The Web, The Wolf, business and golf improvement…

Alan was my first business client. He was a mate of a golfing friend and he wanted a website.

I stumbled into web design. My first golf business accidentally received some media attention and this opened the flood gates. I got inundated for lessons and I sold lots of stock.

But I wasn’t overly prepared, had no website and no easy way of keeping a database of interested golfers.

My dad was a computer whiz and he forced me to learn website construction. I thought he’d do all the hard work, but he challenged me to dig deep and get outside my comfort zone.

There’s a golf lesson right there.

***

In 2011 my biz partner got a call from “The Wolf of Wall Street”. I knew about Jordan Belfort because Clare had just finished reading his book. I thought my biz partner was pulling my leg, saying, “I’ve just spoken to The Wolf and he wants us to meet with his Australian business partner”.

The meeting was in town, in the penthouse of a huge apartment block. We were greeted by the business partner in the foyer and took the lift all the way to the top.

The apartment was out of this world. It looked like a fancy nightclub, had a dance floor, lots of minimalist furniture and a huge bar that was fully stocked – the range of international beer certainly got my attention.

This wasn’t an office, but the Wolf’s business partner’s home. It was crazy and he dropped a line in there that he “paid 6 million for it but it was worth 8”.

The Wolf and Co. wanted a fancy website. They had an idea and wanted to take on the world. I tried to keep calm and attempted to calculate some costs in my head.

“What would a website like this be worth?”, asked the partner.

“Our starting price would be $100K – that should get us pretty close to the finished product.”, was my reply.

To be honest, I had no idea. My business partner was very good at saying yes and making us sound like god’s gift – I wasn’t so sure we could pull off the job.

We never went any further with The Wolf and Co – they probably chose an upmarket design team that would have charged 10 times our price. I was glad, never liked dealing with over confident people.

***

So I learned web design the hard way (but probably the best way). I fumbled around for a while but eventually had a website that did the trick. My skill was producing lots of content and then having the site appear in the search engines.

My first little site, without any real technical expertise, appeared on the first page of Google for search terms like “golf swing instruction” and “improve golf swing”.

I was getting traffic and it appeared almost too easy. My formula was straight forward….

Simple website + lots of content. The search engines lapped it up (and so did the visitors)

***

Alan was excited to get more visitors into his business. I built him the basics and told him to get to work – add all of his products and include good descriptions, images and any other relevant information about his products. And forget about the bells and whistles, just add good content and you’ll do fine.

His admin girl worked for three straight years on that website. She added thousands of product descriptions and images and by the end of it they had the best website for their niche, probably in the world. It wasn’t a fancy site, it looked simple, some would say ugly, but it worked a treat.

Most other businesses get excited when they get a few hundred visitors to their website. Alan was getting tens of thousands of new visitors a month – over the journey he had well over a million people come to his site. It was incredible and a testament that simple is often the best. Definitely a lesson there.

***

Each year a handful of people tell me I have a talent for writing. I usually laugh because I’m embarrassed. My English teacher wouldn’t believe I’ve written so much – I was hopeless at school, couldn’t put two sentences together and couldn’t spell that well. I still struggle with spelling (thank God for the spell checker) but I can churn out the words without too much problem. My secret? I write. And I keep writing. There’s really no secret to it – many of us cringe when we have to write. And because our teacher made writing hard – verbs, nouns, sentence structure, spelling, grammar – we struggle. But when you write like you speak and don’t worry too much about the mistakes the writing starts to flow. Keep it up long enough and people will tell you that you’ve got a talent for it.

Another golf lesson there too.

***

My first golf game was simple. I picked up the club, looked where I wanted the ball to go and then swung. There was no complication and after a few months of this I could hit the ball quite well. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the perfect way to learn. My subconscious lapped it up – there was no confusion and very little frustration.

***

Many thought I was a golfing freak – not believing that someone could improve so quickly. I shot a par round within a year and was soon one of the better players at my club. I really didn’t know what I was doing, I was naive and to be fair, just happy to be whacking that ball. Golf was fun.

***

People told me that some golf lessons would refine my swing and make me a better player, “Cameron, if you can get some lessons you’ll be on the PGA Tour in a few years”. So I took the lessons but they didn’t work out too well.

Golf lessons were hard. The pro told me lots of things I had never thought about before,

grip pressure, stance, alignment, swing speed, release and finish position

My mind was abuzz, but the pro assured me that if I worked on the technique I would have a better swing.

