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In this episode, David Long (on of America’s top 1% income earners!) shares his success tips: the 7 principles that you can duplicate that made him millions!

Tips For Success: David’s 7 Principles – Episode Highlights:

  • How David Long turned his life around – from losing his house and moving back to his parents, to starting a company from the garage and growing it to a $10M annual revenue machine
  • The 7 actionable principles behind David’s success that you can start applying right now to your business and life
  • The secrets behind what makes managers, leaders and entrepreneurs truly great
  • How to achieve all this, and be able to take 22 weeks off a year!

The 7 Success & Leadership Principles Of Today’s Guest

25 years ago, David Long was two weeks away from losing his house to foreclosure. He managed to sell his house at the last minute, and moves back to his parents house with his wife and tail tucked between his legs.

In just a couple of years, he had changed jobs seven times, and the job he was currently interviewing for had so many applicants that the interviewing manager announced that the initial salary will be cut by 25% – not enough to plug David’s leaking ship.

Everything he tried seem to have failed and crumbled between his fingers. He was desperate to find a way out of his parents house, and out of the financial hold that he dug. But fast-forward to 2014… David’s company, ‘My Employees’, is projected to make over $10 million in sales this year.

David Long Build To Lead Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

Clearly, a lot of happened in 25 years.

Today, David is in the top 1% of income makers in the entire United States. He takes an average of 22 weeks of every year, which he spends with his wife, family, and friends at his beach house, traveling the world, and riding his bike from coast to coast.

On today’s episode, David shares the seven key principles that allowed him to become a top manager and leader – two key skills when trying to build a great company.

You may scroll to the top of this post and click the “play” button for the entire story behind his business, or carry on reading to find out his top success tips and seven principles for becoming a top manager and leader.

The R.E.W.A.R.D.S. Principles

David’s seven principles for becoming a top 10% manager or entrepreneur are can be memorized with the acronym R.E.W.A.R.D.S.:

  • Reconnaissance
  • Education
  • Winners Emerge
  • Attitude
  • Recognition
  • Duplication
  • Success.

Let’s review each one in detail:

Recon Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

1. Reconnaissance

Reconnaissance, or recon, as called in the military, is all about figuring out if you have the right people in your team – both managers (if you have them), and employees.

Research shows that there is a ratio of 10:1 between actively engaged and actively disengaged in world-class companies. In the average company, on the other hand, the ratio drops to 2 engaged employees for every 1 disengaged.

Here’s a visual way to look at it that will make a lot of sense:

worldclass Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

Photo courtesy of MyEmployee and David Long

Now, a research by the Gallop Research group concluded that having fellow associates that are committed to doing a great job is among the top 10 things that make employees and team members happy.

Every disengaged employee is weighing your business down and slowing everyone else around him (even if it’s just you and a disengaged VA!). And this is what recon is all about:

  1. Find the disengaged members of your team
  2. Either fix the issue, or let them go
  3. Repeat

Or in David’s own words – “Hire, Train, Prune, Repeat!”

Education and books Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

2. Education

“Without consistently learning and educating yourself and your staff, you will become roadkill to someone more ambitious than you”, says Long in today’s episode.

Sounds harsh? Maybe, but it also makes great sense.

David attributes most of his success to being an avid reader and listener, and for instilling this trait in all of his employees. In fact, he runs a book club at his company, and pays people to participate!

“Say what?!”, you ask? Yeah, it’s pretty unique. You can hear David talk about it in the interview at 3:20. The Important thing for you to know, is that magic happens in Dave’s book club meetings:

  1. Employees open up and share personal experiences
  2. People connect on a much deeper level, and new, more meaningful relationships are formed
  3. Incredible, life-changing, personal growth happens
  4. And of course … people learn, A LOT!

The other part of education in Long’s system, is being a part of a mastermind.

Now, masterminds have been discussed many times in this podcast that I’m not going to go into more details about them. You can find more information about them, including a template for setting one up both on IIP034: Live an Enjoyable Life AND Make Millions, The Story of Jaime Tardy – The Eventual Millionaire, and in these additional resources provided by Dave.

Winners Emerge Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

3. Winners Emerge

This one is pretty simple to explain: When you start providing growth opportunities, for instance – through book clubs – winners start to emerge. You start noticing unpolished diamonds. The ‘W’ in R.E.W.A.R.D.S. is all about noticing these diamond team members, and investing in them, to create your next leaders.

Remember Zig Ziglar’s famous quote?

“You don’t build a business –you build people– and then people build the business.” –Zig Ziglar.

“Winners emerge” is all about noticing these people, and building them.

Attitude Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

4. Attitude

“If you at the world through a clear glass, everything looks clear. But if you sprinkle some dust in that glass, everything will look dirty and cloudy.

“And that is your attitude: If you have a bad attitude, every little thing that happens to you in your life is perceived as [someone is] trying to get me. And you can’t have that in your team. It’s destructive. If someone’s attitude stinks – get rid of him”, says Dave.

“How about family members? friends? relatives?”, I ask.

“If you surround yourself by people with bad attitude it’s going to rub off on you. The top 5 people you hang out with better have a great attitude, or DROP THEM from your list. I don’t care if it’s a relative. Limit your time with that individual if he’s toxic.

“Otherwise, they will wear you down and destroy you as a business person”

I could go on and write more about this, but I think David made this point crystal clear (get the pun?)

Recognition Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

5. Recognition

“65% of people in America say that they have received no recognition from their boss in the last year. Not one time in the whole year! “ Dave tells me.

But why is recognition so important? “What you recognize is what’s going to get repeated. What I brag on, is what I’ll see more of. That costs you nothing. It costs you not a single dime to do that. “

Recognition, David explains (at 27:13), is what keeps people engaged. It’s what makes them do a great job. It’s what makes “the game” worth playing.

And speaking of the game… the rules need to be clear. Your employees need to know what you hold important, and to what metrics will they be held accountable to.

If you want to learn how it’s done at David’s company, MyEmployees, listening to what Long shares between 27:40 – 31:45. I got to admit, I never thought about recognition this way before I heard this!

Shark Teeths Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

6. Duplication

David has developed in his company what he calls “the shark’s teeth leadership development program”:

Sharks have multiple rows of teeth, so when a shark loses a teeth, a new one immediately fills its place. And Long has modeled his company around this idea:

Every once in a while, he will ask each of his managers two simple questions:

  1. If (god forbid) something happens to you and you can’t be at work – who’s your #1 guy that can replace you?
  2. What are you doing right now to continue developing him/her?

This does a couple of things:

  1. Your most promising employees get invested in, increasing their engagement and their loyalty to you, as well as their value.
  2. You encourage the creation of systems (that was discussed extensively on Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited and on Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business) that provide you with scalability and protect you from single points of failure
  3. Most important – when it’s done from your first employee and onwards – it creates a company like Dave’s – where he can take 22 weeks off and not worry about a single thing!

Success Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

7. Success

What is your focus? How do you define ultimate success? What matters to you?
For Dave, it’s not the money. It’s growing people; employees, colleagues, friends and family. It’s caring, reaching out, and affect people in a positive way. It’s leaving a lasting impact.

What is success for you? Comment bellow and share, and then… go get it! icon smile Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

Mentioned Resources


I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, and I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Photo credit: Pile of Books – © chrisdorney – Fotolia.com

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Morning Reads, October 22

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In this episode Ralph Quintero and I break down the process of systemizing your business, and share a standard operating procedure template that you can use to systemize your business.

Systemize Your Business With This Standard Operating Procedure Template – Episode Highlights:

  1. How to break down complex procedures into documented systems that you can hand over and delegate.
  2. An SOP template that you can use to start systemizing your business – today!
  3. Online tools you can use to both document your business, and manage your projects.
  4. Recommended books and resources about systemization and standard operating procedures.
  5. A free Standard Operating Procedure template for you to use to start systemizing your own business!

bridging the gap for entrepreneurs Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business

We Want To Help You!

My cohost on today’s show, Ralph Quintero, has helped some of the world’s biggest brands improve their systems and become more scalable, efficient, and successful.

Today, Ralph and I want to offer our help to the listeners of the Inspiring Innovation podcast:

We would like to help you take the first step toward systemizing your entrepreneurial business. It will be 100% free of charge, and it is our gift to you for listening to the show (as well as a great way to celebrate the show reaching episode 80!)

All you have to do in order for us to help you take your business to the next step is this:

  1. Share this post on your favorite social media
  2. Leave a comment below saying what excites you the most about systemizing your business
  3. Email me at [email protected] and tell me: What is the most complicated, most time-consuming, or most annoying task that you have? What task would love to systemize and get off of your shoulders? (Even if you don’t believe it’s possible!)

