Rich Schefren - Opportunity Seekers versus Entrepreneurs
By: Ric Thompson
When the top Internet marketers run into trouble, want to boost their bottom lines, want to streamline things, and when they're looking to make more money, more fun and more time off, they call Rich Schefren, the "Coach to the Internet Gurus." His unique philosophy about how to build real businesses online gets big money results for his clients, and that's the reason he formed Strategic Profits in 2004. The company provides coaching for online entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses strategically.
Rich parlayed his offline successes and marketing prowess into an information product business. Over the next two years he established joint ventures with the major online marketing players that generated in excess of $4 million in revenue. Many of these marketers secretly sought his advice to help them turn their businesses into profit-producing powerhouses. His passion was ignited to share what he'd learned with all struggling Internet marketers who wanted to build real businesses and live freer lives.
RICH SCHEFREN: Thank you, Ric, for the introduction.
RIC THOMPSON: It's a pleasure to have you here. It's an honor to have you here. The people who have recommended you are, quite literally, the who's who of Internet marketing and businesses offline and online. It's a real treat to have you here with us today.
RICH SCHEFREN: Yes, I'm excited.
RIC THOMPSON: Let's kick this thing off with a basic question. A lot of people getting started in business struggle. They're in that position where they're somewhat overwhelmed. They're just getting started and having to do everything themselves. We've got to get people past that hump. Where do people start?
RICH SCHEFREN: Where do people start? If we're talking about people who have nothing at the moment going on and are looking to start a business, it always starts with first getting clear about who you are as a person and what you bring to the table. This is primarily because in this day and age the Internet has changed so many of the rules of business, and that competition is really global.
Whether you want to sell an ebook or a physical product, you really have to make sure that you stand out, that you're able to do a job that is better than what other people can do. It always starts at first on getting clear about what you bring to the table and what you offer. That, in and of its self, isn't going to bring home any money, nor is it going to get that initial momentum going.
However, it's going to be the pivot point that will be built upon to then get to those things. It starts there. It's getting clear what your strength is and what you have to offer the world. Some people struggle with that and other people naturally know what it is they're better than most at. It has to start there if you're going to build a business that works long-term.
RIC THOMPSON: Let's focus on that word 'business' really quickly and clarify some things. One of the big lessons that you have to share is helping people define between an opportunity seeker and an actual businessperson. A lot of folks are trapped in the opportunity-seekers cycle, if you will, and don't even know it. Can I get your comments and get you to explain that to folks who've probably not heard that before?
RICH SCHEFREN: Sure, this was the basis of the first report that I wrote that really helped me get known outside the circle of the gurus and marketing people out there who were already clients of mine. I wrote this document that was for the Internet marketing community especially, but it does resonate outside of Internet marketing to pretty much all small business owners.
It is to distinguish between what an entrepreneur is versus what an opportunity seeker is. What I had found was that most of the people who were struggling online, and most of the people who were struggling even offline, didn't have a clear idea of what an entrepreneur was versus what an opportunity seeker is. An opportunity seeker is actually a term that is used in direct response for a type of market, which is one that is temporary.
This is someone who's going to buy something to achieve some dream, but the likelihood of them achieving it is not high. They'll probably be looking for some new opportunity sometime shortly. While that might be common knowledge in direct response marketing, it is not common knowledge in the entrepreneurial way of life. What I did was to help people understand what an opportunity seeker is versus an entrepreneur.
An opportunity seeker is someone who is going out and chasing opportunities. They haven't gotten to the point yet to realize that an opportunity is never found on a sales letter. An opportunity is never given to you in a business in a box. These are things that an opportunity seeker would like to believe there's an opportunity in, but there really isn't. An opportunity is not an idea.
An opportunity is when you see there's a market need that, based on your strength, you have the ability to satisfy. That would be what an opportunity would be for someone who's an entrepreneur. Every other type of marketed type of opportunity tends to be catering to this group called opportunity seekers. Today they're trying to build an Internet business; tomorrow they're going to learn Forex Trading; and next week they're going to learn how to make money in real estate.
Real entrepreneurs don't do that. They discover an opportunity that is based on who they are, something that they're passionate about and that they want to build a business around. It's a 90-day difference because when you know what it is you're trying to accomplish, when you know what it is you're trying to achieve, and when you understand the role that you're trying to fill in a marketplace, you can be much more discerning about what will help you get there.
