Are you ready to start something?
Maybe it’s a new business or a side project.
Or a book that’s been brewing in your heart.
Or an online course where you can share what you’ve learned with others.
Whatever it is, there’s no better time in history to start something. You can self-publish a book in a matter of months. You can source a product from China and sell on an Amazon store. You can set up an Etsy or Shopify store in a day. I know people who are doing all of those things right now
And there are courses, blog posts, consultants to help you every step of the way. It really is the golden age of starting something.
Because it’s easier than ever, it’s tougher than ever.
Everyone has the same advantages and access to the same suppliers. Everyone is an email away from an outsourced designer. The tools are are on the bottom shelf, within everyone else’s reach.
Right now, someone else is working on your exact same idea.
So how are you going to beat them to the punch? How are you going to make it happen in an age where everyone can do it too.
Here are seven traits you can’t outsource, import or crowd fund. These seven things are your competitive advantage, and the character traits that will help your project succeed.
If something is going to work, it’s going to require a great deal of passion. You’ve got to genuinely be excited about it and see yourself in the middle of it ten years from now. If you move from one great idea to the next one, you’re not really passionate about either of them. But if you’ve been thinking about something for a year or two and you keep coming back to it, maybe there’s something there worth pursuing.
Passion isn’t enough, but it’s the starting point.
Grit is courage despite difficulties, backbone and determination in the face of trouble. And it’s one of the key character qualities you need in life.
When your passion has worn thin, will you have the moxie to keep going? That takes grit.
Grit is waking up 1 hour early to write your book. It’s looking at Facebook stats to figure out what kind of posts work the best. It’s re-writing the email subject line for the 7th time.
I’m absolutely convinced that great ideas without the grit of execution are worthless.
I know several people who have great ideas and great talent, but they can’t step forward because they are simply disorganized.
It doesn’t matter whether your system is a post-it note and a pencil or a brand new app that syncs with your toaster – you need a system to get things done. Can you hit deadlines? Even self-imposed ones? Can you stay on top of communication?
Those aren’t personality issues – they are focus issues. You’re not going to win any awards or be named to some list because of your ability to be organized, but it’s a quality trait that spills over into every area of life.
Walmart doesn’t invest a lot of money in store displays or fancy lighting. Do you know why? Because their target customer is more interested in low prices than nice environments.
Nordstroms, on the other hand, invests more than the industry average into customer service training. Why? Because their target customer isn’t driven by price as much as they are by experience.
If you want your idea to work, you’ve truly got to understand your audience. You see, most people are experts in the content but forget to become experts in their customer. Tweet that.
If you’re writing a book, who is it for? If you’re building a course, who is the target? The more focused, the better. Step into other people’s shoes and feel what they feel. That will help you build something worth buying.
I’ve seen mediocre ideas (at least ideas I thought were mediocre) take off because they were supported by the right people. That’s not a knock on the ideas…it’s a call to surround yourself with smart people.
Nearly every dumb thing I’ve done in life and business has been done alone. And nearly every success came alongside a team. Ed Catmull says, “getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.”
If you want your idea to work, it might be worth slowing down and developing key relationships.
Learning is a huge competitive advantage because most people aren’t willing to do it. Even though there are books, courses, classes, coaches, masterminds, experts, and consultants, most people just try to power through and figure it all out.
- If you want to launch products online, there’s no better system than Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula.
- If you’re looking to build an online following, Michael Hyatt’s Platform University is a great place to start.
- if you’re looking for honest business advice and a great community of entrepreneurs, check out Fizzle.
- If you want to become a better photographer, Jeremy Cowart’s See University will help you.
The right kind of learning will cost you something, but if you’re not willing to invest in learning, I’d seriously doubt your ability to launch or grow anything.
Those are six character qualities that will help you get your side-project off the ground, hep you start something that matters or keep you going even when you want to quit.