Some people refer to it as “standing on the shoulders of giants” and other people think of it as learning from the people who came before you, but it really doesn’t matter which way you look at it, very few of us, myself included, ever come up with something genuinely original. For the most part we take what we’ve seen and learned from other people and blend those ideas into something else.
I tend to refer to this as “modeling success” and doing this well is really something of an art form.
You need to take the best pieces of things, understand how to put them together into something where you can add some additional value for people and then inject your personality into it.
That’s sounds easy, but it’s actually really hard. To me, this is one of the truest forms of innovation.
The easy road for people is to shamelessly copy other people and create these frankenstein type products or services. You see this all the time. I heard of one the other day, “Uber for Cats” meets “AirBnb for Dogs”.
Seriously? Are you kidding? What was running through your mind when you thought, “Yeah man, being able to book drivers for your pets or offering low cost accommodation for them is the future”? Let me answer that for you, “Probably not much.”
But you see it all the time. People coming up with these stupid ideas that are shameless niched down ripoffs of other more successful things.
With that said, it’s vitally important to learn from other people. You don’t want to be the dummy making all the same mistakes that other people have already made and were happy to share publicly, but you were too stupid to catch on.
When I started thinking about putting together a physical newsletter back in July 2015, I posted the idea in a private Facebook group and Andre Chaperon said that I should check out Ben Settle. Ben has a physical newsletter called “Email Players” that is very successful, so I joined Ben’s list and that’s where the idea of emailing came from every day – I think it’s brilliant.
After lurking for a few months on Ben’s list and having a bit more time up my sleeve, I signed up to his newsletter to get a feel for how it works. Ben does a really good job with his newsletter and it has a very distinct personality. I was quite interested in the business model and execution behind it, so I’ve learned a considerable amount just being a subscriber.
The easy thing to do would have been to just copy what he does entirely and call it a day, but I wasn’t looking to create “Email Players for Casual Marketers”. I wanted to create something a different. The stupid thing to do would have been to confuse the modality of the product with the underlying value proposition.
I was looking to create a more encouraging and maybe a little less tactical approach with my newsletter. I think people who are just starting out or who are looking to build their online business on the side are seeking guidance and maybe something of a kindred spirit. My newsletter is a far more personal experience as well for the subscriber.
Onboarding is also an area where I want to be a bit different. With what Ben does, the mechanics are great for him and it makes a ton of sense, but again, there were things I wanted to do that were a bit different. I’d say I’m about 30% of the way there on this front and over the next few months I’m going to focus on this a bit.
I’m also looking at joining a few other physical newsletters in the next couple months. Previously I was a subscriber to Dan Kennedy’s “No BS Newsletter”, but the quality eroded in my opinion, so I left a few years back, I think it’s important to be a student of the game and to always be learning from what other people are doing so that I can incorporate the stuff that I think will work for my subscribers and fits my way of doing things.
That’s the difference between modeling and shamelessly copying. Finding stuff that works, put your own twist on it and apply it so that it increases the value that you deliver to your clients and customers.
As I’ve started working out this quarter’s strategy and what I want to achieve between April – June, there are a couple things I’m already aware of that I want to do to enhance the experience for my Casual Marketer subscribers. There are a few new products and services that I think will blend nicely, so I’m out there learning all the time. That’s been part of my strategy with this from the beginning.
And the idea of “strategy” is going to play a big part of everything I do over the next little while because it’s a topic that I know a lot about. In the April issue of the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter I’m going to share some of my frameworks for building your own strategy and how to execute. For people that are struggling to get their plans together in a coherent way, this issue will be very important for you.
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