20 Lessons Internet Marketers Can Learn from Warren Buffett
As Alice Schroeder explains at the end of her book, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, although Warren Buffett is best known for being the second richest person in the world, “above all, he would describe himself as a teacher.”
From sharing his thoughts with small groups at cocktail parties to spreading his wisdom to the entire world through his annual shareholder letters, Schroeder shows throughout her book that Warren has always prided himself on teaching others.
Although he is most highly sought for his investing advice, the wisdom Warren has shared over the decades can easily be applied outside of the world of finance. Because of this, I want to share the following twenty quotes from Warren Buffett, and how they can be applied directly to your job as an Internet marketer:
1) “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Quote #1 is so powerful that it requires no explanation.
2) “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”
Quote #2 addresses the fact that while anyone can look back and analyze what happened in the Internet marketing world during the last three years, it takes a lot more focus and work to gain any worthwhile insights into what is going to happen during the next three years.
3) “Never invest in a business you cannot understand.”
4) “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”
Quotes #3 & #4 emphasis the importance of not only focusing on doing what you’re best at, but of also working with people who are as talented and passionate with their own specialized set of skills.
5) “Risk can be greatly reduced by concentrating on only a few holdings.”
6) “An investor should act as though he had a lifetime decision card with just twenty punches on it.”
7) “Much success can be attributed to inactivity. Most investors cannot resist the temptation to constantly buy and sell.”
Quotes #5-7 addresses a major issue within the Internet marketing community. While forums are filled with threads discussing how to make tons of money by creating a site that makes $1 a day, and then replicating the process thousands of times, the truth is that the people who are most successful online are those who focus all of their attention and effort on just a handful of sites.
8 ) “Always invest for the long term.”
9) “Does the business have favourable long term prospects?”
10) “Time is the friend of a good business but the enemy of a mediocre business.”
Quotes #8-10 are great reminders that while it may be tempting to focus your energy on a small project that will make you a quick buck, if you are serious about making as much money as possible from your Internet marketing activities, you are much better off keeping your focus on quality long-term projects.
11) “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a fair company at a wonderful price.”
12) “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”
Quotes #11 & 12 are proof that although it may be hard to let go of a client or a project that is draining all of your resources but not providing adequate compensation in return, you will do much better in the long-term if you make the decision to move on sooner than later.
13) “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”
14) “I like to go for cinches. I like to shoot fish in a barrel. But I like to do it after the water has run out.”
15) “We have embraced the 21st century by entering such cutting-edge industries as brick, carpet, insulation and paint. Try to control your excitement.”
Quotes #13-15 serve to drive home the point that there are always going to be new developments, like social media marketing, that are worth looking into. However, this doesn’t mean that you should forget about methods and techniques (like many basic methods of linkbuilding) that might not be exciting, but are still extremely effective.
16) “Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.”
17) “Either they’re trying to con you or they’re trying to con themselves.”
18) “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”
19) “A pin lies in wait for every bubble and when the two eventually meet, a new wave of investors learns some very old lessons.”
20) “You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.”
Quotes #16-20 are extremely important for Internet marketers. Because of the nature of the job, most Internet marketers spend the majority of their time in front of the computer. This leads to spending a lot of time reading blogs and forums. While these can be great sources of information, they can also easily lead you astray. At the end of the day, it’s critical that you take the time to make your own decisions instead of blindly accepting what others say. While a new idea or technique may sound amazing, there’s a good chance that it’s nothing more than hype. Although it can be very tempting to jump on bandwagons, you will thank yourself down the road for avoiding the temptation when everyone else has to deal with the consequences of their blind excitement (such as getting slapped with a major search engine penalty).
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