Barriers to Entry in Pickup and How They Affect Success
We’ve discussed various different avenues men use (and you can tap) to meet new women on here in the past:
- Day game
- Social circle
- Bars and clubs
- Dating at work
- Girls out shopping
- Online dating
- Mass transit
- Beach game
- Gym game
I favor cold approach personally, but you can certainly make social circle or workplace dating or online work, and in fact that’s how most men meet their women.
And that’s what I want to talk about today: how you meet women and barriers to entry to those avenues.
Because in a lot of ways, meeting girls is just like doing business, and barriers to entry are no exception; the lower these are, the higher the competition, and the tinier the rewards.
A barrier to entry is basically how hard is it to jump into any one new business, sport, hobby, activity, social group, etc.
So, for instance, if you’re looking at business:
The banking industry has fairly high barriers to entry, in terms of both the amount of money you need to start your own bank, and the number of regulations you need to satisfy before you can legally function as a bank
Conversely, blogging has an extremely low barrier to entry – you can do it for free with zero setup costs and immediately be “in business”
And then of course there’s a whole spectrum in between the two ends, too.
The higher the barrier to entry, the more difficult it is to get into a certain market.
And, typically, the higher the rewards of that market are as well.
Photography vs. Cola
Here’s a different example.
Let’s say you’re deciding between two lines of work.
The first is a career as a photographer. You’ll probably start off taking wedding pictures and birthday party pictures, and then work your way up to some other kind of photography that interests you more – maybe photojournalism, or wildlife photography.
The other is a business making and marketing your own brand of soda pop. You’d be going into the cola business.
Which one is harder to get into?
Obviously, the soda business is WAY harder to get into. Before you can even think about going to market, you’ve got to have:
- Your own distinct, independent, appealing recipe
- Your own labels and bottles
- A production factory and a bottling plant
- Distribution channels set up to get your cola in stores or restaurants
- Optionally, marketing and advertising in place to get more customers
Add to all this the cost – you’ve got to hire the recipe designer; you’ve got to hire a graphic designer to come up with labels, and a packaging designer to design the bottle; you’ve got to buy the ingredients, and hire out the production factory and the bottling plant; you probably need to pay people to go around and set up distribution channels for you – how do they get you into the supermarkets; and of course you need long-haul truckers to take your product from plant to retail location.
You could start local and do it all on a budget, of course, but even then, it’s STILL a LOT harder than picking up a camera and shooting pictures.
Not only are the barriers to entry higher starting your own cola company, but the competition is FIERCE – cola is mostly a commodity at this point, and between Pepsi and Coke the market is pretty well covered. You’re going to have a tough time establishing much of a foothold there.
Contrast that to photography. All you’ve got to do to get started in photography is own a camera and find somewhere to solicit gigs.
You don’t even need a website for this. You can find them on Craig’s List in the “gigs” section. Tons of ‘em.
You won’t make THAT much money... in fact, probably not much at all.
But you’ll make some. Enough that it feels like, wow, I just started and already I’m making money!
Compare that to the cola business, where you’re bleeding money from
Day 1 with returns a distant consideration.
You don’t even need an expensive camera to get started in photography. I’ve known people who started their photography careers using little handheld devices that probably set them back a hundred bucks.
The barrier to entry is much lower for someone going into photography, and the path to profits is much faster.
However, there’s a “but”. And it’s a BIG one.
And that is this: someone who’s intermediate at photography still is not making that much more than the pure beginner who’s going around stalking Craig’s List for work.
By comparison, someone who’s now intermediate at running a cola company is HUGE (compared to that intermediate photography guy). He’s pulling buckets of cash relative to the still-scraping-by photographer... by the time the soda pop company has become a regional hit and people in the area all love the company’s soft drinks, it’s doing booming business, compared to the moderately successful photographer who now has some regular clients and does decent business.
The intermediate photographer now does enough business that he can quit his day job and scrape by living a lower middle-class lifestyle out of his tiny photography studio.
The intermediate cola tycoon owns several nice family homes, bought and paid for, is rapidly expanding his business into other neighboring towns, and is getting his brand in front of more and more people with better and more effective marketing all the time.
And they only diverge faster from here.
Market Forces: At Play Everywhere
These are market forces at play in the cola vs. photography comparison, and the same exact ones are at play in the various avenues in seduction.
Any time you want to know how good and reliable the returns are for a specific avenue are, just ask yourself this to start:
How easy or hard is it to get going in this?
As a follow up question, you may also ask:
How many other people are already competing here?
The more people are doing it, the easier it is to get started, and the lower you know the barriers to entry are. The fewer people doing it, the harder a road it’s going to be.