We will choose a listener from the emails and help him – live on the show – to kickstart his systemization project (or take it one step further, if the project already started!)

Benefits Of Standard Operating Procedures

By having SOP’s in place, you drastically improve the agility of your business; New employees can get started immediately, with very little training – if any. You can hire less qualified personnel (equals: less expensive, and easier to find), while maintaining a consistent level of quality in your tasks.

definition of a process Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business

Even if you are the only employee in the business, having an SOP in place will free your mind from remembering technical details, and free you to spend more effort and thought on the business rather than in the business.

An extra benefit for the entrepreneurs amongst you, is that SOP’s are easy to be copied between different businesses and ventures, so the return on the work you will put in when writing them once will be far greater.

What Processes Can Be Systemized Into Standard Operating Procedures?

Considering the fact that everything that happens in McDonald’s is a result of the system – from offering you an apple pie while you order, to how the tomatoes and lettuce are organized inside the bun – almost anything can be systemized.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and online businesses, you will commonly be looking at things such as:

  • Social media tasks (sharing stuff on social media, handling inbound social media, handling outbound social media, etc.)
  • Handling incoming calls, emails, and inquiries
  • Finding and researching potential leads, customers, podcast interviewees, JV opportunities, etc.
  • Streamlining webinars – from taking care of the technical part and the set up, and all the way to scripting it and having someone else run the entire show
  • Handling service/support calls & emails
  • Creating and reproducing content
  • Creating graphics and other creative
  • Search engine optimization and planning
  • Technical management; buying domains, setting up WordPress sites, uploading files, updating plug-ins, managing settings, etc.
  • And much, much more

What about more complicated processes?

systemizing a complicated process Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business

As Ralph Quintero explained in today’s episode, some processes require “exploratory procedures”. Unpredictable by nature, they are quite hard to break down to a yes-no algorithm. So what can you do about it?

First, you reduce the “before” and “after” around those exploratory procedures to the minimum by systemizing as much as possible of what needs to happen around those procedures. Remember, an 85% systemized and documented procedure is far better than 0%! 

Another way to look at it, was suggested by James Schramko on a previous episode: Many times when something can’t be systemized, he noted, it is because the input going into the process is unpredictable and inconsistent. In such cases, putting a system in place that will make the input more structured, consistent, and predictable will often allow to get rid of the “exploratory procedure” and create a seamless process.

An example for this is podcast editing. I previously was unable to systematize the post-production of my podcast. Editing the show required making decisions of what to cut and what to leave in, decisions that only I could make. This meant that only I could edit my own show, which was (of course) a terrible waste of time.

James suggested that the problem does not truly rely in the complexity of editing, but rather in the inconsistent structure of my raw recordings. By applying a new planning & outlining procedure into my podcasting process, and defining an episode structure –  episodes became predictable and consistent, and editing them finally became delegation-able!

simplicity Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business

Ask yourself: what complicated process am I struggling with, that would have been a lot easier if what comes into that process was more consistent? Then put a system in place for that input, before trying to systemize the exploratory procedure!

How To Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) That Work?

An operating procedure’s quality is measured by:

  • How detailed it is – is all the information that’s required to complete the task included in each step?
  • Simplicity – is the standard operating procedure written in a clear, understandable, step-by-step manner?
  • Actionable – are the actions required clear? Could a 15 years old read and act upon the steps?
  • Measurable – are the expected results/deliverables of the procedure clear?

Other factors determining the success of the SOP include:

Relevance – is the SOP up to date? Standard operating procedures should be living documents, not carved in stone. This is much easier to achieve in this day and age with the many online tools available at our disposal, some of which are reviewed at the end of this post.

Usability – is the SOP formatted in a way helpful to completing the tasks?
For instance, for a technical procedure that is to be completed inside a specific piece of software; does the SOP includes screenshots that help the assignee follow the steps? If appropriate, is the SOP in video or audio format? Is it formatted in a way that’s easy to follow when actually conducting the task?

My Standard Operating Procedure Template

I try to create an SOP for every task that repeats itself in my business more than once.

The format below encapsulates everything that needs to be known about a task, in order to complete it successfully. It is a combination of what has been working in my business and what has been working in Ralph’s businesses.

You can download it as a printable PDF/editable Word document here: Download The Standard Operating Procedure Template [It's FREE!](Remember to adjust the template to fit the needs of you, and your business.)

Creating a standard operating procedure Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business

Task title

Each task has a short title encapsulating what the task is about. Note: Keep it short. The title doesn’t need to encapsulate the “how” or the “why”.

To clarify this, I’ll give you an example: Let’s say that I have a task of defining the title, description, subtitle, and release date of a podcast episode. In Inspiring Innovation, we call this “defining the episode’s metadata”… So this task will be titled “Episode Metadata”, not “define title and description for episode”!

Similarly, the task of taking the show notes I wrote and creating a WordPress post out of them isn’t titled “copy show notes from Google Drive and paste them in WordPress in a new post and stylize it”, but rather “Create WordPress post”.

Task owner

For every task, even before it is assigned, is is known and defined in advance what type of employee will run the task. This is defined by the task owner, and examples are: project manager, audio editor, transcriber, graphic editor, admin, etc.

This allows any manager (in my case, Julie or me) to assign a task when it is to be completed to an appropriate employee, without reading through the entire workflow and figuring out time and time again, “who’s this for? who can do this?”

It also allows everyone on our virtual team to search for open and unassigned tasks relevant to their role, assign it to themselves and get going automatically, instead of us needing to manage those assignments manually.

I mentioned on some previous episodes that we are using Asana to manage our systems and projects. Since Asana doesn’t have a “task owner” field (only an “assignee” – which is a specific person, not a role) I thought I’d mention how we handle this field:

We achieve this by adding tags to the task. For instance, we would add the tag #transcriber to mark the task as owned by the transcriber role. We begin owner tags with a ‘#’ to differentiate the tag from other tags (such as @pendingApproval, using the @ to mark a ‘task status’ tag).

Task Timing

Every task needs to take place in a specific timing – activated either by a specific trigger, or by a predefined frequency.

For instance, the “Create WordPress post” task I mentioned earlier, is triggered by the completion of the “write show notes” task. But our task for blocking IP addresses of people that are trying to hack into our systems, titled “Block Offending IP’s”, is a task that takes place every morning, or in other words – is activated by frequency, in this case “daily” – without any other external trigger.

Task assignee

Since we use Asana, our SOP’s and tasks live in the same place, together. The SOP is saved in a template project, that we duplicate upon need. For instance, as I shared in this post, all the tasks for creating a podcast episode from start to finish exist in a template project that we duplicate every week for that week’s episode.

So our SOP’s become the actual tasks that are assigned to people on my team to work on. Meaning, it’s not a separate operational manual, but actually becomes a living task. This adds another field to my SOP, that wasn’t relevant when operating procedures were kept separately from task management systems: the assignee.

The assignee is the specific person, not role, who is in charge of completing this instance of this task (even if some steps of this task are to be completed by someone other than the assignee, the assignee holds full responsibility for the successful and timely completion of the task).

Task due date

Just like with “task assignee”, since all our SOP’s become tasks in Asana, every task has a due date. This is, of course, the last possible/acceptable date by which this task is to be completed.

The assignees are empowered to complete their tasks as early as possible, obviously!

Task notes

The task notes are used to quickly describe the context of the task; what is this about? what is this for? For example:

“This task is about creating a shareable image that we can post on our social media accounts to promote our latest post”

The notes section is crucial both for the assignee and for the manager.  For the assignee, it orients them before they begin a task. For the manager, is allows quick and easy management of tasks, as it saves them from reading the entire workflow to find out what the task is.

Without a good “notes” section, you’ll find that the task “titles” become very lengthy!

Expected deliverables/results

This field functions as “the bottom line” of the task’s definition. It describes, as clearly as possible, what are the expected results of completing this task successfully, or what deliverable files/products should the assignee end up with.

For example:

“Expected results: a new post is created inside WordPress, including the show notes I wrote, proofread, stylized, tagged, and with pictures”

Another example could be:

“Expected deliverables: Excel spreadsheet attached to this task including the results of the SEO keyword research”

Having the “expected deliverables/results” field is useful both for providing a view of the endgame to the assignee, allowing them to quickly make sure they haven’t missed anything before submitting the task, as well as for the manager – who gets a quick birds-eye view over the endpoints of the task.

