I remember when we started Wood Street. We were networking fools back then.
It was 2002 so it was before social media and smartphones (although my flip-phone was still pretty sweet!). We drove – a lot.
I was at one of those networking events waiting for the meeting to start. A man sat down across from me, introduced himself and then asked me what my company did…
“We design and develop websites,” I said proudly.
His response… “Why would you want to start a business doing that? Anyone can make a website.”
He was right. Still is. Anyone can write a blog post. Anyone can make a website. Shucks, anyone can set up a fully functional, responsive website with a CMS. At least in theory.
Technology and all the egg heads (term of endearment) behind it continue to make our life easier.
But, we tend to forget one thing… there are a bunch of people in this world, and they want business success too!
Anyone can make a website. Anyone can write a blog post. So what? Only a few will actually stand out and command attention.
Why? Because they work really hard at it! Read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Learning a skill takes lots of practice. According to Gladwell, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice.
It also takes focus.
The Internet makes it easy to duplicate your efforts. You can schedule and automate just about anything.
You can use the tools available to set yourself up with a slick site, app, whatever. But, what makes it work is you. You can’t automate or templatize (apparently not a word, but it should be) knowledge.
That’s what makes you stand out… your unique perspective. There are gazillions of articles already written about what you do. There are plenty of businesses that offer the same services or products you offer. So, how do you stand apart?
You work your uniqueness as a person or a company into everything you do. If you’ve seen the movie You, Me and Dupree, you know what I’m talking about.
Not the greatest movie in the world, but the part about finding your ‘ness is brilliant… “[ness] is a verb. It’s a conjunction. A preposition. It’s a philosophy. A way of life. It’s your name with “ness” attached to it.”
In other words, it’s the essence of you. It’s what makes you the unique creature that you are.
Be the Expert You Already Are
A WordPress website does not make you successful. A mobile app does not make you millions.
A blog will not have you walking down red carpets or interviewed on CNN. These things are just tools.
Being invaluable gets you success, attention, and notoriety. Being the resource people can’t live without does this. And this is hard.
You are an expert. You might not have accepted that fact yet. But, trust me, you are. Implement these tools, and then get to work:
- Know your audience
- Write for them, for their needs
- Offer services or products they need
You are an expert. Your company has expertise.
Don’t believe me? It’s 2013 and we are having our best year yet, even though “anyone can make a website.” Why? Our clients need us. Because of our ‘ness.
Do your clients need you?
A version of this post first appeared on the most awesome of blogs… Spin Sucks.