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Be the Best

December 2, 2004

Work from Your Interests:

The web allows you to get paid to learn and teach about any subject you are interested in.To do well in a hyper competitive market (such as the web) you will want to do something you are interested in. Additionally you will enjoy your job more if your job falls in line with your interests and hobbies.

Someone Will be Better:

In any market you jump into there will be competitors who are "better." In any field people are going to have strengths which you can not match.

  • I know some SEOs who could create their own search engine. I do not have that technical knowledge. Unless I go to college for computer science and study information mining I doubt I will compete with them on that level.
  • Some SEOs are high level editors at DMOZ. I can't get my sites listed as quick as they can.
  • Some people have been on the web since it began. They have a ton more social connections than I do.

In any market there will be people who are "better" or "know more" than you do. If you are just starting out though they will also have higher standards of living. They will usually expect more. They may forget where they came from and stop helping people.

Work from Your Strengths

Not too long ago I knew absolutely nothing about SEO, marketing, or the web. I was willing to work long hours and ask lots of questions. My thirst for knowledge led to me reading probably about 100 - 500 forum pages a day.

  • What I was willing to do was work long hours and read lots of books...that became one of my strengths.
  • I played in tons of forums trying to learn SEO. While reading lots of them I eventually got to where I could answer most of the questions that were asked. I figured while I was there why not...that became one of my strengths.
  • While working long hours I learned how to find undervalued areas to get cheap links and how to write link request emails that actually got links...and that became one of my strengths.
  • When Google changed their algorithm toward the end of 2003 I was one of the first people who wrote an article about it...and that became one of my strengths.
  • I created a directory of directories to help me know where I can submit clients sites to...and that became one of my strengths.
  • I have somewhat weird sense of humor and do not really fit the "professional" mold. I could have tried to be more serious, but instead I try to use my voice and sense of humor...and that became one of my strengths.

There are people funnier, smarter, and faster than I am. Some of them have more money, more friends, more websites, and more powerful websites.

No one thing that I do becomes my single competitive advantage. What allows me to do well is working hard at creating something useful and productive from the sum of my strengths.

As My Mentor Says...

A friend of mine (who I consider to be my mentor) often points out different markets to me. Many times I know the market leading sites in those industries. My friend tells me "like that, but better."

You may need to focus in on a tiny market off the start, but you learn from your successes and failures. Over time you can dominate small markets and then expand.

It may not make sense to match competitors at their strengths, but to do decent there and destroy them at their weaknesses. Figure out what works and why it is working. From there the trick is to work from your strength to figure out how you can make something better than the best.

- by Aaron Wall, owner of Search Marketing Info

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