You can learn so much about running a profitable online business from studying Olympic successes. So stop feeling bad about all the time you’ve spent in front of the TV, and start thinking of it as part of your online business education.
Olympic athletes are the best in the world at what they do. Whether they win or “lose” once they get there, it’s hard to argue that the qualifiers are anything but great successes. So, you will be wise to take a few lessons from the athletes that can turn you into an Olympic entrepreneur.
While engaging in my “online business education” of Olympic watching, 5 trends stand out as steps you need to take to become an Olympic entrepreneur.
1. Show Up Early and Often
The amount of time Olympic athletes spend training and practicing is mind-blowing. Consider Gabby Douglas, the USA gymnast and Olympic Gold medal winner. When she was 14 years old, she moved away from her home and family in Virginia Beach, to Des Moines, Iowa. The reason? She wanted to train with a world class coach. So she’s lived the past two years with a “host family” rather then her real family. For the sole purpose of working on her game .
John Lather, a well-known sports researcher, reports that the number one variable related to elite performance is time spent in training. He estimates world class athletes train about 20 hours a week for 8 years to become the best there is. Indeed, studies bear out the fact that the average world class athlete trains 23 hours a week.
What sacrifices are you making to become a world class entrepreneur? The lesson for the online business owner is that you’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes, to realize it doesn’t happen overnight, and to put a lot of time and effort into your business.
2. Have the best coach
Gabby Douglas’ story of moving across the country to find just the right coach is not unique. It is in fact a rather common practice. And, it’s not just reserved for the “high profile” sports like gymnastics and swimming. Kayla Harrison, the American gold medalist in judo, moved from Ohio to Massachusetts to continue her training at the age of 16.
A really important lesson here is that as Olympic athletes get better at their sport, they hire better coaches. They are performing at a higher level so they need a coach who can take them even higher. They don’t say “I’m great now so I don’t need a coach.”
Yet that’s exactly what too many online business owners do. I actually heard someone advise a beginning marketer that she could learn what she needed to know through forums. That’s crazy. You need a coach from day one. And the better you get at your business, the better your coach should be. Which means the more money you’ll be paying her or him. Fortunately, you won’t have to move away from home to find your coach!
3. Look your best
A lot of time and money goes into making sure our athletes look good at the Olympics. The U.S. gymnastics team members all show up in a variety of shiny team uniforms. The swimmers all sport the U.S. flag on their official team swim caps. There is even an official “medal stand uniform,” the style and color of which varies depending on your sport.
And the uniform matters beyond appearance too. This year’s USA marathon runners are wearing shoes that weigh 19% less than the old ones. Which equals about the weight of a car when you consider the 40,000 steps a marathon runner takes. One of the track uniforms is reportedly .023 seconds faster over 100 meters than the old uniform. “So what,” you say? Well, it would have been the difference in Silver and Bronze four years ago.
Finally, people care what their Olympic athletes are wearing. Nike’s unveiling of the track and field uniforms caused quite an uproar for their apparently unsightly appearance. One critic commented they are the “most hideous, unsightly, revolting, and repulsive that I have ever seen!” Okay then.
Before you go off finalizing the sparkles in your online business uniform, you should know that the “uniform” of your business is your branding, not your actual physical appearance. Keep your PJs and fuzzy slippers.
But the lesson remains the same. You’ve got to look good online. And while you don’t want to look like everyone else, you want to make sure you have a consistent “uniform” across all of your online platforms. Which means you want to look the same on your website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and where ever else you may be.
4. Give your best stuff away
Athletes don’t complete in the Olympics to make money. While sponsors do cover their travel expenses, most U.S. athletes make nothing for competing. The U.S. does pay $25,000 to Gold medal winners, $15,000 for Silver, and $10,000 for Bronze.
But, other than that, Olympic athletes are putting in all that time and effort for the pure satisfaction of it. In other words, when they give millions of viewers their performance of a lifetime, the huge majority of them are giving it away for free. And they’re doing it because they have a passion for what they do.
But, if they do it very well, the payoff is huge. For example, Speedo is a huge sponsor of Michael Phelps. In addition to the sponsorship, they gave him $1 million when he broke the record for number of medals in a single Olympic games. (He used it to start a charity).
The lesson here ~ don’t be afraid to give your best stuff away for free in your online business. Give your audience free reports, video training and great blog content. For free. If you do it really well – which means if you give a lot of value – people will “sponsor” you too, by buying your more advanced trainings and information. The really great news is that in your online business you have a much better opportunity for making good money than the Olympic athletes do.
5. Your Story Makes the Difference
Do you remember the names of any 2008 Olympic Gold medal winners? Chances are, very few. But, I bet you remember the story behind some of the athletes, whether they won Gold or not.
Have you noticed how much Olympic coverage is devoted to telling the stories behind the athletes? Would they do this if no one cared? And the more unique the story, the better. How about Oscar Pistorius, the South African runner with no legs. I guarantee you people will remember his story far longer than they remember how well he did, or didn’t do, in the Olympics.
Your online business marketing strategy must contain your story. Which is easy, because it just requires that you be yourself. The hard part is realizing and revealing your uniqueness to your audience. And no, you don’t have to lose both legs to be effective. If you use your story, and as many other stories as you can gather that your audience will relate to, you will have a huge advantage in your market.
Do you have other examples of how the Olympics are helping you become a better entrepreneur? Please share them with me in the comments below. I look forward to seeing you on the medal stand.