Didn’t work out that way. Had my first air swing and golf all of a sudden became difficult.

***

A few years ago I had a shocker. A staff member of mine accidentally deleted Alan’s website. All of it, including the backup. It was my fault because I should have taken control and had steps in place to avoid it. That little exercise cost me over $10,000 and Alan’s business. I have noticed he has got a fancy pants website these days, but I reckon it wouldn’t perform anywhere near as well as the original. It’s easy to be distracted by the bright lights…

***

I ran into the golf pro that gave me my first golf lesson, it was around 2010 and I was playing in a golf final for my team. The pro was the official starter and while I was waiting for my turn I went and said hello.

Me: Hi there I’m Cameron Strachan.

Pro: Hi Cameron, play well today…

Me: Thanks, thought I’d come over and tell you that you gave me my first ever golf lesson.

Pro: Really?

Me: Yeah, it would have been in 1991 when you were working at the public course.

Pro: That’s great. Good to see your golf has come along since then, go and play well.

By then it was my turn to swing. I took out my driver, looked where I wanted the ball to go and then swung like there was no tomorrow. The ball hammered off the clubface and sailed towards the green. My game had come a long way since that first lesson.

***

My best web client was Genevieve. She was an interesting lady, mostly because she worked in the world’s oldest profession. She was a good client because she was organised and always paid on time. Getting content from clients is always like pulling teeth but with Genevieve it was never a problem. She lasted a few years as a client, she actually got too busy. Here’s what she told me (I’m not making this up).

“Cameron, I’m going to have to shut the website down because it’s working too well. I’m flat out and can’t keep up with demand”.

There you go.

***

The smartest person I’ve met is Perry Marshall. Perry’s a Google advertising and marketing expert. I saw him speak a few years ago in Chicago and he blew my mind. He spoke about the 80/20 rule, something I had read about but didn’t fully understand. I’m still learning, but the principle definitely has changed my life.

I now focus on the most important tasks to be completed each day – work on the influential things that give me the biggest result. Perry says, “get the smallest hinge to move the biggest door”. It means I get more done with less distraction and in less time. It’s a pretty good deal.

Perry’s words smacked me right in the head. I could see how Automatic Golf absolutely tied in with 80/20 learning. With AG you focus on the key parts and you’re rewarded with a better game in return. There’s no need to worry about lots of things – just a select few. Your system loves the 80/20 Rule because it allows it to work how it was designed to. Less confusion. Better results.

***

I’ve learned a lot from the world of business. And it’s funny how many of the concepts transfer to golf – has certainly made me a better golfer and coach and writer. The biggest change for me is the Cameron Strachan Letter. It’s my main focus and my VIP clients get the vast majority of my attention. Instead of worrying about the 1000’s of people that come to my site each month, I focus my attention on the select few, the subscribers to the CSL. This is classic 80/20 thinking. I’m no longer interested in having the biggest website or the most subscribers. Quite the opposite – I only want to work with the select few who are interested in automatic and natural learning. Who are prepared to come on a journey. Who understand the difference between teaching and coaching.

The lesson? I’ve improved my coaching and writing further and my VIPs get better value in return. It’s all win-win.

Next week I will be closing the doors to new subscribers. I’ll reopen eventually, but it could be 3 or 4 months down the track. My focus is 100% on delivering the best value to CSL subscribers. If you’re the kind of golfer who likes to think deeply about your golf game then I think you’ll like what I’ve got to say. If you’re interested to explore my updated, the 80/20 version, material on learning a better swing (game) then you’re not going to want to miss the next edition. You can read more about the letter over here,

Thanks for reading,

Cameron Strachan

 

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3 Comments

  • David Capel

    Reply Reply April 30, 2014

    Your spell check didn’t work on the second to last sentence.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply April 30, 2014

      Like I said, “I still struggle with spelling”. By the way, perfect spelling, for the most part, doesn’t agree with the 80/20 rule. I could spend hours making sure each post/article/lesson is perfect. Or I can get it most of the way there and hit publish. I don’t worry about “perfect” anymore. Perfect can be wasted effort.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply May 15, 2014

    Writing is just thoughts placed on paper. I’m an experienced writer, and I’m never worried about my spelling or grammar, I just write. Editing is for the editors, not me. Same with golf. the less you know about it the easier it gets.

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