My WordPress account made me aware that I would be writing my 200th post today. A valid reason for a small celebration, probably by myself with a cup of coffee, and at the end of this posting leaning back, feeling all kind of superior, and then moving on with regular life… please, give me that pleasure 😉
Anyway. It made me think, I write a lot about things I see go wrong, or find weird, in mostly the world of IT and media. People who have read my earlier postings, might know that one of the reasons I do this is because I am one that has made similar mistakes in the past, and would like to share that knowledge to maybe give one or two some information or thoughts of how not to do things. Because, it is practically impossible to say how you do have to do things to be successful… since there isn’t a recipe for success, there is only the possibility of success.
But it is true. Even if you learn from the most successful people in the business, and you do exactly what has been taught, the chance for success is still completely variable. My experience and advice is always to try, go by the falling-and-getting-up teaching method. Painful from time to time, but you become aware of the threats and weaknesses… a real life SWOT.
These days, new businesses and entrepreneurs more often than not do perform the SWOT analysis in their business-plan (if they write one to begin with) but don’t really put any real thought in it. Which means, they might not be aware of problems. Hey, I have been there. When my best friend and I set up our first company, we were trained to perform this SWOT analysis. But, without any experience in the field, we actually had no clue what our Strengths and Weaknesses and Threats were. Only the opportunities gleamed in our eyes. And… Bang… there we went… just a couple of months later… down the drain.
THAT is when we learned most of our weaknesses and threats.
Our big weaknesses and threats? Simple… Audience. We both had no clue how to build an audience. If it means an audience for a website, or an audience that will form clients for a product… same thing. We did not have either one. Amazing products, and no one to sell it to. We completely had forgotten marketing and communication. Production? Fully covered… Stupid, stupid, stupid.
And still, to this day, I am fascinated with audience building. What makes a valid audience?
For me, a good audience is a number of people who really show interest in your product(ion). Because having a larger audience that will not return in any shape or form any kind of profit, is a waste of resources. Resources are time and money, and time is money, so… everything is a waste of money. I learned that the hard way, since, well, that first company, wasted A LOT of our resources.
That is for me why social media and social networks boggle my mind. I do understand how it can be very effective, but not in the way most people are using it. It would be great to have 345,000 Twitter followers. But if none of them reads my posts, why would I spend my time on it. Sure, to reach out, but, it doesn’t make sense to me. Facebook is the same. Perfect for people who really know their friends. If not, and have a gazillion friends, they are not friends, not even acquaintances. They are just the same strangers as someone they pass on the street.
But, to find the people who might be potential clients, you need a group to reach out to. And that is where, in my mind, social media is crucial, if I like it or not. I am horrible at Facebook and Twitter. The only postings I do are automatically generated by my WordPress account each time I put in a posting. But, when I got nominated last year for best new IT blog by IBM and ComputerWeekly, it did spike my audience (for which I am thankful, because I know now more people are reading this than I ever dared to imagine) and I do see the profit of it.
But for me, knowing how resources are money… if I want to sell a product of $10 to 100 people and value my hourly rate at about, say, for myself $50/hr, I only can put 20 hours into it to the whole of sales, communication, packaging, production and shipping. And then I am not even turning a profit. So, knowing that maybe a 3% of a total audience might be even slightly interested in a product, and of those if I hit the jackpot, 10% will buy it, I need at least an audience of 33,333 to reach my goal.
But! That is where the tricky part comes in. Building up that audience. And that might be difficult. Because building up that audience will take time, hence resources, and building up a good audience (not people who just click ‘follow’ for the sake of building up friends of their own) requires more time and resources. So… it is difficult to get there.
So, to make my $1,000, I know, I can’t do it on my own. I do not have that experience. I need help from someone else… my weakness is communication. Sure, not in a blog. Those who can’t do, blog! I can talk a 100 pages in a blog (well, more actually, 200 posts averaging 2 letter-size pages… that is a 400 page book! Woohooo! I am an author!). But I can create and build products. Those are my strengths.
And that, my friends, is why I blog about these things. Not only to hopefully provide some information for others, or provide some entertaining food for thoughts, but also for myself to explore my threats and weaknesses, and build upon that knowledge. Advising my clients, or brace myself for impact when another client makes the same mistakes and did not want to heed the warnings…
Anyway… my cup of coffee is here!
Time to lean back…
And I am superior!