There’s an episode of South Park where a company of gnomes steal underwear. When asked why, they lay out their master plan. It goes like this:
Phase 1: Steal underpants
Phase 2: ???
Phase 3: Profit
Now this might surprise you, but I’m no master underwear thief. Still, it’s obvious even to my no-underwear-stealing-self that the above plan is missing something.
Silly examples are useful for examining deep problems. Let’s explore this one:
The gnomes don’t have any idea how stealing underpants leads to profit but they’ve gotten good at it.
You’d think at one point a wise gnome would stand up and say “yo gnomeys, we’ve gotta lotta underpants but no profit. Maybe taking tighty-whitey’s isn’t good business after all.”
But they don’t, because by this point the gnomes are so used to dutifully collecting underpants that it’s all that they know.
A lot of people are playing the ‘win the internet’ game well. They’re working tremendously hard and by all accounts are good at stealing underwear, uhhh, I mean creating content.
Many of these same people are tired, frustrated, and angry by a lack of tangible business results.
Step 2 is a mystery because they’re conflating two problems. The game of trying to be an online influencer/creator/entertainer is different from the game of getting customers.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with either option. They’re simply different with different game plans, time horizons, odds of success, responsibilities, and rewards.
It’s imperative that you become clear on what you want.
Following good advice for people with different goals is a bad idea. It doesn’t make that advice any less valid; it’s just not the right advice for you.
In the final section of my upcoming book book I share the behind the scenes of my own business. As you’ll learn, I do not follow a lot of my own advice in this book.
When an expert doesn’t follow his own advice it can be both jarring and make perfect sense. All that it means is that a person knows the rules and knows which of them apply to him based off of the game he’s playing at that time.
Do you want to try and become an influencer or do you want build a business?
The first will likely require years of investment in the way of time and effort with a chance to pay off many years down the road.
The second isn’t as glamorous but makes up for it with reliability and immediate benefit.
To put it another way: I can guarantee that I can help you become successful with your business and get customers.
I cannot guarantee that I can make you a successful influencer/creator/entertainer.
Summing it all up, if right now it feels like you’re working hard but not able to get ahead, perhaps it’s time to refocus.
As Yoda from Star Wars once said “if no mistake have you made, yet losing you are . . . A different game you should play.”