Over the past 16 years, I’ve been fortunate to work alongside some of the brightest minds in digital marketing. There are a lot of common trends among high-performing digital entrepreneurs. As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues.”
The following list is definitely not all-inclusive but is a great starting point for any digital entrepreneur who wants to improve their life and business outcomes.
#1: Top digital entrepreneurs set clear goals and priorities and regularly review and adjust them.
The best-performing digital entrepreneurs establish clear objectives, priorities and make a game plan going into each week.
They aren’t going into each workday “flying by the seat of their pants.”
They attack each day by prepping their plan the day before. When they enter they office, they’re not figuring out what to do – they get straight to work.
They review their data regularly – in some cases by the hour – to ensure their campaigns are profitable. Then, they make decisions about their goals.
Are the goals set too low? They’ll adjust them higher!
Are the goals unrealistically high? Top performers will adjust them so that they create appropriate expectations.
#2: Top digital entrepreneurs focus on the right KPIs.
Today, it’s easy to obtain a lot of data. In fact, we’re flooded with so much data that it’s essential for digital entrepreneurs to learn WHAT data truly matters.
This is why you must determine the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for you to track in your business.
We’ll see digital entrepreneurs get excited about vanity metrics like getting a really high open rate on an email while ignoring the fact that they received little-to-no sales or activity on the email’s desired outcome.
The best digital entrepreneurs focus on the right numbers – those that will truly “move the needle” to make data-driven decisions.
When you’re faced with a challenge, look at your numbers and ask yourself: “Am I making an emotional decision, or am I making a decision based on the right numbers?”
#3: They are skilled in digital marketing and leverage various digital channels to reach their target audience.
Many digital entrepreneurs start off as “one-trick ponies,” in other words, they specialize in one particular area of traffic generation.
Maybe they’re experts in search engine optimization, or they’re experienced as media buyers. Perhaps they are adept at email marketing or social media.
The best digital entrepreneurs learn how to leverage a variety of digital channels. Not only do they learn how to leverage multiple digital channels, they learn how to intertwine each channel so that they can complement each other.
Keep in mind that you never want to put all of your eggs into one basket when it comes to your marketing channels.
These days, if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, you can lose your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Adwords, Bing Ads or YouTube account.
If you’re focused on just a single channel, you may want to expand your knowledge.
This leads directly to the next habit…
#4: They are lifelong learners and continuously seek new knowledge and skills.
It’s tough to learn a new skill, especially in the digital marketing world. Who do you listen to?
When it comes to being a digital entrepreneur, we’re thrown shiny objects all day!
We’re sold on this tool, and that tool… This new technique and that new training course… It can become incredibly challenging to sort out the noise from what really matters.
The best digital entrepreneurs don’t buy into every shiny object and instead focus on learning from their own mistakes, listening to a small handful of trusted educators, and keep learning.
My marketing mentors are always in the middle of some kind of training course. They aren’t looking for “silver bullets” that will completely revolutionize their business (there isn’t one solution) – but instead focus on learning one or two actionable pieces of advice from each book or course they complete.
Stay humble, keep learning, and make it a regular practice to consume content that will help you continue to improve your skills as a marketer.
#5: They network and build strong relationships with other digital entrepreneurs.
This habit ties closely with #4.
Part of continuing to learn is being open to learning with others. Some of the greatest pieces of advice that I’ve received in my business have been from other entrepreneurs who “competed” against me in the same online niches.
Networking with other digital entrepreneurs has been one of the greatest gifts in my professional career. I’ve learned from their mistakes. I’ve shared my challenges with them, and they’ve provided solutions. They’ve given me referrals to service providers or other affiliates who have promoted my products.
The digital world is much smaller than you may realize. Start reaching out to people. Get to know them.
Figure out what value you can provide THEM before trying to receive value yourself.
If you can’t figure out what value to provide them, do they sell a product? Buy their product. Become their customer. Learn about their business.
I can tell you from experience that once you become someone’s customer it’s a lot easier to gain access to someone and start a dialogue with them!
#6: They practice regular exercise and prioritize their health and well-being.
Last year, one of my marketing mentors, Derek Gehl, picked me up in his Range Rover at the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia. A few minutes into our conversation, he asked – “So, when’s the last time you had your blood work done?”
Derek reminded me that as digital marketers, we’re constantly in front of a computer and that we have to “get ahead” of issues before they arise.
It turned into a discussion of health and aging and was an outstanding reminder of the way we can abuse our bodies if we aren’t careful.
As digital marketers, we often sit for long periods of time.
Are you prioritizing your health? The top digital marketers that I know are working with trainers, exercising regularly, and caring for their bodies every day.
What good is it for us to build wealth if we can’t enjoy it?
Schedule in breaks to walk, get fresh air, and step away from the blue light of the computer screen. Go lift weights. Drink water. Eat food that makes you feel good and provides your brain and body the right nutrients.
It’s much easier to establish these habits before you’re forced to do so.
I’ve sadly seen too many digital entrepreneurs run into serious health issues that could have been avoided had they built better habits.
#7: They delegate tasks and responsibilities to their team.
Successful digital entrepreneurs know their hourly rate of pay. They know when a task is a $10-an-hour task and they should pass it off to someone on their team.
Top digital entrepreneurs are not a one-man or woman show. They are typically supported by a virtual assistant or team members who can handle tasks like:
- Customer support
- Making text edits
- Data entry
- Scheduling appointments
- Posting content to websites
- Writing blog posts
- Proofreading content
- Scheduling social media posts
- Editing videos
As Craig Ballantyne says, the kiss of death for an entrepreneur is the five words: “I will do it myself.”
Digital entrepreneurs know how to do the work, so it’s easy for them to just be tempted to knock out a task.
If you’re tempted to do a task that should be outsourced – STOP! You’re limiting your ability to grow and scale your business each time you take on these small, low-dollar tasks.
Outsource everything you can so that you can work in your zone of genius.
#8: They are resilient and can bounce back from setbacks and failures.
If you’ve been a digital entrepreneur for any amount of time, you’ve likely dealt with the heart-sinking feeling of losing your web traffic.
You wake up, check your web stats, and saw that your numbers plummeted. What the heck happened?
Maybe it’s been logging into your Facebook ads account and getting the red box saying that your account has been suspended.
It could be getting a notice from YouTube that your account has been demonetized or even banned.
In 2014, many digital entrepreneurs had to completely reinvent themselves when Google released the Penguin algorithm update. Overnight, some website owners saw their traffic drop by over 90%.
The best digital entrepreneurs know that they need to be able to be resilient when challenges arise. They can’t be consumed by emotion.
How do you currently react to a setback? Is it with a big emotional outburst? Do you get angry or upset?
Next time something bad happens (and it WILL happen!) I suggest taking a step back from the computer, collecting your thoughts, then getting into solution mode.
This is Just the Beginning!
The 8 habits mentioned above are a starting point for an entrepreneur seeking to be at the top of their game in the digital marketing world.
If you’re in the digital marketing space, what would you add to this list? Is there anything that you want to adopt into your business practices? I’d love to read your comments.