Angles, Failure And Evolution
I’ve often said on this blog and other places that half of your success or more is in finding the right angle. In this article I am going to tell you what I mean by that and give you some other musings and insights into business things (and probably life things too.)
This will be a short article because I am writing it without actually writing it. This is a good example of finding an angle in amongst the bad stuff.
Firstly, what do I mean by there being an angle?
How I Learned About Angles
I know a guy who I’ve taken a lot from over the years. He’s a completely wacky character and approaches life like a mad scientist.
I could almost call him a mentor because I learned a lot from him, but he makes a terrible mentor for the same reasons that I mentioned above. Mad scientist, completely unconcerned with human beings and with a tendency to disappear without warning quite regularly.
Anyway… This guy originally said that there was always an angle, but I didn’t really understand it until I saw him using an example in real life.
I won’t give his game away but he found the target market that he was looking for by using public transportation. So in typical mad scientist fashion, what he did was get downloads of all the public transport routes in his city, print them off and stick them to his wall, putting pins in them and with string so that he could most efficiently go and sell to people all day, every day taking these roots and never bumping into the same people twice.
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A lot of you I’m sure will have the exact same reaction to that that I did; namely, you think that the guy sounds like some psychopathic serial killer.
And he told me that when you find a winning angle it works and no matter how stupid it is, it doesn’t matter because it is more efficient than wasting your time with conventional things that don’t work as well.
There Is Always An Angle… Finding It Isn’t Easy
There is always an angle, and here is why.
In biology, you have something called an evolutionary stable system. This is essentially an ecosystem where everything works. In a forest there will be many tender plants, many insects that feed off the plants, fewer but still large number small mammals and birds which feed off the insects, and then larger predators which feed off the small mammals and birds.
The food chain described creates a stable system. The predators are kept in check by the sheer virtue of the fact that there is not a lot of food for them when their numbers get too high, and the prey species are kept in check by all the things above them on the food chain.
Here’s where the angle comes in; when you introduce a species that is invasive to a system, everything gets thrown out in terms of the rules. The prey can’t defend themselves against the predators. The predators find themselves with new competition. The invasive species might be poisonous or otherwise destroy the system inherently.
Now, you might be thinking, “Jamie, what the hell has this got to do with online business?”
The world as it is is a stable system. Your business niche is likely a stable system.
When you find the angle, it is like introducing an invasive species. Essentially, you do something to disrupt the business cycle, and then you use the exploit to establish yourself as the new go to source in your niche.
You find an angle therefore, by doing things and approaching problems in a completely different way to what your competitors are doing.
But How Do I Know My Angle Will Work?
I have never understood people who say, “But what if I fail?”
You are going to fail and there’s no guarantee that anything in your life will work first time.
Sure, there are the one in a billion freaks of chance who find that they are super gifted at something first time. I wouldn’t count your chances at being the one in the billion though.
When it comes to finding business angles and ideas and pretty much anything in life, assume that you are going to fail. You probably are.
You do not know if an angle is going to work. This is true whether you are talking about running an affiliate marketing campaign or supplying a revolutionary product to a new market.
What you have to do is twofold:
- you have to get over the fear of failing by testing multiple things at once
- you have to quickly cut off failed attempts and limit downsides
Luckily these things work in tandem. The more things you test, the more angles you try and the quick you move on for many failed attempts, the better you get at doing these things.
And to an extent, this is how you succeed.
Each Failed Angle Is A Data Point
I could go into wise grandfather mode and say that every time you fail, you learn something from the experience and grow as a person.
That’s a bit boring and pulpit like though, so instead I’ll say that your failures and successes in creating angles are data points.
If you are targeting women to sell them perfume (as an example,) and you find out that they are more receptive to buying when they are on Instagram as opposed to Facebook, then this is data that you can take with you into any project you create in the future.
If you are targeting guys in their 20s and you realize that they are broke and hate spending money, then this is also something that you can take into the future.
You might learn both of those things the failure but ultimately they are successes.
Remember, when you are trying to hit a new angle that one overall success is going to mean big results. As long as you limit downsides, there is no reason you can’t fail 100 times to win big once.