If you look at the two, what you’ll notice right away is:
There are LOTS of guys commenting up a storm on women’s pictures and status messages and pages and walls on various social media platforms in hopes of that somehow turning into a date; that means this has a very low barrier to entry
Conversely, there are few men walking around approaching pretty women on the street; therefore, this clearly has a high barrier to entry
Just like if you look at photographers vs. cola companies:
Everybody and his BROTHER is a photographer (or knows one... or five); if you want to find a photographer to take your pictures, you have a nearly limitless number of choices to choose from, even if many of these choices has a day job and is more of an after-hours photographer than anything. Clearly this is an area with a low barrier to entry
Alternately, you can probably count on one or two hands all the cola companies you know... this, obviously, is somewhere with high barriers to entry
(not to compare photography to guys clicking “Like” on a girl’s Facebook status update... at least a photographer is actually out DOING something and building a skill there... someone clicking “Like” is merely kidding himself that he’s “doing” something)
This is what barriers to entry are in pickup. They’re how easy is something for most guys to do, and, related to that, how many guys are doing it.
The easier it is, the more guys are doing it... and, generally, the lower the ceiling is on how well you can expect to do with as you progress through the “levels.”
There’s a “level cap” on every avenue for meeting women – an ultimate rough range of total success you can expect to get when you are among the best guys at using that avenue.
There’re also rough ROIs you can expect to have for each of these at lower levels, too.
The IMPORTANT thing is understanding what each of these is... especially before you throw yourself wholeheartedly into any one avenue... or coast into one out of sheer inertia and get stuck there.
The Success Ceiling
Because there are multiple (and often very DIFFERENT) kinds of success you can aim for when meeting women, where the success ceiling is depends on what sort of success you’re looking for.
Are you looking for:
- The sheer volume of women you can sleep with?
- The sheer volume of attractive women you can sleep with?
- The uppermost caliber of girlfriend you can expect to find?
- Something else entirely?
Obviously, the avenues that give you access to the highest volume of women slept with don’t tend to be the same as the ones that provide you access to the highest caliber potential girlfriends, and vice versa. So these considerations are different.
To keep things simple, I’m only going to examine volume of women
it’s possible to sleep with, and disregard other categories. That’s not
because other categories aren’t important; it’s more because I don’t
want to draw up a million different lists.
That being the case, here is my (very rough) grading of each kind of game based on the uppermost attainable level of success a man can hope to reach, volume-wise, with one of these:
Uppermost Volume of Sex Partners with (Per Week), for Top Guys
- “Hot” celebrity: 15 to 25 (Wilt Chamberlain claimed 2.3 / day)
- Celebrity social circle: 10 to 20 (close friend rolling with hot celebrity)
- Attractive overseas casanova: 10 to 20 (in, say, the Philippines)
- Talented pick up artist: 8 to 15 (in a conducive city)
- Master online gamer: 8 to
15 (in a conducive city)
- “Hot” local celebrity: 5 to 10 (college football star in big college town)
- “Cool club” leader: 5 to 8 (head of coolest fraternity on big campus)
- Conspicuous consumer: 4
to 7 (wealthy guy throwing around money)
- Standard social circle: 2 to 5 (going out tons, good game, regular social circle)
- Dating at work: 1 to 3 (unless working at a modeling agency, etc.)
Again, some pretty rough estimates there, but this is based on knowing, talking to, observing, and studying lots of different guys who were at or near the peak of ability in these different areas.
These are for the absolute BEST, and they’re if the guy is BOOKING it. If the guy has fundamentals out of this world, airtight game, and is in the best possible niche for him to be gaming in. Most will never get anywhere near these numbers, and even the best will rarely have weeks where they hit volumes at this level. Most highly skilled guys in each of these arenas will be at half or a third of these numbers at peak performance (and will be pretty happy to be there).
(side note: if you are or know someone in one of these categories who exceeds these numbers, please do share in the comments, and provide details – exactly what kind of game is being run, what the numbers are, how consistent they are, etc. These numbers are rough, so if you know of exceptions, I’d be happy to be proved to be underestimating here)
Now let’s look at the other side of the equation: what’s it look like for guys who are just starting out?
Uppermost Volume of Sex Partners with (Per Week), for Newbies
Now, how about when you’re starting out?
Let’s keep all those avenues in order, but look at guys just getting going in them:
- “Wannabe” celebrity: 0 (nobody knows who this guy is yet)
- Name dropper: 0 (not
actually friends with any celebrities)
- Clueless overseas casanova: 0 (he thought this would be so easy...)
- Novice pick up artist: 0
(here come the rejections)
- Novice online gamer: 0 to
2 (he actually gets some results!)
- “Wannabe” local celebrity:
0 (he’s a DJ, but he doesn’t have any gigs)
- “Lame club” leader:
(D&D club president, ladies? Any takers?)
