Jon Mikel Bailey

Business Success: The Secret Sauce is YOU!

By: Jon Mikel Bailey | September 5, 2013 | 

Business success

By Jon-Mikel Bailey

I remember when we started Wood Street.

We were networking fools back then.

It was 2002 so it was before social media and smartphones (although my flip-phone was still pretty sweet!).

We drove – a lot.

I was at one of those networking events waiting for the meeting to start.

A man sat down across from me, introduced himself and then asked me what my company did…

“We design and develop websites,” I said proudly. His response… “Why would you want to start a business doing that? Anyone can make a website.”

He was right. Still is. Anyone can write a blog post. Anyone can make a website. Shucks, anyone can set up a fully functional, responsive website with a CMS. At least in theory.

10,000 Hours

Technology and all the egg heads (term of endearment) behind it continue to make our life easier. But, we tend to forget one thing… there are a bunch of people in this world, and they want business success too!

Anyone can make a website. Anyone can write a blog post. So what? Only a few will actually stand out and command attention. Why?

Because they work really hard at it!

Read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success. Learning a skill takes lots of practice. According to Gladwell, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice.

It also takes focus.

Your ‘Ness

The Internet makes it easy to duplicate your efforts. You can schedule and automate just about anything. You can use the tools available to set yourself up with a slick site, app, whatever.

But, what makes it work is you.

You can’t automate or templatize (apparently not a word, but it should be) knowledge. That’s what makes you stand out… your unique perspective.

There are gazillions of articles already written about what you do. There are plenty of businesses that offer the same services or products you offer. So, how do you stand apart?

You work your uniqueness as a person or a company into everything you do.

If you’ve seen the movie You, Me and Dupree, you know what I’m talking about. Not the greatest movie in the world, but the part about finding your ‘ness is brilliant…

“[ness] is a verb. It’s a conjunction. A preposition. It’s a philosophy. A way of life. It’s your name with “ness” attached to it.”

In other words, it’s the essence of you. It’s what makes you the unique creature that you are.

Be the Expert You Already Are

A WordPress website does not make you successful. A mobile app does not make you millions. A blog will not have you walking down red carpets or interviewed on CNN. These things are just tools.

Being invaluable gets you success, attention, and notoriety. Being the resource people can’t live without does this. And this is hard.

You are an expert. You might not have accepted that fact yet. But, trust me, you are.

Implement these tools, and then get to work:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Write for them, for their needs
  3. Offer services or products they need

You are an expert. Your company has expertise. Don’t believe me? It’s 2013 and we are having our best year yet, even though “anyone can make a website.” Why? Our clients need us. Because of our ‘ness.

Do your clients need you?

About Jon Mikel Bailey

Jon-Mikel Bailey is a founding partner at the web design and development firm Wood Street, who just celebrated their 15th year in business. Jon speaks at conferences nationwide on UX, SEO, content marketing, and design. Jon has a wife and 9-year-old daughter, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and a bunch of frogs. He's a drummer in his spare time but still thinks he's a rock star. We won't hold it against him.

  • You’re everywhere! 😉

    • KateFinley I don’t actually exist. Gini made me up.

  • susancellura

    Hmmm…anyone can make a website? Technically, I agree, but recently I was in a meeting where a graphic artist submitted a website design and a web programmer submitted a website design. The graphic artist is talented, but is not a website designer. The design submitted by the GA was too clunky and not user-friendly for a website. The web programmer/designer’s submission was in tune with the industry, the mobile world, and the audience’s needs/wants. So that design was chosen.

    • susancellura I said website, not well planned and executed website accounting for audience and conversion with a solid content strategy. Nope, anyone can make a website.

  • Yup, anyone can do anything … half-assed, at least. This reminds me of when desktop page design programs (Pagemaker, anyone?) first came around. Everyone was suddenly a graphic designer (or so they thought). With WordPress, anyone can create a website. With Amazon, anyone can write a book. But is it a site people will visit or a book people will read?
    I’m actually surprised you got that response in 2002. A lot of businesses back then were still asking the question “Who needs a website?”

    • RobBiesenbach I forget what magical software he was referencing at the time. I was actually surprised by his comment as well and was ready to have a spirited discussion about it but then I realized…

  • JonMikelBailey

    ginidietrich That had to hurt.

    • ginidietrich

      JonMikelBailey It DID hurt

  • SpinSucks

    ginidietrich JonMikelBailey Hahaha!!

  • I hate networking. Despise networking. ABHOR NETWORKING!!! And don’t tell Gini any old fool can write a blog post! Unless you’re hiring…… 😉

    • belllindsay Any fool CAN write a blog post. But few can write a really good blog post.
      “Hi Lindsey, I’m Jon from Wood Street. What do you do? That’s great! Now, let me tell you all about me…”

      • belllindsay Dammit, I spelled your name wrong. DAMMIT! soorry

        • jonmikelbailey BAHAHAHAHA! Ho problem John!

    • photo chris

      belllindsay ;p;- so Lindsay, you;d like the networking portion of my job then is what you’re saying? 😉

  • kamila_evoque

    ginidietrich So how should I call your response to my email Gini? 🙂 delayNESS? 🙂

  • Whether solo or a business you have to stand out. Find out what you do best and be best in class (or be your goal). Sometimes what your best at isn’t what you want or expect. Like burger joints being known more for their fries (mcdonalds, five guys).

    As an individual you need to make yourself invaluable to either clients or your employer. As an employer or client your job is to ensure no one person or vendor holds your company hostage because they are that invaluable. 
    Great post jonmikelbailey

  • jmwakasege

    JeffSheehan JonMikelBailey SpinSucks Defenitely, we should be the change we want to see in the world.

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