Focus on what you’re good at

December 21, 2010

— Neil Patel is a serial entrepreneur that blogs about business at Quick Sprout and is the co-founder of KISSmetrics. The views expressed are his own. —

Is it me or is everyone these days trying to get rich quick? Not only am I meeting more and more people who don’t want to work hard to make money, but they are starting to get into new business ventures that they are clueless about.

I know the grass always looks greener on the other side, but it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, those lucrative businesses are making people millions of dollars, but it’s probably doing that for less than 0.3 percent of the people in that industry.

So before you decide to jump ship and get into a new career, just think about all the things you will be losing out on. Yes you may make some extra income in the short term, but if you put that time and energy into growing what you’re already good at and love, you’ll do a lot better.

If you want to make a ton of money in business, follow these principles:

Harsh Fact No. 1: Focus on what you know

If you’re really good at something, focus on it. Don’t stray away from it. Just do that and become the leader in your space. If you don’t think you can make enough money focusing on what you’re good at, then figure out what related businesses you can get into.

For example, a buddy of mine, Michael Dorausch, is a chiropractor in Los Angeles. Although he does very well, he wasn’t satisfied with the income he was making as a chiropractor. But instead of jumping into a whole new field, he decided to help other chiropractors get more customers from the Web for a monthly fee.

Harsh Fact No. 2: Business development is the quickest way to grow

If you put me in a room with a thousand people and you asked me to close a deal with all of them, the chances are I’ll fail. But if you put me in a room with one person and ask me to close a deal with him, there is a good chance I’ll be able to do so.

I’m a big believer that it’s easier to convince one person to work with you than it is to convince thousands of people. The cool part about business development is that the one person you convince could have access to thousands of people or companies.

For example, my friend Andy runs a TV website called BuddyTV. One way that he could try and grow his user base is to do a business development deal with other TV-related companies such as TV Guide, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, etc. The reason this is powerful is because if you can close a deal with someone like TV Guide, you then get access to all of their customers.

Harsh Fact No. 3: Grow your network wisely

It’s hard to put a value on networking, but it can really help your business as long as you have a strong network. Networking with people who can’t provide any value to you or your business is fine in small doses, but it can turn into a huge waste of time because those people won’t provide you with a good return on investment.

At first you may have to network with people who don’t provide much value so you can get the hang of it, but you should shift your focus to networking with individuals who can help you grow your business.

Also you have to realize that networking is a two-way street. I don’t care how many big names you have in your network, it’ll be useless if you don’t help them out as well. Because when you need their help, they’ll be more likely to help you out if you’ve taken care of them in the past.

Harsh Fact No. 4: Build up your personal brand

Building up your business should always be your No. 1 objective, but your No. 2 objective should be to build your personal brand. You can make millions without building up your personal brand, but it doesn’t hurt to have a strong one.

When my business partner and I started KISSmetrics we were able to get our first paying customers by leveraging our personal brand. People knew about him and me and companies that followed us were willing to sign on for our product, because they liked us. In the long run that won’t help you build a big business, but in the short term it does help bring in revenue.

If you build up your personal brand, no matter what business you get into, you’ll increase your odds of making money.

Harsh Fact No. 5: Expand when your growth rate flattens

It’s always fun to start new businesses – especially if you have ADHD like me – but that doesn’t mean you should. If your current business is growing at a healthy pace, there is no reason to expand your business into new verticals.

As I mentioned above, Michael decided to expand his chiropractic business by helping other chiropractors get more customers from the Internet. But he didn’t start doing this until his own chiropractic business started to reach full capacity. There are only 24 hours in a day and there are only so many patients he can see in a day. Once he reached his capacity, he then decided to expand, while still maintaining his practice.

If you decide to expand your business, make sure you don’t neglect your current business and customers. You have to maintain it while expanding.


Don’t get caught up in businesses that are sexy and hot – focus on what you know. If you are passionate and knowledgeable about a specific subject, you can make money at it. You just have to get creative.

One comment

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Wow..great tips!! I love the tip#3..networking is the cheapest and best way to improve our business…If we are big entrepreneur we can also have multiple experts to carry out different tasks:)

Posted by Sumitha | Report as abusive