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Missed Opportunities Are Worse Than Making Mistakes

Posted By Darren Rowse 16th of June 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This Guest Post was submitted by Scott at Savvy Affiliate

For a blogger, making mistakes can be embarrassing, but missing an opportunity can come at a huge cost. One thing that new bloggers sometimes have trouble with is the idea of jumping into things with both feet. Often times people are afraid to make mistake, afraid to try something new, and it comes at a huge opportunity cost. In the world of blogging and online marketing your mistakes will quickly be forgotten, especially if you are relatively unknown, but missing an opportunity can put you way behind in the game.

What Do I mean? What’s an example of a missed opportunity?

One example of a missed opportunity by many bloggers is Digg. Digg is well known for its ability to drive large volumes of traffic to a site. Although this traffic doesn’t directly convert to money, it can help a site become popular in the long term. Digg was launched in November of 2004, and started to become popular in late 2005. In early 2006 Digg surged in popularity. If you check Alexa traffic, you can see that it doubled its reach in practically no time at all.

The missed opportunity comes from people waiting until Digg got popular before they joined.

Studies have shown that the top 100 Digg users are responsible for 56% of everything that reaches the front page. These top 100 users have the ability to drive huge amounts of traffic where ever they desire. Most of them became top users by growing with they site. They were early adopters and were able to increase the authority of their accounts as Digg grew over time. A new user has very little chance of breaking into those rankings, at least not without devoting a massive amount of time to it. Bloggers who jumped in with both feet and gave the new service a go before it got popular won big, others who waited to use established tools had to play catch up.

Missed opportunities abound on the internet

How would you have liked to be the guy who created the Million Dollar Homepage? Or someone who created anyone of a dozen different viral sites which took off? How would you have like to start your current blog 2 years ago, before your nice became as competitive as it is. People who did that didn’t do anything special, other than take a risk. They knew that the reward / risk ratio was enormous. An idea that pays off can pay off in dollars of thousands, tens of thousands. An idea that crashed and burned set the founder back $50 – A couple hundred dollars for hosting and site registration.

One problem bloggers can have is insufficient arrogance

Insufficient arrogance is actually a problem which can plague many entrepreneurs. You look around and see many other people who seem so much more knowledgeable and authoritative than you. You mighty not think that you can compete with them until you learn more. In actuality, most likely you are better than you think you are. If you are learning as you go, and just sort of playing it by ear, most likely your competitors are too. In the world of blogging their are no learned experts. No one studied how to create a successful website from scratch in college. Many bloggers who are successful today were just starting their sites two years ago. They learned what they know through experimentation and reading other sites, just as you do.

So what opportunity are you missing now?

That’s the problem with opportunity costs. You can never know what will turn out to have been a great idea until it pans out. However by the time it pans out, it is too late to be an early adopter, and to reap the benefits. Your specific opportunity costs could be wide and varied. Perhaps you are running your blog solo a little too long when you should start expanding and delegating. Maybe you started a blog on Blogspot when you should have spent the $50 to buy your own domain and hosting. If you are reading this article on Problogger, it is because when I saw that Darren was going to be posting some guest bloggers, I e-mailed him and asked if he would accept my submission, hoping that it would help drive traffic to my own blog. Although you can’t tell what risks will pay off ahead of time, you do know that if you don’t take any risks, you won’t reap any rewards.

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. This was great advice for me. I feel like one of these people – I didn’t start a blog for so long, thinking of all of the negatives and none of the positives. Now, I just started, and I had no idea how many people were already in my niche (food blogging). Now I wish I would have started sooner – I feel like I am too “new skool”. I feel like I am constantly trying to catch up with everyone else, and it’s too bad. All I can do is try to be innovative within my niche, and hope that people enjoy what I write. Still, I sure wish I had gotten in there two years ago.

  2. My two biggest regrets are not starting my blog sooner and I temporarily abandoned it for a couple months last year, only to start over fresh again. Not a smart idea.

    But I can’t change the mistakes I made in the past, I can only learn from them. I can also work hard to make my blog the best it can be with quality content that readers care about. There’s no use for me to live in the past because it’s counter-productive, rather, I like to look ahead now to steer my blog in the right direction.

    Great post!!!

  3. Yes I agree with you.
    I think opportunities are like two large dishes with tasty food.
    You can eat one but could never eat the other in the same time.

    Thank you for sharing this story with me !

  4. foodette, don’t get too discouraged. Your key to success will be in the long run. Your niche may be crowded, but most bloggers quite after a short period and even successful bloggers may move on to other things. Just keep building what you have now and be patient. Success goes to the persistent.

  5. Stop thinking about missed opportunities, if anything we all missed the boat when the Internet became a commerical item. Take what you have learned and use it now, meanwhile, check out the new waves coming on cyberspace and seize those new waves. Digg may not be around forever but others will come.

  6. Im having a real hard time to get any traffic at the moment. My niche isnt that big either, the sites that do exist arnt very good at all. Not sure whats going wrong but im lucky to see 20 visitors a day.

