The Hazards of Learning from Winners
Why do we worship prophets who once caught lightning in a bottle?
I was recently chatting with a colleague on the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. She suggested I listen to her favorite podcast that celebrates the trials and tribulations of start-ups.
A common theme, according to my friend, is how committed these people are to achieving their business dreams. They max out every credit card, borrow money from friends and family, and nearly burn every relationship bridge just to stay in business one more day.
And like the great American success story, all of these struggling business owners eventually made it.
I had to call bullshit.
Not because the stories weren’t true.
Not because these weren’t tenacious, driven people.
I called bullshit because of survivor bias.
Survivor bias focuses on success and ignores failure.
For every guest interviewed on that podcast, there could be 100, or 100,000 others who took the same approach and watched their lives implode.
The people who followed that same path and went broke never made the magazine cover.
Am I advocating giving up your dreams and quitting?
I am, however, suggesting you pursue those dreams intelligently. Focus on small actions each day to help your business become more successful.
By themselves, these little steps won’t make you a millionaire overnight. But, do them every day, and they start adding up to a real transformation.
What are some examples? Well, from my corner of the world in email & content marketing, I always recommend:
Smiling more often. Yeah, it’s not a marketing thing, but it makes the world a better place.
Updating your welcome message autoresponder.
Split testing your email subject lines.
Creating a killer cart abandonment autoresponder.
Sharing your origin story (email or post).
Opening the door for a stranger.
Running a deep dive survey of your clients to find out how you can best serve them.
Having fun with your order confirmation email.
Picking up a piece of trash on the sidewalk.
These little steps may not get you on the cover of Fast Company or as the next mega podcast guest. They will, however, move you forward, and over time, change your life.
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