I’ve been blogging here for almost 2 years, yet it wasn’t until several months ago that everything really clicked for me and this blog really started taking off.
We’ll get in to the how in just a sec, but before that, I’d like to talk about the why.
Become an Outlier
As Gladwell states in his book, Outliers, it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master a skill, and although Outliers posits that being as successful as the Beatles or Bill Gates requires both extraordinary talent and fortune, it also suggests that without these 10,000 hours of dedicated practice, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will become a master of their craft.
Within my 2 years of blogging, working an average of 8 hours per day, I’ve probably reached something like 5,000 hours of practice, which, according to Gladwell, is only half of what it takes. Realistically, that means I have another 2 years to go before I reach the point where my skill matches my desire.
However, as I said to Susan Baker, The Escape Hatcher, during our talk yesterday, the truth is that several months ago, after nearly 2 years of busting my ass to build this blog and my business, I finally had a sort of “Neo” moment, where everything in the Matrix was revealed to me and I started seeing code.
At that point, it became less a matter of learning and more a matter of practical application. The game suddenly made sense to me, and now…in order to get where I need to go…I just need to play it.
What this means for you
What I’m getting at is that the reason many people fail at this game of building digital empires is not because they aren’t talented enough to make it work, but because they haven’t put in the time necessary to become successful. I always said that it’s those moments, when you feel like quitting, that define you.
That’s your chance to separate yourself from the quitters…that’s your chance to cement your character as one of a winner, rather than one as a quitter.
This isn’t a get rich quick game, it’s a get rich slowly game. In fact, I prefer to call it “Building a Digital Empire.”
Empires aren’t built overnight; they are built through years of detailed planning and decisive action. Yours is no different…so when times get tough or if you fail before you succeed, just remember…it takes time to build an empire.
If I’ve learned anything in the past 2 years about blogging and building businesses, it’s that the true way to obtain success is by enabling people to have some of their own. People aren’t shopping at your store in order to make you feel good, they’re doing it so that they feel good.
Last night I bought my first Mac, and even though the guy wanted to make it a true “Apple Experience” for me, the only thing that mattered to me was the gratification of buying that damn iMac. It wasn’t about his needs to make me happy, it was about my need to buy something and get that awesome feeling of knowing that a new world awaits inside of that box.
The same is true of any other product.
- You buy music because it makes you feel good…it resonates with you.
- You buy Taco Bell at 2 AM because you crave it.
- You buy smart phones because they enable you to improve the way you interact with people on a daily basis.
That being said, the most successful online marketers are those that have built brands that drive people towards a specific feeling or action. The best example I can point to is Chris Guillebeau, who writes about non-conformity.
Even though he travels the world and has visited nearly 200 countries, it’s the message he’s sending that really resonates with people.
I’m not traveling around the world, so although it was cool at first, it’s not the travel that does it for me now…it’s the fact that in joining his cause, commenting on his blog, and buying his products…I can become part of something. I can join a crusade against conformity.
- Jonathan Fields – Career Renegade
- Pam Slim – Escape Cubicle Nation
- Liz Strauss – It’s About People
- Naomi Dunford – Ittybiz (marketing for those that don’t like to)
These are all people that sell digital products, many of which teach you, in essence, how to make money as an entrepreneur, but have you noticed that none of their products are branded as make money online products?
It’s because they aren’t make money online products, they are “mission products,” and people want to be part of something like that.
My Own Experience
Initially, my blog didn’t have a mission. The only mission was to exist, and even that was up in the air. After that, it was the mission of the Webrepreneur, but even that didn’t really take off because it was about me, not you.
Now, even though my mission is to teach people how to build digital empires, there’s so much more to it. It’s no bullshit, call it like I see it. Lead from the front, not from behind. It’s coming up with new ideas and actually testing them, instead of copying and repeating what everyone else says and does. Lastly, and most important, it’s about enabling people to build their own kingdom so that they can live the life that they desire…so that they can turn their dreams into reality.
I recently wrote a post for Copyblogger, called The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion, in which I talked about this in more detail. Although I won’t rehash it all here, the prevailing theme was that your ideas aren’t just about you…they are about everyone. Ideas are living and breathing things, and if you don’t harness them, then someone else will. They’re waiting for you to turn them into something concrete…your ideas need you.
And it’s the same with people. People need you. They need leaders. They need people that are willing to step up and tell them what they want to do. They are waiting, if nothing else, for you to claim ownership of your own skill so that you can teach with confidence and authority.
Build a Mission Plan
What’s your mission? Why should people follow you? Why should they listen?
This Thursday, I’m going to spend some time talking about monetization and how to lead both novice princes and experienced kings, but before we get there…it’s critical that you discover your own personal mission. If not a personal mission, then a business mission.
Look at the causes that truly inspire you and I can almost guarantee that behind that cause, you’ll find a powerful mission that resonates with your own. That’s what you need to tap into, both on your own, and with your customers.
Think of it like this…
Before any major battle, there’s always an epic speech that inspires boys to fight like men and men to fight like gods. William Wallace in Braveheart. King Leonidas in 300. Jake Sully in Avatar.
The speech is the mission. The mission is the business. The business is something capable of changing the world.
What’s your mission?
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