When I first started an online business, all I wanted to know was what I needed to do and how to do it.
I asked myself questions like:
- How do I find a great business idea?
- How do I come up with a product or a service?
- How do I sell it?
- How do I get more customers?
- How do I raise my rates?
For the first few years, I learned about business primarily from online courses.
That was one of the few ways in which I could learn about it, since I was based in Slovenia where nobody I knew possessed the knowledge I sought.
As I was super self-driven and willing to do anything to succeed, I loved online courses – they were the perfect way to get an idea how to successfully start and grow an online business.
Through online courses, I learned 2 main things – the tactics and the strategies that I needed to get my online business off the ground.
To me, the strategies meant more high level objectives. For example, “just focus on growing your email list when you’re starting out with your business” was a strategy that I could pursue that would inform what I did on a daily basis.
The tactics meant very specific things I could do within the overarching “strategy” to achieve my main goal.
For growing my email list, this might mean:
- Putting opt-in boxes on my website to capture email subscribers
- Writing compelling opt-in copy to maximize my opt-in rate
- Creating Ultimate Guides to attract more readers to my website that could turn into email subscribers
I loved learning about different strategies and tactics because they made running an online business a lot easier.
I didn’t have to waste time with tactics and strategies that didn’t work, and I could focus on ones that did, to grow my business as fast as possible.
In other words, learning about different tactics and strategies helped me cut through the nonsense, eliminate guesswork and identify things that mattered most for taking my business to the next level.
Then, throughout the last year, I started noticing something interesting.
There was a part of growing an online business that experts didn’t want to talk about
I remember having a conversation with a successful entrepreneur where I asked them about how they initially built their blog audience.
When they told me how they did it, I asked them why they never shared that publicly yet.
The answer surprised me:
“Because most people don’t want to hear about the whole process… It’s too much hard work.”
That’s when it hit me.
I got a flashback from one of the online courses I went through and enjoyed – Call to Action, a copywriting course from Ramit Sethi.
In the course, Ramit shares a lot of great copywriting techniques that he learned / developed over the past few years, and I loved the tactics and strategies that were part of the course.
When I took the course, I loved it, and it definitely taught me a lot about copywriting that I didn’t know before.
But then, I remembered a few interesting things that Ramit off-handedly mentioned here and there that were related to copywriting:
- He made it a goal to become one of the best copywriters out there
- He used to look at other peoples’ sales pages, rewrite them for his own products, and never publish them (just to get the practice in)
- He once rewrote a sales page for one of his online products 17 times before coming up with a version he was happy with
I also remembered taking an online course called “CopyHour”, which has a completely different approach to learning about copywriting.
Instead of talking about copywriting techniques, you get roughly 70 emails (one a day) with different sales letters delivered to your inbox.
You’re supposed to block off an hour a day, and rewrite those sales letters by hand (a nightmare for those us that are slow at writing by hand), so you can really understand how great copywriters write their ads by writing them like them.
That’s not a course for the masses, and it probably doesn’t make 8 figures a year, but it does do one thing for you – it helps you get really good at writing copy over the course of a few months.
What makes top online entrepreneurs incredibly good at what they do?
As I started “seeing” all the details I missed in the past, I started to become really curious about what top online entrepreneurs REALLY did to become the best in the world at what they do.
And not just that, I wanted to see what the Top Performers from different disciplines did to become the best in the world at what they did.
I read tens of books about high performance and read studies about athletes, violinists, doctors, animation studios and even airforce pilots to figure out what separated them from everyone else.
Over the past year or so, this has turned into and obsession, as I wanted to figure out what I could do to become incredibly good at running an online business.
The answer that I’ve found is simpler than I expected.
Top Performers use Deliberate Practice to successfully grow their online businesses.
Deliberate Practice is a term invented by Anders Ericsson, and is essentially highly focused on improving a certain part of your performance when it comes to a specific goal.
