Practice: The One Thing That Separates the Good from the Not-so-Good

Boy with Toy Plane: The Secret of Successful Pilots and Marketers

Practice: What Makes a Marketer So Good

Airline pilots aren’t born – they’re made. Each pilot’s story is different.

Maybe little Jack takes a plane trip on a family vacation. The seven-year-old Jack passes the cockpit on his way to his seat. He spies the high-tech gadgetry, the pilots in their starched uniforms, and the small windows above the massive super-computer that commands the flying hunk of metal.

Little Jack is in awe.

Jack fantasizes about walking onto the flight deck and sitting in the captain’s chair. He imagines radioing air traffic control, navigating the runway, and throttling the massive Boeing into the sky. He almost-naively imagines, “I could do that.”

So he studies. Jack makes the grades and gets into the Air Force Academy. Studying even harder, he earns a degree and competes for a pilot training program slot. He makes it. After hours of prep time and student flying, Jack learns finally learns to fly. According to this guy, 5000 hours of flying time gets you the captain’s chair in a 737.

Jack struggles and works. Through small successes and failures, he perseveres. Jack moves from dreaming about flying an airplane to actually flying one. Jack is now a pilot.

Online Marketers Are Like Pilots

Like pilots, good online marketers are also made.

She’s begins with aspirations. Maybe it’s the writer’s life that first attracts her first. (Or was it the Ferrari she saw on some video promising internet riches.) She dreams of coffee shop musings while the rest of America commutes to dead-end serfdom. The aspiring marketer doesn’t want to eke out a living for the man. She wants freedom. So she works.

She buys books and courses. She trades time most people spend watching television to churn out blog posts. She learns HTML and throws up an ugly online sales letter. She buys some traffic and learns that it doesn’t convert nearly as well as the guru led her to believe. But that doesn’t stop her – she’s determined to get her coffee shop laptop life.

Then she gets her break. She lands a gig as junior SEO for an internet marketing agency. While the rest of her colleagues fret about office politics, the would-be A-lister is hard at work. She’s putting in extra hours to learn the trade, build links, run PPC campaigns, and anything else that will help her own sites at home.

High Flying Marketer

And then it happens.

After working the late nights, double checking rankings, re-writing articles, and doing other mundane tasks, her affiliate site is finally making money. Not only is it making money, it’s making as much as she’s making at her day job. The entrepreneur marketer didn’t know it then, but looking back on the mountain she scaled, she sees it.

Thousands of hours later, she sees progress between her first ugly sales letter and her cash-churning affiliate sites.

The marketer won, the marketer lost. But the marketer never gave up. She persevered, trudged through the Dip and eventually made it. Perseverance paid off. Now she’s sipping lattes, and doing SEO using Starbucks Wi-Fi. She’s a well-fed marketer.

The magic ingredient of both good pilots and marketers is persevering practice. Yes, you gotta have the tools. If you can’t construct a sentence, try another line of work. But if you have the basics – and you try long enough, hard enough, with the right teachers, you get good. Persistent practice may not make perfect, but it sure makes you better.

This is the secret of online marketing success.