We have been led to believe that aiming too high will end in disappointment, will make us look foolish. But the reality is that aiming high is actually precisely what you need to do. Because when you aim high, you inspire others. When you have something exciting to say and when you are clearly excited about it yourself then people listen.
It’s so much more inspiring to hear someone tell you they want to go to space than it is to hear someone say they’re a hairdresser (though if that’s your passion, there’s nothing wrong with that!).If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance you’re in the internet marketing industry. Let’s say you are for now. You might have a plan to launch a website, sell an e-book, make some money. There are two ways you go about that.
One is the cynical way. The way where your heart isn’t in it. The way that you see time and time again. This approach involves looking for the hottest new ‘niche’ in the market. Whether or not that’s a niche you’re interested in doesn’t really matter. Then you buy some content, maybe hire someone to write some, maybe pump out a little yourself by just regurgitating what you already can find online.
Then, you lace into that content as much SEO as you possibly can. You do everything you can to make the site sell. You cover it in ads. You call it something like ‘The Best Fitness Site Ever’. And you wait for the cash to roll in. But that will not work. Why? Because there’s no passion. If you have a site about animal welfare and you hire the very best writer in the world to write for it.
If you tell them to write you the latest, most exciting, newest content then you still won’t do well. Why? Because they aren’t you. They can’t speak for you. They don’t know your point of view. And they probably don’t know the topic all that well either. So, they’ll do their research. Learn it thoroughly and try to write something great. But it will be safe. Generic, boring content. People will visit the site and they’ll see that.
The site has no personality. No tone of its own. No ‘mission statement’ or purpose. There is no passion or love behind it and so no community grows behind it. The site dies. That’s why the thousands of low quality sites never make it big. Think of the sites that do make it.
Those are sites like MOZ blog, like Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Blog, like Pat Fynn's Smart Passive Income. The Verge. The BBC. Forbes.
These are sites that are written by passionate experts. They are sites that have unique, engaging and brilliant content. And unique, brilliant points of view that are unique to the brand. They have high production values, slick design, thriving YouTube channels.
Do you see the difference?
Think about the sites that you read on a daily basis. I bet they are either:
A) Large teams of enthusiastic professionals
B) Single, passionate individuals
None of them will be spam designed to quickly make money. None of them will be ‘overly SEOed’. You can’t create amazing quality unless you are passionate about the topic. You have to love doing it. You need to put everything into it. You have to want to spend your free time writing articles, answering fan-mail and tweaking the logo. It mustn’t feel like a job.
If there isn’t a topic for a website you feel that way about, then being an internet marketer isn’t for you. You need to find what you are passionate about. Your calling. That is how you become Elon Musk and not ‘tired, overworked, stressed Dad who works himself to an early grave’. Do you see the difference? You can’t fake it. You have to love it.
Presenting the Image
But I know what you’re thinking: it’s all good and well having the dream and the vision but you also need the skill and you need that business persona. And it’s true. If you’re going to lead, inspire and get investments then you do need to learn to present yourself and you do need to learn to be taken seriously. And this is a skill that will help you in every other aspect of your life too.
So how do you go about it?
The simple place to start is with the realization that you are a brand. Your name is your own personal brand and just like any business brand, it is your job to protect that brand in a professional manner. You know how it is so important for a website to be correctly spelled, to have great design, to pay attention to even the smallest details?
It’s the same thing with you.
You need to present yourself in a way that inspires confidence and trust. You need to make sure that every interaction that other people have with you is a positive one. You need to present the face of a service that people can trust. You need to gain the confidence that you know what you’re talking about. You do this to begin with by conducting yourself in a professional manner.
That means that you put in effort and hard work into everything you do. Whether it’s that boring 9-5 that you’re just ticking over with, or whether it is a client who is very much ‘small time’ in your eyes. If you don’t give them 100% of your attention, if you rush things or if you make a silly mistake, then that is a black mark against you. If you say you are going to get a piece of work in by a certain deadline, then you make sure you do that.
You never know where amazing opportunities might come from. And you never know what one interaction might lead to. If you deal with someone in a poor manner, or you do a sub-par job, then word might spread. If you do an excellent job, you just might get offered something. The same goes for any work that you put out with your name on it. Make sure it is excellent quality.
Next, you need to make sure that your presentation is perfect. That means learning to communicate. Learning to present yourself in a professional manner I highly recommend getting classes to help you with public speaking and elocution. This will help you to get your point across in a way that other people understand. It will teach you to sell yourself, to thrive in interviews and to win clients and backers.
You also need to think about the small details of your appearance. How are your nails? How is your hair? Do you have a nice suit? Are you in good physical shape? All of this has been shown in countless studies to make a difference. People want to bet on the winning horse and if you look like you can barely keep yourself together, then why would anyone believe that you’re going to be able to run a business?
Sell a product? Provide a great service? Again, tiny things make the difference here: things like your shoes, how polished they are, how the laces are tied. Be constantly improving yourself and investing in you in order to make a better impression. Meditate. Get enough sleep. Have enough vitamins and minerals. Be ready to take those opportunities when they come.
And learn to see opportunities where you don’t expect them. Because it won’t always be obvious. Think of Sylvester Stallone who wanted to become a famous actor. He was turned down from all the acting jobs, so he eventually got there by writing a fantastic script for a movie. That movie was Rocky and he would only sell the script if he got the leading role.
The rest is history.
Opportunities might present themselves to you that don’t seem directly related to your goal. But adapt, learn to see the alternate routes. Because success in any area can lead to success in another. It builds confidence, it gives you connections and resources. This is called ‘spring boarding’, where you use one ‘win’ to launch you to the next.
If you turn down an opportunity because it doesn’t seem to exactly match your plan, then you can end up missing out on something that could have been huge. Always be looking for that next move. Business is like a massive game of chess. And once again, this is why you always need to put your best foot forward. Making the right impression and protecting the brand opens those opportunities.
Keep your goal in mind, keep winning and keep taking that next step. Don’t let yourself become comfortable. And use the lessons from our other guides to get over your fear of risk and failure to keep taking those chances.
If you do all this, then you never know where your drive and your effort might take you. THAT is how you become a success in business.