TV: Your secret competitive advantage

by tomcam
8 replies
I created a very successful business during the dot com crash of 2001. It still brings home 7 figures. That figure is declining, so I am learning internet marketing to a) use IM techniques to boost that business and b) establish a safer stream of income than my day job, which relies on an uncooperative third party for its success.

Since I was young I realized something that still escapes many of us. Every hour you spend watching TV or surfing the web is an hour you are not applying to your new career. (Thanks, Mr. Obvious!)You may know this, but until you internalize it you will not understand the life-changing flip side to that fact: you can use your free time to launch a new career while your potential competitors are watching reruns of "CSI". Every hour they watch TV is an hour you can be surging past them in the market.

Do the math. Americans watch something like 30 hours of TV a week on the average. Now, of course you don't watch that much TV, because you're an entrepreneur--right?--so let's say you're watching a mere 10 hours a week.

How much HTML would you know if you devoted those 10 hours a week to your website? What if you spent those 10 hours reading Cialdini's "Influence" and taking notes? How much content would you have if you spent 10 hours working on your autoresponder series? What if you used those 10 hours to put up a WordPress site and try selling some of the giant moldering masses of PLR material you've socked away?

I don't have a TV*, so while you're watching "American Idol" I am learning Drupal and developing my next info product. While you were watching TV in the 90s I was writing one of the first web servers (never released; it wasn't nearly as good as the one Microsoft starting giving away for free in the midst of my product development) and writing reviews for magazines, one of which led to a nice career at... Microsoft.

While you were watching TV in the late 90s I was working my tail off at Microsoft, then coming home studying database programming at night. So 9 months after quitting Microsoft, when I bought the website that still supports me I could make intelligent decisions about whom to hire and how to design the software. I'm not a great database programmer. But I know enough that I don't get ripped off when I oversee a project.

Your watching TV gave me a competitive edge over you. You know every episode of "Seinfeld" backwards and forwards, but I know PHP and JQuery and am learning Django tonight. (I've learned enough Drupal already that I can supervise the chap heading up my Drupal project and gently nudge him back on course when he claims something can't be done as I suggested.)

Use this. Turn the tables on your competitors. Every hour they watch TV could be giving you a competitive advantage if you start moving your career path forward instead of complaining that nothing good is on.

Take an hour or two off from watching reruns tonight. Bust out that HTML book, download FileZilla, and start messing around with your HostGator account. Do a squeeze page, even a bad one, and know that even if you don't watch "CSI: Poughkeepsie" you will have moved your career path forward in a tangible way.

* A bit of a lie. I do have a TV, but with no cable connection nor any ability to watch broadcast TV. I buy DVDs, which I watch on the average about 4 hours per month. I also have a learning disabled son who watches tons of "Veggie Tales", "Bob the Builder", and "Dirty Jobs" (go figure) while I work on the laptop.
#advantage #competitive #forget college #secret
  • Profile picture of the author GailTrahd
    I love the not so gentle 'nudge' and call to ACTION. TV is a spectator sport without the action of even getting to the arena.

    We can watch tv - they're called educational videos - learning how to . . . DRAT! Those aren't nearly as mind numbing.
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  • Profile picture of the author forous
    TV is the silent killer of many American Dreams.
    I don't watch TV tha much. It is not that bad if you
    when to stop.
    I have gotten some great items to promote in my Amazon business
    through commericals on TV.
    You can also get great niches which already making money for adevertisers.

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  • Profile picture of the author jlandells
    A few years ago, we decided to try living without a TV, so we simply unplugged it. To our credit, we did quite well for a first attempt - we managed almost 8 hours....!

    Two years ago we moved house and when we plugged the TV in, we found that we couldn't get a picture, so we decided we'd try again to go without. This has been the most productive 2 years of my life! :-)

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  • Profile picture of the author tomcam
    @forous, the first line of your message has a kick like a mule. But I also like your approach of using TV for research. Brilliant.

    @John, congrats! Amazing how much more you can wedge into your day, isn't it!
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
      TV is not the only factor. How many people complain about their day jobs but instead of going home and starting or working on their side business they're in a bar.


      Why is is that the majority of people who love sports only like watching sports on TV. IMHO if you love sports you love playing them.

      We as a nation really need to turn off the TV and devote that time to other, more productive endeavors.

      That's not to say that TV is bad, but we should take it in smaller doses.

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  • Profile picture of the author DebbieB
    Like all things, TV has its good and bad sides.

    Yes, it can distract us from more fruitful ventures and yes, it can be a huge time waster.

    But like most things, the key is moderation. And each one of us gets to decide what's moderate and what isn't.

    In fact, TV can actually be very useful to a marketer if you know what to look for. Watch out for the latest product placements on the daytime soaps, learn how to craft an offer by watching the shopping channels and infomercials. Spot a trend or two on the news, or science programs.

    We used to have a TV. Last summer it died. We made a conscious decision not to replace it for a few months. How are we holding out? So far so good. Very good.

    Here's the big takeaway for us: We are less stressed. We are no longer inundated with the news of the day, and not having the accompanying visuals is a huge stress reliever. We have the Internet for the essential info but we are spared the endless action videos and opinions.

    And that, in turn, translates into a better mindset for a lot of things. Including business.

    And our kids are active, read books (the real ones with paper!) and hang out with friends (the real ones, not just the virtual kind!).

    Do I miss the TV. Sometimes. A bit. But not enough to buy another one just yet.

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  • Profile picture of the author nick1123
    Great post!

    Everyone should watch less and do more. Start by Cialdini's book Influence.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomcam
    @Hubcap, I come from a family of alcoholics and I haven't had a drink since I was 10, so I forgot about mentioning bars. Another time sink. And as far as sports, I'm with you. Would it be so bad to miss a few pregame shows to build your blog up instead?

    @Debbie, thanks for the point about moderation. I wasn't trying to tell people to stop watching TV altogether (though it's an experiment well worth trying, as you note). I just want people to think about the good things they can achieve if they watch less and use that time to build things.

    @Nick, I agree. Cialdini's "Influence" is tops. An amazingly cheap intro to any kind of marketing. Worth more than one read, and it's an entertaining book too.
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