3 Unconventional Principles That Help You Stand Out in Any Market

by Mars Dorian · 29 comments

Mediocrity is for losers.

The online arena attracts thousands of new, HUNGRY digital creators, and guess what?

They ALL want a piece of the digital pie.

If you don’t offer something remarkable, something people share and talk about, you’re toasted.

All is not lost, though.

If you make a conscious effort to push your comfort zone, and deliver talk-worthy, ass-kicking work, you can stand out from the crowd.

Just follow these 3 key principles:

#1. Go to the edge

This is vital, and it’s inspired by the one-and-only Seth Godin.

Going to the edge means you do something extreme, something people are afraid to do.

It can be anything—the way you offer your service, your content, or the products you sell.

Let me share an example.

As you may know, when you buy products online, most people offer a guarantee like 30 days or your money back.

DIYthemes does it, as do countless others. It’s a risk reversal tactic that helps close the sale.

If you’re going to the edge, you can take this one step further and you’ll instantly stand out from everyone else.

One blogger, Tyler Tervooren, strengthened his guarantee by saying “1,000 subscribers in your first 6 months, or your money back.” Yes, it’s a bold claim, but it’s also remarkable that he’d offer such a strong, edgy guarantee.

Another blogger, Adam Baker, also went to the edge with this satisfaction guarantee. He chose a “As long as I have a pulse” guarantee, meaning that you get your money back until the end of his life. It’s funny and worth talking about, right?


So, remember, go beyond the beaten path and bring your product/content/service closer to the edge.

It can be something as small as a satisfaction guarantee and it can still make a huge difference.

Action Step

Can you write in a style that no one dares to deliver? Can you create a product that delivers an experience unlike any other (making it more interactive, insanely goood design etc.)?

Or can you offer a crazy guarantee like in the examples? You can, and you must!

Bonus tip: If what you are about to publish/offer scares you, then you know you’re onto something HOT. Instead of backing down and hiding in your comfort zone, PUSH THE BUTTON. Unleash your edgy work.

#2. Go beyond the niche

Everyone is obsessed with choosing a specific niche. It’s ridiculous, and it’s not really that important. Niches are overcrowded. If you want to stand out, you need something that draws people’s attention—and that’s you and your beliefs.

Let’s take the über-famous blogger Chris Guillebeau as a prime example. What’s his niche?

Sha-baam. He doesn’t have one. Chris goes beyond the niche. Instead, he uses his belief (living an unconventioal life) and makes it the cornerstone of his brand “The Art of Non-Conformity.” His writings and products are super diverse: You’ll find anything between marketing, traveling, business, social media and personal development.

It’s diverse, but it works brilliantly because he infuses his belief of living unconventionally into EVERYTHING he does. Every article and product carries that Chris Guillebeau flavor—live and work on your own terms. That’s why he can create and produce pretty much anything he wants, AS LONG AS he makes that part of his belief.

Action step

Figure out your belief—your “mission”—and infuse it into your whole creation process. Anything you will ever produce will work out as long as your mission is DISCERNIBLE within your work !

#3. GO 3 x “YOU”

A friend of mine shared a valuable lesson with me, and I will never forget it. Here goes:

If you want to succeed (both in life and business), take your personality and make it 3 times more extreme.

That was a personal revelation for me, and it changed the way I did business. This is what it means in particular:

Take your main character traits, stretch them and infuse ’em into your online presence. If you are in mad love with pink, why not “pink up” your whole presence? Let your blog design, Facebook fan page and Twitter profile DROWN in pink.

Or are you the shy person? Why don’t you take THAT to the next level? Become super-shy, and DON’T use a profile pic for your blog or social media presence. Use a funny or mysterious avatar instead, and make that ultra-shyness a part of your brand.

Action step

Look at your character traits and foibles. What about them is truly “you?” And how can you stretch them (make ’em MORE extreme) and infuse that into everything you do?

I promise that you get more attention and find your “right” audience if you follow this path.


If you do things that everyone else is doing, you will end up like everyone else—drowning in the river of oblivion. Use these 3 principles or invent your own to do stuff that no one else is doing, making your online presence stand out like a diamond in the sky.

What do you do to make your online presence more remarkable? What can you do today to take it closer to the edge?

About the Author: Mars Dorian is a creative entrepreneur who shows people how to build a thriving online presence. Check out his blog “The world needs you” if you want to build a remarkable online brand, and follow him on Twitter — at your own risk.

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Vivek Parmar

Great read. learn new things from here specially go beyond your niche is the thing i’m looking to apply right now.
Thanks a lot for sharing these secrets

Danny @ Firepole Marketing

I really liked what you said about guarantees. Here’s one that I like: a client of mine offers a free trial of his service, and if you’re not satisfied with the free trial, he will donate $100 to the charity of your choice (it’s Matt from Fluent Brain, a frequent commenter on Firepole Marketing, if you want to see it in action). 🙂

Mars Dorian

Hey Danny,

that’s a pretty cool offer – and I have never heard that one before.
Now he only has to UP the game – maybe offer 500$ 🙂

Rachel Mount

I love the ‘3x your personality’ bit. Going to put that into practice today. Thanks!


Like your article.
Deliver or over-deliver whatever you promise and be the best in your field.

Ricardo Bueno

“Over-deliver” <== Agreed!

Ricardo Bueno

Re: “Sha-baam.” <== I swear I could hear you say it as I read this, heh.

Seriously though, I dig your points. Particularly the last one. What is it that people like about you? Think about those moments, when someone gave you a great testimonial… What is it about you that motivates them? Then, infuse that into EVERYTHING that you do!

