Be The First In Your Business
Pop Quiz: How “good at stuff” do you have to be to double any metric in your business (sales, traffic, etc) that you currently down?
- A) A Whole Lot Better
- B) Only A Little Bit Better
If you answered “A,” you failed. Print this article, keep it on your desk and read it every day for 10 days.
If you answered “B,” huzzah. You get 10 cool points, but you still need to print this article, keep it on your desk and read it every day for 10 days.
What They Told Me Every Day Was Dead Wrong
You know the old expression “Jack of all trades, master of none?” It’s stupid, and it’s bad advice. I used to hear it all the time growing up when I’d dabble in learning something new or figuring out just a little bit about a whole mess of topics. People would pull up that phrase as if to say that focusing on one single skill to the exclusion of others was the secret to success.
Now, I’m not knocking the idea that focused study will make you a master at something. Can’t be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist without it. But specialized mastery of one subject alone will not boost your chances of growing fast in your business. A healthy dose of generalizing, however, will. (Michael gets this.)
Here’s an example: Jack and Jill are two freelance writers – pretty good ones, too. On a scale of 1 to 10, let’s say their writing skills are about an 8. They are above average, yet both of them are struggling to attract clients because their the traffic to their websites sucks. (On a scale of 1 to 10, their search engine knowledge is at a 1. They know nothing about it.)
Jack kicks himself every day and wishes he understood this “search engine optimization thing” so that he could bring in more business. But all that stuff is BIG and SCARY and he’d have to be REALLY GOOD at it to every make it work. So there he stays at 1.
Jill says, “screw that,” picks up Naomi’s SEO School or Michael’s SEO teleseminar and says “I’m going to spend 5-10 hours or so learning about all this SEO stuff. Jill does, and with 5-10 hours of training she’s now at a 4 on that sliding scale.
Fast forward 6 months and guess what? Jill is eating Jack’s lunch, that’s what. She’s not an expert at SEO by any means, but she now knows enough to stop making stupid mistakes and she knows the bare minimum she needs to in order to make her pages rank better. She’s doubled her traffic by just doing the few things she learned when her skill level went from 0 to 4.
Mid-lining: The Art of Getting To 4 (Or Thereabouts)
There are all kinds of things you can learn to make your business grow: copywriting, SEO, graphic design, negotiation, sales, social media … tons of stuff. Chances are you don’t pursue them because you think you have to get to a 8, 9, or 10 on that sliding scale, and that’s just something you don’t have the time for.
But you don’t have to get to 10 – or even close to it – to get a huge return on investment for your time. Instead, work your way to the midpoint of that line – a 4 or 5 – and let that drive your business forward.
People drastically underestimate the monster advantage that comes with knowing even the basics about something, and they don’t realize that 99% of their competitors are sitting at a 1 on that sliding scale. But mid-lining – just getting to a 4 or 5 – gives you a huge tactical advantage with a minimum of investment.
It Doesn’t Take Long To Get To 4
What does it take to mid-line and get to 4? In a lot of cases, only 5 to 10 hours of study. Seriously. 5 to 10 hours. Sometimes even less, if you have the right mentor / book / course. And getting to that mid-line can double your traffic, or your conversion rates, or your referrals, or whatever – because doubling small numbers is easy.
Think about that. Going from $100 / month in sales to $100,000 / month in sales may require you to go from a 1 to a 10 (tons of work). But going from $100 / month to $200 or $300 / month doesn’t take that much effort at all. And most people tend to be stuck at flat or small growth, so mid-lining would be a huge opportunity for them.
Investing in yourself is one of the best things you can do – and if you’re not doing it, you need to set a budget for it (time and money) immediately. There’s so much power in that 1-to-4 range that could change your business radically if you just took the 5-10 hours to get yourself there.
Decide Right Now To Mid-Line Your Business
What is it about your business that you suck at? SEO? Traffic? Sales? Something else? Where are you feeling the pain because you’re at a 1and think you need to be at 8, 9 or 10? Take ten seconds an think of it now, and then commit to yourself to learning the very basics of that topic – just 5 hours worth – and see where it gets you.
You need mid-lining if you want to grow faster without pouring money into high-priced consultants. (Note: There’s nothing wrong with high-priced consultants. Use them to do the 5-to-10 skill level stuff. Just don’t pay top dollar for 1-through-4 stuff you can do yourself).