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Innovate... like a maverick
By Chris Haycock | 07 March 2022
When you reframe your mind and start going against the tide, some truly amazing things start to happen. You discover how to innovate like a maverick!
When I was in my late teens I made the rather daft decision to drop out of my Diploma in Business Studies to follow in my family's footsteps by joining the Navy.Whilst I have no regrets (I had a wild time ;) ) it meant that I didn't know much about business when the time came to actually run my business. I had two options: 1. Go back and complete my Diploma 2. Just run my business as best I could I decided to go with option 2. I believed (and I still do) that it was the best course of action for me. Whilst I was learning about the best way to grow my business, I took a tonne of bad decisions. I made a lot of mistakes. I failed a lot, and for a few years I was running blind. Because I had little formal education, I went against the grain many times. I did things that others didn't - or wouldn't - do. I was prepared to experiment, test ideas and hypotheses, and build things that others wouldn't touch because they were too difficult. Whilst experimenting with all my weird and wacky ideas, I was also watching what others in my industry were doing. Not for the purpose of copying them, but for the purpose of finding out what they WEREN'T doing. There were a lot of mavericks in online marketing in the early years who were earning a huge amount of money. One of the people I had my eye on was Marcus Frind, who built dating website Plenty of Fish singlehandedly in 2003, as a way to improve my résumé. I stumbled across Marcus because I had signed up to his website (where I eventually met my wife). He taught himself programming in just two weeks, built the site, and saw massive growth. Eventually he was earning $27,000 a day in advertising revenue. His strategy? He just went and did it! He didn't spend too much time dwelling on what others did. He didn't go and sign up for a business course. He had no design skills. He decided to go against what others were doing, and made his dating site free for everyone. Rather than charging a small fortune to sign up, he did something different, and relied on selling adverts. This strategy paid off - big time. Marcus eventually sold Plenty of Fish in 2015 to Match.com for more than HALF A BILLION DOLLARS! For me, this guy was pivotal in changing how I think. Whilst others are trying to keep up by imitating their competitors, I always look at breaking the mould and try doing something different. And it's a strategy that is paying off handsomely. I haven't found the type of success that Marcus enjoyed (yet?), but my growth has been pretty phenomenal, and my profit margins - well let's just say they're very healthy. And that's without having to borrow a single penny. I have yet to find the billion-dollar idea, but I'm constantly working towards it. One day it'll happen. How? By going against the grain and trying something that hasn't been tried before. By looking at the impossible and saying, Yes, I can do this, when others are saying No, it can't be done. How is this post intended to help YOU? I'm going to encourage you to start thinking differently, and say to yourself, I want to do it my way, even if I'm not successful first time. Look at Thomas Edison. Look at Leonardo Da Vinci. Look at Steve Jobs, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell. Look at Marie Curie, the Wright Brothers. They didn't all follow someone else's path. They created their own. They didn't follow the pack. Now, I'm not saying that everyone is cut out for this type of strategy, but it can pay dividends (quite literally). If you believe you've got the potential to create something great, then you need to think like the greats. How do you do that? By innovating. By being a maverick. By not getting too bogged down with what the competitors are doing. By setting your own standards and goals, not someone elses. By all means, keep up with what the competition are doing, but set your own course to success, and try your own ideas. Of course, you might fail - not just once, but many times. But so did everyone in the list of innovators above. Go ahead, try something new and INNOVATE. It might just be EVERYTHING you're looking for.
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