Six Principles I’ve learned After One Year of Internet Marketing

The beginning of the second half of the year Twenty-Ten marks the one-year anniversary of my first paying job in this ever changing industry.

That first job was a simple research project that was completed in less than a weeks time, but it opened the door to a wide variety of new tasks and challenges over the past 12 months that have rocked my world in every conceivable way … OK not every conceivable way ;)

1 year in internet marketing


One of the things that I really loved about this industry that was a complete 180 from the world of retail management is the fact that no two jobs are alike.  I’ve had projects that revolved around computer server repair, sunscreen, local restaurants, online auctions, etc.; every single project presents a different set of objectives to achieve and challenges to overcome.  Even multiple tasks for the same client are often very different in scope.

Along the way I’ve learned millions of things – way too many to fit into a single blog post.  But there are a few things that I’d like to share – you may not find this groundbreaking or life-altering but hopefully they’ll at least provide a fundamental reiteration of some basic principles if nothing else.

It’s not who you are.  It’s not even who you know.  It’s who knows you that’s important.

To put it another way, the number of people I know far exceeds the number of people who know me.   I know a lot of business people in this area in the sense that I know what they can do for me with respect to their business.   I know what line of work they’re in and who they’re connected to.  While this is important, saying that I know the Pete Brands (@petebrand) and Rich Apps of the local business scene is only marginally useful unless these people know what I can do for them and others.  To achieve this, you have to give before you get.  Provide true value in any way that you can while expecting nothing in return.

There are no little people.

I say this from the perspective of a ‘little person’.  What I mean by that is although I’ve made a lot of progress in the past 12 months, I’ve by no means arrived.  There are plenty of people around here and beyond who have accomplished a helluva lot more than I have, and are highly regarded in the community.  But what I’ve learned is that despite this fact, they were once little people too.  And furthermore, even though they are more successful than they once were, there were prominent people who helped them get to where they are now when.  And on top of all that, they know that without the little people, there’d be no big people.  It’s like the old adage goes – if there were no ugly girls, there’d be no pretty ones either.

But what I’ve really learned is that no one is really on a pedestal.  Just because someone is on TV a lot or has a nice office and drives a Porsche doesn’t mean that that person should be regarded any differently than anyone else – it just means that they’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish a few things.  But even they know that they didn’t get there without help.

Name dropping is highly underrated.

This is one I just picked up recently.  I was at a recruiting event for a club in downtown GR – they were courting new members to join in order to continue growth and keep the club open.  It was by invite only.  Pete invited me so I decided to go check it out.

There were obviously many members there meeting and greeting prospective newcomers.  I met a gentleman who I knew of prior – he asked me who I knew and when I told him who’d invited me, his face went from the doldrums of a five-minute conversation with someone he never intended to remember to genuine interest.  Now, it wasn’t my intention to drop a name or anything like that – I wasn’t trying to impress this guy and I had been succeeding admirable to this point.  The thing is, I wasn’t trying to win favor with anyone – nor was I trying to work this little bombshell into the conversation.  I just answered his question.  The funny thing is, Pete is pretty highly regarded around these parts – I don’t know if you’ve ever had a friend get famous or have significant success, but this is a new experience for me.  The thing is, Pete is still just Pete to me.  He’s the same guy I’ve always talked shit to at the poker table and on the golf course.

Always strive to be an expert knowing all along you’ll never reach that status… it is OK to not correct people who mistakenly label you as such however :)

Have you ever noticed that the moniker ‘Expert’ is never self applied?  You know why?  Because it’s a myth.  The true experts are labeled by others.  And even if you are considered by your peers to be highly regarded in your field, it isn’t something you should let go to your head.  There is always more to learn, new techniques to develop, new discoveries to be made.  The moment you decide that you’ve learned enough, you’re toast.

There is no guarantee that you’ll be relevant tomorrow, no matter how huge you are today.

If you don’t believe me just ask Myspace.

When it comes to Social Media activities, if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.

Social Media participation is pretty crucial to the transparency that is required to succeed in today’s business world.  It allows so many opportunities to connect with so many different people that you’re crazy not to engage in these activities.  That said, this is not a tactic or a chore.  If you don’t enjoy sharing and connecting with people, then you shouldn’t participate.

The thing about SM and the like is the fact that if you’re not into it, it will show and the last thing you want is to be labeled a phony.  There are too many choices for consumers today for them to waste their time with someone who doesn’t want to be there.

And a few other nuggets:

If you don’t have time to do it right, you’ll never find time to do it over.

Being self employed does not mean that you are your own boss.  If you have 100 clients, then you have 100 bosses.

You have to be yourself.

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