As we enter the middle of January 2017, it’s worth looking back on the past year.
More importantly, if you’ve been reading my content, you’d realise that the last entry was Jan 7, 2015.
So what’s happened over the past 2 years?
The last couple of years have been hectic ones, as I received more gigs to do project management and marketing in-house for various clients. While this meant less freedom as an affiliate running my own campaigns and developing and promoting my own products, it’s also given me an opportunity to work on projects with a bigger scope than I would work on.
As an online marketer working for yourself, there’s a tendency to work sufficiently to provide for your living expenses, buy a nice car and if you’re inclined, purchase a home and/or office and start paying down the mortgage on them.
Being involved in managing existing online businesses where the challenge is managing feature development, dealing with vocal (and sometimes irate) users, growing revenue and profit numbers, is sometimes a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants business. Even growth hacking (which seems to be the new buzzword for marketing) is a process of continual split-testing, pivoting to find validation, then starting the process over again.
In the process of trying to start a new venture about 2 years ago, I almost lost this blog and 9 years worth of content. But that update will come in a future post.
So what’s there to reflect over the past 2 years –
- Always think and plan before you act: All of us have the impulse in us to want to do something immediately. What’s more important is to take a few minutes (or more), thinking through the issues, mapping out the project on paper, figuring out likely outcomes, and perhaps more importantly, figuring out contingency plans if things go south. So what is you see a terrible take-up rate for a new product or service? Can you recover from the initial launch? What’s your “Plan B”? Is there a “Plan C” if Plan B doesn’t work out?
- Keep working towards the Big Picture (even in a crisis): Mistakes are part of the learning process, and whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,right? Sounds nice in hindsight, but it doesn’t seem like a “learning opportunity” when you’re in the midst of it. On one of the projects, we rolled out site updates on a Friday morning. Bad idea. The service started showing system instability on that afternoon and the site crashed that evening. The bad news was that Friday and the weekend were the peak hours for the site (no, it’s not casual dating) and I spent most of the weekend managing the business’ social media accounts, giving updates, doing minor troubleshooting. Through the crisis, the users recognised our efforts at site recovery and giving regular tech updates and in the process, I believe we built a number of lifelong customers through pro-active tech support and customer service. So as a comedian once said, the word “problem” is also the same word for “opportunity” in Japanese. With that said, there are so many people out there with credit card “opportunities”…
- Do what you say: So in the business world and in everyday life, people say lots of stuff. The fact is that 90% of it probably never gets done. When you say you will do something, then just do it. If you don’t know, or can’t deliver on something, then don’t make promises, especially if it’s beyond your control. If you say stuff just to make a customer happy, then imagine how UNhappy they will be when you can’t deliver on it. You’ll look like an idiot. If you can’t commit to a solution now, then be upfront and say that a solution is being worked on and that you’ll provide regular updates. Be sure to provide the regular updates. People are not likely to forget something (or let you off the hook) if the issue is bugging them.
- Making mistakes and moving on: The surefire way to avoid mistakes and messing up is to do nothing. But the fact is that you can only learn something and build something by finding out what’s not working, then not doing it again (or at least not a third, fourth, fifth time…) Conducting a post-mortem, analysis, and deciding how you can do stuff better the next time is part of the growing process. Besides, if you bid $10 per click, instead of $1 per click on a traffic campaign, the lesson is likely to stick with you for some time.
So in summary, I’m back and will be posting stuff more often. Stay tuned.