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How to Work Smarter, Not Harder
by Michel Fortin
Online, business success is certainly easier to achieve than its brick-and-mortar version. It's not a free ride and it definitely requires some time let alone work. But on the web, I believe that one can easily -- as the clichT goes -- work smarter instead of harder.
Yet the challenge that most Internet marketers encounter is the fact that they feel their success is not coming as fast as it should. As Wayne Dyer once said, "They keep striving but never seem to be arriving." Most people jump into business with the hope (and often the erroneous or naive assumption) that their marketing efforts will lead to virtually instant results.
I can certainly appreciate how entrepreneurs, business owners and Internet marketers feel since, in my life, it took me years (and many of them) to finally learn the so-called "secrets" -- and enjoy the fruits -- of success. With two bankruptcies under my belt and numerous sleepless nights, it certainly was not an instantaneous, overnight process.
In fact, I was once interviewed and asked: "Mike, you seem to be an overnight success; how did you do it?" My wife loves that question. With a huge grin on her face, she answers my critics with a simple comment: "Indeed, it took him many 'overnights' alright."
Experience as Priceless Education
I've lost everything a few different times in my life. I've had my cars repossessed and lost two of my homes. I was once forced to seek shelter at a local YMCA. I was reviled by my peers and persecuted by my own family. I was even forced to -- yes, believe it or not -- find a job. I even once had to work in three of them simultaneously in order to make ends meet.
But I learned from my mistakes. After falling flat on my face, I quickly picked myself back up, dusted myself off, rolled up my sleeves, shifted gears and kept on keeping on. In short, I was educating myself and gathered priceless feedback along the way.
The truth of it all is this: Failure is feedback. And failure is probably the most common denominator among the successful. One of my favorite marketing gurus is without a doubt Dan Kennedy (see http://DanKennedy.com). In one of his books, "No B.S. Business Success," Dan explains: "Failure is part of the daily entrepreneurial experience."
All this is to say that, while success is indeed possible, it is not an instant result like that of winning the lottery. And I'm not saying that you have to fail in order to succeed. Moreover, I certainly am not trying to inculcate some pollyannish kind of positive thinking in you. But as Jim Rohn once wrote: "If the man is going down the wrong road, he doesn't need motivation to speed him up -- what he needs is education to turn him around."
You Need Tools in Order to Build
In other words, there is no such thing as "get rich quick." But with the right tools, the right education and the right attitude, one can definitely get rich quicker. For example, there are many online resources (like http://SuccessDoctor.com/IMC/, http://www.wilsonweb.com and http://www.ideasiteforbusiness.com/) that can certainly help.
As Bill Gates once said, the Internet will definitely create more millionaires than any other medium in history. Since the Internet is founded on both information and speed, the web's plethora of tools grant the entrepreneur the ability to achieve success faster than ever.
It took me years to achieve success in the offline world but only a small fraction of that time to achieve it online. And I believe that it's because, with the Internet, one has the ability to (quickly and efficiently) access knowledge, ideas and resources that were once unavailable to brick-and-mortar business owners. It's all available at the simple click of a mouse.
In essence, learned experience is far better than learning from experience. And you have the ability to learn from other people's failures, setbacks, bouncebacks and successes -- these are, in my opinion, the most powerful weapons you can ever include in your arsenal.
Be a Sponge
The moral of it all? Learn. Keep learning. Use the Internet to learn as much as you can. If you can join the many resources available on the web (especially if they're guaranteed, like IMC), do so. Attend seminars. Take courses. Listen to audio cassettes while you're surfing the web. Turn your car into a university on wheels by listening to tapes as you drive.
Remember that you can chalk it up to research and education for tax purposes. In my case, I have a library that's literally filled with thousands of books, videotapes and audiocassette programs, with topics ranging from the motivational to Internet marketing.
The most popular ones (ones I often shop myself) are located at:
- http://www.success.com/ and
And more important, don't expect an instantly gratifying, panacean solution. It's takes work. Hard work. Like building a house, your Internet success still needs to be built somehow -- it can't be built by itself. But it doesn't always have to be hard work. You can certainly work smarter: With the right tools, your "house" can be built much faster, stronger and straighter.
Don't kid yourself. There is no magic wand out there that will do it for you. And trust me, there are a lot of "smoke and mirrors" out there (get rich quick schemes), especially on the web -- I've been a victim too many times. But also, don't despair after the first setback. Turn your setback into feedback and you will simply add more tools to your toolbox.
