You have talent. You’re ambitious. You know you’re destined for something big, but frustrated that it hasn’t happened sooner.
It seems like the people you want to impress are ignoring you. Your boss, a publisher or a particular market where you do business is just not responding. Why don’t they consider you for that promotion? Why won’t they introduce you to that editor? Why doesn’t that target market jump at your product?
Many people spend their time scheming for a big break, instead of building something that people can’t ignore.
Knowing how to network and being super-connected is important. But if you want to achieve lasting results that get people’s attention, you have to do something first. Let me tell you a quick story to show you what I mean.
Successful entrepreneur, despite the odds
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet an entrepreneur named Doina Oncel. If anybody had the cards stacked against her, it was Oncel.
At one point in her life, she was an abused mother who had to leave her home. With two children to take care of, she had a rough road ahead of her. But within a few years she managed to start a successful PR business focused on tech startups in Canada.
Secret to her success
Here are some things Doina Oncel did that you can do too.
Start on something and don’t stop. Oncel wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but she enjoyed PR work and found a niche where she was needed. She got to work on her business and didn't stop.
Don’t let the past determine your future. No matter what your situation or background, you can determine the direction of your life by sheer grit and hard work. Eventually, that hard work and persistence will pay off.
Build something people need. Businesses started noticing Oncel and hiring her because she worked to build something that people wanted. Her business became known for effective PR buzz around tech startups. She has recognized a vacuum in her market and built the right business to fill it.
Getting noticed boils down to hard work.
That’s probably not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. When you accumulate years of experience, success and a body of work, people will eventually start to take notice.
What exactly should you do? Here are four ideas.
Blogs - Blogs are the most popular way to attract attention. But just starting a blog will not get you the attention you need. All those who are famous for their blogs share one thing. People like Brian Clark and Chris Brogan have a huge amount of useful information that they produced over time. Eventually, people couldn’t help noticing their expertise and the resources they had gathered.
Businesses - Spending years working hard to build a business will also attract attention eventually. Think about companies like DropBox, Groupon and Mint.com. Their founders have become superstars. For the most part, it took 18-hour days, 365 days a year and endless energy for years on end to build something people couldn’t ignore.
Books - Writing books to gain the attention of customers and high-profile people is another approach. Seth Godin finally appeared in the spotlight with his book Permission Marketing, after years of grinding it out in the trenches with his own businesses. It was a cool idea that people couldn’t ignore. But the idea behind that book took years to develop.
Jobs - Whether you are a sales clerk or a C-level executive, that promotion will never come unless you give your bosses something that they can’t ignore. Put in hard days' work and show performance improvement over a long period of time.
Grind it out successfully
Grinding it out is essential to success. There is no secret formula or quick steps that will get you there. There are a few things you can work on, however.
Focus four or five hours a day on a specific task. That may seem like a lot, but it’s mandatory if you want to develop the skill that will help people notice you. Repetition in that particular skill is what counts. For example, if you are a salesperson, practice answering objections over and over.
Work on your weaknesses. You are often told to ignore your weaknesses and just work on your strengths. This is not good advice. When I started one of my first companies, Advice Monkey, I didn’t know how to do internet marketing, so I had to learn it myself. Even though learning it took time, it eventually helped me create two of my most successful companies, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics.
Create purposeful goals. The best achievers create goals that improve the process of achievement, rather than the final outcome. In other words, it’s about getting better at the process than getting the big payout.
Get feedback. Do you have a mentor, advisor or coach? If not, engage one who can give you feedback on what you are doing right and wrong. This will inevitably help you get better.
Create something bigger than yourself
Attracting attention is really about creating something, whether it’s a blog, business or book. Creating something bigger than yourself doesn’t happen unless you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and work for years on end.
That might not make you happy, but here’s the cool part of building a history of achievement: Once you gain momentum, it’s a lot easier to keep that momentum going.
What other ways can hard work help you gain attention?