The Ins and Outs of Business and Making Money – Principles and Tactics (Part 1)

The Ins and Outs of Business and Making Money – Principles and Tactics (Part 1)

  • Blogging & Writing

    • Principles

      • If you’re reading about a particular idea that’s got everyone’s attention, find a way to connect your own story to it. 
      • Block Duplicate Content – The golden rule when it comes to on-page SEO is to make sure that you limit repeating the same textual content on multiple URLs.  The way to do this on a blog is to make sure your blog home page isn’t posting the entire textual content of each post.  So make sure your settings are only showing snippets from the posts on the blog home page. Also, make sure you block your comments pages in your robots.txt file because they are usually duplicates of your blog posts.
      • Check Your Text Navigation – Search engines find their way to content by following hyperlinks. Make sure you can navigate to your blog from your main website home page via text links. If you can do that, then so can the search engines.
      • Best content pages are typically topics that surprise or shock people in some way, or clear up a confusing topic.
      • The best SEO is good, non-newsy content that remains relevant for years.
      • The general lesson is that you need to find the fulcrum of attention for your specific writing, and then use it to leverage yourself attention that you can turn into new readers. If you’re unsure how to do this, ask yourself, “What is interesting or engaging about my writing to other people? What about my writing are people responding to? How can I use that to get more attention?”
      • Write on topics that are timely and controversial. “Controversial” doesn’t necessarily mean scandalous; it means a position that runs counter to the mainstream or expectations.
  • Communication & Public Speaking

    • Principles

      • You can use tradeshows to network with people who would otherwise never return your email or phone call.
      • Meeting new people / first impressions: Notice something about other person and ask a question or make a statement that ties it in to make yourself stand out as different. 
    • Software and Services

      • Blue Jeans video conferencing (claims to be superior to Zoom)
  • Entrepreneurship & Growth

    • Principles 

      • The best business is to create the Disneyland experience where they want to come back and bring all their friends. 
      • Think and act ruthlessly long term. 
      • 4 Pillars of a good company 
        • Constantly implementing better business design
        • Identifying and hiring talent
        • Creating amazing culture at your company
        • Creating and executing the brand vision
      • Personal touches pay off
        • Tips go up 3% when a waiter serves a customer a wrapped chocolate.
        • Tips go up 2% when a waiter writes “Thank You” on a check.
        • Tips go up 4% when a waiter includes a weather forecast (i.e. “Tomorrow is looking to be a sunny day!”) on the back of a check.
        • Tips go up 8% when a waiter introduces himself to the table by his first name.
        • Tips go up 5% when a waiter touches a diner’s hand (this only works with female servers, apparently).
      • Percentage of monthly revenue from new customers vs. retained and referrals will tell you how well built the company is for long-term success (good example is Athletic Greens).   
      • Types of value for customers 
        • Simplicity (Basecamp)
        • Risk reduction
        • Elegance/style (Apple)
        • Environmentally friendly
        • Civic duty
      • Getting in touch with influencers
        • 1. Search their name on LinkedIn. Send them a connect request as a friend with a CUSTOM message. “Hey <first-name>, Huge fan of your business and wanted to talk about some cool products for your customers.”
    • 2. Email them.
    • I wait a day here as to NOT annoy them. If they don’t respond, then proceed to 3 and 4.
    • 3. Facebook message them with: “Hey, just wanted to make sure my message got through”.
        • 4. Tweet them. “Hey @twitter-handle. Love to see if we make some magic together. What’s the best email for you?”
        • Humility goes a long way. Rather than saying, “I did this, this, this and this. Let’s meet and swap ideas,” be very humble about it and say, “I’ve done as much research and background work as I think I can. Here are just three questions I’d love to ask you.” Start with just two sentences on who you are, why you’re credible and not a stalker. Instead of, “Let’s spend ten minutes on the phone,” just ask your questions right there in the email, adding, “If it’s easier for you, please feel free to call me. Use *67 if you don’t want me to have your number.” Then they’ll either get back to you by email or they might just call you.
      • Single most important thing for business success if you want to be a leader, CEO, anything: hire. 
      • Latch on to a popular service, then simplify it for others (e.g. Evernote Essentials book).
      • Look at what the rich are doing to know where businesses will go next. Cars are a good example, which used to be for only rich people. Now it’s experiences
      • Another business progression is increasing nuances and diversification within one product class. E.g. Not just watches, all types now available. 
      • HOW MUCH OF YOUR LIFE IS MAKING VERSUS MANAGING? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SPLIT?
      • ARE YOU DOING WHAT YOU’RE UNIQUELY CAPABLE OF, WHAT YOU FEEL PLACED HERE ON EARTH TO DO? CAN YOU BE REPLACED?
      • Over the years, niche networking groups have developed in order to increase the effectiveness of local relationship building. Some common networking groups include:
        • LeTip – LeTip groups meet once a week and only one business per category is allowed (to avoid competition within the group). Members are required to either provide a business referral or do business with a member each week. This helps members understand what each other’s businesses are – thus catalyzing the networking effectiveness of the group.
        • BNI – Business Network International is similar to LeTip, but has groups outside of North America. The group mechanics are very similar in operation to LeTip. 
        • Your local chamber of commerce – The beauty of your local chamber of commerce is that they connect you with your city’s movers and shakers. These relationships can be hugely effective. 
      • Jason Fried – Basecamp CEO
        • Underdo the competition to help the people who are struggling just to get the basics down. Don’t one up the competition. simplify. 
      • You don’t have to recoup losses the same way you lose them. 
    • Software and Services

