You plan your entire life with her.
That’s emotional estimation. It’s imagining how something will turn out based on your emotions, your hope and not on facts. It’s making a sale and then thinking you’ll make sales every day or starting a project and planning what you’ll do with all the money that will come in.
Emotional estimation is generally not harmful. I do day dream too, even if it makes no sense. It’s what makes us human. Problem starts when you start making decisions based on your daydreams – in the above case, buying a wedding ring and giving up on your job so you can spend more time with her. Or in the case of online marketing, seeing a minor success and then investing all your money into one method, just because you’re excited that something works, without having statistically significant results.
Emotional estimation is also working with someone for a short time, seeing some good results or ideas and then offering a full time job.
The idea here is that you can’t use hope as a way to measure your future. Yes, things may turn out fine but they may also turn out quite bad. Just because you fantasize about a certain outcome happening, this doesn’t mean that your current circumstances will lead there. Even if the chance is 50 – 50, this means that in the long term, you’ll lose for every time you’ve won.
True visionaries see a future that doesn’t exist and act on that. Yet, they are not day dreaming. It’s a difference. I can day dream all I want that tomorrow I’ll win $1.000.000 but it won’t happen. I can though see a future where I have that one million and work towards. One is highly improbable. The other one is simply a goal.
The worst thing about emotional estimation is not about the positives that may happen but rather, the negatives. It is thinking that the past equals the future and that if something bad happened, it will keep happening. It’s losing 20% from your stock portfolio’s value and selling everything fearing that’s going to drop even more or writing a sales letter, not making any sales and giving up on the market because it is not good or because online marketing doesn’t work.
That’s emotional estimation of the worst kind – where you take fear based decisions just because something didn’t went accordingly to the plan. Use data, real data to validate your decisions. Look at how the world really is and then plan what to do next. In most cases, both unfounded optimism and pessimism end up false. While many people say “what you fear almost never happens”, I can also say “what you hope almost never happens”. The only thing that does happen is what you work towards. Causality drives the world, not your or my emotions.
Principle #5 – Use Metrics To Your Advantage
Almost everything in life can be measured and quantified. Everything from your heartbeats to how often you breath to how many unique visitors you get to your website to your hourly real revenue.
Metrics serve two purposes. The first one is to help you see long term progression. It’s hard to say if you’ve grown or not unless you measure it. A runner knows that he’s doing better because he can run now in average six miles instead of just four. A marketer knows that his sales letter is better because he sells 2.4 customers per 100 instead of just 1.8. So metrics are very effective at providing a snapshot of your progression in time.
The second one is that metrics are perfect for setting goals. It’s one thing to say “earn a lot of money” and another to say “make 49 sales of our $997 product”. Metric based goals are the most pure kind and the most effective because progress can always be tracked. It’s hard to track a goal like “be happy”, but it’s easy to track a goal like “dance 30 minutes every day” is easy.
While it’s hard to reduce the complex experience of living to numbers, I believe that whatever you want to improve you can reduce to a numeric value or a binary one (yes / no). If you want to wake up earlier, you can track your wake up time and variations (either as an absolute value or based on your wake up hour). If you want to work more, you can track how many hours you invest.
If you want to track your fitness, you can use something like Fitocracy to measure your efforts through points. You can even add a secondary metric, as it is rare for a single number to tell the entire story. For example, if you measure your business only by revenue but not by expenses, you can earn $100.000 per month and have a $50.000 net loss with $150k in expenses. So you need a second or even a third metric.
For a very good explanation of how to set effective goals using metrics, please read or listen to “The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. As a bonus, you’ll also learn about the brilliant theory of constraints, which would be point number six.
There are many more things I can add here because if you are perceptive enough, you can learn from almost every victory and failure you have, no matter how big or small. However, for now keep in mind these six and try to implement them in your own life and business.
Are you interested in discovering how I can help your business or how we can apply these concepts to your own venture? Then let’s have a talk. For a limited time, I’m giving away complementary 30 minute calls. In these sessions, we’ll discuss ways in which we can maximize your customer value, boost your conversion, achieve more sales and increase any other relevant metrics in your business.
Please use the link below to get started:
The Business & Self-Improvement Copywriter