For years, the original post college graduation plan had been to attend law school – by all accounts a respectable ‘path’ right? I however, opted instead to play professional poker (mainly online). Why you ask?
“We don’t have a lot of time on this earth. We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements.”
-Peter Gibbons, Office Space
The lifestyle afforded me tremendous freedom.
While my college buddies were out applying for jobs to pay off student loans, I was travelling the world, meeting new people, and ‘working’ from anywhere that had a wifi connection. The money was nice, my hours weren’t set, and I wasn’t answering to some middle manager with a superiority complex. Sounds great right?
Fast forward 6 years – despite the freedom I was afforded, poker had begun to feel robotic, empty, and unproductive – like the same game, over and over. The money kept coming in, – but my time (though still limited) was locked up each day and the process, while profitable, was certainly not scalable. The mindlessness of the game’s repetition, and the realization that I wasn’t building anything tangible was really taking a toll on me.
I’ve heard it said that change occurs only when the pain associated with one’s current state becomes too great for them to bear. This very thing happened to me during one particular poker session, and I experienced a life-changing epiphany…
All of a sudden, things were very clear to me. I could see just how this hand would play out – I realized I had no wish to continue to spend my life’s hours in this way. That very moment, I picked up my chips, cashed out, and never looked back. I quit poker that very day – cold turkey.
It was clearly time for a change of pace, and some new challenges. As I’d been working online for so many years already, and could very much appreciate location independence, I felt another type of online ‘game’ could make sense for me, and the SEO / digital marketing space seemed like a very logical transition. So, I started my research around other various sources of online income, eventually discovering Pat Flynn, Neil Patel, Tim Ferriss, Hayden Miyamoto, and others.
After consuming more information than I could handle, I soon realized the gravity of my decision. The occupational leap and fear had sunk in, and I experienced the overwhelming realization that I’d be starting at ground zero in a new profession.
No formal marketing education or experience, and again, no pre-worn ‘path’ – just me, wandering through the murky waters of the online income swamp.
I then had another, very valuable, realization. My poker skill set was NOT lost in transition here. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but my previous ‘work experience’ was in fact an enormous benefit and actually became one of my biggest unfair advantages. I began to find there were many useful cross-overs between poker (or any profession) and marketing, it just requires a little digging to materialize your assets…
Allow me to demonstrate my assets in poker and how they apply to marketing.
The Asset Materialization Table
Poker Skill Set
|Assume, Test, Optimize:|
Poker players must make
sense of a diverse range of
people and variables.
Requires testing your ability
to effectively ‘read’ (poker
term) all these people and
variables and optimize your strategies accordingly.
Implement a winning
strategy against as many
assumptions as possible.
Poker requires you to
patterns and adjust to
individuals who think and act much differently than you do.
|Commonly you will play|
against unknown opponents
(i.e. whoever sits down at
your table). Often times you
will compete against a
variety of different playing
styles, strategies and
● Young and old,
● weak passive and
● standard and creative
● courteous and rude
● talkative and quiet
● cool calm collected
● educated and
● And the list goes on...
|Understanding, reading and being empathetic toward the different identities within a market can be invaluable when positioning your product or offering.
Say you have a product or
service you wish to market,
there are many various
factors that affect who you’ll
● income level
● cultural subsets
● And the list goes
In a game of chance and
variance, effective bankroll
management acts as a
cushion against variance.
|As a general guide, you|
want between 20-40 Buyins.
You shouldn’t risk more than 2-3% on any buyin. As one’s bankroll fluctuates, you must act accordingly ie. Move up or down in stakes.
|Similar to poker, if your
bankroll is undercapitalized
you significantly increase the risk of ruin for your online business. Gradually build your bankroll until you are adequately capitalized to give yourself the best
chance to succeed.
|Analyzing Expected Value:|
Expected Value (EV) is
the average return on each
dollar invested into a pot. If
a player can expect, given
probability to make more
money than he or she
bets, the action is said to
have a positive
expectation (+EV) (wiki).
|Without getting technical,|
here’s a basic EV formula:
EV = Probability1 * Payout1 + Probability2 * Payout2 + ... + Probabilityn * Payoutn
You basically measure up
possible winnings against
If the payout is positive, you
make a profit, if it is
negative, you suffer losses.
|In any business venture, you have to analyze some sort of expected value.
(e.g. If your average cost in acquiring a customer, using a PPC campaign, comes out to $15 customer, you’d better be sure that the value on average that, in the long run, your average customer value will exceed this acquisition cost, or you’ll ultimately suffer losses from the campaign.)
|Emotional stability is a major key to long-term success.|
Dealing with the extreme
high and lows (both
monetary and emotional)
requires a great tolerance for pressure and change.
|What if a google update
demolishes your rankings?
What if your site is
You must accept the fact that wins and losses happen. Remain stable in either instance. In the case of losses, you must regroup, re-strategize and adapt.
For money making
purposes, you want to play
against opponents not as
good as yourself.
|Used tools and software to identify ‘fish’ or weak|
players. Based on a set of filters I could locate +EV opportunities.
|In online marketing, we utilize tools in identifying market opportunities and weak competition.
(e.g.. Oracle for keyword research.
Various market research tools in finding new niches.)
Coming from a different background, another occupation, or possessing any unique skillset can be an incredible asset which can act as the foundation for your personal online success. Whether you’re an accountant, musician, janitor, writer, stay at home mom, doctor, or athlete, each of us (including the NHD team) has unique knowledge and perspective.
Each of our previous work skill sets provide us with potentially valuable crossovers and application in the online world. They hold potential to work as a creation engine for new ideas or innovation, and to act as a catalyst for action and ingenuity.
To help the NHD team better realize the assets they’ve gained through previous experience, I created this Asset Materialization template.
I would love to hear about your crossover skill sets. Create a copy of the “Asset Template” tab and fill in your own spreadsheet.
What crossovers do you see with your line of work that may apply toward generating income online?
3 thoughts on “Going All In: Discover and Leverage Your Online Marketing Assets”
I have been playing poker professionally for over 4 years online and about a year ago i stopped for almost the same reasons you did.
Since then i have been searching for several ways to make money online.
About 6 monhs ago i discovered about SEO niche sites etc.
I have tried some things without any big success, but i continuously improve as a SEO “player”.
This article really inspired me to continue learning and maybe one day “felt” that whale called Google.
Thanks for the kind words and comment zaoldyeck.
Similarly to moving up stakes in poker, the climb takes time (but well worth the effort). One piece of unsolicited advice: IMO Gaming google is -EV, simply because you are always at the mercy of someone else ie. penalties, algorithm updates, etc. Focus on building up your long term online assets (businesses) and skill sets (programming, marketing, CRO, etc) – this will pay dividends.
Quinton Hamp says:
I am constantly amazed at how past life experiences play into my success. I think the hardest part is identifying those assets.
Too often, I think we bury them deep because if we realized how truly limitless we were we would A) be dissatisfied with our lives and B) be required to leave our comfort zones in order to use all of our potential.