Have You Put the Cart Before the Horse?

Since horses are built to pull carts, not push them, it makes no sense to put the cart before the horse. Of course, this illustration is so obvious that not many make that mistake, in this physical scenario. Besides the horse may not approve.

Balking Horse

In the world of modern life, however, it is not so obvious, and more people than you would believe do put their “carts before their horses” That is a critical mistake. Here is what I mean.

Let’s be honest. People start businesses to make money. That’s a good and necessary element of the plan, but if that is THE plan, the main focus of it, success is likely to be limited and problematic. There are many, very many frustrated internet entrepreneurs who are working themselves to a frazzle while making little progress simply because of their flawed approach.

Rather than trying to outright convince people that you and your product or service is worth their time and money, show them. Contribute, rather than convince. Through contribution, you will convince them.

This simple change of focus makes good sense because it represents the concept that Contribution Creates Compensation. Let’s think about that for a moment. When the weather is cold and you want a fire in the fireplace, do you tell the fireplace to give you heat, while promising to feed it wood after the fire is burning? Of course not. Do you expect your car to take you places on the promise that you’ll feed it some gasoline after you get there? Of course not. In both these simple examples, you know that you must provide the fuel in order to get the results you want.

It’s the same in dealing with people. They will not reward you with profits until after you have delivered some value to them. Therefore Contribution Creates Compensation.

The Proof is in the Pudding

We need to take a closer look at contribution and compensation. For our purposes today, contribution is value that you freely give to your audience.   One of the most valuable contributions you can give to your audience is information. Information is knowledge or expertise you already have. It is valuable because it gives your audience knowledge that they don’t already have. They can then turn that knowledge into understanding and apply it as wisdom.

The information you offer can be in many forms, such as a report, an ebook, or a free consultation with you. This usually starts with a blog or podcast, or on social media, for instance.

Now, compensation is not always money, but it is also something of value. In the beginning, compensation is usually a potential customer’s email address, as in when they subscribe to your blog, or a follow you on social media, or it may be merely giving your information a fair hearing. These are the beginning steps that must be taken before significant monetary compensation follows, as it naturally will, from those who find value in your contribution and who can pay for it.

When a wise person wants heat from the fireplace on a cold winter day, he or she knows that an investment is required. That wise person may be cold and shivering and desperate for heat, but they know they can’t just demand heat, or even put a large log in the cold fireplace. They MUST follow the necessary steps of placing something that will burn quickly and easily in first (tinder); something like wadded up newspaper. They know that the tinder won’t burn long enough or hot enough to catch the big log on fire, so they add kindling, small twigs and sticks starting with very small ones just on top of the paper, while gradually increasing the size and quantity of the kindling. After the proper preparation, they can light the fire and when the kindling is burning hot and fast, they can keep increasing the size of the logs in the fire until they get that big one burning that will give heat for a long time.

In our case of internet business, leading people to follow you, to work with you and to buy from you, you must nurture them, just as you would nurture that fire. Your initial presentation to your audience is your tinder, which is then followed by a small but valuable information product that you offer in return for their email address (permission to email them your offers). That small but valuable offer is the kindling that gets their fire burning, then you can offer them products of gradually increasing value and price, until you have a good, mutually rewarding relationship with them. Until they are your loyal and dedicated customer.

This does take time, but it is necessary, if you are to have enduring success. Enduring success will be built upon your relationship with the people you serve. If you are just peddling something for quick profit, you may find some quick profit, but it won’t endure and that will create a poor reputation for you that may take a long, long time to overcome.

If starting a blog or other platform seems like a daunting task, remember all you have to do is to identify the necessary steps, then take one or two of those steps every day, and pretty soon you’ll have a platform from which to launch your contribution, which, if valuable and needed, will produce compensation. (For a tutorial on starting a blog, see the link to Michael Hyatt’s site below).

Whoever you are, you have some knowledge, skill or information that is valuable to others. You are just as good, valuable and worthy as any of us, and with a little study and practice (trial and error) you can do anything that any of us have done.

Go on, get started and light that fire!

A very popular blog on the internet is Michael Hyatt’s blog. Michael’s specialty is building a platform. He contributes tutorials on how to build a blog as well as shares most valuable and interesting content. I suggest you check him out. (I have no business connection with Michael). He’s just doing a bang up good job and is a great teacher. I follow him and recommend him.

This blog is for you, so please share your questions or comments with me below, or use the contact form for inquiries of a private nature….and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog in the lower righthand sidebar to be notified when new posts are available.

Get started, build that fire and light it…and keep your horse in front of the cart.