Mars Dorian

hell yeah, positive feedback FUELS the fire inside.
I’m always MORE passionate if I finished working with a client. Whenever I’m about to create something, I picture the inspiring feedback from my clients & audience in order to make it uber-cool.


Excellent post. I love all 3 and each give plenty to focus on and utilize.

Keep ’em coming.

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

“If you do things that everyone else is doing, you will end up like everyone else—drowning in the river of oblivion.”

There it is, in a shell o nuts.


BUT BUT BUT…..What if your personality is already over the top. Like, bazinga! Waaay out there. Funny as hell. Inspiring and intriguing. But in a conservative world, incl board of directors, etc. They’re still adjusting to my personality as it is, btw.

Mars Dorian

Hey Denise,

then I would say: get the HELL out of that environment 🙂
If you work in a surrounding that doesn’t support your natural over-the-topness, then I would seriously think about letting OTHERS shape your personality (and lifestyle) !

Fred R

I came to this site from a Wordpress -> CMS tutorial as the author recommended Thesis, and I see the first line in the latest blog post:

“Mediocrity is for losers.”

For that reason alone I wouldn’t touch your stuff with a 9-foot bargepole. The vast majority of us humans are ‘losers’, because we just live our lives and do the best we can in often tough circumstances and don’t deliberately crap on and do down our fellows. Your language might appeal to BMW-driving Suits who reckon they’re ubermenschen on account of being able to fiddle derivatives or make currency bets or just sell loads of biscuits, but they’re a small and pathological minority of humankind.

Derek Halpern

Who says living your life, the best you can, is mediocrity? If you’re doing the best you can, sounds like you’re doing something amazing to me.

To be frank, it sounds like you didn’t read the entire article. If you read the full article, you’d realize that you’re taking that sentence out of context. Read through the rest of the article, and then lets continue this conversation.

Mars Dorian

Hey Fred,

mediocrity is a mindset, nothing else. It’s a conscious choice to follow the herd instead of building something remarkable.

And please, don’t call yourself and anyone a loser – tell yourself you are going to create AWESOME stuff and you’ll be amazed at the magic you will unleash.

Andrew Mooers

When you are passionate about what you do, the work is pleasure, an art. You do better at anything you don’t fight, hate. Being creative comes from being happy, in your right place under the sun on the blue and green marble. Fire in your belly, being driven means you go way way beyond “good enough”.


Great stuff as always Mars.

I think a lot of people are afraid to give grand guarantees because they are afraid to be taken advantage of. But honestly, most people will not ask for a refund even if they are unhappy. And you should be doing your best to make sure that they AREN’T unhappy anyway.


Disagree re: niches. Niches can be very profitable, particularly blue ocean niches.

In any case, if you can diversify your products and ideas across multiple streams and niches you diversify your income and potentially lower the risk, though some might argue you increase your risk.


I’ll have to work #1 into # 3.
AS far as #2 there are a lot of how to videos on my subject so I thought I would go with “How Not To” videos. Seems to be working.
Extreme personality, well I guess I’ll ramp this one up a tad!!


Thanks Mars–great stuff. I especially liked your perspective on going outside the niche. I do think niches are very important, but personally struggled to nail mine down, which ended up slowing me down too much. I just started anyway with the clarity I did have at the time, and will see where we go from there. Your words were an encouragement.

Melissa Dinwiddie

Re. point 3, I remember hearing an interview with Chris Rock, in which the interviewer (Terry Gross?) commented on Chris’s quiet demeanor, such a contrast to his stage persona.

His response was something like: “The audience doesn’t want ME, they want a bigger version of me.”


As a performer myself, I automatically amp up my persona when I get onstage. I’m still me, but as Chris Rock puts it, a bigger version of me. (And totally different from Chris Rock, btw.)

I can see the same forces at work when I write on my blog, too. “3xU” is a good way to put it, and something I’ll be sharing with my clients and students! Thanks for that!


Hey Mars,

The 3 things are really important. But, why do you say go beyond a niche. I think, having expertise in a niche is important. However, I liked 3 x You thing.

Cam Collins @ DzineBox

Does DIYThemes ever post mediocre content on their blog? I am on the mailing list and when I see the email (I get 100s per day and scan many quickly) I say, Ok this one well be the one that has little relevance in my life and lack inspiration. But No, each post gets better than the next. Like a pop artist needing to write another hit, the contributors who provide this content keeping upping the bar.

Like many of the other commentors, I really took the “3 X YOU” concept to heart. Keep up the good work guys and sorry @ Fred R, I don’t buy into the theory that most of the human race is made up of losers.


Love it. I do warrior work and sometimes things get extreme – pushing the comfort zone ain’t always pretty, but that’s where the breakthroughs are.

I’m building a web site so we can reach even more men. Our stuff’s not namby-pamby and the site won’t be either.

Your message speaks to my heart and my balls. Thanks!


Great ideas. Break your guitars on stage, or break your back!


Re: “Go beyond the niche” – I think what you’re saying only applies to a really narrow definition of niche.

A niche doesn’t have to be an industry sector or a specific need. The Art of Non-Conformity – and all the people that turns on – is Chris’s niche.

What he’s done though is base that niche around his beliefs and passion. Rather than doing a cold, hard calculation of a niche to get into, he’s turned what he loves into a niche.


ron chordigian

Great info, being different is OK.


Good post. Authenticity can only improve your brand as well as your enjoyment of the process.

Cheers, Terry

Anita Clark

I like this…anything worthwhile is worth pushing the envelope on.