Uh oh, do I feel another boring yet slightly motivational post coming on? Well, no… Not exactly. You see I’m not going to try to give you my top five tips for success, or pump you full of motivational quotes… Okay maybe just one, but it’s a good one a promise! This simple advice has drastically changed my rate of success and speed from idea to action:
“Only consume information that is going to allow you to take action, right now.”
By this point you might be thinking, “Ooookay, what is so special about that?” But when you realize its importance you will kick yourself for all of the time and energy you have waisted so far without it.
Up until now I was acting like an information vacuum sucking up everything from internet marketing courses, entrepreneurship, programming, building websites, Facebook ads, Google ads, SEO, WordPress, and much, much more. Until I heard this phrase repeated by multiple trusted sources, I chose to disregard it. I thought it was just another naysayer trying to hold me back, but this small dose of reality will set you free.
If you are constantly trying to learn everything about everything in this industry, you’ll spend the next ten years chasing your tail. Think about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, for example: There are guys who spend day-in and day-out trying to figure out how to game Google’s algorithm to work for their websites, so that they can rank #1 on the first page for a popular phrase or keyword. These same people dump thousands of dollars into online courses, only to be put out of business next month when the new update rolls around and Google changes the way it ranks websites.
So here it is: If you don’t have a website yet, don’t waste your time learning about SEO. You should be watching tutorials or reading blogs on how to get a domain name, and do it! Then move on to learning how to set up hosting, and do that next! Once you have completed those things, you can focus on how to build your website. And so on, and so forth.
If you try to learn everything at once, you are going to feel overwhelmed, and eventually give up. Success is all about taking little steps, as you might have heard me mention before in a previous post: The quickest way to reach big goals is to break them down into little, actionable steps you can take every day. If you are having trouble with something, turn to a support forum or outsource the headache to someone with the skill-set you currently lack. But stop letting yourself consume information because its easier than taking action.
“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” – Albert Einstein
This is the reason why, in a sense, I started this blog in the first place. I needed a place to release the ticking time-bomb of information that was counting down in my head. A place where others might find it, and use it as a reference so that they can focus on what matters to them now. Now get out there and make something better!
Last month I picked up a book that kickstarted my entrepreneurial drive like nothing ever had before, and I thought it worth sharing with you now. How many of you out there have read The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss? If this is you, you probably won’t find this post as interesting as newcomers. But if you’ve never heard of Tim, or the “Four Hour” anything, you absolutely must keep reading… The rest of your life could depend on it.
Tim Ferriss is an icon in the business world, and yet I had never heard of him until I picked up his book and started walking around with it. All of the sudden I had people stopping me at work and on the street asking me how I liked it, and what I did for work. This newfound discovery left me stunned, realizing that there is a whole underground network of people just like you and I who work for the man by day, and work for ourselves by night. We all have this itch one gets from working for anyone but themselves, and it can only be scratched by finally taking that plunge and starting a business of your own.
Tim refer’s to himself as the “Human Guinea Pig”, in that he is willing to try anything to come up with a better solution to a problem. His books tackle everything from accelerated learning, to speed reading, vagabonding, starting a company or convincing your boss to let you work remotely! And it all makes sense in this ridiculous way that will leave you wondering why it has taken you this long to implement these actions in your own life. For this reason, I would recommend this book to anyone because there is something in it for everyone.
I found the audiobook online after hearing Tim speak on speed learning, and decided to listen to it one day while working out. I let it play for the next eight hours and then, feeling inspired, immediately started it over to listen to it again! But wait, there’s more! I realized that there were some things that I just couldn’t get from the audiobook, so I went out and bought a hard copy and read that too! Now I know you don’t know me personally, but I don’t read books all that often because I simply don’t have enough time, so anything that to make me want to go buy a book that I had already listened to twice has got to be worth your while!
If you have that itch, like there’s something out there you’re meant to do, but you’re still a little unsure about what it is or how to make it happen: I promise you that this book will send you down the right path! Pick up your copy on amazon here: The Four Hour Work Week on Amazon.
Still not convinced? Look Tim up on youtube or head over to his website and listen to his podcast. There’s something there for everyone and I know you’ll find something of value as well.
This is the final “Weekly Update” you guys will see from me. The purpose of these updates, was to give you a detailed idea of how I started out, managed by time, and kept moving forward. From this point on I will do my best to post monthly journals so that you can still get an idea of what kind of progress is being made, without having to sit through all of the unnecessary, boring details and get right to the things that matter.
This week was much like the others in that I worked during the day and put in a few hours each night. I read on my breaks, this weeks book is #AskGaryVee, and listen to motivational podcasts all day long. I am still working on trying to find that balance between spending time on work and time with family, friends, and my significant others.
Highlights from this Month: Set up web hosting, bought a few domains, purchased a website building package, built my website, hired a few freelancers, set up a newsletter, started growing my network on linkedin and other social platforms. These are the first steps to success in every online business. Follow my lead and take action!
Books I’m reading: The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, #AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuck
Here’s a quick one-line recap of each day for you:
Monday: Spent the work-day Networking on Linked-in. Started using Evernote (Great tool for entrepreneurs!)
Tuesday: Got email services set up for Newsletter launch coming soon!
Wednesday: Wrote blog posting about how/ why to build an email list.
Thursday: Brainstormed new ideas for things to come! Ordered missing podcast equipment.
Friday: Wrote a review of the Four Hour Work Week, discussed website needs with graphic designer.
