Don’t Wait Until You’re Great

David Howell Evans is not known for being a technically accomplished guitarist – although few people really care. He developed a trademark sound that contributed to the success of the band in which he plays – a band that has sold over 170 million albums worldwide. Rolling Stone magazine proclaimed him #24 on their list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

The Edge – as Evans is better known – is the guitarist for U2, one of the greatest rock bands ever. Did he wait until he was a virtuoso on the guitar before joining U2? Nope.

The Clash – a pioneer of punk music – didn’t care a lick about being “great” either. When they started, only two of the band’s four members could even play an instrument. Despite that, The Clash produced one of the top-selling albums of all time (“London Calling“) and wound up as #30 on Rolling Stone‘s list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. And they went on to kick-start thousands of other bands… including U2.

The world is packed with thousands of successful people who leapt right in. People who became great because they were willing to take a risk.

Still, I often hear of people who say the reason they have not started their business is that they’re not good enough. They feel they need to wait to acquire more information, deeper knowledge, or more specific skills.

The simple fact is that you can get much better at doing almost anything by doing that thing. Another important thing to note is that you never really know – until you get out there and do it – whether or not you’re good.

Until you actually start your business, it’s all theory. You don’t know how well your idea will succeed until you put it into practice. But the last thing you want to do is wait around until you’re sure. For one thing, you run the risk that your idea will become obsolete. By waiting, you allow the quick and the brave to one-up you in the marketplace. Plus, no matter how long you tinker or research, you STILL won’t know if your idea is good until you put it out there.

Start marketing your widget today, and you’ll know in a few weeks or months whether it’s a big success or a stinker. Keep planning for decades, and you could find out it’s a flop… after having wasted too many years of your life banking on its success. Michael Masterson calls this approach “accelerated failure.” Pick up his best-selling book Ready, Fire, Aim and learn more about it.

This advice holds true for practically any business I can think of. Internet marketing is no different.

We’ve been urging you to get a little Internet side business started for some time in ETR. If you’ve been waiting to do it, here are four things you can do immediately to jump right in:

1. Launch a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ad Campaign

Google, Yahoo, and other major search engines allow you to display your ads by bidding on keywords relevant to your business. When someone clicks on one of your ads, you pay a pre-set fee of a few cents. You can set a daily budget of a few dollars so you can ease into PPC advertising and perfect your technique before upping your budget.

Agora Inc. brought in hundreds of thousands of new customers last year alone through effective PPC campaigns.

Learn more about setting up a PPC account by reading Patrick Coffey ‘s article, “Mastering Google AdWords in 3 Easy Steps.”

2. Start Collecting E-Mail Addresses

A huge factor in the success of many online businesses is e-mail marketing. Establishing regular, relevant, and timely contact with your customers and prospects is a proven way to generate more sales and to turn prospects into customers. Offering a free report, useful advice, or information that you deliver by e-mail will help you do it.

For more details about collecting names online, take a look at Patrick’s article “How to Build Your E-Mail Subscriber List Quickly and Easily.”

3. Start an E-Mail Newsletter

Start to regularly send out useful information to the people on your e-mail list. Don’t know what to write? Not to worry. Write about what you know. If you have a music store, send out tips and advice for playing or caring for instruments. Garden store? Timely, seasonal, local advice on what to plant and when and how to tend a garden. Try to remember some of the meetings or phone calls you’ve had with your customers and recount them. Voila! You’ve started an e-mail newsletter. Spice up the articles with some relevant product or service information – and don’t be afraid to ask for an order!

For more about how to create an e-newsletter, read my article “The 3 Basics You Need to Start an E-Mail Newsletter.”

4. Start a Blog

One thing that takes longer to master with an online business is search engine marketing. That is, creating content and copy that is both attractive to search engines and readable by humans (your customers and prospects). With a blog, you can quickly amass a plethora of information that will attract search engines… and customers. As with an e-newsletter, just write about what you know and offer advice and tips that will be useful to your readers.

Starting something new is both exciting and scary. But sometimes the fear of getting started can stop you right in your tracks. If you don’t start, you can’t fail. But then again, you cannot succeed either. There is no better time than right now to get up there, plug in your guitar (or laptop!) and start strumming away. Do not wait until you are great. Start small. Start now.

[Ed. Note: David Cross is Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Inc. in Baltimore. People from all over the country have already experienced the power of managing their destinies through motivation, determination, and goal setting. Discover the secrets that have made them successful. ]

Although David hails from Blackpool, England – which is often referred to as the “Las Vegas of England” – he shunned a career in show business and instead followed a meandering career path overflowing with “life’s great experiences,” working or living in over 20 countries along the way. Chef, teacher of Transcendental Meditation, guest presenter on QVC, earthquake relief volunteer, CEO of a web hosting company, marketer at a radio station and all combined with years of direct marketing, PR and sales experience for clients as diverse as health food stores, small charities and right up to multinational public companies. David brought unique talent and experience to his role for six years as Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Publishing Group. Working closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers to test new ideas and marketing campaigns, Agora’s Internet revenues topped $200 million in 2007. David understands and can communicate fluently with creative “right-brain” marketers and analytical “left-brain” IT and software teams, all with equal ease. He has a proven track record for generating results and creative thinking and excels at making trouble to find new ways of making things happen! He lives on a small farm close to Mount Hood in Oregon with his wife Cinda, a veterinarian, and their four children and a menagerie of animals (no more, please!). When not marketing or brainstorming you’ll find David following a dream of self-sufficiency for food, power and water within 10 years, tending the land and caring for the farm and animals. Not surprisingly, David is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker with many amusing anecdotes from his work and travels over the years.