Estimated duration

This field is something new that I am implementing. The sole purpose is to give a ballpark both for the manager and to the assignee of how long this task should take. This allows assignees to know if the task is taking too long – and ask for help, as well as helps the manager spot inefficient employees – without needing to understand the task itself.

The reason I am adding this to my documentation and standard operating procedures is that after one of my employees resigned, I had to take on some of his tasks. I quickly found that tasks that took him an entire day, took me 75% less.

How easy it would’ve been to spot this, if my original SOP template included this field? How much time and money could I have saved? A lot!!!


OK, this is the meat icon smile Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business The workflow is the step-by-step, turn by turn, explanation of how to complete the task. This should be (as mentioned above in this post) as simplified and un-technical as possible.

standard operating procedure template Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business

While everything else determines the “context” of the task – who completes it? When is it to be completed? What should be the results of it? – This is the only part of the task actually explaining HOW the task is to be done.

This is the ingredient that creates the consistency and scalability that systems offer, and allows you to stop doing the technical work – and delegate it to someone else!

For example:

  1. Log in to MeronBareket.com WP account at http://meronbareket.com/mgmt . Use LastPass for login credentials
  2. Click on Posts
  3. Click “Add New”
  4. Insert following post data:
    1. Title: IIP – Draft
    2. Select Category: Podcast
    3. Copy “default code to place in every draft” from the bottom of this task, and paste it in the WordPress post
  5. Click “Save Draft”
  6. Once the page reloads, click on “Get Shortlink”. Post the shortlink in this task.
    10 … etc.

Task’s “IFTTT”

Just like every task should have “task’s timing”, defining what are the triggers that prompt the starting of the task, every task should have the endpoints defined as well. In other words: for every task, you should define what happens once the task is completed, whether successfully or with error? IFTTT, standing for “if this, then that”, is that endpoint definition.

This is where you define stuff like:

  • “if completed successfully, change task status to ‘pending approval'”
  • “if completed successfully, Mark task as complete”
  • “if you believe changes are to be made to the workflow, contact anyone from the managing team and discuss the issue”
  • “if you receive an error message, stop immediately and contact tech support / your supervisor”
  • etc.

Basically, IFTTT defined how a task “behaves” in your organizational world, and how it affects other tasks and people. You could define an IFTTT rule that upon completion of a task, the next task in line is assigned to someone specific (thus automating the “trigger” mechanism, instead of having project managers trigger all tasks manually).

Download the SOP template here

Download my standard operating procedure template by clicking here: Send Me THE SOP Template (PDF & Word)!.

You will be emailed a zip file containing both a printable PDF (for those that want to fill in the tasks by hand, or use the printout to draft procedures in staff meetings) as well as an editable Word file. It’s yours for free.

Tools For Creating Documentation And Standard Operating Procedures

SOP resources Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business

In the last part of today’s episode, Ralph and I discussed the different tools that can be used to easily manage the systemization and management of your business.

Recommended documentation tools:

  • Google Drive – creating your SOP documents in Google Drive allows you to easily share those documents would anyone around the world, as well as provide an online environment to edit and manage revisions, leave comments, and improve the systems.
  • Evernote – you can create a shared notebook, and save each SOP as a note. From this point on it pretty much behaves the same like managing in Google Drive.
  • ScreenFlow – every time I need to show an employee how a process is done, I can simply do it on my computer and have ScreenFlow record every single mouse click. This creates a video documentation of how the process is done. I could just as easily ask the employee to convert this to text SOP as well, and save precious time on writing it. The Windows alternative to ScreenFlow is Camtasia.
  • Jing or Skitch – both apps allow capturing and annotating screenshots, allowing you to capture screens showing where actions should be taken, parameters to be used, corrections that need to be made, etc. Jing also allows recording short videos, instead of splurging on ScreenFlow/Camtasia.
  • Skype + eCamm recorder/Pamela – Skype is an amazing collaboration tool. But if you are already spending the time on getting online with your employee, and showing them how to do something – why not have that call recorded and used at documentation for future employees? Both eCamm call recorder (for Mac) and Pamela recorder (for Windows) allow you to record Skype calls, including video and screen shares, with a flick of a button.
  • Internal WordPress site/internal wiki – both of these options provide another way to make your systems available to all of your employees via the Internet or your internal network at a central location, as well as providing editing and provisioning tools.

Recommended project management tools:

  1. Asana – Asana is currently my favorite tool. Used by several Fortune 100 companies and entrepreneurs alike, Asana provides a way to build and manage both your SOP’s and projects and tasks all seamlessly in one place. It’s incredibly robust but very agile and takes only minutes to learn. Oh, have I mentioned you get it full-featured for free for up to 15 users? icon smile Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business
  2. Trello – a more visual project management tool then Asana. Ralph praised it in today’s episode. Like Asana, it provides an easy way to assign tasks and have conversations around them. Also like Asana – it’s free!
  3. Basecamp – one of the world’s most famous project management tools for small companies and entrepreneurs. It isn’t free, and in my opinion a lot less fun to use then the above two options, but does deserve being listed nonetheless.

SOP’s And Project Management Mentioned Resources:

In addition to the resources mentioned above, here are the other resources and books we covered in today’s episode,

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, and I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

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In this episode, Ralph Quintero and I dissect ‘The E Myth Revisited’ by Michael Gerber, and see how to apply lessons for the book to real life businesses.

Sometimes the universe throws you a curveball. This week was one of those times. With undeniable irony, right after my previous episode about the systems that drive Inspiring Innovation went live – my VA has announced her decision to resign.

throwing a curve ball Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

At first, I felt confident that the systems I previously shared with you will allow us to make the transition quick, smooth, and easy. However, an in-depth look revealed that those systems where built around specific people with specific skills, not around the processes that had to take place.

Having a system that depends on the specific abilities of a specific individual is still better than having no system – but not by much.

So I decided rebuild my systems – the smart way. I was obviously doing something wrong, but I wasn’t sure what, so I decided to go back to the book that started the systematization journey for so many of my colleagues and friends: “The E Myth, Revisited”.

 Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited
 Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

The E Myth Revisited: Episode Highlights

  • Why should you care about systemizing your business.
  • Key mistakes that I have made, and how can you avoid them
  • why the E Myth has forced me to reflect and remind myself of the true reasons behind starting my business.
  • Why until you find and define your primary aim your business will never have good systems that can replace you.
  • Why without systems you don’t have a business – but just a glorified job!

Today’s episode is the first in a series of two episodes documenting my transition to (hopefully) better and more scalable systems, following ‘The E Myth Revisited’, as well as advice from my close friend, business mentor, and cohost for these episodes: Ralph Quintro.

It turns out that (like anything else in life), when it comes to building a strong, robust business, understanding where things usually go wrong can prove to be quite helpful in making them go “right”.

So without further adieu, let’s get started… and tackle the elephant in the room:

Why Do Small Businesses Fail?

According to the revisited version of The E Myth, released on October 2004, over 400,000 small businesses in the US close their doors every single year. Considering the current state of economics, and the fact that 10 years after the book has been published, the failure rate hasn’t changed too much – this number is probably higher today than ever.

Fotolia 23285232 S © Elenathewise Fotolia.com  199x300 Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

According to Michael Gerber, the author of ‘The E Myth’, most entrepreneurs held a technical job before they set to launch their own business. I had one, and chances are you had one too.

Whether you were an:

  • IT professional
  • graphic designer
  • a salesperson
  • a plumber
  • an accountant
  • a doctor
  • a nurse…

…Or a teacher, engineer, hairdresser, or anything else – chances are you are doing something technical, and that you were damn good at doing that.

But while you were great at what you did, something wasn’t right.

Maybe you hated your job, your colleagues, your boss, your customers, your hours, your dress code, the commute, or anything else about the job. Whatever it was, one bright day, something snapped inside of you. “I’m not carrying on with this shit anymore!”, you found yourself shouting (probably inside your own head).

businessman reaching the breakpoint Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

That moment right there (recognize yourself in that picture?) is what Michael Gerber (the author) calls “the entrepreneurial seizure”. According to Gerber, this is the real reason why most people decide to start their own business and become entrepreneurs.

Oddly, this is also the number one reason why most people fail at creating an amazing business.

Most of us start a business simple as a legal way to kill our boss and get him out of our lives.  So, we usually take the technical things that we already know how to do well, and build an entire business around those things. According to Gerber, most entrepreneurs and small business owners end up recreating their job, just without the part that pissed them off.

