I was just in one of my high-level mastermind/coaching groups yesterday (this is a group I pay a lot of money to be in), and we had a real beatdown. You see, there was a guy who was in a “hotseat”….
If you haven’t ever been through something like that, it’s pretty wild – basically one person presents an idea or problem they have in their business… and then the entire group does a big brainstorm about the idea.
If you have the right people in the group, it usually ends up being like a massive shark “feeding frenzy”. You put 20 or 30 really creative entrepreneurs into a room and then you throw a business problem in front of them… well, that’s like putting blood in the water. And don’t accidentally leave any arms dangling over the edge of the boat!
(After all, everyone has more fun solving other people’s problems than working on their own issues.)
In this case, the person was presenting an idea for creating a financial newsletter.
Now if you want to start an information marketing business, well that happens to be a very good market. It’s actually how I started out in this business way back in 1996.
And the person in the hotseat was very smart and very knowledgeable about the topic. He also had a unique perspective on the topic, and a real passion for helping people in this area of their lives.
The only problem with the plan is that, well… there was no plan.
It quickly became apparent that this person in the hotseat had no real knowledge of the information marketing business. He only had a vague idea for getting tens of thousands of followers and then writing a best selling book.
He had no knowledge of the business models in his chosen market. He had no knowledge of exactly who he wanted to sell to, or what they wanted. He had no knowledge of how the business really worked.
(For instance, one of the numbers that you’ll live and die by in that type of business is the renewal rate of your subscribers. And in that market, most of the newsletters are really just lead generation tools for investment advisory services.)
Even worse, this person actually had some capital and was willing to invest a sizable amount of money in this project. So he stands to lose time AND money.
The good news is that he brought this idea to his hotseat… and the idea was not going to survive intact. No freaking way. The other piece of GREAT news is that he was in the hotseat… and he stayed very open to all the coaching. This hotseat literally saved him years of work and tens of thousands of dollars.
Now my behavior in these hotseats is typically to sit back and listen for a while before I weigh in. After all, there were a LOT of really smart people in the room.
But when I finally spoke, this is how I started… with one simple sentence:
“You have to go to school.”
The reality is that information marketing is a profession like any other profession. Just because you have some knowledge, and just because it’s easy to put up a web site… well that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to learn the business.
Now that might sound self-serving since I’m in the business of teaching people about information marketing – but it’s the truth.
And the reality is that I spend a ton of time and money on my own education. I have to. It’s my job.
For example, I’m in the midst of two-weeks of intense learning. Last week I was with my Platinum Mastermind group (30 of my top PLF students) for two days, and then I spent another two days trading coaching days with another high-impact teacher in this market.
That was last week… this week I have two days in a high-level mastermind, and then I’m flying to Austin to attend Ryan Deiss’s conference.
You never stop being a student.
In any case, let’s get back to the mastermind beatdown… the fact is that there are approximately one bazillion other financial newsletters out there. Those folks are ALL more experienced in the business.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t compete… crowded markets are generally crowded because they’re good markets. There’s always room to compete.
But you need to be good and you need to be smart.
You need to study your competition… because at least SOME of them are doing well. And… if you’re doing things right, some of them are going to become your partners.
And the education doesn’t stop with studying your competitors and partners.
You also have to study the business. Back when I started in the dark ages of the mid-90s, there was almost no training available. This business was in its relative infancy.
Nowadays, there is TOO MUCH training available. Much of it sucks or is an outright scam. It’s easy to get blinded by the next pretty butterfly coming along… there is always another system getting promoted.
(Sometimes I’m the person promoting it. 🙂 )
But that doesn’t change this fact: there is a HUGE amount of really great training available. Whatever you want to do in this business… someone else has figured it out. And there is almost always someone who is willing to teach or train you about it.
It’s an incredible business, but one of the costs for great success is that you have to stay on top of your game.
You have to go to school.
And you’re going to have to keep going back to school.