This past week, I made a realization about something that separates ME from most everyone else, even those with MORE ability than me.
It has to do with data.
Yes, I AM good with numbers and patterns. So those who know me well might claim that I have an unfair advantage that many other people are not able to duplicate.
That might be true; however….
There is ONE thing I do that separates me, and it does NOT require above-average data skills…just a little above-average INSANITY (used productively).
I GO GET DATA—MY OWN DATA!
Honestly, a lot of times, I take projects for the sake of trying to learn things. Usually, I am focused on learning a skill or testing the effectiveness of an idea I have. I do this a lot.
However, I just realized that I get another extremely valuable benefit from doing (most of) these projects. I obtain “get my hands dirty” data.
Yes, REAL data!
This allows me to provide suspicions—if not outright conclusions—with more confidence than almost everyone else I know.
Often I will read articles or hear people make claims—especially about online marketing—about what you can or cannot do. Sometimes, they might be right, but the more data I get, the more I realize that most people are not really speaking from the perspective of actually having the knowledge. They’re simply taking what they’ve read or heard elsewhere and pretending to make it their own (often without really meaning to “fake it”).
Here are some examples of things I’ve done that give me hands-on knowledge about things that most people wish they knew…and could if they did the same (or similar) work, too.
Google SEO: Searched over 1,000 phrases on Google (within 1 week)…to see what ranks…and what does not.
LinkedIn: Analyzed over 50 search phrases within its Advanced Search (within a day) to see which profiles it pulls…and how they determine it.
Twitter: Charted times (and dates) of tweets with links that generated clicks.
…and I’ve done plenty more crazy but valuable things…just like those.
There is nothing special about what I did, except that I was willing to take the time to do it.
After I get my own data, I can more confidently identify whether you’re telling me something that makes sense in theory, in reality, or is just plain bunk.
I have a lot of abilities, but one of my strongest assets has NOTHING to do with ability. It simply has to do with effort…getting data and finding patterns within that data.
Key Point: If you want to seem greater than most, then get more data than most (anyone would be willing to get).
I guarantee that if you start getting your own data, you will know more than almost everyone else. Heck, you just might know more than EVERYONE else.
That is one easy but difficult way to separate yourself from nearly everyone else.
If you want to take a step toward greatness, look for excuses to gather your own data…and analyze that data!
What are some things you wish you had the data to check? Have you already done some similar data gathering projects?
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