What does it take to be successful online?  It’s pretty simple.  The same things it takes to find success in any area of life.    Lets look for parallels in an area of life where high performance has been studied more than any other. Physical fitness and performance. 

You might not be planning on becoming an Olympian but I’m pretty sure you want your business to grow.  Lets get real.  If you’ve been in business for any time you know how hard it is to make breakthroughs and how easy it is to coast.

My business is digital marketing and lead generation and I want customers to become as self sufficient as possible.  I think it’s worth exploring what high performance coaches have to say about what it takes to really find and sustain the performance which brings success.


Everything starts in your head.  If you don’t have your head configured properly you’re going to fail.  Spend any time with athletes and you quickly discover that how they manage their mindset is the key which unlocks performance.  Start with the performance mindset.

Make the decision

Make the decision to start. Acknowledge that you don’t know everything and that you might not get it right.  Accept that with every effort you make you are growing in experience and understanding.  Commit to taking consistent action.


Things will get hard.  You need to know that.  You’ll get frustrated, embarrassed, pissed off and make mistakes.  Understand that this is part of the process.  Everybody fails but others fail and then give up.  This is not you.  You will keep going every day, building resolve.

Get over yourself

Everyone feels stupid.  The more you practice the more you will build confidence.  Comfort zones are funny things.  Nobody likes stepping out but once you do the uncomfortable becomes comfortable. Your comfort zone expands.  Don’t like how you look in pictures, don’t think you can write, hate the sound of your own voice.  Get over it.  Don’t measure yourself against the pro’s.  If you are taking action and your competitor isn’t then you are ahead.

Don’t listen to the Guru’s

Fads and hip tools are all great but the basics never change.  If you want to lose weight you need to manage calorie input and output.  If you want run distance you have to put in the miles.

Digital marketing is full of fads, fashions and gurus.  Don’t forget the basics.  Produce content and share it across all your platforms.  Offer people premium content in exchange for email addresses and then use those email addresses to build your relationship over time.  Start small and build out from there.  Don’t get hung up thinking you have to do Facebook ads, snapchat geo whatever or webinars.  Thats like thinking you can’t get fit without Zumba.  Crazy.


Acknowledge that you will make mistakes but keep your goals in mind.  You need to focus on WHY you are going this.  Understand that with every gain in confidence, knowledge and experience you get better and stronger.  You understand how to execute.  You become more effective.  Maintaining a positive outlook is easy when things are going well but you need to develop the attitude that failure is an important milestone along the road to success.   

Don’t do it on your  own.

Accountability is hugely important in high performance.  It’s very easy to make excuses and slack.  Knowing you need to report on progress, turn up for training and play with the team makes you far less likely to take your foot off the gas.

Get a coach

I’m not talking about a tree hugging life coach.  I’m talking about someone who’s a bit further down the road than you are and has agreed to support you.  You can formalise this if you want.  There are a lot of digital marketing or online success coaches.  You can also keep it simple and just buddy up in an online community.  Don’t think you need to do it on your own.

Get a peer group

How are the people around you performing.  Do you have role models or people who inspire you.  You need to be around people who are trying to do better.  People who challenge themselves and who are challenged by others.  Join a digital marketing Facebook group or online community.

Develop a routine

This is a blog post and not a book.  There are a million articles on how to schedule your day, manage your time, when to post and so on.  All you need to know is that if you want success in anything then you better make it part of your routine.

Time block

Build time blocks for digital activities.  Setting aside time when these things happen allows you to forget about them until it’s time to take action.  Once the routines are set up you don’t need to make more decisions other then “what” to do.  If you have a routine and you execute consistently then results are inevitable.

Remove friction

It’s so easy to put off a run.  Commonly something as simple as creased shorts can be enough to mentally get you off the hook.  Remove this mental friction with preparation.  Every difficult action finds friction in the unconscious mind so reduce this friction as much as possible by planning for it.  For my morning run I prepare everything the night before.  Action leads to more action.

In digital marketing there are a million reasons not to execute.  Reduce the friction by starting to notice the things which stop you acting and start to plan for them.  If you struggle to have ideas carry a notebook so you can capture them when they happen.   Look for the things which put you off, distract or derail you and use planning as a tool to overcome them.

Build endurance

Grit is a mindset attribute.  Endurance is the ability to keep going without fatigue or failure.  Endurance comes with consistency, exercise and continuous improvement.  The activities to support digital sales and marketing can look like a relentless to-do list stretching to the horizon.  Endurance start with the first step and then keeping going.  It’s the result of activity.  Keep going and you’ll become a digital marketing endurance athlete.

Sleep and Nutrition

I could talk about actual sleep and nutrition.  If you want to perform well in any aspect of life these things are important – but you know that.  I’m going to focus instead on the nutritional quality of the information you consume.  Are you building your knowledge base.  Are you exploring best practise and what’s working for others.

If you don’t work on building your knowledge then you’ll struggle to grow as a digital performer.  You’ll lag behind those who are building networks, sharing knowledge and experience.  You need to make learning and exploring part of your daily routine.

Be yourself

Don’t think you have to be something you are not.  Social media and video in particular are super scary. You don’t need to be an SEO guru or the conversion king.  You just need to take consistent action and sustain it.  As you develop confidence you’ll start to put a little personality into what you do.  Maybe even a lot – it doesn’t matter.  What does matter is ..


Regularly turning up and taking action is the single biggest indicator for high performance.  Consistent sustained effort.  You can have all the theories, knowledge, money, authority, ideas, creativity.  If you take one thing away from this post – take this.  Action trumps everything.


So .. I run a digital marketing and lead generation agency.  You might think I want to take away all this pain and do it for you.  Our goal for every client is that they grow into confident digital athletes and we offer a coaching service to support this if they want it.  Not everyone wants to be a digital athlete though.  They perform highly in other areas.  For them we offer a full, done for you service.

The vitality of your business depends on the acquisition of clients.  We bring a high performance approach to this aspect of business and free you to perform highly at what your company does best.

The health of your business demands activity.  A highly performing business demands more. 

About Bob Gentle

I work with businesses of all sizes on digital marketing, host the Amplify digital marketing entrepreneur podcast and work with entrepreneurs to help them amplify their business online.