- A guitar player might practice playing a song at a 2x faster rate to improve his playing speed
- A chess player might analyze situations from previous games and try to find the right moves to win the match
- A doctor might look at past monograms of patients with a specific type of cancer to learn how to spot cancer more reliably
The Deliberate Practice is different from the “regular practice” in a sense that you’re not just trying to “get in the reps”.
- Deliberate Practice helps you develop skills others have already developed (and is usually overseen by a teacher or a coach who knows how to develop those skills)
- Deliberate Practice is focused on getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself outside of your current abilities
- Deliberate Practice includes specific goals and is aimed at improving a specific aspect of performance, rather than vague improvement
- Deliberate Practice requires a person’s full attention (just following the instructions from a coach or putting in the reps is not enough)
- Deliberate Practice involves feedback from the teacher so that you can learn to spot mistakes by yourself and eventually fix them
- Deliberate Practice involves building on previously developed skills to eventually reach an expert level of performance
Now to make this more real, let’s look at a practical example.
EXAMPLE: How you could use Deliberate Practice to get better at copywriting
The typical approach to get better at copywriting might include taking an online course on copywriting, reading books around it, or simply “writing more copy”.
Those approaches are certainly a lot more effective than doing nothing, but with those approaches, you will eventually hit a plateau (as you’ll constantly be repeating the same things over and over again).
In order to Deliberately Practice copywriting, you’d need to:
- Strategically get better at specific parts of copywriting (like writing headlines, hooks, etc.), and do exercises that would help you improve those skills
- Get regular feedback on your copy from an experienced copywriter
- Constantly push yourself out of comfort zone with your writing, rather than writing in a way that comes easy to you
If we look back at the examples we shared earlier, we can notice that:
- The exercises that Ramit Sethi uses, as well as the exercises in CopyHour, are a great way of putting in the practice around a highly targeted skill (writing sales pages)
- Combining this approach together with hiring an experienced copywriting coach or mentor that gives you rapid feedback and helps you identify flaws in your copy can bring you closer to Deliberate Practice
This way, you can get better at copywriting WAY faster (think of it as “accelerated learning”) than you would by just writing more content.
And that is what most Top Performing entrepreneurs have in common.
They don’t just learn about tactics and strategies. They spend hours and hours sitting in a coffee shop, improving and refining their skills, which is what ultimately makes them incredibly good at what they do, and helps them build 7-8 figure online businesses.
And the best part?
Not only can you apply this approach to copywriting, you can apply it to any part of running an online business.
Think about it.
How could you apply the Deliberate Practice approach to rapidly get better at…
- Customer research interviews
- 1on1 sales conversations over the phone
- Validating business ideas
- Writing Facebook Ads
You can literally think of any crucial skill that you need to develop while building an online business, and chances are you’ll be able to learn it a lot faster through Deliberate Practice.
My quest for combining Deliberate Practice and Online Business
I haven’t found many resources in the online business world that would dissect this process in great detail, which is why I’m dedicating a lot of my time to “figuring this out”.
I really want to find out what makes top online entrepreneurs really good at different parts of building an online business – from finding great business ideas, doing customer research interviews, writing proposals, sales funnels and sales pages, to being a great coach or a consultant.
I feel like this is important because even though most people might be ok with just using strategies and tactics, I know there’re people like me out there who want to take their learning beyond that.
I know that there’re people who want to learn how to become masters of their craft and become the best in the world at something – for the fun of it.
There’s a lot here that still needs to be explored and the area of Deliberate Practice isn’t as widely researched as practice in chess, violin or sports, which is why I’m super excited about this topic.
I’ll be creating more content around this topic (from interviews to Ultimate Guides), and I’m excited to take you on a journey with me.
And as we do that, I’d love to hear from you:
Would you be interested in learning more about applying Deliberate Practice to online business? If yes, what’s the thing you’d be the most curious about?
Leave a comment below and let me know!
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