I’ve just finished reading Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, and there’s one point in particular that resonated with me throughout.
If a task is too daunting, or your goals too distant, search for the bright spots and focus on what’s already working.
This is a simple but powerful concept of great significance to Internet Marketers. We are notorious multi-taskers. Our greatest fault is traditionally that we spread ourselves too thin and don’t see projects through to their conclusions.
Think of an SEO project as an example. In your head, you have a starting point – it might be the Google Keyword planner, or an exciting new niche you’ve heard about. And similarly, you have a final destination – typically a highly trafficked, super profitable web property that earns money while you sleep.
The hard part is travelling the road that connects those two destinations. More specifically, it’s the feeling of “What in the hell am I supposed to do now that I’ve launched this shit and I’m sick to death of it?”
Somewhere between defining our vision, and reaping the rewards of its fruition, we face problems; twists and turns that deter us from completing the project. The middle part – the long open road – is always the hardest.
To use the SEO project example, our open road might involve endless backlink building, content creation and keyword tracking. Much of this is laced with dead-ends and hours spent unproductively. The only way to finish these projects, to realise our vision, is to keep searching for the bright spots.
Ask yourself, “What is working? How can I build on it?”
Maybe one of the pages on your site is whoring the majority of the traffic. In which case, can you isolate the variables that are fuelling its popularity? Is it being shared socially? Why is it being shared socially? How can you create more content that ticks the same boxes?
This flexible mindset of learning on the road is vital if you’re going to connect your launch foundations with the end vision of a prosperous money machine.
A fixed mindset rarely ever works in business, and certainly not where SEO is concerned. We are much more successful when we pinpoint the areas that are bringing us the most success, and adapt our work going forward.
This is a fault that has troubled me no end in the past. I have a habit of being too concrete with my processes, and not allowing user feedback or valuable data to manifest itself and shape a more productive strategy going forward. I’m a pretty stubborn bastard, and it’s probably cost me a lot of money.
Switch certainly struck a chord with my stubborn side. I’ve started to re-evaluate my career objectives and match them up to the bright spots of my current business model. It’s resulted in me culling two entire dedicated servers and dropping about 20 domains, but I’m pretty sure I’ve made the right decision going forward.
If you feel like your wheels are spinning in the tracks, and you can’t seem to inch closer to your defining vision, the easiest and most damaging attitude is to focus at what you’re doing wrong. It’s much more productive to find the bright spots and use them as a guiding light. Hinge your business around what’s already working. Focus on your strengths.
I really enjoyed the first half of Switch. It packs in a lot of useful actionable advice that I haven’t read in any other change bible (and I’ve read my fair share). The book loses its focus around the halfway point and descends in to more of a tribute towards the authors’ favourite social psychologists, which might go unnoticed and appreciated by some, but for others will feel like a Robert Cialdini overdose. Still, a recommended read.
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