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?

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