My 5 Most Important Warnings for Internet Marketers:
I got ALL these bites in LITERALLY under six minutes
(That’s gotta be a new world’s record… someone call Guinness!)
OK, so Wednesday morning I woke up with nice, clean arms.
True, I was whiter than the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man combined, but I didn’t have even a single bite.
Then Sharon called to say she had to work late, and so I got it into my head to hike the Caps Ridge Trail up Mt. Jefferson… a stunning 5,000 footer in the White Mountains. (It stays light until 9 pm now up here… it’s like getting two days in one!)
I also thought “it’s so hot out, even though I never hike in short sleeves, today’s the day” (In the 90s this week… a rarity for New Hampshire, where our state motto is “Live, Freeze, and Die”)
So off I went… two hours in the car, 4 litres of Fiji Water in my back pack (always gotta be Fiji!), my boots, poles, short sleeves, and big bottle of sun block to keep me nice and white. (Because I don’t tan, I burn)
When I got there, Jefferson Notch Road was CLOSED. (The 7 mile dirt road which leads to the trail)
But there’s just something about the 4,000 footers in the Whites that calls to me…
So I decided to tackle Mt. Hale instead, because the trailhead is only 15 minutes away, and it’s another mountain I’d been wanting to knock off my list.
What I FORGOT was you absolutely do NOT want to hike near a shallow stream or still water in June unless you enjoy feeding the gnats and mosquitoes…
The trail head was more buggy than usual, but I blew it off thinking that I wouldn’t notice it once I got moving.
About half way up the trail I ran into a guy who said “it’s unbelievably buggy on top, not sure I’d continue if I were you”.
But I dismissed this warning too, thinking “he’s just an inexperienced hiker… kind of a wuss”. (Yeah… like real men are supposed to wear bee hives as lampshades at parties, right?)
So I continued on up to the top.
At the summit I thought “this isn’t so bad”, so I took off my pack, took out my sardines and rice (a guy’s gotta eat), and prepared to enjoy a meal.
You know how people tend to say “there were a thousand bugs after me”… and you take it figuratively, meaning “there were a LOT of bugs”
I’m NOT talking figuratively.
I’m being LITERAL.
At least 1,000 bugs came swarming.
I’ve never seen anything like it…
It was like being in a horror movie (remember the scene in “Wilbur” with the rats?)
I couldn’t get my pack on quick enough…
And run for my life.
I’ll never forget it.
The bugs did NOT follow me off the summit. I really don’t know why… maybe there was some electromagnetic force which kept them up there, maybe they were “defending their turf” and were just happy when I left, but for whatever reason I was free of them within 50 yards.
And the trip down was relatively uneventful, except for a nice 70 year old man who turned out to be a psychotherapist, horribly lost in the woods. (I took him back down with me and gave him a ride to HIS trailhead… we head-shrinkers have got to stick together!)
So why did I tell you this story?
Because when you want something bad enough–a business goal for instance–sometimes you’ll ignore repeated, obvious, strong warnings in pursuit of it.
Granted, persistence is a necessary character trait for entrepreneurial success, and if it weren’t for hard-headed, stubborn business people innovation would never occur.
But on the other hand, there ARE paths that don’t need to be retread, problems that don’t need to be repeated.
Here are a five I’ve seen literally hundreds of times in the course of dealing with coaching students, customers, and peers:
- GET THE MATH RIGHT!: If there’s one mistake which kills marketing projects way over and above all others it’s this one. In fact, I’m going to coin a new quote right here and now “the stronger the dream, the weaker your math ability”. I’ve seen hundreds of coaching students, Glenn Club members, clients, friends, and peers plunge straight on to their “deaths” all the while completely convinced their dream MUST catch on. Really… ask yourself how much (specifically) you’re planning to make when the business model is mature, estimate your cost per visitor, cost per lead, cost per sale, refund rate, customer service costs, chargebacks, lifetime customer value, available traffic, etc. and put it all in a big spreadsheet. Do it NOW while you’re thinking about it, before your dreaming brain takes over and tells you “I think it’s gonna be OK because you’re such a great marketer”, or because the product idea is so cool, or because nobody else is doing it. If you don’t have math on your side, you don’t have ANYTHING.
- DON’T ASSUME YOU CAN TRANSFER A JOINT VENTURE MARKETING SUCCESS INTO PAID ADVERTISING CHANNELS: Joint Ventures carry two very, very powerful advantages which disappear when you move to paid traffic (1) the endorsement of someone with a relationship with their list and (2) the relative absence of competition at the moment of contact (in contrast to PPC, for example, when there are 20 other vendors on the page competing for your prospect’s attention). Most successful JV projects I’ve seen were limited to JV traffic (and possibly SEO). On the other hand, you CAN and usually should pursue joint ventures in the opposite direction… if something is profitable in paid media, there’s probably a lot of money on the table to be picked up by working with your competitors.
- DO RESOURCE PLANNING BEFORE YOU LAUNCH: You’ve probably heard me say this before… In internet marketing, “the name of the game is staying in the game until you win the game”. Most people crap out of the game not so much because they can’t manage Google, or don’t know how to advertise, or have a bad product, or aren’t making any sales… most people crap out of the game too soon because they run out of resources. What resources? (a) Money; (b) Time; (c) Passion for the Project; (d) Moral Support. (In the How To Choose Profitable Markets system Terry and I spent quite some time making the point that your very market choice should be determined by your resources, and provide a spreadsheet/blueprint to help)
- DO YOUR FRICKING RESEARCH: Most of you know I used to get paid between $100,000 and $500,000 to do marketing research for large companies. What you don’t know is that the way the internet has evolved, there are now literally dozens of ways to get the same information for free. Someone could make a business out of just compiling consumer language from the buyer reviews on Amazon.com alone… it’s absolutely amazing! There’s absolutely no reason to play blind archery anymore.
- SELL RESULTS, NOT PROCEDURES: (Thanks to Perry Marshall for this one). For example, my wife’s been developing a web-video infomercial service for entrepreneurs. She really is among the best in the world at her craft… but the problem is, people don’t want infomercials, they want CUSTOMERS. So I’m helping her develop a model where the client simply covers her costs of production (usually just a few thousand dollars), and then they pay for phone calls and sales instead.
Now, no one’s invulnerable to the allure of the mountain top.
We all trudge ahead on our journeys despite the warnings and clear signs on the road.
Dreams are the stuff of life.. they make us human…
And nobody’s more prone to them than I, as evidenced by my lovely bug-meat story.
But above are the 5 most important warnings I want engraved on my tombstone for all the entrepreneurs that ever come visit me OK?
Onwards and Upwards,
Dr. Bugmeat 🙂