My job is to look at the world and wonder... "How can we make things better?"
Many Internet marketers are no more than gangsters.
As I write about in, “What’s Wrong With Internet Marketing” they depend on maintaining a knowledge divide.
They’ll promise you that their insights are new (which is usually not the case, only new to you), that they work like magic (which they usually don’t, but the idea of getting something for nothing appeals to human psychology), and that if you’re not doing what they’re doing, you’re losing money (appealing to both our greed and our fear of loss).
Essentially, they’re attempting to manipulate you into buying their lessons on how to manipulate people.
It’s based on a false need, like protection rackets that offer “protection” from harm (which wouldn’t even have been a problem, except if you told the racketeers you didn’t want their help).
Essentially, this is what’s going on…
And, guess what, when you fail to apply their lessons and you don’t manage to make millions like those guys do, what do you think will happen?
That’s right, they’ll have discovered more magic beans… which I bet they’ll tell you will, “Work like crazy!!!”
And which they’ll sell you at a price… again.
I’ll give you some real magic marketing beans!
Let’s turn to one of my favourite sources: Mother Nature. If you want to see how things work at their best, and that work in the long-term, start by looking at nature.
What can nature, and — specifically — beans, tell us about marketing and business?
... you ask
I’m glad you asked. It turns out you can learn a lot from beans!
Let me tell you a short story…
When Sally and I moved into our new house, about 18 months ago, we found a large garden that must have once been a pretty orchard, but was now mostly overrun by brambles and stinging nettles.
So I got into doing a bit of gardening, just trying to grow some vegetables to help feed my family. I confess I’m not very good at it, but it’s fascinating, and I love learning new things.
Gardening gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, out in the fresh air, turning over dirt, picking up stones, setting fire to stuff, and generally getting filthy. And it gives me a great time to stop and think.
Just a couple of hundred yards from our cottage, there’s a row of three other cottages. In one of those lives a kindly elderly gentleman called Colin.
Colin is a great gardener, and after we got chatting, he sent me away with two trays, one with tiny leek sprouts, and the other with little seedling runner beans.
We planted them. They grew. The beans grew into 8-foot-high plants.
The plants produced pods, most of which we ate (delicious!), and some which we never got round to picking.
A few days ago, we walked past the bean plants, which have pretty much died down, and decided to check out the dried-up old pods.
And here’s what I’ve realised…
I think the abundant natural cycle of life can teach us a lot about business and marketing.
The Internet marketing gangsters don’t want you to know this stuff. They want you to continue believing their stories about the latest shortcuts. They want you to want to be like them, to “make a killing” instead of making an honest living.
Here are three important lessons I got from my beans…
The first point is, things want to grow. If you plant a seed, it will grow. If you start a business, it should grow.
Beans want to turn into more beans! It’s what beans do. Nature isn’t a zero-sum game. Beans will grow to create a surplus of beans.
At its simplest, business is the same. It’s all about adding value. Take raw materials or time, invest something to turn it into something better, and you’ve created value. That value generates profit, which you can reinvest to repeat the cycle.
Growth is natural. We just need to let it happen, naturally.
That means you have to start with the right strategy. If I tried to grow pineapples, I would fail, because it’s below freezing outside right now.
My soil is a very heavy clay, which means it is not good for carrots or parsnips. The tomatoes I planted died and rotted. But I can grow mountains of potatoes, rich kale, raspberries, and runner beans.
Beans grow where beans grow, and they grow great in my garden. Pineapples grow somewhere else. Even if I wanted to, even if I wasted hours of my time, I’m never going to produce pineapples.
So, in business and marketing, play to your real strengths. Don’t try to be something that isn’t right for you.
Do something that’s right, that’s natural, that the world really needs. And be sensitive to your environment.
You know, there’s a lot of truth in what the Internet marketing gurus will tell you.
For example, stories do work. But they work better if they’re real stories, told from the heart.
Content marketing can work. Books can work. Webinars and videos and email follow-up sequences can work…
But all these things work best when done with integrity, and with a generous spirit.
Don’t feed your plants. Feed your soil, and your soil will feed your plants. (Anonymous)
If I had just thrown my bean seedlings on the ground, I’m sure they wouldn’t have grown. I needed to prepare the soil, put in bamboo frames for the beans to climb up, protect them from slugs and snails, and water the soil to keep them moist in summer.
It wasn’t a lot of work, and it was fun. But it was essential. My beans needed me to do the right thing.
Since then, I’ve started a compost heap, and I’m continuing to improve the soil in my veg garden by adding lighter soil from other areas that’s richer in organic matter.
Why? Because I know it will give me better vegetables. I can’t prove any direct connection, but countless generations of farmers and gardeners have learned it.
We need to do the same in business and marketing. We need to invest in the whole environment, making sure that everything we do is good for all.
Gardening is not all about direct cause-and-effect, and neither is marketing. The reality is that it’s really fuzzy. The things we do have impacts that we can’t ever measure, and often won’t even be able to understand.
As an example, I have met three new people in the past couple of weeks. Two of them had been following my work for literally years. I didn’t know them, had never had a conversation with them, until the day they decided to get in touch. One of them decided to join my team. The third came across my stuff only yesterday, but instantly felt an affinity.
The point is that I didn’t know that the articles, emails, interviews, or ebooks I published would have those effects. But I wrote them anyway, and put them out there.
That’s what it takes to create an environment where your business will grow. This is about working in a natural way, in accordance and harmony with the way the world really works.
If you’re miserly and only take from your land, your soil will become weak. (That’s what’s actually happening all over the world through intensive farming, as John Seymour explains in this great 23-minute film.)
If you’re miserly and only take from your customers, your market will die out. It’s vital to give and to give and to keep giving, even if you can’t see a direct return for your investment.
Internet Marketing gurus are like the genetic modification multinational Monsanto… taking nature, making tiny modifications, and then ransoming it back to the world.
Manipulation may make money, but it has a short shelf life.
Natural marketing is for ever.