Everyone's a critique and everyone has their opinions. But I think there should be a way to asses whether or not something is actually good.
Art: The purest expression of oneself
Design: A creation made with purpose
When you study good design, you realize more and more that good design has nothing to do with good art, it has less to do with yourself, expression, emotions or how you feel, and more to do with creating something with an end user in mind.
I started using Quickbooks Self Employed as a way to do my taxes. Basically its like having a mint account, and based on the receipts I have, I create a schedule C.
I've been using Trello for a long time to manage the tasks and operation of my video business. But since I have multiple projects going on, I wasn't really organizing my personal tasks, or my daily everyday tasks.
I've read before that pen and paper is the best way, and I've tried building a habit out of making a daily task list everyday. It works, but the problem was I wasn't doing it, and I had a a lot of recurring tasks that I didn't necessarily want to write out everyday. I looked into the phone apps stuff, but around the same time I learned Asana from my friend Arielle Hale, who is an operations expert.
This program is so good for looking at an overview of all your tasks for multiple projects. I can create recurring tasks and set them up for myself and organize by client. Check out the video.
I find normal conversations pretty boring, its just that its the same getting-to-know-you fluff. I want to get straight to saying and talking about what’s interesting, however, this leads to breaking rapport and sometimes people will think you’re weird.
So an easy way to keep the conversation congruent and I don’t know why I never realized this, is to tell the person you’re conversing with of any anticipated breaks in rapport. Basically, tell them ahead of time if you’re going to act a little different from the norm.
Say you’re at a networking event. The question you answer most is “What do you do?”. Say your ideal answer is something elaborate like:
I help tech excutives that are focused on company growth fine tune their project management, and work with their UX/UI team to make their product more scalable.
After about 2 years of a lot of cold emailing, I’ve learned a few things about increasing open and response rates. I’ll share some tips later in this post, but first let me give you a round up of some good Cold Email articles (surprisingly hard to find considering the amount of people cold emailing, and interested in cold emailing).
1. Kurt Elster On Winning Clients through Direct Outreach (Episode 18 of the Creative Freelancer Podcast)
2. Bryan Kreutzberger's template
3. Scott Britton's blogpost
A few tips:
Yelp.com for lists of local businesses
Odesk.com to hire email list builders
Yesware.com for the mail merge. Note: Yesware's mailmerge costs $25 bucks a month, but its a great software, and you can really do a lot with the free features too, like email tracking, templates, etc.
Most people I talk to admittedly have bad memories, which leads me to think: people probably have the same conversations multiple times…that’s crazy... but I digress. Human memory is pretty inaccurate and given that reality is just an interpretation of our memories, then what we remember dictates what is real to us. We can easily delude our own thoughts into thinking things happened a certain way when they really did not.
To prevent myself from tricking myself, I began writing things down, and I began to notice an improvement in my memory. My friend Gabriel Stein once said, “I think I have good memory so I don’t write things down, but really I have good memory because I write things down”. Which is true for myself. So many things I write down I tend to remember, but I won’t remember the things I don’t write down.
But I think the merit in writing things down is more than just keeping reminders for ourselves. It ingrains the things we learn. You should carry a notebook to conferences and take notes on the speeches. Take notes when having a mastermind. Take notes on every interesting thought or idea you have (I do it via Google Keeptransfer all the important ones to Evernote, the rest I archive). It doesn’t matter if its messy or scrambled, what matters is that its recorded. One thing I’ve overlooked but is really important is to take notes on lessons you already know — insights that you’ve already learned. It might seem redundant but writing it out again grounds the insight deeper with each repetition. There’s a reason why your RAS picked up that certain phrase even though its nothing groundbreaking.
A couple months back I was sitting in a dorm chatting with Gabriel Stein, a friend I had met the day before who’s conversation I enjoyed more and more. We both went to attend Maverick Next, a summit for young entrepreneurs.
“What’d you think of today’s speakers?” He asked.
“Hmmm, they were okay, I feel like since they’re at such a higher level than me, I can’t really connect with what they’re saying, I also feel like they generalize, I mean, it’s interesting, but I can’t really apply their lessons to my own business”.
“True” he replied, “Context is so key. With the right context you’ll be able to draw meaning from what they're saying. Like Jason, when he kept emphasizing ‘hire the right people, especially lawyers, and look thoroughly through your contracts’ that may not mean much to you, but to him that was a million dollar lesson”.
We discussed the event some more, and he later asked me what problems I’m facing in business.
When you act in any kind of non-conforming way, you tend to get a lot of skepticism and doubt from your friends. When I tell my friends about the path I want to choose, or that I believe in doing things a certain way (entrepreneurship, one-set workouts, bulletproof diet, bitcoin, conferences, going nomadic, credit card game) and they tell me that its risky, illogical, arrogant. Given my context and research, i know I'm right, and all I want to do is to prove them wrong.
One day I’ll show them, I think to myself, One day they’ll get that I was right all along. Unfortunately, in most cases, proving my friends wrong is almost always disappointing. I put in all this effort and energy…emotion and when I finally build up a case to bring to my friend, what do I get? Sometimes denial, “Oh what? I never said that”. As I press on they deny a little less, “I said that yeah, but what I meant was actually…"
Sometimes I get deflection; my friend will just change the subject of the conversation, or they’ll get really tired all of a sudden are no longer able to pay attention.
Surprisingly, I do get the answer I'm looking for quite often. But even when I finally get to hear, “Yeah Lawrence, you were right man, I shouldn’t have doubted you”, its not satisfying. I'm not going to try to make it more satisfying either by gloating in their face, so I just accept their reply and continue the conversation. And in that moment I feel that there should be something more, because a simple admittance does not make up for the years of sweat and tears I poured in to trying to prove them wrong.
And you should keep that in mind while you grind too. There’s plenty of good reasons to work hard and pound through, but if proving your friends wrong is the main reason, you’ll be left feeling empty at the end.
The amount of business specific projects we can work on is already a lot, let alone widening the scope to the amount of things we want to work on in our lives. With so many things, how can we choose the ones most impactful?
Well let’s start with what not to do. What we shouldn’t do is sit back and not care because with this approach we’ll just end up with life controlling us instead of the other way around.
A widely known universal truth is “balance is the key to life”, and I think that piece of wisdom is a good place to start. In a general sense there are four areas in our lives that we are constantly balancing: health, relational, spiritual, and financial. You could get deeper into categorizing these areas, for example, relational can be categorized into family, friends, acquaintances, romance etc. But I’m not going to get into that.
Basically, a holistic life includes a balance of the four areas, and an average person can do well setting an equilibrium of 25% health, 25% relational, 25% spiritual, and 25% financial. Of course in the real world no one has it balanced like this, and definitely not all the time. I think, as we’re choosing what projects to work on, we should be keenly aware of what areas of life we want to work on first and be deliberate about skewing the percentage of that area higher than other areas.
So, for a while I was in finance mode, and really just heads-down carrying out tasks day after day to try to get business moving forward. Then I read Gateless by Sebastian Marshall where he says there’s no difference between biology and cognition. At the same time I was really interested in biohacking and following Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof stuff. So I deliberately skewed back on working on finances and skewed up on health knowing that if I increased my health I would increase my productivity in the long term leading to more finances.