But here’s the problem with this approach: a business isn’t just about the technical work that needs to get done. A business also requires us to complete managerial tasks and take care of stuff that is perhaps out of our “technical comfort zone”, like:

  1. Sales
  2. Marketing
  3. Managing employees
  4. Customer support
  5. Financing…

… And a lot more.

As Gerber puts it:

“rather than [knowing the technical work] being [your] greatest single asset … [It] becomes [your] greatest single liability”.

entrepreneur held back Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

By taking the technical job that you did for someone else, and creating your own business around it… You have successfully cloned both your job, as well as tens of other tasks that other people (even if you disliked them) used to do.

Many new entrepreneurs say to this: “I know, but I can do that job better, too”. And perhaps they’re right. But more often than not – the technical job in a new business takes so much of their time, that they never reach all the things that they can do better than others.

It’s impossible for one man to do all the technical work as well as the managerial and entrepreneurial work. There is no way to do everything, and like anything else in life, something has to break.

time running out Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

Bottom line is that most entrepreneurs default to do only the technical work, neglecting everything else… because they don’t have the time to do it. 

The result? An entrepreneur working around the clock in his business, instead of ever working on his business. And so, he can never truly break free, and the business becomes more limiting and consuming than the job he once ran away from. Overworked, under slept, tired, frustrated, and in worse case – in debt.

The REAL Problem With The E-Myth (The Entrepreneur Myth)

We all know the entrepreneur myth. We grew up on it. Hell, I promote it on this show:

The single individual, whom surmounted all of his powers and against all odds, struggles, hardships, and forces of nature – made it to the top. 

How? Well that’s the mythical part of the story.

tired and dirty soldier Getting Real & The E Myth RevisitedThe mythical entrepreneur who won against all odds.

 The myth tells us that the success is achieved with cutting edge innovation, a burning passion and desire to succeed, and many, many hours of burning the midnight oil. The myth holds the hard work of the individual as the most sacred, and while all mentioned above IS REQUIRED, what’s missing here is working on the right things, and doing so at the right time.

What Are The “Right Things” That Entrepreneurs Should Work On?

  • Building a business that serves a need of your customer… rather than your need of getting rid of your boss.
  • Building a business that’s scalable and can carry on providing consistent experience to your customers as it grows.
  • Building a business that provides you with the lifestyle you dreamed of when you left the 9 to 5 job… rather than a business where you always need to put in twice as many hours as you ever did in corporate!
  • Building a business that frees you to pursue the things that matter most to you… instead of repeating the technical tasks time after time, project after project, to no end.

The only way to achieve these things, which according to ‘The E-Myth’ are the true benefits of entrepreneurship, is to awaken parts of your personality that might have been dormant for a long, long time.

Waking Up Your Dormant Entrepreneur

According to Gerber, when it comes to business, there are three different people that live inside of us at any given moment. In order to understand who these people are, and why they live in our brain rent-free, let’s start with an example (taken from the book):

Fat Guy VS. Skinny Guy

Imagine every single time in your life where you decided to go on a diet, get back to shape, or start running. What were you doing a second before that idea flashed through your mind?

Personally, I get the urge to take better care of my health and of what I eat when I find myself stuffing another Snickers bar down my pie hole while watching Sunday night football.

snacking in front of the TV Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited
“Jesus Christ, this is the most I ever weighed in my entire life! I get breathless just from walking up the hill when coming back from the supermarket! I really need to get my shit together!!!”
, a voice says inside my head.

You know what I’m talking about, right?…

…That voice is skinny guy.

skinny guy1 Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

Skinny guy is all about health, fitness, vegetables, yoga, and all things that revolve around… well, being skinny. Skinny guy is the voice in our head that makes us go to the sports shop and buy a new pair of running shoes, running clothes, heartbeat monitors, and whatever other accessory that will start collecting dust in our cupboard pretty soon.

But before our new running accessories get some wear and tear, we usually wake up one morning to find that someone else in charge: fat guy.

Fat guy doesn’t like running. Fat guy doesn’t like the gym. Fat guy doesn’t like cold weather, or hot weather, or any weather for that matter. What fat guy wants, is to stay in bed, or maybe crawl to the sofa and watch some TV while eating nachos.

fat guy eating in front of the tv Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

And as long as fat guy is back in charge, you return to your previous habits (those that woke up skinny guy to begin with).

Do you recognize the struggle between skinny guy and fat guy? Most people do. Since only one of them can be in charge at a given moment, one’s fitness rises and falls on the ability to balance the two.

So what does all this have to do with entrepreneurship? 

In ‘The E Myth’, Gerber explains that just like the never-ending battle between skinny guy and fat guy, when it comes to business we have three different people trying (and failing) to get along together inside our brain:

the technician Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

The Technician

The technician is the business persona that most of us recognize most easily. As already hinted in this post, the technician is the one that’s getting things done.

The technician does the “actual” work. He’s the part in us that believe that, “if something needs to be done well, then only I can do it.”. And he’s the voice inside our head forever reminding us to “get back to work”.

Only lives in the presence, the technician doesn’t bother himself with neither the past nor the future… he just wants to clear his to-do list!

the entrepreneur Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

The Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur lives in the future. It’s the part in us that gets excited about opportunities and “how things can turn out”. It’s the part that asks, “wouldn’t it be great if…?”. It’s the part of us that gets hooked on ideas and envisions the marvelous business we could build out of them, and the impact that would have on our lives.

The entrepreneur is always wondering how things could be made better, but has no regards to the past or present. He lives in the future and spends no effort dealing with the problems that are currently “on the table”.

Give the entrepreneur total control, and you’ll find yourself working at daydreaming rather than anything else icon wink Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

the manager Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

The Manager

The manager is the part in us that likes order. When you find yourself shopping for boxes at home depot, and later rearranging your entire garage into those boxes… you know the manager guy inside you took control.  The manager is the part in you that gets excited by the concept of using a label maker (don’t be ashamed, I love my label maker!).

If the technician lives in the present, and the entrepreneur in the future, you could say the manager lives in the past. He is in charge of reflecting, analyzing, and making sure things would go better the next time. In a way, he’s always cleaning up after the entrepreneur.

Come to think of it, without the entrepreneur, the manager will have nothing to do. And without the manager, the technician doesn’t know what to do, and when to do it. And finally – without a technician, nothing would ever truly get done.

Looking at it this way, it’s pretty obvious that you need all three of them in order to create a successful business. But just like Skinny Guy VS Fat Guy, only one of these personas can be in charge at a given moment. So the problem becomes balancing the three.

Since most of us are used to being “the technician” in our 9 to 5 career, we usually let him take control of everything, not leaving room for the other two. BIG MISTAKE.

As you can see, as long as the technician is running our business we will always be stuck on the hamster wheel.

The technician inside us will never build systems for other technicians to follow and replace him, because, “who has time for that?”. And so… Most entrepreneurs struggle with building a business that lets them grow and break free.

running out of time Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

Does Your Business Need To Change?

According to the book, I would say there are three major reasons for you to decide to change your business, and they are:

  1. Financial reasons
    • Is the business making enough money to cover the bills?
    • Is the business making enough money to grow?
    • Is the business making enough money to create the lifestyle you dream dull when you started it?
  2. Freedom reasons
    • Has the business become nothing more than a glorified job?
    • Is the lifestyle that the business provides you actually worse than what you had in the old days of the 9 to 5?
    • Do you have less vacation days than ever, and spend any waking moment thinking about your business?
    • Is the business unable to function without you?
  3. Life aim reasons
    • Is the business helping you achieve your life aim goals?
    • Is it creating the change you envisioned, both in your life, your family’s life, and in the lives of your customers?
    • Does it look and behave like what you wanted it to?

If you answered “no” to any of the above, you, just like me, could benefit from today’s episode, as well as from reading ‘The E Myth’

Scroll to the top of the page and click “play” to listen to today’s episode – you will find out how to move forward from this point and towards creating change. Or come back in a few days for part two of my The E Myth review!

Until part two… Be amazing,

P.S. What did you think about today’s post/episode? Agree? Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below… I’d love to know icon smile Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

Mentioned Resources:

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Episode Highlights:

  • Why you cannot (ever) be the owner of your business – before you are the owner of your life
  • How to get over your fears, doubts and excuses, and why failures are so crucial for our success
  • The one and only thing you need to focus on if you want to create a freedom in life through building a business around what you’re passionate about

Today’s Guest

Chris Brogan IIP078: Chris Brogan On How To Become The Owner Of Your Life

Bravery had rewarded me a lot better than operating from fear.Chris Brogan

Do you have a driving passion, whether it’s podcasting, writing, blogging, teaching, Photoshop, graphics, miniature trains, or anything else – but can’t seem to turn that into a thriving business?