  • Hiring & Recruiting

    • Persistence plus curiosity are biggest predictors of employee success in knowledge economy. 
    • 3 Criteria for ideal hire 
      • Done the job/role before
      • Loves your brand 
      • Has rolodex of people to support the job and company. 
  • Legal & Tax

    • Deductible expenses for bloggers
      • The good news about running a business as a blogger is that you are allowed to deduct expenses that are considered reasonable and necessary to your profession. If you pay for advertising, supplies, office furniture, electronics, insurance or other goods and services that directly relate to your business, you can take those expenses off the income you earn as a blogger. If your office is in your home, you may be able to deduct some of your household expenses as well, including rent and utilities
  • Marketing

    • Principles 

      • Make your offer as compelling as possible to maximize conversions. E.g. 7-day free gym pass.
      • Send messages to companies’ FB page to solicit new business in lieu of paid ads. Start local and give personalized reference. 
      • 4 characteristics of a highly shared video 
        • Inspiring 
        • Entertaining (comedy or otherwise)
        • Awareness (what people are thinking, show them themselves. People want to feel seen and understood). 
        • NOT information 
      • We remember humor and it unusual ads better than others. Humor arousing and positive moments are more memorable .
      • Have highly consumable lead magnets of high value ( top 5 question, checklist, etc) for Facebook ads. Ebooks take too long to consume. The dream is simple: get your product in the hands of celebrities or “influencers,” and they create a ripple effect that skyrockets you to fame and fortune.
      • Baking shareable, spreadable messages into your product is the ultimate growth hack. As MIT’s Henry Jenkins puts it: on the web, “if it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.” 
      • It’s better to create a category than to fight in one. Being first and then striving for perfection — instead of fighting to be best in a crowded space — is the fastest path to mindshare.
        • Writer Chris Guillebeau, from The Art of Non-Conformity blog, provides a perfect example of the Corollary at work in a lifestyle business. Instead of starting yet another site offering generic lifehacking hints, Chris found an uncontested corner of his field to conquer. Specifically, he set out on a mission to visit every country in the world. The scope of this quest transformed him into a star among travel/lifehacking bloggers, and his site quickly become a lucrative success.
      • The Superstar Corollary
        • Being the best in a field makes you disproportionately impressive to the outside world. This effect holds even if the field is not crowded, competitive, or well-known.
      • In his book Buzz Marketing, author Mark Hughes lists the six buttons of buzz as:
        • The Taboo
        • Unusual
        • Outrageous
        • Hilarious
        • Remarkable
        • Secrets
      • Swannies blue light blocking glasses business is a good example of using cognitive biases to increase conversions (e.g. Add phone number and email to make them feel safe)
      • Use “you” as much as possible in copy
      • 4 step email launch sequence 
        • Customer case study / story from product results 
        • Reminder and paste first email below 
        • Sale is closing on <date> and post first email below 
        • Last call for the “I want more <customer name>-sale”
    • Software and Services

      • Use eCamm recording Skype convos and re-purpose for podcasts. Can take file and edit easily too. 
      • Market research 
        • Use Reddit to get feedback on what the market wants. E.g.  What would you change with yoga mats or what would be your ideal x. 
      • Use YouTube instead of other video hosting platforms to get organic search to your sales page with YouTube as video for video sales letter.  
      • Answerthepublic.com: keywords to use for YouTube and Google searches
      • LinkedIn ProFinder: submit proposals to people requesting services to get new clients
      • helpareporter.com – get public relations & media coverage 
      • exactdata.com – B2C and B2B Lead List
      • VPS to outsource FB account without getting flagged 
      • https://www.moneyrobot.com – automated SEO
      • If you want to get started without professional help, there are plenty of services that offer easy and inexpensive distribution. PRweb.com is a popular option, and they have many options for releasing online press releases.
      • Amazon Businesses
  • Negotiation