- Wannabe conspicuous consumer:
0 to 1 (buying her drinks is not impressive)
- Standard social circle: 0 to 1 (occasionally gets lucky)
- Dating at work: 0 to 1 (occasionally gets lucky)
Notice that here the guys who aren’t at 0 all the time are almost across the board the guys at the very BOTTOM of the list ranking top to bottom of best performers at the top level.
In other words, when you’re just starting out, whether you want to be the next Leonardo DiCaprio (or David Blaine, rolling out with Leo to parties), or the guy who cleans up with doe-eyed girls in the third world, or the guy who picks up girls off the street like pie, or the guy whom every girl in town knows, adores, and lusts after, you’re going to have a pretty rough time of it starting out if this is the main thing you’re counting on for girls.
In fact, you’ll probably end up pretty frustrated watching all those guys working a lot less hard than you are still stumbling onto women from their workplaces, social circles, paid for drinks and meals, and clumsy online dating efforts.
The Level Cap Can Be Deceiving...
When you’re new, before you’re getting results, you will tend to find yourself getting frustrated pretty quickly because you see other guys working less hard than you getting better results than you.
That’s not necessarily because they’ve stumbled onto a “better method” though. It’s usually because they’re tapping one that has lower barriers to entry and is easier to get going in.
A guy who relies on work to meet women, for instance, will get laid some of the time. Chances are, even if he’s somewhat clueless, if he’s super focused on that as his avenue for meeting women and he’s actually taking action there (asking girls out, taking phone numbers, etc.), he’ll score eventually.
The aspirant pick up artist or future big time celebrity can have a difficult time of things at first though. Frequently, the biggest barrier to his own success is a lack of faith in his own ability to succeed – the guy who’s trying to sell himself as a hot stuff up-and-coming celebrity and the guy who aspires to be a great pick up artist frequently have a lot more doubt and hesitation starting out, since they’re trying something very ambitious that they don’t have any previous experience to back up and lend credit to their abilities to, and they communicate this doubt to women, which sends those women headed instead to their less ambitious but more confident competitors angling for those women from a social circle or online dating avenue.
Most guys who try going down a difficult path eventually throw in the towel and go back to social circle / workplace dating / online game. Most of the rest never even try one of those unconventional paths in the first place.
But for the men who hang in there and see it through, they get access to levels of success unattainable to men who pursue success through lower barrier-to-entry avenues.
The fewer men there are who succeed in a given (effective) avenue, generally, the more outsized the rewards are for the men who do.
Men starting out frequently don’t see this though... the process is mostly invisible to them, and they don’t get a good look at the various men at intermediate levels of development in all the different stages of progression.
They don’t see the guy who’s intermediate at pickup and sleeps with a few cute new girls per week.
They don’t see the local DJ who’s gotten some small town popularity and sleeps with a new girl every third or fourth show he does.
Instead, they just see the top, visible guys, getting laid like champs with beautiful women... and they see all the other guys AROUND them, hooking up with girls on occasion through more conventional means... and then they see THEMSELVES, undertaking this (potentially quixotic?) quest to become like those top guys, and the longer they try without attaining much of a result and the more success they see their less hard-working peers attaining, the more likely it makes them to jump ship and join everyone else in the lower barrier-to-entry arenas.
This pickup thing isn’t working, they say; let me get back to social circle building, and meet women naturally instead of trying and failing.
This cola company business is hard; maybe I ought to take a stab at getting a 9-to-5 instead, and make money instead of losing it.
In effect, they trade long-term high upside for short-term moderate upside... and miss out on all the very REAL long-term gains.
(caveat: this isn’t necessarily a BAD thing though, since by the
very nature of those positions few men will become truly successful at
a thing, nor care to; for most guys, the added sexual freedom and
enjoyment – or the larger selection of higher caliber girlfriends –
that comes with making it to the top of a difficult skill learning
curve isn’t worth the trouble of getting there)
Why’s It Work This Way?
Again, market forces.
Obviously, preselection plays a major role – women want the men that other women want. So once you reach “critical mass” in your desirability... where your behavior just shifts because your reality with women changes so dramatically... you become more or less permanently very desired by women no matter where you go or what you do, because they can just smell it on you.
But there’s more to it than this, because before you can get that preselection, you have to have a way of meeting women that works.
So why do the ways that work, work?
