A not-so-funny thing that keeps coming up when talking to my good business friends, clients, and Incubator members is the frustration that the online business space is a giant echo chamber.

(Other words you may choose to use include circlejerk, poorly-constructed feedback loop, pyramid scheme, privilege bubble, or oh-my-god-how-did-I-get-stuck-in-this-Groundhog-Day-scenario.)

And it goes beyond the business coaches coaching business coaches to coach business coaches shindig. It’s the messaging. The words that everyone uses. And language is powerful.

Then it’s the website design, and the branding colors, and suddenly everyone looks just like everyone else.

All because one person convinced a lot of other people that the only way to be successful online is their way.

And that’s patently not true.

What happens is that one person does something that makes them a lot of money. They then turn around and say “pay me to find out how I made a lot of money.” And then everyone goes off and tries to become mini me’s of this person, whether in their exact branding or the entire way they position, package, and promote themselves–what I call the Power Triangle of any successful business.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with teaching people how you made your money.

In fact, I don’t think even the harshest critics of internet marketing would disagree that process transparency (when it’s real, not manufactured) is awesome. It’s the direction the world is moving, thanks in large part to social media, and we’re all seeing and showing how the sausage gets made.

The problem is what people do with that information.

They don’t take what they like and leave the rest–they take all of it. Every last piece. Because if it worked for Coach McGee, it’s gotta work for me!

But it’s not all bad, because there is actually gold within this process:

  1. Future successful person creates a solid business foundation then does something completely unique to achieve their recognition or success.
  2. Now successful person goes on to teach others exactly what they did to become successful.
  3. Now successful person forgets that the reason they’re successful is that they did something others did not do.

Inside that process is the real success system.

Here’s the secret formula that no one is actually teaching in online business:

  1. Learn and master the basics
  2. Get creative with the rest

In other words:

left-brained strategy + right-brained creativity = success

I’m all about creative strategy. Those of you who have been following me for awhile, and especially recently, are probably tired of hearing about it. No one’s step-by-step system works 100% for everyone else, unless you’re running a McDonald’s franchise. Balance the left-brain systems follower with the right-brain innovation center, and you’ll unlock your full potential.

Listen, all I’m saying is that while there are great formulas and “success systems” for establishing your business foundations (positioning, packaging, and promotion strategies), the thing that will make you successful is something that others aren’t going to be able to teach you.

In fact, others might tell you that the idea that will make you successful is too “off-the-wall” to work.

Don’t allow yourself to be coached off your own path. You’re the boss, and you get to make the ultimate game-day decisions. Experiment, get messy, and make it your own.

So listen to what others are saying, get a feel for the fundamentals of the industry you’re here to shake up, then get to the shaking.


Want more insight on meshing left-brained strategy with right-brained creativity? Join the free Creative CEO Vault, where all my free trainings reside, including the Creative CEO Strategy Workbook, which walks you through a path to solidifying your business foundations. No need to sign up for each opt-in you want, just grab it all!

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My clients have started, pivoted, and grown their businesses using my signature framework that's inside this workbook.

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