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How to have a ‘Middle Road’ Mentality and Grow Your Online Business

My Dad’s Middle Road Mentality

My Dad always taught me an important lesson in life that still serves me well today…. “Learn from everyone you come across in life – whether they’re on the same path as you or not”.

He called it the ‘middle road’ and told me that in life you’ll come across all kinds of people with different views (in politics, in theology, in business). Many of them would write off everyone else’s experience or views as wrong and believe that their way was the best.

However he’d found that rather than writing those with different perspectives to you off, it was powerful to listen to everyone and to learn from them.

The key was not to just accept everything that they said as truth, but to take what was relevant to you from those on different paths to you and apply it to your own situation – and to leave behind what didn’t fit with your situation, values and approach.

Dad’s advice has continued to come back to me through life in different situations – but recently it’s been applying a lot to my business and approach to building an online presence.

The Middle Road and Online Entrepreneurship

You see in the online entrepreneurship space there are many approaches. Some of them are more extreme than others and often they rub people up the wrong way.

The temptation is to simply write off everyone who rubs you up the wrong way and to ignore their teaching completely – however the problem with this is that you could be throwing out some great teaching that is mixed in with a few bits that you don’t like.

I was a Purist Blogging Snob

I’ve been guilty of throwing out the baby with the bathwater in this space many times. I remember being asked to speak at an internet marketers conference in the USA 4-5 years ago and coming away from the experience feeling sick in my stomach. The hype, trickery and manipulation of some of those presenting turned me off completely.

In hindsight I should have taken my Dads advice to that conference because while there were things in it that I was right to feel sickened by – there was also a lot of good stuff that I should have taken on board.

You see at the time I believed that I simply had to build a great blog and people would come to it and I would make money – I didn’t need to market it, I didn’t need to develop products to sell, I could just build a great site and put some ads on it and I’d do well.

This ‘purist’ approach worked OK…. to a point, but I could (and should) have learned a lot from those internet marketers.

  • I should have listened to them talking about the importance of building an email list/newsletter
  • I should have taken note about what they said having my own product to sell
  • I should have listened to them talk about the process of launching those products

I should have learned a lot that week…. but I didn’t. I allowed the bad stuff that I saw to overshadow the gold that would have taken what I did to the next level.

How I got Back on the Middle Road and Doubled the Size of My Business in a Year

Of course, 3 years later I did learn those lessons. Those of you who read ProBlogger will know that I’ve changed my approach somewhat of late. While I still believe in building great blogs and I still make good money from advertising, I’ve begun to develop email lists along side my blog and have started to release my own products.

I’ve also started to read and learn from some of those ‘internet marketing’ people. I struggle with some of the more extreme ones, but there are a few good people in that camp who are starting to get the social media/blogging space too.

One I’ve mentioned here before is Jeff Walker. He’s known for his Product Launch Formula – something I enrolled in last year when he opened it up and which taught me a lot. In fact he was one of the main people who helped me to get back on the ‘middle road’ and to see that while I was having some success that I still had a lot to learn.

I’ve since launched 4 products which have done really well and this income stream has more than doubled what I was earning previously in just under a year (my accountant emailed me recently to ask me what I’m doing!).

Of course there are a few things in Jeff’s teaching that I’ve left out of my approach – but the stuff I’ve taken on board has been invaluable. The key is to not swallow everything whole but to take what resonates with you and to apply it to your situation and to calmly leave what doesn’t ‘fit’ aside.

Jeff has recently released a video that talks about big product launches and what he’s learned along the way. He reveals some great details (including income figures) on some massive launches. The video is well worth the opt in.

Whether you learn from Jeff or not, I guess the take home lesson that I’m trying to communicate is to have a ‘middle road’ mentality. There is great power in opening yourself up to learn from those on different paths who are trying different approaches to online entrepreneurship.

Learn what is working for others, filter it through your own situation and values and you might just find your business grows as a result.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Great advice–you’re lucky to have such a smart dad.

  2. We often do not respect the wisdom of elders enough. Yet much of their knowledge is priceless if we but take ten minutes to listen to the senior ones.

  3. For me honesty is still the most important element of the business.

  4. Hi,

    Boy I can relate to your article! My breakthrough point came when I wrote down (yes pen and paper) every tip I had heard or read with regard to making money online. I have bought products that have been, more or less, totally useless but have had one piece of advice worth noting – before going for the refund.

    This has now built up into a large file that I follow every time I launch a new site/blog and it works. Perhaps it might be my first product one day.


  5. Your dad has nice thoughts.

  6. Thanks for sharing these great tips. I can’t wait to put them to good use! I’m glad to learn from what seems to work best for you even if it doesn’t always work best for everyone else.

  7. Hi Darren,

    The advice of your is important. My father also guides me follow the middle path to get succeed in the long run

  8. I’m actually surprised that Jeff is taking another stab at this one. He keeps going to this well, and I think it’s running dry.

    He’s an expert, of that there’s no doubt, but I’d like to see him take it to the next level.

    That being said, his lateral sales page is fantastic.

  9. This is my first visit to the site. It is “distracting” me from other tasks at the moment, but I am glad it did. Thanks for the advice. I’ll be back…

  10. Internet marketing is a continuous learning process so it is essential that you learn all you can from other marketers. Many minds together is way better than even the greatest mind. An Email list is so essential nowadays due to increased competition online. I always recommend even beginners to start an Email list as soon as it is feasible that is the way to a great income online.

    Your Dad is a very smart man with this advice. Thanks Jay!

  11. Great advice
    this is an important lesson for blogging, hehehe

  12. Blogging is still the great experience to make money just sharing your thoughts& ideas/information with others.

    its make handsome money for your pocket.

  13. Hi Darren,
    The ‘Middle path’ formula has been known to Indians for centuries. In fact Lord Budhha is well-known as a proponent of Middle Path. And you will find that this advice to take the middle path is a perfect solution to most of the ills that stalk this world or any individual. Extreme is always dangerous. Moderation is always desirable in anything you do. While, purists will loathe to admit it, it is true that even they prefer moderation in their lives. I loved this post…thank you!

  14. The motivation to keep up a ‘middle road’ mentality is significantly harder to achieve than the actual knowledge itself!

  15. Honestly, I’m not too sure about this middle road. While I’m primarily oriented towards being an internet marketer at the moment, I intend to build something bigger, and greater honestly speaking.
    But being a purist can bite sometimes.
    BTW just checked out thegloss. Nice place.

  16. Great lessons learned! Life is about meet people and learn a little bit from each and blogging is the same. You learn from each blogger and incorporate their ideas into yours. Thanks for sharing!

  17. It always seems that those with a level-headed approach do so much better than the flash in the pan get rich quick types. great blog.

  18. Thanks Darren.

    This is really helpful advice. This article is a great reminder to keep an open mind and listen to other peoples ideas.

    I think that a newsletter is a great idea – one that I have been putting off for a long time.

    Thanks for all of your great information!

  19. While we are on a road motif, how about stay the course? Keep your eyes on the road. Opportunity comes at every fork in the road. Everyone travels a different path.

  20. I find it amazing that more blogs are not as nice as this one. All too often when I land on a page the content is so poor that I click back immediately. That is not the case here. Thanks so much.

  21. Staying the middle of the road can be good advice – but to be truly great you have to break a rule or two (at least). Be careful not to get trapped by convention into doing what everyone else is doing. Going your own way can prove very fruitful and, occasionally, very profitable.

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