…. and How We’re Going to Do Business Differently.
This isn’t the sexiest of blog posts. But that wasn’t my intention when I was writing it anyway. I just wanted to tell you what’s wrong with the way some people do business online, and why (more importantly) we’re going to be doing things just a little bit differently.
I’ve been messing around (literally) on the internet for the past 3 years trying to find the quickest route to internet stardom and the millions that were sure to follow. I didn’t get very far. Those experiences taught me a few things about myself and the virtual world:
- Don’t follow the money; instead do something you really care about. I’m not going to go on a rant here. I started to, but didn’t see the point, so I ripped up what I’d written and started again (maybe I’ll share my thoughts some day). All I’m going to say is this – if you’re thinking about quitting your 9:00 – 5:00 and making your fortune online by purchasing a quick-fix business-in-a-box solution, think again. They don’t work. Success online is simple, but it takes bloody hard work. There are a few internet marketers out there that have amassed fortunes through selling dubious crap to unsuspecting naive opportunity seekers. Forget the ‘make money online’ niche. Instead do something that lights the fire inside. Find something you really care about and pursue that!
- There’s so much mediocre crap online. I should know, I was contributing to it! It’s amazing how high standards can drop when you’re not accountable to anyone. It’s amazing what you’ll succumb to just to get your search rankings on the first page. I really did put some garbage out there. It worked too. I was getting reasonable levels of organic traffic until I got ‘Penguin-ed’. No complaints from my side. Google got it right. Users deserve the best search experience. And that should mean high organic rankings for great and relevant content. Thankfully times are changing. Google put a a stop to crap content, and we’re all better off as a result. It allows the artist to get noticed through great content and hard work.
- You already have as many tools, tactics and resources as you’ll ever need to be an online success; you don’t need anything else. I think we’re all guilt of this one to some extent. I admit it. I was. And still am. It’s something I have to work on every day. It’s difficult to accept that you already have all the resources you’ll ever need to be a success. But we always doubt ourselves – “If only I was able to buy this incredible new program, it would change everything”. How often do you hear yourself saying that? You’re making excuses. You’re not being resourceful. The reality is you already have everything you need – a pen, paper, computer, domain name, hosting and a WordPress blog. That’s it. It’s time to start creating stuff. Write about what you care about. It’s not going to be great at first. Just keep at it.
- Don’t waste time doing stuff that’s not important. It’s easy to be a busy fool; especially online. You think there’s so much important stuff to do. Your daily ‘To Do’ lists are getting bigger and bigger, and you’re not getting any closer to consistently creating great content. Why? Probably because you’re wasting time doing stuff that’s not important. “I need to update my WordPress theme, get my Twitter profile created, set up my email auto-responder sequence….” and the list goes on and on. And typically, these ‘To Do’ lists never have ‘Create Great Content’ as the top priority. So here’s what I learned from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Create a ‘Don’t Do’ list. Put on the list the 5-10 things that are stopping you from doing the important work. Next, tear up your existing ‘To Do’ lists and create a new one which clearly states as the #1 priority ‘Create Great Stuff’. It works for me.
- Don’t become isolated. The internet is paradise for the loners out there. But it can become a prison cell for those amongst us who are a little more sociable. Be careful…. for your health and your business. We’re all aware of the detrimental impact to your health of living, or working, in isolation. It’s not how nature intended. We operate at our best when we cultivate great personal and professional relationships. Your computer doesn’t count! You need human interaction; especially if you’re looking to develop an online business. Why go it alone? Network with people who care about similar things. You can leverage forums, blogs and social media to create your relationships. You have all the resources already at your fingertips and they don’t cost a thing. Build yourself a network and make yourself accountable.
“Are you willing to make a commitment to a craft? There is no right or wrong answer. Just the answer that makes your heart sing and lights your eyes on fire.”
In this post, I’m not here to waste your time and wallow in my own inadequacies or desperation. That’d be a little boring and a little self-indulgent. Instead, I want to share with you two things….
- Explain the problem I’m having with this whole internet marketing thing; and
- Share how we’re going to be doing business online with a bit more class!
The Problem I Have With Internet Marketing
I’m going to start with the positive. There are some incredible internet entrepreneurs who I admire tremendously, for example Rich Schefren at Strategic Profits, Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income and Brendon Burchard (amongst others). There are others, however, who’ve just got the whole thing wrong. And here’s why….