Above All, Learn From People
In my life, I was lucky to have several mentors assist me in my beginnings. One in particular will remain in my heart for a long time -- a man, Pierre A., who literally built a multinational empire out of a small, basement apartment business. Online, potential mentors (let alone partners, associates, colleagues, strategic alliances and friends) exist by the thousands.
As discussed in my book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning" (get a free copy at http://SuccessDoctor.com), one should vigorously seek out alliances -- there are as many different forms of strategic alliances out there as there are online businesses. I also firmly believe that the web is an incredibly fertile ground for such arrangements.
Why? It's because the only thing that separates us all are computer screens. Cyberspace is indeed a cold world. And not only customers but also business owners are constantly looking for ways of humanizing their online activities. It makes perfect sense to finally add a voice if not a face to those plain text messages we receive in our email inboxes on a daily basis.
Second, if the online world doesn't know you exist, you don't. Period. But through such alliances you have the ability to leverage your visibility, your sales and eventually your success -- and quite effectively too, I might add. I guess you can say that it all boils down to the famous "Mastermind Group Principle" originally taught by Napoleon Hill.
The Driving Force Behind the Web
Mr. Hill, the grandfather of success principles, wrote in his book "Think and Grow Rich" that successful people are those who develop relationships with like-minded people. While the book was written almost a century ago (long before the original computer, which used to be encased in large 8-feet tall cabinets), those principles still ring true today.
Strategic alliances thrive on the web. I believe it's part of John Nesbitt's prediction that we're moving towards the high-tech/high-touch, made in his book "Megatrends." Even psychologist Wayne Dyer once said, "We are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS." To paraphrase, we are real people and not just a bunch of commands, scripts and email links.
Lester B. Thurow, in his great book "Building Wealth," mentioned that most of today's billionaires -- including Bill Gates, the richest man in the world -- do not really own anything. Unlike the rich people of yesteryear, these billionaires do not own oil refineries, gold, manufacturing plants or real estate. They own soft information -- data that only exists with the help of some unseen force (i.e., electricity). In short, they own nothing.
With today's knowledge-based economy, more people will become rich than ever before. Whether your business sells a tangible or an intangible product, selling on the web is still a process based on nothing. So the key is to create alliances with the entities behind those nothings: Real people, because they can help turn those nothings into somethings.
It's a Small World After All
This certainly applies to customers and customer service, which certainly takes a place of great importance on the web. But it also includes developing solid relationships with other webmasters, Internet marketers and business owners to help build one's business.
Of course, email is free for most and therefore an economical means of communication. But surprisingly, online discussions or chats, phone calls and even face-to-face meetings with some of the people behind those electronic veils we call web sites -- key people from whom you can learn -- can become quite positive and richly rewarding.
Being alone in a world of nothingness is indeed a cold prospect. You don't have to be. In fact, if you take a look at the most successful Internet marketers out there you will always find that there are some kind of partnerships, alliances or joint ventures somewhere in the mix. For instance, my associates Jess and Kenny, the owners of IMC, are formidable examples.
Speaking of IMC, its private discussion boards at http://SuccessDoctor.com/IMC/ are maintained not by one but by a panel of Internet marketers who share their wisdom, successes and mistakes -- people with whom members can easily develop a certain kinship and receive priceless advice. More important, such forums can often become the springboards for many successful and enduring online partnerships -- they have been for me.
In essence, look at ways of building relationships online not only with your customers but also with others who can help you. Networking is not a concept strictly limited to multi-level marketing and affiliate programs. They also include suppliers, associates, webmasters, non-competing business owners, brick-and-mortar businesses, and so on.
In the end, realize that success is not an instant process. And most important, it doesn't have to be a lonely one. The most powerful tool that you can ever use to build your "house" is OPE (which stands for two things, namely "Other People's Experiences" and "Other People's Efforts"). But keep in mind that OPE also stands for "Online, People Exist."
In closing, here's my favorite quote of all time. It's from Jim Rohn and it's been hanging on my wall, in front of me in my office, for over seven years. It goes something like this:
"There are some things in life that you don't have to know how it works.
The main thing is that it works. While some are studying the roots, others
are picking the fruits. Success just depends on which end you want to be."
About the Author
Michel Fortin is a consultant dedicated to helping businesses turn into powerful magnets. Visit http://SuccessDoctor.com to receive a free copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning." He is also the editor of the "Internet Marketing Chronicles" ezine delivered weekly to 90,000 subscribers -- subscribe free at http://SuccessDoctor.com/IMC/.
Tags: E-commerce and Internet