12: Thinking outside the box gets you 10x returns


Happy Monday.

I’m writing this one on the fly as I’m short on time. Currently road-tripping around Slovenia (beautiful country, by the way) and getting pockets of work in where I can. 

Let’s dive in. 

You can make money through: imitation, iteration, innovation.

Either choosing one of these, or blending them together.

I can imitate the popular lawnmowing company in my local town, change branding so it’s not a direct copy, seek out some clients, and I’ll probably do okay.

I can iterate by first imitating, and then improving something. It could be better branding, more efficient equipment, a streamlined invoicing process, or whatever.

Or I can innovate by creating an entirely new business model around a centuries-old industry (mowing lawns) by thinking from first principles. And that’s how you get things like automatic lawnmowers.

In the internet marketing space, the difference between imitators and iterators is significant. Very significant. But the difference between iterators and innovators is even higher.

Your average copycat high-ticket guru who offers business coaching for other business coaches is making much less than you think. Probably close to nothing. 

But then you have guys who iterate on some aspect of the model. They tweak something, and they actually end up making decent money.

And then you have smart people who step back from the hype, the craze, the “only model that’s working right now” and think from first principles and fundamentals. They innovate.


  • Have a deep understanding of consumer psychology.
  • Spend a lot of time understanding their market and its pain points/desires/wants/needs/etc.
  • Test, test, and then test some more—they are heavily data-driven. 
  • Aren’t afraid to step outside the box and do things others aren’t doing.

And in the world of IM and online business, doing this well reaps massive rewards. 

That’s not to say imitation doesn’t work at all. It can. But the asymmetrical return you get from spending a little more brain power to iterate or even innovate is extremely compelling.

If you’re blindly copying the latest marketing strategy, then you’re already two-steps behind.

What if you could get ahead of the curve and pioneer a strategy? 

Actually be innovative in your marketing?

The truth is, you can. As long as you commit to being wrong for a while, putting more time in front of your screen, challenging your own assumptions, and play the long game. 

Until next time, have a great week ahead.


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