    I missed an oppertunity with an article I wrote. This is my first blog/site ever, I have spent the last few months lurking in the shadows reading lots of blogging related information. On my journey I built up a vast range of book marks all organised in folders that can be directly imported into your web browser of choice.

    You can see them here http://www.dopesmoke.com/website-announcements/118-blogging-related-bookmarks-knowledge-base/

    I submitted this myself to lots of social media sites and saw next to no traffic at all, and no response. Im unsure why this is as in my opinion its particularly helpful.

    That is what I call a missed oppertunity

  7. I am kicking myself for falling off of the digg bandwagon when it all started. I got so irritated with all of the hard-core video gamer-types with their rude attitudes and comments that I just stopped being active in it. I imagine that the top submitters now have traffic-driving power beyond belief..

  8. Sometimes its not because I don’t want to make mistake, but it because I don’t know about it :D.

  9. The 1 oppurtunity I’m really missing is the most important. Taking time to update and write posts on my blog. Sometimes I get so busy I don’t have time to do anything that relates to my site. Hopefully in the future this will change.

    Online Tips

  10. oppertunity is not easy to find, but easy to lost.

  11. There will be more opportunities, but even then, there will be a lot of us who will not be there at the right time. The internet is continually growing and changing. I intend to continue WORKING at what I am doing and contributing where I can in the way that works for me, rather than looking for some magical opportunity or some blog post that goes viral.

  12. Well, we cannot do anything about the past, but we can do something about our present. I like to think the thought “I am always in the right place at the right time”. My alternative is to get down on myself for a past that I cannot change. ;)

    Persist, write from your heart (with a good dose of research, depending on your topic), and if you are passionate about your subject, others will recognize this. :)

    Best of luck to each of you!!


  13. @Matt — with all due respect, according to your archives, your first post was on June 3 which isn’t even 2 weeks ago. It’s going to take time to build up your traffic, although I honestly don’t have any experience with your topic….

    Hope this helps!

  14. John Chow just wrote a piece on missed opportunities and not being afraid to jump into things. Nice little weekend finisher.

  15. There is one more opportunity for all bloggers. Have you checked http://www.peopleized.com ? People make interview and promote themselves. Then they may copy and paste the interview in their blogs. Very easy to use and brilliant idea. You need content for your site? Interview cool people and get unique content for your readers. You need promotion for your website? Get interviewed by bloggers, webmasters etc. and get your message to a new audience! New content and a new kind of online marketing – simply interviewed! simply peopleized!

  16. Yes I agree, however I was sort of hoping to be having more traffic than im recieveng. Maybe im setting my personal targets to high, or maybe I have to work harder.

    I will choose the work harder option =D

  17. There is a tremendous power in being an early adopter. It took specialized skills and seed money to build an eBay or an Amazon….but there’s nothing a Matt Drudge does that thousands of people couldn’t do.

    I’ve been around the ‘net since 1985. There will be something after blogs. It all morphs into something else as the technology moves.

    Sadly, there isn’t an entrepreneurial bone in my body.

  18. “I’ve never been sorry for opportunities taken,only opportunities missed.”

  19. I agree with S. Weasel. You cannot look back and wish you started blogging years ago, etc. You must look forward and be prepared for the next opportunity that will be bigger and better. If you are busy looking back than you will miss those new opportunities.

    You know what they say, “Opportunity is knocking! Open the door.”

  20. Great article! I get the impression that bloggers seem to take themselves so seriously, myself included at times. I just remind myself to enjoy the experience, not take it too seriously, tell people if I am trying something new and relax!
    Cheers Sarah

  21. When I read this article, I realize that I really miss many opportunities… I blog from 2001, when blogging is not really popular. No seo, no blogging platfrom, just ordinary website but I update regularly. The i stopped and star over again at 2007. Back then, I get indexed so easlity by google even i don’t want to. Now, when everyone get many earning from blogging ,, I think I missed the time. If I have never stop blogging maybe I will success…
    So, time is the biggest opportunity that I missed…

  22. Matt, I can completely relate to wanting more traffic, I, too, felt the same way when I had just started (I still feel like that!). I do think that with the hard work, and especially persistence, that you will see your traffic grow.

  23. I agree with your opinion, i think not only on the internet, but also in the real world we must take a risk to get chance.

  24. I’m not the type of person who can successfully predict which opportunities will pan out (hey, I picked BetaMax over VHS and look how that turned out!), but I *am* the type of person who can ask myself, “Are you sufficiently arrogant?”, realize the answer is NO, adjust my attitude, and move forward. So this article was absolutely invaluable for me! THANKS, Scott, for the guest-post. And thanks to Darren for being smart enough to invite Scott to post! ;) ~ Janet

  25. Seems the tricks isn’t so much about taking the plunge – or not. But rather figuring out when to give up on a losing idea.

    It’s easy to become too heavily attached to whatever you’re doing, and facing massive opportunity cost. Learning to admit that a mistake is made and move on with a better prospect is humbling.

    But vital.

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