Is your 9-5 job putting food on the table, but you’re not enjoying it (to say the least…)? Are your friends telling you that, “that’s just the way things are”?

If you struggle with finding work-life balance that will allow you to become the owner of the business that you want, and you find yourself running from the 9-5 to your errands and obligations, feeling that you don’t even have full control over your own world…

…The implications are that you’re always working in the business and not on your business. That you’re not doing the work that you want to be doing.

What you need is a solid plan to drive growth, become the owner of your life, and to get to the next level…

And to create this plan,we are joined today by no other than Chris Brogan!

Chris runs a professional development company called Owner Media Group.

Through the past several years, he run a marketing consulting group and worked with a lot of really big companies (like Google, Microsoft and Coca-Cola). At the same time, he experienced working with people at different parts of their journey of choosing to own their life and put together a business that they wanted to run as a part of that.

And so, what he enjoyed most along the way was the opportunity to speak to people about what does or what doesn’t work in making business.

“So along the way, I’ve just been working on unearthing the right mix of principles and guidance to help people really own the game that they most want to win, which of course would be their own.”, he explains.

Here’s our interview. By the way, you can listen to it in audio format by scrolling to the top and clicking ‘Play’ icon smile IIP078: Chris Brogan On How To Become The Owner Of Your Life

Owning Your Life VS. Owning Your Business

MB: Chris, on your website, you say you can’t own your business until you own your life. What does it mean to become the owner of your life, and how is it different from being the owner of your business?

own your life IIP078: Chris Brogan On How To Become The Owner Of Your Life

CB: Well, let’s think about it for just a minute. I’ll back it up to why that could be a challenge. So imagine…

CB: I had a really interesting conversation with a woman who wanted some help with her fitness and health. She said, “Here I am, I’ve gone from a very large company to a very small company and I’ve gone from everyone taking my call to me really having to work to get a meeting with someone as head of sales of this very small company.”

CB: She said, “When they see me, they see an overweight woman; they see a very heavy woman.”

CB: She says, “I think that they are wondering how could I possibly keep my commitments to them if I can’t even keep my commitments to myself. So if I can’t honor myself, how could I possibly honor what I say I’m going to do for them and their business?”

CB: I never heard anything like this, but it makes great sense. So the idea of owning your life is really making and keeping commitments to yourself, staying disciplined.

CB: The word ‘discipline’ essentially means a daily honoring of those things you’re committed to and say that you value and that you wanna do. For instance, people would tell me, “Yeah, I’m trying to get healthy,” and then they’ll skip going to the gym for a week.

CB: Well, those two things can’t be true. One of those things is inaccurate. You either aren’t trying to get healthy or you would’ve found some way to get to the gym.

CB: So one part of owning your life is removing excuses from your life. That doesn’t mean that you’re not going to fail, but you’re never going to allow an excuse to be a reason for failure.

MB: So, for instance, if I decide to lose weight and I don’t go outside running because there is a terrible heatwave and it’s too hot to run … if I was being the owner of my own life I would be fixing it by finding something to do inside, instead of just saying, “Well, it was a super hot day. Gonna try again tomorrow”?

CB: Exactly. You would do something in your flat; you would adjust your calories for the day so that at least you weren’t eating as much as you normally would, so that you can have some deficit of calories there.

CB: And I would like to say that I think it does relate to entrepreneurship because all the tools and drills and skills that we learn in balancing our lives out — in a making our lives work — is what we need as an entrepreneur.

CB: Entrepreneurs make and fill the gap between needs and what we are capable of doing. So, if you can increase your capabilities and you become able to fulfill the gaps in your own life, that’s gonna translate into confidence in your capability to fulfill gaps for other people as well.

CB: I’ve been able to bring many of the lessons that I’ve learned in reclaiming my health to bear on what’s going on in business experiences as well. I learned how to sell better by learning how to work better at the gym.

CB: Things even as simple as getting enough rest; a lot of entrepreneurs think that it’s very cool or it’s part of the lifestyle to not sleep. But I find that well-rested makes me smarter than most of the other people at the table, who find themselves clever.

The War For Ownership – Overcoming Fear

struggles and fears IIP078: Chris Brogan On How To Become The Owner Of Your Life

MB: What are some of the battles you feel you lost in this war to claim ownership?

CB: That’s a very good question. First off, I think that entrepreneurs (or people who aspire to be entrepreneurs) have this belief, that once you attain some level of success, then you never ever get below that level again — and it’s just not true.

CB: All life is in flux all the time. Your financial wealth and your health can go up and down quite a lot; the market that you’re working in maybe can change dramatically, especially when I’m involved in (sort of) technology and business-type markets where fluctuations are part of the game.

CB: Some of the battles I’ve lost are…

CB: I’m not a big fan of doing research. I’m a big fan of trusting that the community that I’ve surrounded myself with and that I have the honor to serve is indicating what they say they need.

CB: Sometimes, I followed the lead into something where I’ve made the offering that I felt that they asked for and they didn’t want it. And so, I spent a lot of money chasing a lot of mistakes early on.

CB: I think the other thing I did wrong is following one of my legend/hero-types, Sir Richard Branson. He has four hundred companies, and in my mind, I thought I can run more than a few companies. But what he also has is thousands and thousands of staff, so that he can really lay out a vision and then know that everyone else will run with it.

CB: I have a very small staff, and my hands are on most everything that I do. So I found that like a lot of people, I felt like I could multitask even in the kinds of businesses I ran, which caused a lot of failure as well.

CB: So I would say that if there’s any kind of big theme to all the different things that I’ve tried, any time that I worked out of fear — let’s say fear of losing money or fear of not making enough revenue for instance — everything collapsed in a bad way.

CB: Every time I operate out of courage, even if I’m still afraid, but I just put more of my energy towards courage, then everything kind of works a lot better. Bravery has rewarded me a lot better than operating from fear.

Creating A New Plan

MB: One of the first books that people go to, to learn how to create not only a great business, but the entrepreneurial lifestyle is the 4-Hour Workweek.

MB: On your interview with my good friend, Jared Easley on Starve The Doubts, you mentioned that the 4-Hour Workweek is a bigger fairytale than Cinderella. What do you think was left out?

work system IIP078: Chris Brogan On How To Become The Owner Of Your Life

CB: I would say that what Tim Ferris wrote is accurate and appropriate. I would say that what we pick up from that book becomes the base-line of the fairytale; People read the wrong lessons and run with the wrong parts of the book, and don’t really sink all the way through the ideas that are required to understand how to make the system happen.

CB: What we most need to do is: when we think we’re going to run our own business, we misunderstand and think that busy equals good. We think that hustle, just random hustle, equals good. We somehow think that throwing away all our systems is a good plan.

CB: Maybe we need to remove some systems, but we need some basic systems in place; Let’s say I’m in Boston and I wanna visit, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Well, I have to figure out a few things:

CB: I would have to figure out an airplane ride or two, or where I’m going to stay. Do I need some money? What’s the currency there? I probably need to know some customs. So, there’s a lot of things that have to go in place.

CB: A lot of times, for some reason, when people get entrepreneurial, they go no further than buying the website, setting up WordPress, and saying “I’m a business!” I find that’s exactly backwards.

CB: Entrepreneurs don’t build something and try to drag people over to it. Entrepreneurs fill a need that already exists, and make sure that the people that have that need can find this solution.

CB: So I think that probably the biggest first step is: knowing where you want to go, and starting immediately on what systems am I going to need to make that work.

The Only 1st Step An Entrepreneur Needs

MB: So what’s the first destination aspiring entrepreneurs need to figure how to get to, and how will they get started with creating a plan to get there?

hBd6EPoQT2C8VQYv65ys White Sands IIP078: Chris Brogan On How To Become The Owner Of Your Life

CB: They need to answer a very, very simple question: How does my passion serve somebody else?

CB: So what separates the artist who lives in his parents’ basement and maybe has to work a grocery store job to make any cash, from the artist who thrives and serves the community is that one of them thinks with the community in mind. This goes opposite of how many creative people think.

CB: They think, “I shall be creative and everyone will love my work.” And to an extent, that’s true. You do have to bring something to it.

CB: People have to see themselves or see something that resonates with themselves in your work or the work is of no value to them. That’s where a lot of creative and entrepreneurial people get something wrong.

CB: So the very first question after one decides that they’re going to go their own way, is how does this serve somebody else?

CB: For instance, when Jared Easley does Starve The Doubts, he says, “I think that there are other ways to make a job and make a business.” So one of the things he did was launch with some friends the Podcast Movement.

