I Don’t Need to Outrun the Bear…

There is an old joke whose punchline goes “I don’t need to outrun the bear, I only need to outrun you!”

Photo credit: Darren Blackburn

Along similar lines, there is a humorous expression, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

Both of these expressions have been on my mind lately as, to me, they both represent sort of the same thing. That is, the concept that I don’t need to be the best who ever lived at what I do. I don’t even need to be the best who is currently alive. Heck, I don’t even have to be the best I know.

Being best is nice and it’s absolutely a goal I strive toward, but all that’s really necessary in order to be successful is to be my best. If I am competent at what I do and if I always give my best and am always finding way to improve, then I’m already a winner.

Someone looking to work with a copywriter probably isn’t looking to work with the best there is. For a lot of reasons. Perhaps they can’t afford the best. Or can’t wait months for that person’s schedule to free up. Or maybe they don’t even know who the best is and have no real way of finding out.

As long as I am able to do a good job and increase sales, then I am delivering value. As long as that value is far greater than what I charge for it, then I’m giving my clients a good deal.

By the way, this same principle holds true for any profession. I don’t need the greatest dentist who ever lived, I just want someone to fix my tooth. I don’t need the engine whisperer, I just want someone who can fix my car and get it running.

It’s liberating to realize this!


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Stumbling Into Profitability

Just stumbling along.

I don’t think anyone would argue it’s the best route to success in anything.

Still, it seems to be the path most of us follow whether we plan to or not. In fact, it’s the planners among us — myself included — who are typically most guilty of following a stumbling, meandering path.

I don’t profess to know a solution. If I did, this would be a very different article. I don’t even know that a solution is necessary. Sometimes we discover fantastic things when we wander.

The number of wonderful surprises I’ve come across in my own personal wanderings is far too numerous to count. By way of offering a sample, let me share just a couple…

Just Because an Idea is Good, Doesn’t Mean it’s Viable

I once had an idea for a line of manufactured products. It was a good idea; dare I say, even a great idea. I spent quite a long time working on it. I researched source materials, thought up marketing ideas, built and tested prototypes, calculated cost and pricing, did market analyses…

All went very well. Everything was about as in line as a new venture could expect to get.

Except for one thing.

It was a manufactured product.

Mass producing it would require machinery and equipment. Even used, the equipment needed was prohibitively expensive.

There are No Gods at the Altar of Originality

For most of my life I have worshiped at the altar of originality. That is to say, I prided myself on being a unique and original flower in a sea of common, three-leaf clovers. My love of originality even extended to my entrepreneurial pursuits.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial bent, but my love of originality meant that whatever I did must be new and unique. No merely running a gas station or buying into a franchise for me. No using someone else’s business model that’s already been perfected and proven to work.

Such thinking was sorely to my own detriment.

Many years passed where I struggled to lift my ambitions to great heights while watching so many others cruise easily past me on their own routes to success. So much time wasted. So much effort squandered.

I still love originality but now realize it can hold a place in my life without being my whole life.

Now I sell stuff on eBay, I am one of thousands of copywriters, one of hundreds of thousands of teachers and one of millions of authors. When I let go of my need to be original was when I finally started seeing some measurable success.