Did you ever look at your life and ask what you would have done differently? I find myself in this scenario once every quarter, and usually during an extreme. Business either did really bad or really good right before the change (fortunately, the more recent scenarios were caused by the latter).
So I recently found myself in this scenario yet again. This time, I was in Cape May. The last time I was in Cape May, I decided to take my email list seriously, so I knew I was in for a serious self-reflection.
Looking back, I came across seven things I wish I did for my business when I started. I wrote this blog post so you could see my mistakes. That way, you don’t make the same ones.
#1: Focus On My Email List
I discovered the importance of an email list just a year ago. No matter how much bloggers like myself make up for it, we’ll still refer to under utilizing our email lists as the biggest mistake we ever made.
I am one of the legions of people who says I wish I focused on my email list earlier. An email list provides you with the most powerful way to build a strong relationship with the people in your audience.
#2: Avoiding The Classic Social Media Trap
There is a common social media trap that plagues most users. It’s the reason why most social media marketers don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers. Here’s how the trap works with Periscope:
“Periscope is totally dominating the social media space. People are saying great things about it. I better get on board. Even though I don’t have large audiences on my other social networks, I believe Periscope will be different. The other social networks are subpar compared to Periscope. Now I’m putting most of my time into Periscope.”
The quick summary is this: Most people focus on mastering all of the social networks so much that they end up mastering none of the social networks.
It’s similar to saying a product created for everyone is really a product for no one.
Sure enough, I found myself in this classic social media trap. I had a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a Pinterest account in the works, a Google+ account, a YouTube account, and an account for almost every other social network you could think of.
I even had a MySpace account years after its dominance started to fade.
Then I made a life changing decision (literally) that made me take this whole digital marketing thing seriously.
What if I only took Twitter seriously?
And here I am today. With over 250,000 Twitter followers, it’s fair to say I made the right choice. However, I learned one important lesson about social media success.
If you succeed on one social network, it is so much easier to be successful on the rest of them.
Soon enough, I had a Pinterest account with over 25,000 followers. My YouTube channel has over 2,500 subscribers.
For a long time, Pinterest was my second best social network. That is, until my Facebook Page recently started booming. My Facebook Page’s audience size may soon surpass my Twitter audience size.
I get over 400 Twitter followers every day. On Facebook, I get over 600 likes every day.
What happened? Did I get a shout out from Taylor Swift? Did I finally land that 60 Minutes interview? Did I buy fake likes (if you were thinking that, lie to me if we meet)?
Once I mastered Twitter, it got easier for me to master the other social networks. One of those social networks was Facebook. The way my Facebook Page took off inspired the next thing on the list.
#3: Start Facebook Advertising ASAP
I almost regret not utilizing Facebook advertising as much as not growing my email list. I started using Facebook advertising as my vacation came to a close (I promise I was almost never on my computer during the vacation).
I started off at $3 per day. I set up an ad to get likes for my Facebook Page. With a little under 400 likes, my Facebook Page needed the social proof before I started paying for promoted posts.
It turns out I was a natural pro with Facebook advertising (with the help of several training courses, a few books, and hundreds of blog posts). Okay, fine. I did extensive research before I launched my first Facebook ad. I targeted countries that allowed me to get likes for the least amount of money. My friend Jerry Banfield compiled a lengthy list of ideal countries for low CPL (cost per like).
After seeing over 100 likes come in and more than $1 left to spend, I knew I needed to put in more money. In less than a day, I went from paying $3 per day to $7 per day.
At the end of my first day, I got over 415 likes for my page. At least, that’s what the report said. When I looked at the total number of likes for my Facebook Page, the numbers told a different story.
I actually gained over 500 likes that day. On the next day, I gained over 600 likes for just $7 (based on insights data instead of the advertising report. Insights data in my experience is more reliable). That comes down to a minuscule 1.2 cents per like.
At that rate, I just have to spend $1,200 on Facebook advertising to get my first 100,000 likes (real people interested in my niche). Now, I am aiming to get over 100,000 likes by the end of 2015.