Much of that we’ve discussed in articles like the one on male authority: if you look at most of the top men from those lists, they’re universally all men that women view as authorities within their own domains:
A hot celebrity is someone with large personal power in a society
Someone close to that celebrity has his ear/power, and may even control him
An attractive overseas casanova is far more in charge of his life than the average girl he meets is – she’s at home, but he’s taken charge and traveled abroad (he also brings fresh genes and the promise of adventure and excitement, not to mention discretion and freedom from the judgment local men place upon her)
The talented pick up artist is someone who’s trained extensively in coming across to women as a dominant, attractive, suave authority figure
The master online gamer is like a pick up artist of the web – he rapidly breaks down women’s frames, then builds them back up again as an authority will
The local celebrity and cool club leader head up their respective groups, and obviously have social capital for having made those places cool, or for having made it to the top of the pile of places that were already cool
Contrast that with these same men when they’re starting out, however:
A wannabe celebrity has non-existent social pull; likewise for his friends
A clueless overseas casanova just seems like some sleazy loser guy who couldn’t get laid at home so moved abroad
The novice pick up artist comes across as someone so hopeless with women that he has to go scour the streets to meet them, and still gets rejected
The novice online gamer just seems like yet another of the faceless multitude of men barraging women’s inboxes with the same repetitive messages again and again
The wannabe local celebrity and the leader of the uncool club seem like they’re trying to offer value and be in charge... but can only settle for low value places women don’t want to be a part of anyway
... and you can quickly see why it’s such a stark difference between
the men at the top here, and
the men at the bottom. The
only one who gets laid sometimes
(assuming these guys pursue no other angle, like social circle, which
in fact they probably will – but they’ll get laid off of that, NOT this
other angle) is the online dater, who maybe occasionally hits on just
the right message to stand out, or, if he’s lucky, is good looking
enough that women want him regardless how unoriginal his
messages and profile are.
Now let’s have a look at the other three: the conspicuous consumer, the standard social circle guy, and the workplace dater.
Take a really cool, attractive guy throwing a lot of money around, vs. an average
guy throwing a little money
around. Different sides of the room, yes, but they’re still in the same room.
Both guys are having to spend to get laid.
That’s very different from the other examples above, who were relying on social capital to get laid. The spender’s relying primarily on a show of financial resources.
He never reaches the point where women are beating each other back
for a chance with him, like they do for me with large amounts of
intrinsic social capital.
Next, have a look at the standard social circle guy. Again, you can have the super cool, attractive guy operating in a normal social circle, and you can have the average guy operating in a normal social circle. Here, there’s still a big difference between the two, BUT how much a difference in their outcomes this difference makes is muted because the structure of social circles forces women to behave more conservatively with the men within them. It makes more sense for a talented social circle guy to work himself into a leadership position in a cool group like the leader of the “cool club” than it does to just stay in a standard social circle.
The guy at work fares worst of all. Even if he makes it to “boss”, he STILL doesn’t get laid all that much. He maybe sleeps with one of his cute employees every so often, but even if he’s very attractive, well, women tend to be on their best behavior at work, and are super discreet – even more so than in a standard social circle – because this isn’t just their reputations at risk here, but their careers, and they know it.
For these reasons, the places with the lowest barriers to entry also, for the most part, have the lowest caps on how much success a man can expect to have with the women within them.
Keep Barriers to Entry in Mind
There’s not much actionable advice I can give you in this article except for: be very mindful of barriers to entry when deciding where to focus your efforts.
You can further boil down barriers to entry into as many different
subcategories as you want; the barrier to entry of running shopping
mall game vs. lounge game, for instance (most men will be more
comfortable starting off in lounges, and have more luck here at first,
but shopping malls will typically ultimately prove more fruitful if you
devote equal time to both and become very skilled at both).
This is just a mindset in general to have; I see a LOT of people get excited about low barrier to entry stuff because it looks “easy”, but what they invariably miss is that the easier it is, the more competition there is, often the lower the quality of the returns are, and the lower the potential upside usually is.
(I’m guilty of it, too; I started meeting girls in nightclubs that
was easiest for me, and I
started business by blogging because that seemed easiest. If I had to
go back and do both over, I’d tell myself to start in very different
places and just suck it up until I was winning – do day game instead of
night game starting out, and focus on Internet marketing and forget
about blogging starting out. If you still want to do those things
later, do them then... but you probably won’t want to once you’ve aced
a higher upside angle!)
So – before you get too excited about something (anything!), check out the barriers to entry first. If everybody’s doing it, you can expect to get SOME success... PROBABLY... but not a whole heck of a lot (and perhaps nothing, if it’s SUPER low barrier to entry, like catcalling or Facebook commenting or building apps for smart phones or blogging – ones where so many people are doing them that the results are just horribly diluted and watered down... like sharing a $10 million winning lottery ticket with 70 million other people).
If a LOT of success is what you want, look for the things that are harder to get going in, but pay off much more once you reach the later levels.
In the case of success over the long term, barriers to entry are
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