Saturday: Work out day, Worked on mobile optimization. Scheduled first Podcast Interview!
Sunday: Finished painting the office. Came up with a pivot plan.
And that’s it. Every day I also made edits to this site in small, significant ways. See you next month with some awesome updates and hopefully more tips to help you get started. If you have any ideas or suggestions for me, please leave a comment below!
If you have read the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, you’re probably interested in trying this outsourcing thing out for yourself. If you haven’t read the book, you should do yourself a favor and pick it up here. Trust me, it’s the best $15 you have ever spent. I listened to the audiobook twice, and still found the hard copy worth buying!
I too caught the passive income bug after reading this book and wanted to try it out for myself. Here are some tips and tricks for successfully pulling off your outsourcing experience.
Upwork.com (Previously ELance)
Tim Ferriss really put these guys on the map! They have a lot of useful features and seem to live up to their reputation. I have had a good experience with them so far after a few job postings but there are a few things you need to take into account before hiring a virtual assistant to take some of the work off of your hands.
The first is to make sure they speak English well enough to complete the task, especially if it is writing based like blogging. Many of the best VA’s are in countries like India and the Philippines so English might not be the first language there, but don’t let this scare you away! Pat Flynn from the SPI podcast even talks about his success with outsourcing to the Philippines, due to their countries proven ability and work ethic.
Upwork also allows you to be very specific with other qualifications, and require a cover letter when freelancers go to apply. If you choose to pay by the hour instead of by project, make sure you set a cap for each task! Also, choosing someone who is a part of a team will allow for redundancy if something comes up, ensuring that your work gets done on time.
I have had outstanding success with Fiverr. For project based tasks, you just can’t beat them! I have used Fiverr for generating business ideas and names, as well as graphic design and other online business related projects. Most projects start at $5, which is obviously where the name comes from, but more custom projects are available at a higher price range as well. You can check freelancer’s reviews and even post a project for others to bid on!
I recently needed some formatting done for an e-book and posted the job on Fiverr. In less than a day, I had multiple people bidding against each other to complete my project for me! You can even message them directly before you buy in to ensure that they are the right candidate for the job. Check them out at Fiverr.com!
Words of Wisdom
You are going to want to set guidelines for your assistants, and shop around until you find someone you can trust. I’ll leave you with these three suggestions:
- Make sure that the task you are outsourcing is actually worth it. I have read many bad reviews from others who have given this a shot and were outraged after their VA spent days working on a task they could have completed in under an hour. If you spend longer trying to explain the task to your VA then it would take you to complete the task yourself, then just do it!
- Your success with this really comes down to your ability to manage and delegate. Can you successfully describe a task to someone who might not be as well versed in a subject as you are, in a way that conveys your needs effectively.
- Give your VA the power to make decisions! This step is often overlooked by managers in every job, but giving your employees the freedom to make quick decisions without your approval will free you from needing to constantly hand-hold. Tim Ferriss demonstrates this when he asks his outsourced staff of Brainquicken, LLC not to bother him with any task that can be solved for under $100. This one, simple step solved most of his headaches and freed up time for him to pursue other projects!
Many of you might be under the assumption that email is an outdated form of marketing, and therefor most of you are ignoring the pot of gold at the other end of the rainbow. What do you do with it? You just send your followers relevant content! Think about it… Aren’t there any emails out there that you look forward to getting, because they provide you with something of value? I know I can think of a few.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard successful online business owners who, when asked what they regret most, responded with not building their email list sooner! The best time to start is now, and I am going to lay out the steps for you in a way that makes it easy to take-action!
Step 1: Brainstorm a subject you are passionate about, and try writing at least three blog posts about the subject to test your idea.
Step 2: Go through your contacts, and think of one person who would be the best fit for that subject and might be interested in learning more about it.
Step 3: Come up with a list of at least ten (more if possible) people who either might be interested in your idea, or would be willing to help you spread the word. This is easy if you use social media, as you can instantly find out what your friends are interested in. Also, family fit this category so if mom and dad are willing to help you spread the word, include them!
Step 4: Message this list of people with something like, “Hey ______, I am starting a website/ blog about “Your subject here” and I was wondering if you would be interested in learning more about it?” If they respond with a “no”, send a follow up email thanking them for their time and add “If you know anyone who might be interested, please let me know!”. If you do this right you are guaranteed to succeed, And just like that your network has gone from zero to hero.
Step 5: Pick one of the services above and sign up for an account. Then add your new emails to the list, and draft an email to send out congratulating all your new followers.
BONUS: Running a contest with a giveaway to get emails is a great way to 10x your results!
AWeber is the choice of many successful online adventurers, including Tim Ferris of The Four Hour Work Week. They offer tools for building email campaigns to tracking and starting at $19 per month. They offer a 30-day free trial and have a variety of mobile apps. They make it easy to get started with templated campaigns and helpful webinars.
ConvertKit is a company that I learned about through Pat Flynn of the SPI Podcast, during his email list building challenge. They offer a free 30-day trial which can be useful if you are the “see it before you believe it” type like me, but their prices start at $29 per month. That being said, they have a pretty good blog and a “Request a Demo” option that lets you see it in action before committing to anything!
MailChimp is a great email list building service for beginners because they give you access to their basic service for free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. They are banking on the fact that when you grow your audience enough you will want to upgrade your plan, and for just $10 per month, you can send unlimited emails to your subscribers. This is my recommendation for anyone who might not have a blog or website yet, or does but has not yet built up their following.
And that’s it. Get out there and build yourself an audience!