What "Web Superstars" Won't Tell You (But We Will)

Ready to put some serious thought into your Web business and push your limits? Good, because we're about to blow the doors off it all, give you a peek behind the curtain and get you seriously ready for Web success. You may not like what you're about to read and it may not even be feasible but for those in genuine pursuit of success (whether financial or otherwise), you need to abide by the tenets and tactics outlined below if you're serious about becoming a Web superstar.

Carl Sagan once said that "finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedicated and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us - and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along."

Rise Early, Work Late, Strike Oil

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." - Vince Lombardi

During the early September ad:tech tradeshow here in Chicago, the keynote speaker Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo and the chief innovation officer at Publicis Groupe Media said something that raised some eyebrows (at least mine). It wasn't some high-level tactical approach or an opinion on the future of a technology, but rather how he spent his Saturday mornings. For three hours (from 4 to 7 a.m.) he woke and dedicated that time to learning something new that would directly benefit his role in the agency. How many of us can say that? It's safe to assume that few would. Most would rather sleep in (or sleep it off) than wake up that early and get to work. Those most serious about their pursuit of Web success do follow this tenet. It's routine for me to send emails early in the morning and receive them late at night. The path towards success is always open so be prepared to work diligently no matter the hour.

Success Tactic: Some people are more productive in the morning, some are more productive at night and some, of course, are productive all the time. Understanding your own "productivity biorhythms" will enable you to find the time and tactics that work for you to shorten your own road to success and profitability. Find out when you have more mental energy and use that time to write; find out when you have low energy and use that time to do routine tasks. Scheduling yourself (not your time) is the first key. You'll still need to rise early and work late to strike oil, but by knowing yourself, you will be in a better position to make the most of each and every day. 

Inspiration Comes Quickly; So Act Quickly

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." - Thomas Alva Edison

Did you ever have a moment of inspiration? For those who haven't - perhaps a real-life example is in order. I once struggled with how I was going to promote a website (pretty routine for me and perhaps for you). In the middle of the night, in what can be called a flash of what I call brilliance, an idea came to me. Instead of writing down the idea and working on it later, I sprung out of bed and started to work immediately. Three hours later I not only had a formal outline of a rock-solid marketing plan but had purchased a domain, built a basic website framework and had a good start on content. If I had gone back to sleep, I may have lost some motivation and let some self-doubt creep in. Since inspiration comes quickly, you must act quickly. As Thomas Edison suggests, be prepared to perspire over your inspiration.

Success Tactic: The Web superstars I know (and I know quite a few) are always thinking. Inspiration can come at a moment's notice so being prepared lets you capitalize on all that brilliance of yours. There are hundreds of ways to get inspired and an equal number of ways to keep track of the ideas you come up with and just as many tools to help you make sense of it all. So use them. Task management applications are everywhere you look on the Web - for the desktop and mobile devices. So use them. You might even need a way to organize all that inspiration. If so, use mind-mapping tools to help you visualize ideas, make connections among them, and even develop new ideas. 

Never Follow, Only Lead

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are clearly many benefits to following the best practice guidance put forth by the experts. They are often proven tactics and techniques. What is often left unsaid, however, is that just because something works a few times, people usually catch on and it's not as effective as it once was. Do you remember the first time someone told you that article marketing and distribution was a key to a successful content marketing strategy? It is, but here's a bit of a reality check: Everybody else received the same message. If everyone is writing articles, why not create an article directory or work to assemble the best articles on each topic and write a book? If everyone is clamoring to build the next popular Facebook application, create a service that lets developers promote or monetize those applications. The real money is never in using other people's services but in building your own.

Success Tactic: What stands out to me about those most successful is they often sell the hole, not the nail. When everyone is piling on a bandwagon, it's best to take a step back and ask yourself what it is that the herd actually needs. While there is certainly more risk (more on that below) there is always a greater potential for reward by not following and focusing instead on how to lead.

Take Risks Repeatedly

"Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can -- and surely will at times -- fail. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk." - Joyce Brothers

Last year, I read an article (can't remember where) about a journalist who went door-to-door in the wealthiest neighborhood in the country asking people about the secret of their success. In nearly every instance, the interviewee said that the secret was the ability to manage risk. You will never achieve personal wealth by cutting costs and you'll never achieve even a modicum of success with your business by not taking real risks. I use the phrase "paralyzed by fear" quite often in my day-to-day business dealings. For some reason, many Web professionals are paralyzed by taking risks. They don't send e-mails because they fear they will be called out as a spammer; they never try anything new in their SEO campaigns for fear of blacklisting. The list goes on and on. Ask yourself before taking any risk about the worst thing that can possibly happen and I bet you'll find that taking the risk is well the worth it.

Success Tactic: With every risk there is reward (potentially great ones) but you must take those risks and take them repeatedly if you ever plan on making your mark. Consider this article an opportunity: max out a credit card to fund your new business idea if you need to; send ten thousand people who you don't know an invitation to your website if you need some website traffic; compare yourself to Gandhi if you want some media attention. These are risks, but just imagine the rewards.