Doing What You Do Best

Being yourself

If you’ve followed this blog for long, you’ve seen it morph from a copywriting emphasis to NLP copywriting to NLP marketing and most recently daily small business ideas.

I recently finished reading the business classic, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. In it, Collins talks about how great companies figure out what they can be the best at and do that.

In an interesting chapter on technology, it turns out none of the great companies focused on technology even though a casual observer (including the media) might have though it was the deciding factor. The principle was that unless you could be the best at a particular technology, it was probably a distraction.

I think I’ve been having that experience with curation. I first heard about curation about a year and a half ago. I tried it at that time and got bogged down with the daily repetition. And then another big name marketer came out with a product on it and I dove in again.

I hired two different employees in the Philippines to do it for me because I can’t do the daily repetition of it. The first one didn’t want to do it (I had to keep reminding to do things) and the other didn’t have good enough English to follow my instructions. I probably would have gotten a better employee had I paid more.

This blog – under the banner of Small Business Ideas – was my third attempt. I love the idea of innovation in small businesses. I love marketing. But for some reason or other, I can’t make myself read news and write a post more than about 3 weeks in a row without loosing all motivation. Part of me thinks there’s no way anyone is reading this if I can’t even stand to write it every day. Yes, it’s maxing out the SEO – but it’s boring. I wouldn’t read it.

When I ask myself what I CAN do best, it isn’t curation. I strongly suspect it’s NLP modeling. I’ve created five models personally though I haven’t released any of them publicly yet. I’ve been distracted by the technology and other life projects.

Whenever I’ve actually delivered a product, it’s sold and I’ve made some money. I can’t say the same for blogging or any fancy plugins or traffic generating tactics.

If you look at other folks who are doing well with their product/blog mix – Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi for example, you see solid products supported by blogs. No doubt their marketing people are using lots of SEO tactics but that’s not what they’re the best at.

Another issue I’ve had is getting the proper channel for the models. Originally I was thinking of doing something like a Paraliminal from Learning Strategies. Those are dual induction hypnosis sessions. The difference was going to be that I was doing a model of an actual skill rather than just a personal improvement topic like self esteem which you can’t measure well.

During that time I had an interesting pricing experience. I had one product that I’d originally priced at $97. It sold a few but not many. I put the price down to $17 and it started selling more. Then an affiliate picked it up and I sold 100 in under a week.

Then consider the Kindle marketplace and independent publishing. There are companies raking in millions of dollars selling products for $0.99. At that price, the volume is much higher.

When I was a kid, I thought the way to become a millionaire was to get a million people to give me $1. This may be the first time in history that’s possible for the average person.

Back to the model channel. I’d previously hired profession talent for dual induction hypnosis sessions. Part of me thought though that I might be overcomplicating it. If I can get results easily, do I really need to appear to add a black box to the mix? If I were the customer, would I be more likely to buy a dual induction hypnosis session or a straightforward audio recording I could play while driving?

And now that the Kindle has come along (or rather I just got a Kindle so I’ve come along), I think the channel that feels most congruent with myself is publishing the models as individual articles priced at $2.99 each.

I apologize if I seem to be jumping around a bit. There’s another thread I wanted to mention that’s influenced my decision to head this direction with everything.

There was a TED Talk by Rodney Mullen where he was talking about innovation in the context of skateboarding. He got really good and won a championship. But then each year it became about defending his title and less about innovation. Finally his spark went out, he lost the title and all the fame went looking to the next thing.

The main theme of the talk was to maintain your love for what you do rather than chasing the titles or the money. That’s how you keep innovating. A secondary lesson I took from it was the idea of raising up humanity through open source sharing. Most of the innovation happens when more people have more access to more ideas.

I realized that the models I’ve created aren’t helping anyone while I sit on them trying to figure out how to get more traffic or what channel to use to distribute them.

While $2.99 isn’t open source, I’m of the opinion that people don’t value what they haven’t invested in. $2.99 is basically free considering the value. That’s why people buy so many apps, iTunes songs and Kindle books. The power is shifting away from the huge publishing houses to independent publishers and individuals.

Hopefully all that means that we’ll all get better content. More publishers means more variety. Maybe we’ll get to hear more than just the same 5-10 songs on the radio over and over again. Maybe if I publish 10 models, 10 more people will publish 10 and we’ll all be able to learn anything we want much faster than before.

As I write this, the name of this blog is “Daily Small Business Ideas.” I’ll change it. I’m not sure what to yet. I’ll probably start with my name since that’s the domain and see what else inspires me. If you have an idea, feel free to send it.

The good news is that I won’t be trying to post every day, I’ll be posting my models as ridiculously inexpensive Kindle articles, and – most importantly for this blog – each post will have much more love and attention (though probably not SEO) given to it.

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