CB: He figured, “If I make up a gathering, which would get other like-minded people who want to understand how podcasting can improve their business together, then that’s a good way to make it work.”

CB: I find that there are other ways to make money. But one of the ways that we can make money in a way that keeps our passion alive is to find the people that we can serve with this passion.

CB: For instance, if someone wants to be a professional sports-player, it’s a little difficult because, you have to find a team. There’s a set of rules. It’s a job not unlike any other job to do that kind of work.

CB: It’s just the same as working at Best Buy, only you wear different clothes or something. But, when we truly want to get out of basic system jobs, then we have to actually redefine a marketplace first and foremost.

CB: If there’s no marketplace, there’s no market. If there’s no community around that marketplace, then there’s no way to get the word out.

CB: So we really need to understand that. Then, perhaps from there, we can create content that drives some awareness into the community and invite some small amount of them to participate in that marketplace.

Kicking Fear In The Face

MB: If someone is thinking, “I previously attempted with entrepreneurship and I failed. I’m not sure I can do this.” What do you say to them?

facing failure IIP078: Chris Brogan On How To Become The Owner Of Your Life

CB: Ah, my goodness. I mean, you failed at other things in your life. Why did you not stop then? You are walking, and you probably failed many times as a baby, and yet I see people walking everywhere. I don’t see everyone laying on the ground –– so we must have succeeded after many attempts.

CB: Lots of people fail, and I think that you have to fall in love with failure. You have to embrace failure because on the other side of every failure is the right way to do it and you’ll succeed.

Putting A Plan Into Action With Help From Chris Brogan

MB: If people want to learn more about it, and get more step-by-step guidance and support from you, Chris, where can they find it?

CB: Probably the easiest is to go to chrisbrogan.com and maybe start with my newsletter, which is different than most people’s. It comes out every Sunday. Not only do you get some kind of advice or idea that’s fresh and not only exist on the newsletter — I don’t re-purpose my blog or anything, but you can hit reply and talk directly to me.

CB: You have direct access to me, which gives me the opportunity to serve people better.

Action Steps

If you could tweet Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) and just thank him for spending twenty minutes with us today, that will be absolutely superb. You can do that real quick by clicking here

After that, go ahead to chrisbrogan.com, check out his blog and newsletter.

You are amazing, and I will see you next Thursday.

Mentioned Resources

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Behind The Scenes Of Making a Podcast – Episode Highlights:

  • The 30 tools & resources that we use every week to systemize the Inspiring Innovation Podcast
  • The system behind Inspiring Innovation – the actions we take, step by step, to go from “We should have James Schramko on the show”, to a released episode

I get asked very often what resources we use on Inspiring Innovation for creating our episodes, editing and post production, social media, and for managing all of our tasks and projects.

I feel it’s time for a behind-the-scenes look – where I will walk you step by step through all the steps included in our episode creation process. Basically, you’re about to see everything that happens from the second an Inspiring Innovation Podcast episode is created, to it being released, downloaded, and being played in your earbuds.

Setting Up The Podcast Interview

The first step, when we set up a podcast episode, is obviously to get an interviewee.

I often get pitched by people who want to be on the Inspiring Innovation Show. We also work with several media agents that pitch interviewees to us.

HARO logo Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

We use resources like HARO (Help A Reporter Out), where people can pitch themselves to the Inspiring Innovation Show. But let’s pretend that for this episode that we’re talking about – I wanna get a real big name on the show.

While most people have a contact form on their website (and that’ll be the first place I would go to pitch for an interview), there are plenty who don’t.

So how do you contact these people?

And let’s say they do have a contact form on the site, but it goest to their VA or their gatekeeper…and you can’t get past them?

In these occasions, I will retreat to one of my secret weapons, which is called Rapportive.


rapportive logo Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Rapportive is an add-on (or an extension) that you install for Gmail.

Once installed, whenever you start typing an email to someone and you put in theur email address, Rapportive will find and display their information inside the Gmail window:

Where do they live? What state? What country? What is their Twitter account? What is their LinkedIn account? What is their Facebook account? What do they look like?

Yes, it even pulls up a photo. It’s that cool!

Now, it doesn’t work for all emails in the world, but it works for a great percentage of them.

How I use Rapportive on a day-to-day basis:

  1. When I write a reply to an email, Rapportive will pull up their photo and personal details.

    This allows me to reply with a much more personal touch – because now I know what the person I’m emailing looks like, where they work, and where are they from.

    If you’ve received an email from me and wondered, “how the heck did he know I’m in Austin?!”… Rapportive is my secret icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

  2. But much more jedi-like, I’ve used this to find the emails of some really big entrepreneurs.

    How? I open Gmail, and click “Compose”. The I guess an email address based on the name of the target interviewee. If Rapportive updates and shows his personal details – I know I found his personal address. If Rapportive shows nothing, I try other variations ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc. etc.). It doesn’t always work, but it works often enough! icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

In any case, wether I pitch someone, or someone pitches himself to me – the next step is to schedule the interview.


scheduleonce logo Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

I was first introduced to this by Antonio Centeno from Real Men Real Style. It was love on first sight, and I since referred many of my friends to this service (including John Dumas, who now uses this tool to schedule all of his interviews!).

With ScheduleOnce, you define your blocks of availability – which times of which days are you willing to have interviews on. Then it integrates with your actual Google calendar. So everything that is already scheduled in your calendar is blocked out.

The available times that are left in the intersection between the times that you defined and the times when you don’t have any meetings in your calendars, are the times that ScheduleOnce will show to your guest when he comes to schedule an interview.

The cool thing is, that no matter where you are and where they are around the world – ScheduleOnce will only show them your actual availability in THEIR Timezone.

No more timezone miscalculations, no more confusion, and no more time
wasted! Your interviewee will just select the time that they want and — BAM — an appointment is added in their Google calendar to your Google calendar and you’re all set for an interview.


IFTTT and Asana

Previously discussed last week on my episode with Erin Smith, IFTTT (which stands for “If This Then That”) is a tool that allows you to define that if a specific trigger happens (example: you receive an email confirming an interview), then a specific action is automatically taken.

IFTTT Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

So I have a trigger saying, if I receive a message from ScheduleOnce to my email saying that a podcast interview has been scheduled, then I have a task is created for me in Asana (the project management software that we use), with all the details of the interview:

  • When is it going to happen?
  • The name of the interviewee.
  • His Skype details
  • Etc.

This task is very simple: Create a project for this episode.

asana Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Now, as I said, Asana is the project management system that we use. Once IFTTT creates a task in Asana, the next day – when I wake up and check out my “to-do” for the day – I will see this task saying “Create a Project for this interview”.

So I will click on my template “IIP episode” project, that has all the tasks that need to happen from the second the interview is scheduled to the second it released on iTunes or Stitcher (or whatever app you’re using to tune in with), including who’s in charge of each step — is it me, is it Rose (my VA) or is it the interviewee — and deadlines.

In one click I duplicate our template project, copy the details IFTTT forwarded, update the deadlines according to the actual interview date and the planned release date — and the project is ready to go.

From this moment on, me and my team will basically follow the Asana project, one task after the other, until the episode is ready. We don’t need to think about anything. We don’t need to plan anything. It’s all there, pre-planned and actionable.

If you think about it, the only manual action I needed to take to make all this possible, was pitching for the interview – because once the pitch was accepted, I send my ScheduleOnce link, they schedule, IFTTT automatically creates a task to set up the project in Asana, and from there onwards – everything is streamlined.

Here’s a screenshot showing a part of our Asana project template:

Asana project template producing an IIP episode Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Preparing For The Interview (& Making The Podcast Much Better!)

Background Research

Looking at my podcast episode project template above, you’ll see that the first step is defined for my VA and it’s called, “send interview briefing.”

So my VA will see this task and send my interviewee an interview briefing (based on a template that we have), that explains the format of the interview, what kind of questions are you gonna be asked, and some legal stuff.

The next day, again – as you can see in the screenshot above – she will send an email requesting them for a high resolution profile photo that we can use in the Inspiring Innovation Magazine and in the podcast show notes.

Then, she will conduct background research about the interviewee. We have a complete checklist for how we research an interviewee before he comes on the show, and she will simply start working through that.

Once she’s done with the background research, I will be triggered with a task of outlining the interview.

4MAT and SPIN Framework

Once I read the background research, I go ahead and outline the interview.

These days, I use two frameworks for my outlining, both recommended to my by James Schramko.