- Where’s the Innovation? Let’s just copy everyone else’s shit. 99% of the content online is mediocre at best. If it’s original and mediocre, then I’m fine with that. We’re not all cut out for genius status – myself included. However, more often than not it’s rehashed mediocre content, especially in the online marketing arena. It’s the same old ideas, same tactics, and the same ‘sell sell sell’ mentality. What happened to the innovation? Where’s the creativity? Where’s the art? It’s gone. It’s up to you and me to be different.
- Integrity – What’s That? Without getting into the gory details or naming people, let’s just say there are one or two people online who let me down. They didn’t keep their commitments. Okay, so maybe I was a little naive, but to me it all boils down to having a little bit of integrity. You can’t do business or have relationships without it. Unfortunately, the internet marketing world attracted one or two who weren’t at the front of the queue when they were handing out integrity. Be warned!
- Sell sell sell – did somebody say anything about value? To begin with, it’s very exciting. It’s like day trading the financial markets; long sales letter promising you the world of riches and lots of shiny buttons to click on. It’s difficult to avoid. It’s even more difficult to differentiate the good from the bad. And that why relationships are so bloody important, especially online. Unfortunately, a lot of the internet marketers feel the necessity to try and sell you something before the ‘Hello’. That’s a little rude don’t you think? Where’s the value that’s being provided before even contemplating trying to sell something? Lesson learned!
- Sustainable business or perpetual promotions. This one I learned from Rich Schefren at Strategic Profits. It took me a while to get it, but then I’m a bit slow like that. It’s particularly prevalent in the ‘make money online’ niche where ‘sound business principles’ are not common practice. There is a reliance on randomly spamming email list subscribers with sales promotions daily (or even more frequently). They all promise the earth but typically fail to deliver anything apart from a reduced bank balance. If they stop the random email promotions, the income stops. It’s hardly the stuff of a thriving sustainable business. My recommendation is to simply unsubscribe to this junk.
It’s easy to get sucked in. I did. I didn’t create anything that I cared too much about, or was proud of. It was mediocre (at best) crap that had one purpose – make some cash, quick. I made some. In fact, I was profitable, but I felt more like a con-man, than an entrepreneur operating with any level of integrity. It was a 5-figure business. It was profitable. But it was a burden and I never felt good about selling a crappy product in a niche that I knew very little about. So, I pulled the plug…. literally. I took down the domain and the email address and the customer support overnight. It was a huge relief.
I made a commitment there and then that my next online venture would be something I was proud of; something I cared about and something that provided amazing value. The result, after much soul searching and time wasting, was Rebel Male. It’s not about the money. It’s much more than that. It’s about who I am. It’s something I really care about; something I want to nurture and develop over the next 10 years. If things work out, then great. If not, then I hope I’ve created something that I’m proud of and has helped others. If I fail, it’s not life-threatening and it’s not going to break the bank.
I hope you can tell by now that we’re going to differentiate ourselves from the shenanigans that got Internet Marketing it’s bad rap. That’s why we’ve developed our very own little Code of Conduct (or… How We Do Business). It follows our very own F.U.C.E.T. (careful how you say it) values.
Before continuing, I apologise if the language used in the rest of this post seems a little dull. I’ve tried to keep it light-hearted as much as possible, but this is serious stuff. It’s about how to do business with Authenticity + Transparency + By Caring.
Transparency – We’re Open & Honest, But We Make Many Mistakes
Honesty in business and life isn’t an attribute, it’s a pre-requisite. It’s a ticket of entry. It’s a crying shame that not everyone thinks like this. That’s why I’m spelling it out for you – I’m transparent and honest about my experiences, (lack of) expertise, results, credentials (yes, I do have a useless PhD) and abilities with our readers, subscribers, peers, public, media and eventually clients.
I’ll be making clear descriptions of any product or service we put on the market. That includes price-points and any recurring billing. It you’re like me, you’ll have already purchased at least one shady online product leaving you frustrated and well, just a little bit pissed off. That’s why I’ll be telling you exactly what you’re signing up for, purchasing and receiving.
SPAM. We all hate it, but it’s not going away any time soon. I’m just going to make sure we don’t contribute any crap to your email inbox. All of my email communication complies with the CAN-SPAM regulations. It’s not difficult. I use Get Response as our email provider. I love ‘em. They keep me honest. They make sure all email recipients have opted-in to receive our email communications and also ensure that there is the option to unsubscribe at the bottom of all our email.