That's where the element, especially online, hit home for people when I made the explanation: "Do you have a vision of what you want to achieve? Therefore, with every opportunity that other people are trying to advertise in front of you, you can go through a mental checklist and say, 'Will this help me get to my end goal quicker, faster, easier and better?' versus, 'Is this a good opportunity?'"
When you're looking at everything as, "Is this a good opportunity?" you have no real criteria that you're looking at. What happens is that you end up going from course to course to course, but never finishing anything. Even if you were to finish, it wouldn't take you to where in your head you want to go, because it wasn't designed for it and you haven't taken it and applied it in a way that will help you get to that point.
I'm giving a roundabout answer, but the reason why is because it's really encompassing many areas of business, this distinction. For everybody on the call today or anyone listening, what they have to look at to determine whether they're behaving like an opportunity seeker or an entrepreneur is to look at, "Do they have a very clear direction of where they're headed? Do they know exactly what they need to do in order to get to there?
"Are they monitoring and using that as a guiding force to then make any decisions about anything else that is going on in their marketplace?" If they're not, then they're primarily behaving like an opportunity seeker. If they are, then they've taken the first step to really being an entrepreneur.
RIC THOMPSON: That's fantastic. For those of you listening, I want to share a personal story here. This is one of the big reasons why what Rich has to offer really attracted us. Liz and I were in that opportunity cycle for years. We tried it all. We did the real estate stuff; we did the 900-number way back when we were in college when things first started out for us. We hopped and hopped and hopped.
We rehabbed a house and found out that wasn't for us. We were stuck in the opportunity-seeker phase for a long time, and then we made that transition to full entrepreneur. What Rich just taught us was, one, to check yourself and make sure to see where you are. Are you a true entrepreneur? Then we'll take things from there. The transition definitely can be made.
People make it all the time, but it is not as simple as Rich said about buying a business in a box. Rich, what is the next step? Let's say, I've got a clear goal. I'm an entrepreneur. I have a specific business for me. I know what I'm clear on bringing to the universe, but I'm still in the position now where I'm doing everything myself. I may be in a phase of overwhelm. I'm still getting started.
However, it's just me in my garage, me on my dining room table, or whatever. What are some of the things that I should be doing to make sure that things are being set up in the right way from the very beginning?
RICH SCHEFREN: There is a parallel track. I want to answer your question specifically but before I do, I want to give people a parallel track that will run through the beginning of their business life. There certainly is a next step once you have that in place. This is something that I've noticed more in the last year or so. I've forced myself to distinguish between the people who are the most successful and the people who are less successful.
What is that difference, and what do both of these groups have in common? What I've noticed is that to a very large extent there are some basic traits and characteristics that successful entrepreneurs are much more likely to have in place, and that people who struggle to be entrepreneurs do not have in place. I want to run down that list really quickly. I do not want to spend too much of the call on this, although I do want to surface it.
The natural reaction when you hear these is to think that you have them all covered. The odds are that you don't and nobody does. Even if you are a successful entrepreneur, it just means that you've gotten them more in a place where they are now assisting you rather than hurting you, but you could still do a lot better. Those traits are being action-oriented, achievement-motivated, the need to achieve, being a self-starter, being a resourceful person, as well as tenacious and perseverant. Lastly, you're autonomous.
You are above the opinions of other people. At the end of the day, you choose what you believe is the right way to go because you've chosen it and you believe it. It's not because anyone else has told you that you should be doing it that way. That covers a wide range of characteristics and personalities. I can tell you that the less autonomy you have, the less likely it is that you will be successful.
The less achievement-motivated you are, the less likely that you will be successful. The less action-oriented you are, the less likely that you will be successful. To be a successful entrepreneur, one thing has to happen. You have to look inside and realize where you're strong and where you're weak. Then you go about working on some of those things that are weaknesses.
This is not to the extent that they'll ever be a strength, but when it comes to traits, you need to shore up anything that is weak. That is crucial to everything else that goes forward from starting a business. This is because all of these elements will play out in many different ways and in many different steps of the business growth process. With that said, the very first real business action that needs to be done is to find the opportunity in the marketplace.
You need to figure out who the target market is and what the right offer is, the offer being incredibly important and something that I think most people don't really put enough time, thought and energy into. Then, what is going to be the right marketing that will get that out to the marketplace? Those three come together in a place where you have an offer to a market and you know how you're going to get that offer out to the market.
