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.
As creatives, there’s a feeling of disconnect between our minds (thoughts, ideas) and their acceptance. How can people not see how good our ideas are? And this is the ultimate challenge, because success is so dependent on our ideas and the usage of those ideas.
A study from Cornel found this:
These four points are super interesting in of themselves, but the third one caught my attention.
"Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it."
Sebastian Marshall posed the question: how do we choose better projects?
I couldn’t think of anything practical aside from mundane answers like, “well it depends on the particular person and what they value in a project”.
So I thought more abstract, and came up with not an answer, but an economic perspective.
A person posing this question probably has a lot of opportunities in front of them and difficulty deciding amongst the complexities of the factors that go into choosing a worthwhile project. However, there are a lot of opportunities in our lives that when we see it, we see that it’s a no brainer decision to choose that project. These no-brainer projects exist and are abundant, because there are an unlimited ways to create value in the world. So theoretically, as a person’s project abundance/opportunity approaches infinity, there is also an infinite amount of no-brainer, huge win projects.
Take for example the difference between me, a celebrity like lil-wayne, and then… for example... Elon Musk. The difference in project opportunity between me and Lil-wayne is huge. So if I increased my project opportunity to equal Lil Wayne's, I would maybe have 20 more huge win, no brainer projects than I do right now. At the same time, Lil Wayne’s project abundance is very little compared to Elon Musk. If Lil Wayne increased his project opportunity to Elon Musk’s level, he would more than 10x the amount of huge win, no-brainer projects that are available to him on the table.
I used to never use a calendar or planner. I think it was because I felt trapped by committing myself to a certain date, and what if something really fun came up on that date. So I always made plans saying maybe and did things spontaneously. Soon, it felt like part of my personality, to never plan, and just take action on the whim.
But now, because of business, I have to use a calendar. I can’t miss a meeting. Missing a meeting is a horrible reflection of your reliability: the most important characteristic of a first impression.
Seems easy right? Google Calendar.
No. I have 4 email addresses each with their own calendar..and how do i manage a work calendar and a personal calendar.
It took me a day to build up the will power and learn to sync all of this. Actually, its pretty easy for personal accounts, you go to your calendar settings and set the permissions.
We all know we need to begin systemizing. But when we think about creating a system we get paralyzed because we're trying to create the most efficient system, namely we're afraid of doing double work.
I get trapped trying to figure out the most efficient process, or the best tool for the job when what I really need is a simple system.
The problem with a simple system is that its not streamlined and we end up entering data into multiple simple systems. But that's okay! Don't be afraid of doing double work.
We're also afraid that if we set up a system, it might suck, we might end up not using it and wasting a couple hours setting up something that we end up not using. This is also okay.
Setting up systems and trying them is how we develop sleek streamlined systems and figure out the best tools. I use both Google Keep and Evernote for notetaking, and this works well for me. Google Keep is a much faster app, and Evernote is much better for compiling. If I didn't try both I would have never known that this could work for me, I would just think "Hmmm I should just do more research to figure out what is the best notetaking software".
Nowadays, Podcasting is all the rage. So to be helpful, Jake Hower of Fuzed created an in-depth 5 part video series that goes into everything you need to know to get your podcasting set up.
Video 1: Jake outlines an introduction to Podcasting and what it's all about
Video 2: Jake tells us why we should podcast, why its growing, and what results you can get out of it.
A lot of marketers give me the advice, “you need to get your product or service in front of people – you need to get in front of people”.
I’ve been told that a person generally won’t purchase, consume or really care about something until you’ve been exposed to it seven times. Now, I don’t really want to send a cold email to someone seven times bugging them to buy my product. Like, doesn’t that annoy them?
As I was thinking this, 2Chainz came on the radio and I remembered I used to hate 2Chainz when he first came out. I thought he was stupid, his name was stupid, and why does he have two long dreads when he looks like he’s about to start balding. But he’s just been played on the radio, and overtime I began to like his rap features and that song, “Fedz Watchin”, it slaps.
The same way I was exposed to 2Chainz music, I need to expose my product/service to others. Am I going to bug them ‘till they buy? No. But I’ll offer value any way I can and I’ll keep trying to start a dialogue with them. They might not respond or respond dully but I’ll continue it even if it’s a one-way dialogue.
At the tactical level, you just find the content that you need and you implement the steps. If it’s a tactic you’re committed to, then you spend the money to get the content, but really there’s a lot of free content out there that you can use.
If you’re a beginner you’re mainly concerned with tactics, and you should, because when you’re a beginner you have no idea what to do. Tactics help you get started. You try different tactics and see what works and what doesn’t, and you start gaining skills and learning how to deploy those tactics quicker.
But once you move up from complete novice, you have to move toward strategic level thinking in order to be more effective. On a higher level, you become more experienced in knowing what tactics are more likely to work, you’ll have a peer group to affirm that strategy, and you’ll understand the market better.
This is a huge shift in thinking because no longer do you think, I’ll scour youtube and some blogs to find interesting marketing ideas to try this week. Leadpages has grown exponentially each quarter though one strategy: Paid advertising to their podcast – getting podcast guests and partnering with those guests as affiliates to webinars. That’s it. That’s a total of 2 main tactics (3 if you count ads, but ads aren’t their focus) which are podcasts and webinars.
That’s the same strategy we’ll be using at Fuzed. Will I care about marketing infographics or pinterest? No.
During my last networking event that I was convinced that networking is lame and a complete waste of time. At the time, I was full of anticipated excitement from meeting people, but I would become deflated two weeks later when none of the people I met turned into sales.
Last weekend I went to Ontrapalooza and it was a ton of fun. I met so many entrepreneurs, and it was great to exchange ideas from them and it really – because they treat you as a peer – when you talk to them it opens you up to the idea that you can be one of them.
I asked one of my friends that I made during Ontrapalooza the previous year (2013), “Hey Thanh, you think they’re worth it? Going to conferences…”
“Yeah in the long term” he replied, “and if you can afford it”
I met Thanh a year ago and since then I would consider him a friend. Same with a few other people I’ve seen from events and conferences over time. And I think that’s where the value comes from, you don’t expect to get sales from a conference, but overtime you end up seeing the same people at conferences and making a lot of friends with top entrepreneurs.
The consulting-niching paradigm is a concept I've been struggling with for a while. I came across some content by Ramit Sethi and he completely answers this for me.
Ramit has this concept called the value chain, and as you move up the value chain you deliver higher value to higher paying clients. Most of us want to move up the value chain simply because we should, and usually it is something we should do.
And to fully answer this question we have to understand the value chain, we have to understand our business, the industry, and where our goals are. Once we know that we can decide where we want to be.
For Ramit, he became one of the best at personal finance first. Then at that point he studied the value chain, and the skill ladder, he studied the top guys in the personal finance world and saw that there was a ceiling to developing that skill-set. So he had to very carefully decide where he wanted to move next. He could have gone onstage with Donald Trump, he could have recorded an infomercial that would have hundreds of thousands of dollars in recurring revenue, but he saw the bigger picture and decided that this wasn't his route.