James Shramko Internet Entrepreneur Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

First, I outline the interview using the 4MAT framework – breaking the interview down to 4 sections WHY (are we talking about this), WHAT (is the story / are we talking about), HOW (will you do it) and WHAT IF (answering questions).

For the WHY section, I actually dig deeper using another framework James has recommended, called SPIN. SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need, and was developed by Neil Rackham.

I use SPIN to describe (at the beginning of the episode) today’s subject – why we are talking about it, and why should you listen.

spin selling Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

How? It’s quite simple.

I take a piece of paper and write:

  • Situation:
  • Problem:
  • Implications:
  • Need:

Then, next to each letter, I add some bullet points that I want to remember to talk about.

For example, for my interview with Erin Smith last week, where we discussed monetization, my SPIN was:

  • Situation:
    • You are an entrepreneur
    • / side hustler
    • / aspiring entrepreneur
  • Problem:
    • You have ideas, maybe even some products, but aren’t sure how to monetize well
  • Implications:
    • You cannot leave the 9-5
    • You cannot create the business of freedom that you want
    • You’re feeling stuck
  • Need:
    • A step by step plan on how to take an idea and turn it into a prosperous business.

As I mentioned, 4MAT includes WHY, WHAT, HOW, WHAT IF, and the SPIN framework covers my “WHY” for the episode. Then I’m left with making a few notes for:

  • WHAT
    What is the story? Here I add a few bullet points of interesting facts and important milestones from the background research I’ve read
  • HOW
    This is for the stage in the interview where I try to get a step by step action plan from my interviewee once we covered their background story. I write down all the points that are important for me to make sure my interviewee covers.
  • WHAT IF?
    This is for any questions I might have about the outlined process. Usually I leave this empty, and fill it in with the questions that pop into my head while the interviewee is talking (instead of interrupting him)

This entire outlining process takes me 15 minutes or less, can be done on a post-it notes, and makes the interview well structured and effective. Implementing this outline step has saved my 2-4 editing hours per episode!

Recording The Podcast Interview

Skype, eCamm Call Recorder (Mac) and Pamela Call Recorder (Windows)

When the day of the interview comes, I prepare all my gear. And yes, I have a task in Asana called “Prepare Gear” which has a checklist of all the knobs I need to turn!

Then, I conduct the interview, following the SPIN and 4MAT outline that I’ve made.

ecamm Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Even though we use professional podcasting gear, I still have (on my Mac) installed eCamm Call Recorder for Skype that records the Skype call on the computer itself – just in case our digital recorder fails, and gives me an extra backup.

eCamm Call Recorder is what I recommend all of my students who are getting started as the best Skype recording software. If you are on Windows, you might want to be looking into Pamela Skype Recorder.

pamela call recorder Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Once the interview has been recorded, I will take the raw file as it is and upload it into a task in Asana called “Upload Raw Interview.” (pretty self descriptive, huh?).

Once I upload the file, Asana will notify Rose automatically, and she in turn will listen to the entire raw episode, making a list of all the resources that were mentioned. That’s the “mentioned resources” list that you will find in all of my episodes.

Podcast Post Production: Creating Good Episodes and Great Show Notes

Google Keyword Planner, Market Samurai and Moonsy

Once Rose completes the mentioned resources section, the next task she has in our template is keyword research. She uses Google Keyword Planner and Market Samurai for that.

market samurai Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

We use Market Samurai to find and choose the keywords that we actually have a good shot of ranking highly for.

If you don’t want to splurge on Market Samurai, you can do some of the research for free using a tool called Moonsy Domain Authority. It will let you know how authoritative are other websites that you are going to compete against for a given keyword.

(Of course, Domain Authority is only one of many SEO factors, but I thought you’d like to know about Moonsy icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week )

At the end of this process, Rose will post on Asana the results of her keyword research – the main keyword we will be targeting with this episode, as well as the long-tail or satellite keywords that are relevant.

All this is done so we can maximize the organic traffic that Google will give us for this podcast episode.

Audacity and Adobe Audition

Audacity Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

While Rose does her part, I will start editing the interview itself, using Audacity.

I used to use Adobe Audition, and I would say that it is a much better piece of software and it’s a lot more fun to use than Audacity. But Adobe wanted me to pay over $2400 for using it (instead of the US price which is $19 a month), so I went back to Audacity.

Adobe Audition Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

With the right plugins, Audacity can actually create some great sound even though it’s 100% free. And if you want to use Audacity to its full potential, check out PodcastIncubator.com – and I will be happy to show you how icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Once I edit the interview, I sit down and define two episode titles.

Why two?

  1. First title is the title that will show on the podcast feed (in iTunes, Stitcher, etc.). This title has to be intriguing and make you want to listen to the show.
  2. Second title is the title that will show on our WordPress site. This title has to be optimized for SEO in order to increase the organic reach of the show.


Evernote Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Once I have the title and the general concept, I will sit down and outline the show notes for the episode:

I will define my sections, titles, subtitles, and add some bullet points for the key points I want to cover. I write this outline in Evernote, and you’ll see why in a second!

Here’s the thing:

I hate blogging.

I don’t enjoy writing.

In fact, when I have a task like “sit down and write”, I procrastinate on it like it’s nobody’s business.

When Srini Rao challenged me to write every day for 15 minutes first thing in the morning, those were the most un-productive days I have ever… ever had. It turns out that not liking to write poses a real problem for a blogger.

One day, my mentor from Australia said, “Just outline and then record yourself talking through the outline, and have your VA transcribe that.” So I thought, “Sure, sounds legit! Let’s try that.”

It didn’t work.

I would write the outline and then try to record in front of the computer. The whole situation was so awkward that I would just get stuck and quit.

Then, Julie pointed out that when my mobile phone rings, I start walking with it while on the call – whether it’s around the house, outside the garden or a 5-mile walk.

I ALWAYS walk when I talk on the phone. So Julie asked, “Why don’t you try that for your show notes?”

And THAT works BEAUTIFULLY for me!

So I outline on Evernote, take my iPhone (remember to charge it!) walk outside, open up the note, tap on the first section, click the record icon, and just start talking. Not from a dictation state of mind, but from a conversation one.

Then I finish a section, click stop, scroll down the note, read the key points, click on the next sub-section, and record again. Rinse and repeat… and 45 minutes later – I have a 2,500 words post done!

I get back home, click on share button, send the link it generates to Rose, my VA, and For me, the writing is DONE.

Rose will take the audio notes, transcribe them, patch them up, and convert them into show notes. She will fix my grammar, break stuff into shorter paragraphs, adds bolds and italics and make everything look nice and sharp.


Ginger Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

We also use Ginger Grammar Check, which is a free online service that does an amazing work in checking your grammar. It puts me to shame very often icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Unsplash, Deposit Photos and Fotolia

We love having photos in our posts, and Rose has 3 resources that she uses for Inspiring Innovation:

The first one is Unsplash. It’s a website that has beautiful photos that you can use 100% free. It doesn’t have search functionality; it’s not perfect, but it has beautiful photos that you can use right away without any Signup or anything.

DepositPhotos1 Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every WeekFotolia Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

If we can’t find suitable photos on Unsplash, we try DepositPhotos and Fotolia.


So far, we have an episode recorded and edited, we have show notes done, and all that’s left is uploading the MP3 file.

Libsyn Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

I export the file from Audcity, convert it to MP3 and add the tagging (the title, the description, the artwork — all of that) using iTunes and then upload it to our podcast hosting, which is Libsyn. There I copy in the show notes that Rose has created, and voilà – the episode is ready!


In order to great sharable artwork to promote the episode on social media, I go to Canva.com.

Canva Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Canva is my graphic design tool of choice. It’s free and amazing. It comes with great templates for any type of graphics you’ll need online and allows literally anybody to become a genius graphic designer.

I simply LOVE it.

I also use Canva for episodes that include a lead magnet (like the one we had last week). I create both the download image and the graphic for the pop-up window (the opt-in window) within minutes with this tool.

List Building Through Podcasting

I often have downloadable PDFs as part of my episodes, and they double as lead magnets for my list.

I create these lead magnets the same way I’d create the show notes; I outline in Evernote, go for a walk , record it, get it transcribed and edited, and then create a PDF out of it.

iBooks Author

iBooks Author Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

To create the PDF, I will either throw copy the text into Google Drive and export as PDF, or if I’m feeling artistic, I’ll use iBooks Author (Mac only, sorry Windows people!), which creates a drop-dead-gorgeous-looking PDF document for me to give away.

MailChimp and LeadPages

I use MailChimp as our mailing list provider.

