The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Written by Zac Johnson
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The book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a popular book in the self-help community. It’s a book with many layers and a lot of online marketers have difficulty applying the underlying principles to their own lives. In this post want I want to relate the seven habits explained in the book to online marketers and how you can apply them.

1. Be proactive

The first three habits are about taking charge of yourself. Thus, the first habit is about being proactive.

One of the reasons people want to get into online marketing is to escape the 9-to-5 and to be able to work anywhere with a laptop and access to the Internet. Now to get this freedom for yourself, you have to take initiative and this is where most newcomers fall off the boat.

People who are new to the this industry will look for other successful online marketers and study how they made it big. There is nothing wrong with this, but the problem I see over and over is that people get stuck in this research phase. Very few people get past the hump to take action. Instead, most think that it will happen on a random day that they escape the cubicle life.

This is not being proactive. Instead, it is time to get started. Stop reading how others have made it, and start moving forward to the land of the New Rich. Focus on yourself and put steps forward to stack that paper. Whether that means registering a new domain, hiring someone, or putting money into a campaign….just do it. Don’t wait for the right moment. The right moment is now.

2. Begin with the end in mind

Now that you are putting in the effort, the next habit is about having clarity in what exactly you want to achieve. You need to be absolutely clear with yourself that you want to go this path of making a living online. This habit is about envisioning a picture in your mind of what it feels like to have escaped the 9-to-5 and to have made it. You want to be able to smell the success. You can vividly imagine how different your life is going to be. It’s like you can almost touch it.

If you don’t have a clear picture in your head of how much better your life is going to be, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to achieve your goal. It is like driving in foggy weather. You can’t see far ahead, you can’t go fast, you hesitate a lot and frustrating be drive in those conditions. On the other hand, having clarity is like driving your car at full speed with a GPS system and a beautiful girl next to you. It’s fun, comfortable and you get to your destination fast.

Once you have this vivid picture in your head, achieving that goal is going to be a huge force in overcoming obstacles. Motivation comes and goes, but by having the end in mind, you can go through the ups and lows because you know how much of an impact the end result will have on your life. Once you know what your desired life looks like with a burning to desire, I will have no doubt that you will get there.

3. Put first things first

Now that you are actively putting yourself in motion by being proactive and by gaining clarity, the third habit is about figuring out the steps to get to your destination. The idea behind “putting first things first” is that you are able to prioritize the things you need to do to achieve your goal. The previous habit is about knowing what your end result is, and this habit is all about making sure you are always working on things that bring you closer to that end result.

There are a lot of ways to make your first buck online. One is not necessarily better than the other, but for each you need to be able to prioritize what needs to get done first. Most new online marketers think reading and researching is the most important part. In reality, this is not the case at all. Speed of implementation, building up your bankroll, and testing the market are actually far more important. These are things that you should do as soon as possible.

Put your first dollar on the line as soon as possible, then do some reading. While getting more knowledge is not a bad thing, it is usually not the most important thing to do. Try things out and then read on how you can improve what you have tested or setup. Always do the things that are the most important which bring you closer to your goal. When in doubt, be proactive and take action.

4. Think Win/Win

The following three habits are about cooperation. It is no secret that every successful online marketer has good relationships with others like the affiliate networks, partnerships, joint ventures, and his own staff.

To surround yourself with great people and to have to those relationships, you need to work on the habit of thinking win/win. This fourth habit is crucial for becoming an successful online marketer. Strive to have agreements with people that benefit everyone, not just yourself.

Take for example your relationship with your affiliate managers. A lot of people look at the affiliate manager and affiliate’s relationship as a division of roles where the affiliate is giving the most value and the affiliate manager’s job is just facilitating the affiliate. You would think the affiliate is the one making all the money, right? That’s not completely true.

Most affiliate managers get bonuses and have commissions if they do well, so they have an interest for their affiliates to do well. Knowing that, when you communicate with your affiliate manager, think win-win.