    • Principles 

      • Replacing the word “um” or “uh” with silence is the fastest way to sound more intelligent, calculated, and crisp while negotiating (or speaking, in general). You can fix this behavior over time by filming yourself on Skype calls and reviewing the footage.
      • He or she who cares least wins. Have walk-away power and figure out your BATNA.
      • Options are power. If you can avoid it, never negotiate with one party. Get competing offers on the table.
  • Productivity 

    • Principles

      • Focus on what gives you energy and outsource the rest. 
      • Once you frame the question in terms of “how would I…?”, it is entirely possible to stop tolerating most of life’s annoyances and eliminate them altogether.
      • Avoid checking email if you don’t have time to deal with the problems, to avoid ruining relax/decompression time. 
      • Expect small problems. Life is full of compromises, and it’s necessary to let small bad things happen if you want to get huge good things done. There is no escape. Prevent all problems and get nothing done, or accept an allowable level of small problems and focus on the big things.
      • What you do is more important than how you do everything else, and doing something well does not make it important.
    • Outsourcing

      • The first rule of any [technology used in a] business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
      • Give your accountant power of attorney to sign specific checks (for tax documents, etc.) on your behalf.
      • Outsource travel using very specific emails to virtual assistants with documented preferences, availability, etc. 
    • Software and Services

      • Remote Control Mail: scans and emails your mail
      • Visa Signature card and certain credit cards have concierge service to help book reserve and find things (e.g. hotels) for you for free. 
      • Shypp to outsource shipping 
      • Amazon Mechanical Turk (mturk.com): popular and powerful crowdsourcing platform for simple tasks that computers cannot perform (yet), such as podcasts transcribing or text editing. There are also companies, like CrowdFlower, that leverage Mechanical Turk (and similar tools) for even more elegant solutions.
  • Sales & Persuasion 

    • Principles

      • If they aren’t committed and willing to express their commitment, don’t make an offer. 
      • Ask to be treated like a VIP for restaurants that you frequent. Tell the manager that you would entertain there often if you knew you’d be looked after. 
      • The bigger the ticket price, the better, as there is a direct correlation between the ticket price of the sale, and the integrity, empathy, listening skills, and caring you have to have as a salesperson in order to sell it.
      • Sales calls go better when you use pen and paper or walk around to feel and connect better than taking notes on computer
      • Describe things in as visual a way as possible so people can better comprehend and remember and be persuaded. Trump is the master of this, even at the risk of being wrong (e.g. “build a wall”) 
    • Closing

      • “Would you like me to tell you what I would do if I were in your shoes?”
      • Followed up with: ”Would you like me to help you do that?”
      • Mapping Goal to Solution
        • What’s your ideal solution to get to X (12 month goal)?
        • How committed are you to that?
        • “Really, why so high”
        • Repeat back what they say. 
        • Is there anything else you feel is important that you want to share? 
        • Would it be okay if I mapped out how to get to X?
A Message by George Carlin: The Paradox of Our Time

A Message by George Carlin: The Paradox of Our Time

I read this “message” roughly once a year to remind myself of what matters most and to remain grounded as possible. It’s incisive and deeply profound. Enjoy, share, and reflect. Comedians are the smartest and most perceptive people on the planet, in my opinion, like creative polymath Jim Carrey. They see the truth, as displayed in the message below, and put a coat of humor on it to ease the delivery and bypass our mental biases.


A Message by George Carlin

The Paradox of Our Time

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space.
We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Coffee Substitutes for Energy, Focus and Healing Adrenal Fatigue (My Mostly Failed Journey Off Of Coffee)

Coffee Substitutes for Energy, Focus and Healing Adrenal Fatigue (My Mostly Failed Journey Off Of Coffee)

The first question to ask is why would you want to get off of coffee to begin with? Outside of the nirvana and brag-worthy state of not being addicted to anything, the real reason I started looking for alternatives was to fix my adrenal fatigue and inflammation, which you can see my lab results from the Human Garage here. Caffeine, especially from coffee as opposed to green tea, is counterproductive for your tired adrenals. Whether or not you know that to be your situation, I still recommend going a month every so often free of coffee (or at least swap for decaf coffee) for related reasons. It wasn’t easy giving up my Bulletproof coffee every morning, so I had to find something to tide me over. I mostly failed in that endeavor but figured I’d share my findings anyway.

Option 1: Mocha Maca Powder

One of the recommended alternatives I picked up from the Human Garage was glorified maca powder so I started there. It looks like coffee when you blend it with hot water, but that’s about as far as the resemblance goes unfortunately. It was a bit more palatable adding the standard Bulletproof/fatty coffee ingredients (grass-fed butter, coconut oil, cocoa, collagen, etc.) but still nothing to write home about. I’ll do this a couple times a week, but it’s not a daily go-to after sufficient experimentation.

