Online Entrepreneur: The Game

It’s not a game but it has been gamed. To some it’s the coolest game they have ever played. They are having fun! The reason I’m saying this is that too many people are playing the game instead of running a real business.

Recently I came across an article written by a very experienced marketing professional. They stated that being an influencer was not a career. By the time I finished reading I realized it was not accurate, and it seemed more like a rant. Everything that could strip away the legitimacy of being a social media influencer was stated. But in the end, if someone can consistently make money doing it, it’s a career. One of the main points of that article was about the numbers, and how people look at the wrong ones. That’s when you realize it doesn’t matter what numbers they are looking at, it only determines what game they are playing. For instance if you look at followers over engagement, you are probably playing checkers instead of chess. 

The online community is massive, and it spans the globe, but the geography means nothing. You can reach anyone as easy as placing tiles down on a Scrabble board. Just open your laptop and the whole game board is at your fingertips. 

When I look at how social media is geared, the rules and objectives seem clear. The system is set up in a way where numbers that are publicly visible can determine who is winning or losing depending of what game they are playing. The point of entry to play has been made very cheap and simple. Think back if you wanted to do what you do now 25 years ago. You wouldn’t be making videos, posts or creating funnels. You wouldn’t be drop shipping or even affiliate marketing. You would likely need a brick and mortar location, an ad in the newspaper or on the radio, forget tv (too expensive). The point of entry was too big a price and you would be confined to just your local area. Today there is a lot of room for more players, an infinite number. 

Business in general can be viewed as a game, but online businesses specifically play out more publicly like a game. There are a lot of players, some good, some bad, there are some cheaters, there are wins and losses and they seem very public as well. And now there are more spectators than ever.

So anyone can play for almost zero down. Is that why they do it? You would think so but it’s not. There are plenty of other games in town that have an extremely low point of entry. How about becoming an athlete or actor/actress? How about an artist? If you really trained and put in the time you could make a go of it. But there are more people wanting to be entrepreneurs than those three things combined. What it seems to come down too is a very level playing field and a smaller investment in time. If you wanted to become an athlete and make a great living, put in thousands of hours of time, compete against the best and if you rise to the top, you’ve made it. Anything short of that won’t generate much of an income. Becoming a well paid tv or movie personality will take some time to craft your skills and look. Then you must audition and have the right connections to make some real money. And being an artist…. you probably already know. So this Entrepreneur Game that a lot of people are flocking towards is incredibly easy to enter, has varying levels of skill and ability. Simple or extensive rules, depending on which version or game you want to play. 

It kind of reminds me of when poker became a huge thing. The first 33 years of the world series of poker had and exclusive group of competitors. In 1970 the first tournament had 7 players, and it took on average 30 years for it to grow to just over 500 players, 500 of the very best poker players. As soon as online poker began, the tournament grew 70% (839 players) in 3 years, and in 2003 a complete unknown online player that won the tournament beating every one of those 500 original legendary professionals. Needless to say, everyone thought they could do it too, and a lot have tried. This almost exclusive tournament grew 10 times in size within 3 years (8773 players) And all this because the game became more accessible. To date none of the original 500 players have won the tournament since. 

I’m not telling you this because I think you’re a player. If you are fine. But if you’re already doing business online, I have something to say to you. If you want to succeed you going to have to do it at a higher level. If you sit back and keep playing checkers, you going to find you have a lot of company and therefore a lot of competition. Keep developing your skills and constantly improve what you do. Improver your message and the quality of how you share it. Learn chess (not literally), you’re going to have to be a better strategist and you need to do that at a higher level as well.