There are many ways to do that. There are a lot of new channels on the Internet that you can use to get that offer out to the market. You first need to understand those three components: Who are you marketing to, what are you going to market to them, and how are you going to get that marketing out there?
RIC THOMPSON: Very cool.
RICH SCHEFREN: I can go deeper on any of these. I just want to make sure that I respect where you want to take people who are on this call. In any of these that you want to go deeper on, by all means force the question and I'll definitely do that.
RIC THOMPSON: All right. Let's talk about the three components, then, off the top of our heads. Before we jump into the details here, maybe we should frame this. What would you say are the biggest mistakes that people just starting off make with these three components? What are some of the things we should be looking out for? Then let's dig into the proper way to do this.
RICH SCHEFREN: We're going to look at the market, the offer and the marketing. The mistake that most people make when it comes to the market is trying to think of something where they think that their product is something that's going to appeal to everybody. Getting in touch with everybody is very expensive. The concept that everybody is going to want one of these is already starting from a very bad place.
The best type of market to isolate and go after is a market that you're a member of, especially when you're starting out a business. It takes one big hurdle off the table to learn and understand the mental aspects of the market. If you're a member of the market, you bypass all of that. One of the easiest markets to ever start a business in is a market that you are a member of. I've always done that.
Every business that I've ever been involved with has been a business in which I was also a member of the market. This made it a lot easier in being able to determine the next step of what offer was going to be necessary. The primary reason was that because I was a member of the market, I knew I had the same struggles and issues come up earlier in my life, and I was able to solve them. Therefore, with me coming back to the market with those solutions put me in a place where I could grow a business really fast.
The only other thing that I would add is that when I first got involved online, the advice was very different from that. It was to find a need and fill it. I wrote a whole other report about why I thought that was wrong. While it's necessary to know that there is a need and that you are going to fill it, if that's your only criteria, you end up, more than likely, being in a place where your skill set is not really going to differentiate you from the other players in that space who see that same need and are going to go after it.
It's just like when you decide you want to get married, you don't go to a singles bar, find the most desperate person, and propose marriage. Although that may be a quick way to get married, it's not the recipe of having a long-term marriage that works. You don't grow a business by finding the most desperate crowd, offering them that solution, and then building a business around it for the same reason.
It is a way to make money, but it will not be a way to build a long-term successful business. This is primarily because you might not be the right person to be fulfilling that need. If the right person comes along, they will destroy you. Does this make sense?
RIC THOMPSON: Yes, that makes perfect sense. That's fantastic. For those of you that don't know Rich Schefren, he has built multiple multimillion-dollar businesses in a variety of different industries, the latest one being Strategic Profits. These things that he says to watch out for, definitely watch out for.
RICH SCHEFREN: I can understand that people who are listening to this might not want to hear certain parts of this. They might much rather believe that there is someone out there who is going to sell them a business in a box, which is going to work, be amazing, and the first need that they see they should fill. The challenge is that what ultimately happens in any of these types of false opportunities, if you want to call it that, is one of two things. One, there's no traction ever; nothing gets off the ground.
Obviously, that has ramifications all around it mentally as well as financially. Two, they can get something off the ground and they start making some money. That quickly disappears because either other people enter into the space they weren't the right market, or they have to work much harder to get to the same place. At the end of the day, when you attack a market the way I'm talking about, the likelihood of success is much higher.
Once you have success, regarding the likelihood of long-term success, there's no comparison. You're set up in the right market with the right product and with the right offer. Therefore, you can build on that and actually grow something that can ultimately grow bigger than yourself and be able to take care of you in a way that you'd probably like. It doesn't happen unless you start doing some of the heavy lifting in the beginning.
RIC THOMPSON: Excellent. Digging into this a bit more-the offer, the market, the marketing-you made a comment that I'd like to build on specifically. I know that we could talk forever on just the offer in general. Let's say that most folks have an idea of what type of market they want to get into. If they have a pet store, massage therapy or whatever it is, you mentioned when you described the marketing that it was the best way to reach those people.
Can you dig upon that and clarify that for folks? With marketing a lot of people think of a whole variety of different stuff, such as TV, radio, emails, fliers, et cetera. You seemed to intimate there that there were better ways and there were worse ways when it comes to your market. Can you elaborate on that?
RICH SCHEFREN: Yes, and we're going to bypass coming up with the right offer. What I'll say about the offer for now, at least, is that you have to have certain elements in place for an offer. I'll quickly touch on those…
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