Posted August 27, 2011 12:14 am by with 12 comments

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A few weeks ago I had lunch with a couple of SEOs. Both of them own their own businesses. We discussed briefly a specific niche that they had both worked in and they both mentioned how it was extremely competitive in the search engines. I remember one of them saying that because it was so competitive there was no chance for a new company to come in and compete.

Our discussion shifted to affiliate marketing and the huge potential for SEO’s to do well with it. Once again they both mentioned that all of the lucrative niches are already being dominated, and there wasn’t much point to getting started in them.

I have been thinking a lot about that conversation the last few weeks and something didn’t feel right. It seems like every time we started to talk about a new opportunity the conversation turned negative. I have since come to realize that the culprit wasn’t bad ideas, or limited insight, but rather something much more sinister, negative thought.

An entrepreneur’s worst enemy is negative thought.

No, I am not turning into a self help guru. Nor am I going to obsess over the power of positive thinking. Instead I want to take a look at how negative thoughts can hurt your business.

Take the example above. There are two ways to view competitive SEO niches:

  • Oh man this niche is so competitive! It would take a lot of work to succeed and I don’t think I can do it.
  • Oh man this niche is so competitive! High competition means that this is a valuable market to succeed at. If I can work hard and become successful at it, I can make a boatload of money!

Receiving critical feedback:

  • I keep getting critical feedback. It must mean my products and ideas are horrible and I should just quit now and stop wasting money.
  • I keep getting critical feedback. Wow this is like free user testing. Looks like I don’t need to pay for market research. If I apply this feedback in the right places and continue to learn from it, I can make my product/service better than my competitors.

Lack of starting capital:

  • I need more money to make my idea work. I can’t think of any ways to get it, so I should probably move on to an easier and cheaper idea. or just wait til I get lucky.
  • I need more money to make my idea work. This is an awesome opportunity to find investors or business partners to help make this idea a reality. Not only will I be getting the backing needed, but I will also be building a strong foundation of folks that support my ideas.

No matter what the situation, you have two choices. To think negative or to think positive. As you can see from the examples above the choice you make can completely shape your success. The best part about this is it’s your decision. You have control over your ideas and business. No one forces you to succeed or fail. When you think about it that way, it’s scary, but also extremely empowering. So the next time you have a negative thought in business and in life, look for the other side and see if there are other opportunities you might be passing by.

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  • Hi Joe,

    Awesome point here.

    Successful people generally adopt a positive mindset. It’s easy to experience the bright side of things by seeing the bright side.

    Take feedback: you reach your goals more quickly when you take feedback in a positive manner, tweaking your campaign and moving forward. The negative person generally takes longer to reach their goals. Rather than seeing feedback as a valuable opportunity to make some much needed changes to their strategy, this person falls into a pity party, or lashes out in anger at the people who help them. Not exactly the quickest route to reaching your goals.

    Thanks for sharing your insight!


  • Amit Shrivastava

    Just read it on my phone in running train. Trust me I always knew this but in reality I never tried to throw negative thoughts away. I m working on an idea for long and exactly same points pushed me back which u used for examples. Really thank u.


  • What a great way to put the positive on everything.

    It’s that type of determination that separates the winners from the also rans.

    Thanks Joe

  • Very cool and inspiring article. THX. If one likes more positive energy it’s a good idea to watch the video of Steve Jobs speaking at Stanford University. Great Stuff

  • Interesting article, and definitely gets at a necessary ingredient in the entrepreneurial psyche.

    Most entrepreneurs that I know have the innate gift of being able to “Hope for the best”, to suspend disbelief and to trust in their personal ability to build successes out of their ideas. Their belief in their ability to turn “perceived limitations” into “enabled possibilities” is a key trait that fuels entrepreneurs to travel where others fear to tread … to take on new challenges and to build start-ups that most others overlook or dismiss outright.

    However, start-ups are just that — the beginning. I’ve also found that those that are able to turn start-ups into business successes have the ability to “Plan for the Worst”. There are no guarantees, especially in the entrepreneurial journey, and having the ability to anticipate problems, the flexibility to incorporate new learnings at every step, and the willingness to constantly adapt and grow are key to ultimately polishing an idea into real business success.

    My personal motto … always “Plan for the Worst, and Hope for the Best”.

  • Like most things in life, you can’t get a hit if you don’t take a swing. I see this every day, and hear it quite a bit when people ask me why I am always working, always looking at new markets. If you aren’t pushing the rock it is rolling over you..

  • All the successful entrepreneurs I’ve met are glass half-full kind of people. Seems to be a natural personality trait of those up to the challenge that running your own business entails. Maybe the whiners are not meant to be self-employed… Good job, Joe!

  • Joe, good points and they are well taken! In truth, observing that a niche, and its associated effort to succeed may be objectively assessed and there’s nothing wrong, in itself with your buddies’ comments.

    SEO experts have many opportunities to succeed in a variety of online niches, so why not take a critical look at less competitive niches to see if success might come more quickly using the same skill set?

    I believe that the more lucrative online opportunities for those with SEO skills are in network marketing companies where the competition is less sophisticated and the products are consumable, in most cases, thereby creating residual income from the products in addition to mentoring a strong down line business where leadership bonuses, not available in affiliate marketing, will create a generous and passive income. And, most network marketing plans only require a small number (10-12) of down line business builders to be very successful!

    Taking a critical look, while maintaining a positive outlook, can bring online SEO experts to market niches where they can dominate the competition more quickly and with less effort!

    Here’s an example of a network marketing recruiting site that does well without offering products, just a simple recruiting site.

  • Good lesson but not new to me I have sort of run into the same situation when talking to other marketers. I am to negative and long to learn to be more positive and have developed ideas for markets that are supposed to be tough never give up until all the good keywords have been looked at. For more inspiration look up Will Smith on motivation that guy rocks in this field

    This works because it makes you look close and use your most valuable skill which is knowing how to use keywords.

  • Thanks for the awesome article. I am thinking about a new business and I actually started doubting the idea but now I am back on track thanks to you. 🙂

  • Good to read this kind of post…
    Thanks for the good vibration.

  • There is a great site called Effort Share (, that allows entrepreneurs to connect and share ideas, as well as get expert advice. Have a look, any tool that can help an entrepreneur is a good tool 🙂