10 Business Lessons Learned in 2012
Business was incredible, I traveled for 6 months in Europe and met lots of amazing people.
Today I reflected on my business in 2012 and wanted to share with you 10 important lessons that I learned and that you can apply to your business this year.
Lesson #1: Treat IM Like a Real Business
Imagine that, instead of Adsense or affiliate marketing, you ran a restaurant.
Do you think you'd spend hours on restaurant forums looking for "tips"?
Of course not!
And it's the same with internet marketing.
You need to get out there, hustle, learn, fail, make stupid mistakes, make brilliant mistakes and spend less time reading and more time doing.
Lesson #2: SEO= Testing and Applying
I see too many people here in WF ask other people "If I do X, Y and Z what will happen?".
In the SEO world you need to get out there and try things every single day. If not, you're just relying on the (often misleading) consensus of other people.
I have a few "test" sites that I use to test experimental stuff with.
I learn more from a single test than I do from hours reading articles and forum posts.
Lesson #3: Get Your Business Registration Set Up...Now!
To the newbies reading this, registering your business may seem like the last thing that you need to do.
But once that money starts rolling in you'll want to make sure you have everything on the up and up business wise.
And registering your business gives you a feeling of legitimacy which can motivate you through dark days.
I was originally registered in NY (bureaucratic nightmare) but have since moved onto Wyoming...which is a (legal) small business tax haven.
I also pay a woman on Elance $25/hour to do my bookkeeping. Worth every penny!
Lesson #4: "You Need to Spend Money to Make Money"
This old adage is as true now in the digital age as it was 500 years ago.
However, many people make the mistake of trying to build "free" links or getting traffic from "free" sources.
Look: IM isn't full of regular Joes like you and me anymore. We're competing against Fortune 500 companies now.
If you want to have a chance you need to pay to play.
If you're short on dough, save money, get a part time job, sell your blood, prostitute yourself...do whatever you have to do to make the money
Because in the end money is the lifeblood of your business.
Lesson #5: Value > Marketing
Look, I love internet marketing.
But I can tell you from experience that providing value makes everything you do SO MUCH EASIER.
When you have a value-packed site you can:
- Build links
- Get social shares
- Drive conversions
- Reduce bounce rate
Save yourself a ton of time and frustration and stop building 50 mini-sites with poorly written content.
In the long run a real authority site with valuable content will save you time and money.
Lesson #6: Be Ahead (Not At or Behind) the Curve
SEO moves fast.
And to do well you need to be AHEAD of the curve. Doing last year's stuff isn't going to do you any good.
The best way to do that is to have a feel for the pulse of the SEO industry.
Where are things going?
Where have they been?
What doesn't work anymore...and why?
If you can answer these questions you can blast by your competition who still thinks blog comments make a difference.
Lesson #7: Choose Your Niche Carefully
If you decide to build a legitimate authority site (which I hope you do), be sure to pick a niche that has the following things going for it:
- It's growing (think Pinterest vs. Facebook)
- Is full of buyer traffic ("buy life insurance" vs. "life insurance tips")
- Something you can write A LOT about (you need lots of content to get those long tail keywords)
- Has moderate competition (some competition is a good sign).
I know what its like to be obsessed over your business.
You can't stop thinking about strategies and ways to drive traffic to your site.
You fantasize about your stats.
You don't hang out with friends or family as much because you need to work on your business.
I'm not saying to stop working hard.
But a life outside of your business is really important for your business.
My best ideas often come to me when I'm far away from my laptop.
And I recharge my batteries when I spend time exploring a new country.
You'll probably find that you have more energy and more motivation when you take some time away from your business.
Lesson #9: Read Less Articles and More Books
Articles are nice and all...but nothing beats a book for shaking up the beliefs and paradigms that hold you back from success.
I can name a dozen books that changed my life...but I can't name one article that I've even read this month.
Here are a few that I recommend:
The 4-Hour Workweek
Art of Non-Comformity
That should keep you busy for a while
Lesson #10: Build Relationships, Not Links or Sites
In the internet marketing world (and especially in SEO), we're so used to hiding behind our screens.
This year I got out of my comfort zone and reached out to other people in the IM space.
And these connections helped me land new SEO clients, learn more about the industry and gave me the chance to bounce ideas off of someone that knows what they're talking about.
Well, I hope that helps you rock 2013.
How was 2012 for you? Any lessons you'd like to share with your fellow Warriors?
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My Business site: WarMarks - Web Development | My Personal Blog: Mohsin Rasool