Option 2: Kombucha

Kombucha is the best tasting of all three options, but the drawback is due to the small sugar content I wouldn’t consider it to be the best option while trying to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting. If you just want something to sip on in the morning, and the mocha maca powder doesn’t float your boat, give the kombucha a try. I teach you how to ferment your own kombucha here. Heal your gut with the probiotics, and heal your adrenals with the reduced caffeine and coffee intake.

Option 3: Matcha Green Tea

I really, really wanted to like matcha green tea. It is literally the “10x” of green teas containing ten times the amount of antioxidants in regular green tea, or something to that effect. It’s a research-backed, generation-over-generation-proven superfood. I first tried steeping it in hot water and drinking it as a standalone hot tea, but it literally tastes like moss. What does moss taste like you might ask, and that answer is I don’t know but I do know matcha tastes terribly (unless it’s served as a frozen yogurt or ice cream that one would find at Kippy’s or Pressed Juicery, but then again sugar with anything is the ultimate antidote).

Next I tried drinking it cold, which took it from an F-flavor to a D-minus. Lastly I tried simply adding it in with the rest of my first-thing-in-the-morning water morning routine (with lemon juice, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and Athletic Greens). This is where I’ve landed, but with the added matcha powder in it, I down it as fast as possible with all the other aforementioned ingredients to mask the matcha taste. One unexpected benefit of the matcha powder is that it tangibly reduced my appetite, rendering it the strongest solution I’ve found to endure a 16-hour fast without food cravings. Beyond that, my goal in life is to see how much money I can waste in one cup of water by adding all those added ingredients each morning.

If you have any other non-obvious healthful alternatives to coffee, feel free to comment below. I’ve tried yerba mate as well, but the cold hard fact is nothing compares to a good Bulletproof/fatty coffee (which is why I still drink it once a week for the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine for a personal record-shattering workout day).

P.S. Decaf coffee often has its own issues, so I’m not considering that right now, but it does seem to be the logical alternative.

 

How I Compared to Health Guru Ben Greenfield (And Why Everyone Needs to Visit the Human Garage)

How I Compared to Health Guru Ben Greenfield (And Why Everyone Needs to Visit the Human Garage)

I saw that Ben Greenfield (prominent health and fitness influencer and self-proclaimed biohacker) recently chanced upon a place I have been holding in my back pocket for several months, waiting for an opportune time to give it my full endorsement. The Human Garage, in beautiful Venice, California is the place of which I speak. Simply put, it’s the most holistic and bleeding-edge health center to improve your body alignment, biochemical wellbeing, energy, and mind. They have several modalities to accomplish this, along with the absolute best supplements one may find on earth. Basically, their standard for anything they do or sell to improve your health is an 11 out of 10.

I’ve gone through their full protocol of multiple sessions, along with a subclinical wellness test to better tailor their recommendations for me. My results are below, along with Ben Greenfield’s. The provider they use for the wellness analysis, QurEcology, is apparently one of the best, with extremely unforgiving and stringent gradings for the most relevant biomarkers ranging from digestion to inflammation to toxicity. If you’ve ever wondered if you have “adrenal fatigue,” this would be the best indication. Sure, you can just go off of how you feel, but why not get reliable data on your health. In God we trust, all else bring data.

Now, health is not a competition and this post title is admittedly a bit clickbaity, but I have very real lessons learned through comparing my results to someone like Ben Greenfield, such as:

  • Get tested. Get the data. Don’t assume anything.
  • Never give someone too much credit or worse, not give yourself enough credit.
  • Lifestyle takes its toll. Ben travels all over the world and has a packed schedule giving talks, training for long-distance endurance competitions, etc. That undoubtedly impacted his results.
  • Simple is better than complex. Ben has tried every biohacking tool under the sun, but that is majoring in minors. The majors being the basics of health (meditation, breathing, gratitude, love, nature, non-excessive exercise, and the rest of the stuff I beat you over the head with in this blog). I get caught up in the latest and greatest as is human nature to seek novelty, but discipline myself to execute on the 80/20 of health (and per below that has evidently paid off). Anything I do past that is whimsical and hopeful experimentation derived from my obsession with health.

If you have lingering back pain or neck pain, want to realign yourself to undo years of sitting and the 21st century sedentary lifestyle, or simply want to upgrade your mind and body through the most exquisite experience, I highly recommend you make the trip to Venice and visit Human Garage. They have a waiting list and all that jazz, so check in with them first.

Brian’s biochemical lab results from the Human Garage (QurEcology Biochemical Wellness Analysis)

  • Green/good count: 8
  • Yellow/mediocre count: 6
  • Red/poor count: 0

Ben Greenfield’s biochemical lab results from the Human Garage

  • Green/good count: 1
  • Yellow/mediocre count: 7
  • Red/poor count: 6

If you’re reading this Ben, know that I would jump at the chance to learn from you, as I have done so in the past, along with your friend, old roommate and vacuum-vixen Brett.