I’ll make sure all of our marketing materials are 100% legitimate. There’ll be zero tolerance to false or inaccurate claims, results guarantees (you’ve seen those ‘5 clicks to your first online sale’ ads) or misleading testimonials (including anything with paid or unpaid actors). I’ll stand behind every single claim I make.
Yes, I have a useless PhD, but I don’t and won’t offer any kind of medical advice. I’ll leave that to the ‘pros’. That’s why I refer our readers to an appropriate certified advisor as necessary.
This website has open public access that includes everything you wanted (or didn’t want) to know about me and the small company we’re building. It includes our company contact address, email, social media and telephone number. If you’ve taken the time to ask me a question, I’m going to make sure I get you the right response. I respond to every single question and help request, so don’t be shy, drop me an email or tweet or post a comment below.
Customer Service – It’s a Little Bit Important
I will always continue to over-deliver on our promises, products and our content to our readers.
I want to provide you with exceptional content that helps you achieve your personal and business goals. That’s why I’ll continue to strive to understand your needs problems and ambitions. I enjoy communicating, networking and interacting. It helps build incredible relationships and helps me understand you.
I don’t have any products right now, but when I do, I’ll provide a ‘no-questions-asked 30-day guarantee. You won’t have to jump through hoops or explain yourself to receive a refund. I’ll leave that to the losers.
I’ll always honour your current financial situation. I’m not going to persuade you into spending money you don’t have, or lead you to financial meltdown. For those people that do, and you know who you are, you should be locked up!
I’ll always make it easy for you to contact us. My contact information is on all of our site pages, and will be on all of our sales pages and purchase receipts. I don’t hide. Even if you’re not a client or customer, and just engage with our content, you’ll still receive awesome service from me.
Reputation – It’s Time to Clean Things Up
Understanding and caring for others also extends to peers in our industry. There are some incredible people out there. People we respect and admire enormously. I’ll continue to honour and engage with my industry peers with the respect and professionalism that they deserve. There are much better people out there than me! I’m not going to claim stuff as my own when it’s not. I’ll always cite sources and give credit to others when I quote them. I’ll never mis-represent other’s work.
Sometimes I’ll share other people’s content with you. There’s no point in re-inventing other people’s genius work (I’m not capable of that). And there’s certainly no way I’d ever call it my own. So I’ll always ensure that I obtain written permission to publish other’s work directly from the author. That’s only fair don’t you think?
Being connected to industry leaders can be great for the ego, but is often mis-used in the online world. I’ll never ever abuse any relationships I might create with respected insiders. I’ll also never misuse the name or likeness of others to create bullshit associations or credibility.
We strive to cultivate a legacy of incredible customer service and focus on offering distinct, invaluable and exceptional information that helps you and others change lives.
I do not and will not speak disparagingly of the industry or anyone within it, just to differentiate myself. No-one benefits from this and the community suffers. That’s not my goal. Rebel Male exists to change people’s lives. I want people to live life on their terms. Discrediting others isn’t going to help.
What This Means For You?
That almost concludes my rather protracted ramblings in this post. But before concluding, I wanted to share with you three important takeaways that you can apply to life and when you interact with other people and business online:
- You’ll Never Be an Overnight Success. Success in your personal life, relationships and business takes time. It takes those little unnoticeable 1% daily improvements that will ultimately distinguish you from the crowd. You need to hone your craft through daily repetition. That’s how the inspirational rebels like Ali, Mandela and Jobs became great. You can’t buy your way to overnight sustainable success. And even if you could it would be a shallow win. That’s not what you’re striving for is it? It takes work, hard work!
- Hold Yourself To The Highest Of Standards. It doesn’t matter who you are, who you interact with, or what you do for a living, you need to have this one attribute over any other. It’s integrity. You need to be a person of honour. You need to be a person with holds no secrets, tells no lies and has no regrets. You can only do this by living a life of integrity. Trust me, it’ll help you sleep well at night.
- Check Out Who You’re Dealing with Online Before Dealing With Them. There are shady characters in all walks of life, but the internet appears to attract them like the plague. It’s a great place to hang out, do business or buy things from. But be warned – not everyone operates at the same level. Don’t invest in ‘stuff’ or people that you don’t know or have not researched thoroughly. Make sure testimonials are the real thing. Don’t become the next online victim. Are you really going to trust this person with your personal details?
So there you have it. Not your typical blog post, but I hope none of our posts are, or ever will be. I’ll let you decide that. Let me know what you think by posting a comment below. Talk Soon — David