4 lessons Muay Thai taught me about digital marketing and business

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I know what you’re thinking – how could beating someone up with a flurry of punching and kicking combinations have any relation to digital marketing or business? You’d be surprised. Here are 4 lessons Muay Thai taught me about business and how I apply these lessons to actual digital marketing and business scenarios.

1. Patience

In Muay Thai, you can’t just rush in a smother your opponent. If your opponent is skilled they will counter with an overhand right or a possible lead leg kick. You need to “pick your punches.” Don’t just throw a four punch combo to the head when the body is open. Analyze your opponent’s tendencies, take advantage of them and pick them apart.

In SEO – link building in particular – you need patience with the webmasters that you are setting up deals with. Sometimes webmasters have content schedules that they need to keep and your content (link) won’t be published for weeks after you send it over.

Clients want instant results – that’s impossible – and as an SEO we know that keywords don’t just start ranking on the first page of Google instantly. Long term strategy always trumps short-term results and getting the client to understand that is key to a successful relationship.

If you have ever outsourced web design and development you know that these designers and developers aren’t the easiest to communicate with – sometimes they reside on the other side of the world or sometimes they lag so hard because they gave you a timeline that they can’t meet.

2. Preparation

When I am preparing for a fight, I discipline myself by training for weeks, cutting out fatty foods and staying alcohol free. By the way, drinking after a fight isn’t the best feeling – something about your face, body and legs hurting combined with the booze that just doesn’t sit well. Once I receive information about my opponent I prepare for his style. If he’s short I practice my reach and clinch skills. If he’s bigger than me I work more cardio to increase my stamina and speed so that I become more elusive.

Have you done your homework when you head into a very important client meeting or sales call or do you wing it and hope to keep the client or close the sale? Obviously you prepare for these types of engagements. You probably wont need to cut weight to talk to clients and sometimes a neat Macallan 18 closes a deal so there is a difference in preparing for a fight and keeping or gaining a client.

When I’m preparing for a product launch, I analyze the product’s competitors. I look through their sales letters (or videos), I take screenshots of their sales funnels – headlines, copy, flow and upsells. Now you don’t just copy your competitors but you can take their ideas and uniquely adjust them to create your own style.

3. Striking

Striking is the name of the game – that’s what Muay Thai is all about. Unlike boxing, which only uses punches but is still an amazing martial art, Muay Thai uses eight striking points – 2 hands, 2 legs, 2 elbows and 2 knees.

Being able to diversify your strikes can cause confusion in your opponent. They won’t know what to expect when punch, kick, elbow, and knee combinations come their way. You also need to be quick without hesitation.

In business, you need to be able to pull the trigger. When I trade stock I need to be able to make quick decisions and “pull the trigger” at the right exact moment. I don’t trade stocks often but when I do I definitely need to leave my emotions out of it and strike when the time is right.

In terms of link building and after the Google Penguin update diversifying your links and anchor text became the name of the game. I worked on one client, a major PowerPoint presentation sharing company that got hit by Penguin. Their traffic dropped dramatically and we struggled to figure out the reason why. We found out that all their embed codes for the slides used the same keyword rich anchor text across the board. As soon as we figured this out and diversified their anchor text – branded links, naked links, branded plus keyword links – they recovered from the dreaded penguin.

Note: All anchor text from that time onward was diversified. We also contacted webmasters that embedded the slides on their sites and asked them to update the slide with a new anchor text. It took months for the penguin to subside.

4. Toughness

“Never give up. Never Surrender!” No matter how many hits you take in a fight, no matter how many times you get knocked down, don’t ever give up. Going through a two month long training camp for a fight is excruciating. The physical and mental abuse is incredible. I am constantly challenged to become better, stronger and faster.

As an entrepreneur, you can’t give up after your first failure, or even after your tenth. Go ahead and ask any successful entrepreneur if they have failed – the obvious answer is yes. Actually don’t waste your time on that question because it is obvious. Nobody is perfect and success only comes after trial and error.

We need to be mentally tough to succeed in business. We can’t let emotions get in the way of logic. We need to stand strong in times of adversity and never back down from a challenge.

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