More importantly, I am aiming to have over 1 million social media followers before I get my high school diploma. That would be awesome.
#4: Write Fewer Blog Posts Each Week
At my peak, I wrote 21 blog posts every week. I wrote two blog posts for this blog every day and wrote one blog post per day for my Yugioh Philosophy Blog (now inactive). Naivety at its finest.
While writing 21 blog posts in a given week normally gives you the hard-worker badge, it is an overrated badge. I’d rather put in half of the work and get twice the results.
Now, I only write three blog posts per week. Although they got much longer than my past blog posts, the decision gives me extra time. Instead of thinking about 21 blog post ideas (and then outlining and writing them) every week, I only have to think of three.
Writing blog posts allows you to build up your blog. However, if you only spend time building your blog, people won’t come. You have to get out there by writing guest posts, getting on interviews, and growing your social media audience. Writing blog posts is just one small slice of the pie.
#5: Create Training Courses Right From The Start
If I focused on creating training courses and growing my email list in the beginning, I would have made a bigger profit sooner. That’s not what happened, so alas, no crying over spilt milk. I just hope that you don’t make the same mistake.
#6: Build Relationships With The Right People
Have you noticed most successful people have a network of other highly successful people? Two main reasons why that’s the case:
- You act like the people you constantly surround yourself with. Choose your friends carefully.
- Joint ventures. You both help each other become more successful.
When you build relationships with people in your niche, the relationship gives you both access to a new audience. If you and another expert agree to go on a joint venture, then your products and services would get put in front of each other’s audiences. This is how highly successful influencers are able to become more influential and successful.
#7: Give Up Video Games Much Earlier
For the title, the only reason I didn’t choose to say “never play” video games is because I don’t know what impact they had in my life. Maybe I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur. I’m not saying video games made me an entrepreneur, but maybe they steered me in a different direction.
Somehow, I remembered that when I was six years old, I was great at the piano. I took multiple lessons per week. At that time I could play some songs on the piano without looking at the keys. These songs weren’t like Beethoven’s masterpieces, but they were much more than Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Then I gave it all away for video games. The piano sat in the basement accumulating dust. Writing those two sentences makes me feel a fountain of regret. Luckily, I recently gave up video games forever and decided to revive the piano. Talk about a reawakening.
I get that some of my readers never played video games because video games weren’t in their generation. The way to interpret me giving up video games is to think of giving up a bad habit or addiction.
When video games started taking over, most of my elementary school schedule looked like this:
- Go to school
- Do as much of my homework in class as possible (under my desk, without the teacher knowing. It was either sneaky or brave. Your call).
- Getting home
- Rushing any remaining homework (15 minutes of time spent on remaining homework, tops)
- Play video games until I was told to stop
While I managed to ace my classes, I’m not proud of the schedule above. Better to figure out now than 10 years later.
So for a time, video games for me could have been classified as an addiction. Now I’m done with them.
If you want to get rid of a bad addiction, here’s how I did it:
- I went on vacation without bringing any video games with me. For two weeks, I couldn’t play video games whether I wanted to or not. There were many exciting things to do during vacation, so I didn’t mind.
- I went home and unplugged everything. I didn’t bother playing video games for “one final time” because I knew it wouldn’t be one final time.
- I listened to the right music while I unplugged everything. When trying to break a bad habit or addiction, few songs are better than Bad Blood. I am in a complicated fandom where I like both Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, but Bad Blood proved to be very helpful for eliminating video games from my life.
Giving up video games opened the door to more time that I now use to read books and play the piano. In just two weeks, I made a dramatic change in my life.
We can’t cry over spilt milk. However, it’s a shame when the milk is constantly spilt, and nothing is done about it. When I reflect upon all that I have done, I look at my achievements and the spilt milk.
Addressing our mistakes when we catch ourselves decreases our chances of making the same mistakes again. Once we catch ourselves, we know what to be on the lookout for.
What are your thoughts about what I wish I knew? Did any stand out for you? What are some things you wish you knew earlier in life? Sound off in the comments section below.