It’s funny to me that I’m writing this article as I am uniquely qualified to write it. It’s certainly not the thing that you want to be qualified to write as an entrepreneur, but here we are…
This is my story
During my first six years as an entrepreneur I tanked fifteen consecutive online businesses. It was the most frustrating time period in my life. The worst part about it was that I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I’m a very detail-oriented person. When it came to my businesses, I always took all the necessary steps to ensure that everything was perfect, when it came time to launch.
When I say perfect, I mean perfect. I joined well known business mentoring groups, took business, online marketing, search engine optimization and advertising classes and emulated the most successful people currently working in the field. I networked and received valuable advice and feedback from some of the best in the industry. I was consistently told that everything I needed was in place and I was well on my way. Right before each launch, I knew that it was only a matter of time before I earned my first million. You might have guessed this already, but that million never came.
This happened over and over. I was baffled over and over. I mean seriously, what was I doing wrong?
Then one day, it finally hit me.
I learned one very important lesson and it changed everything.
Let’s think about some of the most successful businesses in the world for a second.
1. Facebook was one of the first social media platforms on the market. Do we even count Myspace anymore? Anyway, Facebook launched and was exclusive to only certain universities. It then grew at a moderate pace and eventually expanded to all colleges, then the military and then to everyone.
2. Google came on scene with the intent of delivering search results in a much different way. Today, most people use Google because it provides the most accurate search results on the internet. Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines are still around, but people choose Google. Why?
3. Amazon started out as an online bookstore, but has somehow grown to the largest online retailer in the world. I mean seriously, Wal-Mart bought Jet.com in a sad attempt to keep up with Amazon.
Let me ask you one question.
What would have happened to Facebook, Google and Amazon if they did what I had been doing for all of those years? To recap, I was largely emulating the most successful people in the industry.
Can you image if Facebook came on the market emulating Myspace, or if Google came on the market emulating Yahoo!?
If these companies came onto the market with the goal of being just like the most successful businesses in their industry, they would have ended up just like the old me. A failure.
This emulation equals success mentality has gotten out of control. It’s literally everywhere, including influencer marketing. Take Instagram for example: Most of the large entrepreneur Instagram pages all look the same.
If you pay an online Instagram expert to teach you how to become an influencer, here is what they will tell you.
1. Find people in the industry who are already successful.
2. Do everything just like them.
3. Pay them to promote your page on theirs.
4. Repeat until you have 500,000 followers.
See there, I just saved you $500. Will this emulation model work? Sure, but only to an extent and you’ll never truly be successful. At best, you will be average.
Let me ask one more question.
If you decided to start a business in an attempt to compete with Amazon, but when you launch, you are only as good as Amazon and you aren’t doing anything different… why would I use your business, when I can just use Amazon? At least with Amazon I know what to expect. I’m comfortable with them and if you want me to leave them, you have to offer me something that they can’t.
It took me six years to learn that true success comes when I embrace my true self, go against the grain and find something that I can do better or at least different than everyone else.
Now go out there and shock the world. Go be the person that everyone else is trying to emulate. It won’t be easy, and yes, there is a chance that you may still fail. Welcome to life.
Seriously though, take this advice and apply it to everything that you do, not just your larger business concept. Apply it to your marketing, your sales pitches and your social media pages. Either find a way to do it better, differently, or don’t do it at all.
If you are currently doing this, your business will fail. It’s time adapt and overcome.
Story Published by Austin Lawson