Web Marketing 101: School of Hard Knocks

Yet another school year has begun and my children (ages 14-21) are back to hitting the books. The oldest is in college, so she has the option of choosing her courses and even choosing which professor presents the information.

WHO presents the information is a biggie when you’re in college as well as in the real world.

In college, some professors are a true resource while others seem to be devoted to collecting a paycheck with as little effort as possible. That’s why there are multiple sites where students can go and “rate” their professors online. Even though the curriculum may be the same, the person who is teaching the class makes all the difference.

Ah, those were the days- when a professor would present the information and then, a few days or weeks later, you’d be “tested” on that information. If you performed well on the test, you’d get an “A” – if you didn’t, you might get a “C” or lower.  I wish I’d known how little those A’s would mean two decades later.

Fortunately (or unfortunately – depending how you look at it), my college days are but a memory.  Even the loans I took out to pay for that 4 year party -ehm, educational experience- are paid in full.   Now I’m living in the “real” world where the only school I attend is the school of hard knocks!!! There is no grading on a “curve” or cramming for finals. Instead, the only “test” is the balance of my business checking account.

WHO presents the information you need for real life success is a biggie in “the real world” as well.

As for me, personally, I’m a graduate of SHIT FLINGER U! No, not SHIT as in the South Harmon Institute of Technology, but shit as Cath Lawson defines it in her post Shit: The Best Tool For Success. Cath writes:

The more shit you have thrown at you, the more you learn. And although being in business is stressful, the more shit that hits you at once, the easier it will become later on.

Cath is the one who introduced me to the term “knowledge gatherers”. I squealed with delight when I read that descriptive term.  See,  I’ve run into this type before and have gone as far as to hire a few of these.

A knowledge gatherer is someone who reads every blog, buys every eBook and joins every membership site on a certain subject. Then, the knowledge gatherer presents himself/herself as an “expert” because he/she has accumulated all this knowledge.  Oh, he or she hasn’t applied any of this knowledge, but he or she is more than willing to tell YOU how to implement it.

Unfortunately, it takes about 3 weeks of working with just such a person (sometimes less) before you discover that you’re dealing with this type of individual.  One thing I’ve noticed is that this type usually has a lot of trouble with the whole “blogging” thing.  They blog for a bit and then “run out” of inspiration.

See, it’s one thing to know something so you can repeat it: it’s quite another thing to learn to apply it.  That is what happens at the school of Hard Knocks a.k.a. SHIT FLINGER U.

They say that wisdom is learning from someone ELSE’S mistakes.

Oh how I wish I were wise.

I wish I had learned my lessons from others who have been battered and bruised.   That’s why, when I find a blog like Cath Lawson’s, I subscribe to the RSS feed IMMEDIATELY!

Unfortunately, I’ve learned most of my “lessons” by jumping off the ledge and discovering AFTER I landed that the pile of straw which was supposed to cushion my fall was not only “used” instead of “fresh” but also filled with hypodermic needles and sometime machetes!

As I look back over my experience as a small business owner, I recognize that the struggles are indeed what have made me a valuable resource for my clients. There’s no lesson more valuable than the one you can learn from the man or woman who stands before you, covered in bruises and smelling of feces.

The problem is, when presented with the choice between the perfectly manicured, well dressed guide who is driving a Porsche and the Sherpa who’s dirty and smells funny – most of us will choose Ken and his sweet ride.  That’s fine if you’re touring Miami – it’s not the best choice if you’re scaling Mt. Everest.

I guess that is yet another reason you need to know where you’re going before you pick your guide!