How can both of you become better off when you two work together? Let your affiliate manager know that you have his or her interest in mind because this helps you build a better relationship with your affiliate manager. And the better the relationship, the more the affiliate manager will help you to do well which him or herself too. You win. He or she wins. The network wins. Everyone wins.

This does not only apply to your affiliate manager, but anyone you want to become friends with or work with, such as your traffic sources representatives, people on your team, and so on.

5. Seek to understand first, then be understood

Once you have the cooperation of the other people, the next habit will help you strengthen that relationship even more. Covey talks about “seeking to understand first, then to be understood” to encourage you to build a relationship where both people are on the same page and respect each other.

The gist of this habit is that you have good relationships with people but it starts with initially setting aside your own agenda and being open to be hearing other people out. Most people are ego-centric and have no empathy for the other person. That is not a great way of strengthen a relationship. Put away your own agenda and hear out what others have to say to you, then see how you can help each other out.

This is especially useful for networking and I have seen this first hand how effective this habit is. The people at the conferences who don’t apply this habit are the ones who broadcast the loudest how great they are. Instead, the effective people are the ones hearing out what online marketers need and then seek out a solution if there is a match. As you can see, this goes hand-in-hand with the previous habit. By hearing out others and thinking win/win, you can have effective cooperation.

6. Synergize

At this point, you have your people around you, everyone is onboard and on the same page. Now it is time to work together and make it happen. This habit is about working together to take things to the next level.

The reality is, nobody becomes successful by themselves. That is why it has been emphasized by the previous two habits how important relationships are for effectiveness.

Even though it might seem that a lot of online marketers are famous (some even infamous) because of the work they did and they have a personal brand, you usually never see the team behind that person and the relationships he or she has. Usually they have other online marketers sharing advice, the affiliate managers, the representative of a variety of traffic sources, and a team of people working with the marketer.

Don’t get me wrong, you can be successful by doing all the work yourself. That doesn’t mean it is the most effective way to do it. The idea behind this habit is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Work with other people and bring each other up. That is why in the online space you’ll see plenty of joint ventures going on, but for someone who is just starting internet marketing you have to do it differently. Start building a team, work with your affiliate managers, and connect with other online marketers so you can work together to go to the next level.

7. Sharpen the saw

The last habit is about self-renewal. As you continue to work for long periods of time your productivity goes down unless you regularly review your work and your life. The book gives the analogy of a woodcutter who works every day, but becomes less productive over time because he refuses to take time out to sharpen the saw.

In the beginning it is all about hustling and working your way up, but don’t forget to take breaks while you’re doing it. Especially when you have hit milestones, zoom out and think of why it went well. Or if you didn’t make any major progress, try to see what happened and how you can improve things. Especially when you do a lot of testing and work on your campaigns, you need to sharpen the saw on a regular basis.

This guest post was written by +Thanh Pham, a writer and productivity nerd who regularly blogs about time management.

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10 Replies to “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

  1. I've read this book, it was an interesting read. Helped me to analyse my life and sort out my future goals and what I want to achieve.
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  2. Looks interesting, going to give this a read.
    Those are great habits to build upon.
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  3. I think all of the tips here are just of practical reasons and the most important thing once everything gets stable is that it is really to "sharpen the saw".Most of the times people do ot actually mind to see what they did right to make it there since what matters is that they have made it. As explained in this topic it is really important to think of it so as in the future if you get hit and your business world shatters you have with you some back up plan.
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  4. This is truly one of the best business books anyone can read. I have read it several times and also had the opportunity to take the course directly with Dr. Covey.

  5. Excelent. Many people dont know that their succes came with their habits,
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  6. Hello. I wanted to give you a note to verbalize my thankfulness. I have been watching your blog posts for a month and have got a ton of excellent tips and appreciated the way you have built your web site. I’m going to make my blog however I feel it is too general and I need to concentrate more on particular issues.

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