You can take inspiration for running your online business from all kinds of things. Just about anything in life can be a lesson if you let it. But some sources give really awful advice. That’s why I’d suggest that you be careful when taking online business tips from your cat.
Don’t get me wrong. I love cats. They’re cute and fuzzy, and odds are that there’s one on my legs right now. Not just when I’m writing this… when you’re reading this. Seriously, mine won’t leave me alone most days unless I insist.
It’s just that some things that work for cats really wouldn’t work so well in your business. Other things they do… brilliant! And if cats could talk… well, I’m pretty sure they’d play lots of mind games with us.
Most breeds of cats shed a fair amount, some more so than others. It’s not their most endearing characteristic, and somehow they always manage to shed light color fur on dark fabrics, and dark color fur on light fabrics. Just a bit of feline magic, I suppose.
I think of this as being similar to spam comments on blogs. Think about the badly spun comments some people leave in the hopes of getting a backlink from your blog, or the “good post” comments the lazy leave behind. Usually, it’s some vague sort of praise that sounds nice until you realize several different people are saying about the same thing to you. “Great post,” and all that.
If you look at the links included with such comments, the sites are usually awful. Poorly written, and clearly meant to get ad clicks, not to work for the long run.
Some spammers even share the feline gift of leaving black fur on white fabric. That is, they leave entirely irrelevant comments everywhere they go. They stand out and are super annoying.
Of course, if you’re alert and have a good quality antispam plugin on your blog, these comments are much easier to get rid of than fur on your clothes.
Don’t shed your comments just anywhere. Blog commenting software may speed up the process of posting comments, but you’ll lose out as soon as your comments start getting marked spam, and even legitimate comments are harder to get published.
Hunt Your Prey
Cats are great hunters. Birds, mice, lizards, your feet as you get out of bed, nothing is safe from a cat on the prowl. They watch their prey carefully, choosing just the right time to strike, then play with it for a time until it either escapes or dies.
Just as there are some things you want your cat to hunt and others you wish they’d leave alone, this is not a behavior you want to mimic without some thought.
You certainly want to know what your target market wants, and for that, you have to know something about their behavior. Don’t do it to the degree that someone might call stalking, but do know what kinds of things people might want to buy from you and why. It helps to make sales.
You should also consider the cat’s focus on its prey. A cat doesn’t go for two mice at a time or a bird and a lizard at the same time. The cat keeps its focus on whatever it’s trying to catch. It may switch focus if something better comes along or if the other prey gets away, but they’ll maintain focus a good while.
Similarly, you should keep your focus on your target market. Don’t go for several all at once. You may be able to serve more than one market over time, but early on it’s a mistake that will slow you down.
Once you’ve captured your audience, don’t make them feel like prey. Offer products to them you think they’ll want. Give value. The best relationships with customers are the ones in which you both benefit.
If you just play with your audience and offer whatever products offer a commission, regardless of quality, they’ll leave you. And unlike a cat, you can’t drag them back unless they agree to stick around. A customer who unsubscribes cannot be put back on your list just because you want them back.
Squeeze Into Tight Spaces
Cats can get into amazingly small spaces. There’s a reason why some people joke that cats are both solid and liquid.
This is much like choosing a niche for your online business. Some people choose a niche so tight that others are amazed there’s room for anyone to run a business in it. Others want more room, so they can show their own style more. They want to be themselves, not confined to a small box.
Deciding how tight a niche you want your online business to fit into may not be easy. Most of us want some flexibility. We don’t want to be so tight in our niche that there’s no room to be ourselves. But only you can decide what’s right for your business.
Get In the Way
Any cat owner knows that cats have an absolute gift for getting in the way. They’ll be under your feet as you try to walk. They’ll lie down on your laptop and get in the way when you’re reading. Small as they are, they’ll even hog the bed.
Often enough, you are your own greatest obstacle. If you make too many excuses for why you can’t work, it’s very hard to own a successful online business.
There may be days that you don’t feel like being productive. If you want to succeed, work anyhow. Don’t let your mood get in the way.
How you set up your home office or other workspace can make a big difference in how productive you are when you work at home. Make sure it’s a space that lends itself to productivity, not to distractions. It may even help to keep the cats out or at least be ready to distract them so they don’t distract you.
A small laser has to be one of the best cat toys ever. Cats will chase that little dot of light, determined to catch it, but never getting it. Turn it off when they get tired, then turn it on again and the cat will be after it.
Many people are like that with their online businesses too, always chasing the latest bright and shiny offer they see, but somehow never able to catch the success it promises.
Of course, the cat will never catch that laser, no matter how hard it tries, because light cannot be caught. You may or may not ever reach the level of success you want, but if you try as hard as you can, you improve your chances.
Keep It Clean
Cats wash a lot. If they feel even a slight need, they’ll wash themselves thoroughly. This is one of the great examples cats make, although their technique leaves something to be desired.
Similarly, you should keep your business practices clean. Treat your customers right. Don’t mess around with poor SEO practices. Be honest.
And when you make a mess of things, do the best you can to clean it up. We all make mistakes sometimes. The important thing is how you deal with it after.
Take Lots of Catnaps
Cats sleep a lot. They may be very active when they’re awake, but there’s a reason why it’s called a catnap.
As an online business owner, this isn’t something you can usually get away with. Most people have to spend a lot of hours building their online business. Sure, you can walk away and leave it for a time, and a good business will keep earning for you, but you’ll usually do better if you keep working on it regularly.
This is especially true when you’re trying to build your online business. Don’t assume that the Four Hour Workweek will come true for you right from the start. It probably won’t. It’s far more likely that you’ll have to work a lot of hours for a long time before you can afford to ignore your business for a long period of time.
Pushing boundaries can be both the best and worst online business tip from your cat that you can get. Anyone who knows cats knows how they love to push boundaries. That rule that they can’t get on the counters, for example.
Yeah, that one only applies when you’re not watching. Trust me, they get onto the counters when they think they won’t get caught.
Pushing boundaries in your online business can be a great thing. You can go beyond your comfort zone and try new things. That may be what helps you succeed.
But going so far as to break the rules may come with consequences, as any cat knows. Be sure that you can afford the consequences that come with pushing the boundaries.
Curiosity is one attribute of cats you should certainly emulate, within reason. They say curiosity killed the cat, but learning new things is often good for your business.
Learning new things only becomes a problem when you overdo it. If you spend too much time learning and not enough taking action, your business won’t grow.
Find that balance. Keep learning things that will help you grow your business, but be ready to put that information to good use. This way your curiosity about new things you should know for your business won’t kill your business.
I hope this has made it clear why you should be careful about taking online business tips from your cat. Make sure you apply similar caution when taking business advice elsewhere.