MailChimp Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

The good thing about MailChimp is that you can start for 100% free. We used to use AWeber and I don’t have enough words how much a despise it. I strongly recommend that you start with MailChimp.

To deliver the lead magnet itself, as well as the opt-in form that works from within the show notes, I use LeadPages, and more specifically, a feature called LeadBoxes.

LeadPages Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

LeadBoxes are that pop-up box that pops up and asks for your email address when you click on a link to download one of our PDF resources.

When you fill-in the email and click “Download now”, LeadBoxes will add your email to the Inspiring Innovation mailing list on MailChimp, and then deliver the PDF you requested right away to your inbox.

Nifty icon smile Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

Spreading The Word


After all this, Rose goes through all the information we have (keywords, final show notes, etc.) and creates a suggested social media swipe file — basically create a list of suggested tweets and Facebook status messages.

I will go over them (again, there’s a task in Asana reminding me to do that!), tweak them, and approve for scheduling.

Once I do that, she will take that swipe file and schedule it via dlvr.it – our social media scheduling tool.

Dlvr it Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

The good thing about dlvr.it (and what made me pick it in the first place), besides allowing us to schedule all of our outgoing tweets, is that it also allows us to automatically tweet about new blog posts and new podcast episodes of anybody we want.

Automatically tweeting about new episodes of market leaders and friends is a great way to keep yourself on the top of their mind as someone who’s always looking to support their brand.

(To be honest, usually dlvr.it will pick up on their new episodes and tweet about it from my account even before they have a chance to tweet about it from theirs! So my tweet is almost always the first one they see. You could imagine the impact it has!)

Gmail Canned Responses and Boomerang

With all the social media scheduled on dlvr.it, we are almost done with an episode. The only thing left is to let my interviewee know that the episode is live.

While I want them to get an email from me once the episodes is live, I actually write the email to the interviewee ahead of time.

Boomerang Making a Podcast: The 30 Tools & Resources That We Use Every Week

I have a template that I wrote and use through Gmail Canned Response and then I use another add-on called Boomerang, which allows me to schedule an email to be sent from Gmail on a later date. I simply set it and forget it!

Podcast Social Bookmarking

Finally, Rose will do social bookmarking on sites like Bibsonomy, Bitly, Delicious, Digg, Diigo, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Folkd, Jumptags, Newsvine and Technorati.

And that’s how we make an Inspiring Innovation Podcast episode!

Your Thoughts?

I would truly appreciate if you could leave me a comment, letting me know if this was helpful or if you’d like me to review in the future some of other tools that I use on a day-to-day basis.

Just leave your comment below.

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

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 IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!Note: click here to download “3 Foundational Steps For Creating A 6 Figure Business” PDF Now

Episode Highlights: Creating A 6 Figures Business

  • The three most important steps in breaking free from corporate and the 9-5 and creating your freedom business
  • The number one thing to remember when starting to monetize your business
  • Networking events that don’t suck
  • Why you’ll never be an overnight success (just like nobody else ever was!)
  • The most important trait you could develop to become a successful entrepreneur
  • The 3 foundational steps every successful entrepreneur takes, and every failing entrepreneurs misses

Today’s Guest

headshot smaller 214x300 IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!

Erin Smith, founder of ‘The Starters Club’, knows a thing or two about starting successful businesses from scratch; In her early twenties, just getting started in corporate America, she realized that the only way to create true wealth and freedom is through being the owner – and not the employee.

She didn’t feel she was ready to own a business yet, so she decided to focus on becoming an owner in the realm of real estate. She did quite well, and bought her first home when she was only 22. After a few years, she decided to give business a shot – and started a pet-sitting company.

With no background (besides the background that Google could offer her), she got started. Within just a few years it grew to a 6-figure income, 12 employees business. BOOM!

A bit later, after burning out, she sold that business.

Her next business reached 6 figures within its first 9 months, and right there Erin found her passion and talent for starting successful businesses.

When people kept telling Erin how amazing her success is, she replied, “You can do it too,”. When enough people answered, “I wouldn’t know where to start.” – she saw the need, and decided to provide the one thing she never had when she got started in business — mentorship, directions, and guidance.

‘The Starters Club’ was born, and today it offers various resources that teach the steps, tools and strategies entrepreneurs need to follow in order to create a successful business – quicker and easier, and without figuring things out alone.

In today’s show, she lays out the 3 pillars, or foundational steps, that have been the secret sauce behind her meteoric success.

3 Steps For Creating A 6 Figure Business

Before I give you the 3 major steps that Erin outlined in the interview, I have a few caveats:

It Isn’t Going To Be Easy

While there has never been a time in history where it was easier and cheaper to start a business, it doesn’t make it easy. You need to put in the hours and you need to do the work. No one, and no system, will ever replace doing the right things, and doing them NOW.

Erin worked incredibly hard to create her businesses. Whether it was working into the night, early in the mornings, or during what her friends and family might have considered “free time,” – she did it all, and her dedication and determination is behind her success.

No One Is An Over Night Success

success IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!

No success story has ever been a true overnight success. The greatest entrepreneurs that we are inspired by, and sometimes awed by, didn’t just “come out of nowhere” and start making 5 and 6-figure incomes a month.

Think about it. Nobody has heard about Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker or Rand Fishkin when they just got started and were side-hustling and making ends meet. They became famous when their beard fruit.

Any exponential growth success story has a background of slow, step-by-step and frustrating linear growth, which brings me to the next point…

You Got To Start Somewhere

You got to start somewhere, and there will never be a better place to start than where you are right now.

Sir Richard Branson started somewhere. Bill Gates started somewhere. Steve Jobs started somewhere. They were all nobodies when they got started.

If you have no aspirations to create the greatest tech company in the world, become the richest man on the planet, or launch the biggest software company — you’re in luck! Your job will be much easier than theirs! icon smile IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!

“Every master was once a disaster” says my good friend John Dumas in every chance he has. Dumas has a very good reason; Only 2 years ago, nobody knew who he was. Today he’s the face of podcasting, and runs a $2M business.

Bottom line, wherever you are right now in life — you are perfectly positioned to start. Stop waiting for the perfect moment and make it happen!

With this out of the way, let’s get started with Erin’s steps.

To make it super easy for you to consume today’s episode, I created a free PDF that summarizes everything we talked about. You can download it by clicking on the icon right here:

 IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!Click here to download the “3 Foundational Steps For Creating A 6 Figure Business” PDF

Once you download the PDF, scroll to the top of the post and listen to today’s episode. You won’t regret it – Erin has an amazing story and many,many fantastic lessons, tips and tactics to share.

Once you’re done – please consider leaving a comment below and let us know how we did icon smile IIP076: These 3 Steps Created A 6 Figure Business In 9 Months!

Other Mentioned Resources:

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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 IIP075: Austrian Conversion Optimization Prodigy Shares His SecretsNote: Click here to download your free copy of The Human Conversions Guide

Episode Highlights: Conversion Optimization, List Building, and Audience Engagement

  • The difference between making money and being successful
  • Why focusing on your conversion rate is often the wrong decision
  • Good conversions vs. bad conversions
  • How building a small list that is worth more than gold is much more valuable than building a huge list that doesn’t care about you
  • Design 101: Design DO’s and DON’Ts that apply to any website and will help you make sure your readers will be more engaged and take more favorable actions rather than stare at their screen confused!
  • How your homepage would look like
  • The 3 most important pages that you need to patch up on your website — today!

Today’s Guest

Jakob Schweighofer IIP075: Austrian Conversion Optimization Prodigy Shares His Secrets

Jakob Schweighofer is an Austrian entrepreneur. In just a couple of years, he went from installing WordPress themes to becoming a sought-after expert in optimization of websites and conversions. He’s been involved in several projects that made incredible amounts of money in a very short period of time.

As it often happens in business, early stage partnerships don’t hold forever. Not long ago Jakob’s partnerships disassembled and now he’s turning the page and starting afresh.

“I heavily changed my definition [of success] in the last few months, from I-get-a-lot-of-money-out-of-it [to] success is doing the things I like with people I enjoy doing it and be able to live from it.”

I met Jakob at Tropical Think Tank 2014 in the Philippines and was blown away by his knowledge. Since then, I’ve been talking to him at least twice a month about my business and branding and I’m excited to starting to apply all of his ideas.

When it came to conversions, following his ideas has often tripled conversion rates for both Julie and me in our businesses. But more than that, I look forward to follow his advice on creating a strong online personal brand — something he was incredibly successful in creating for himself in the German and Austrian market.

Today’s talk about website optimization is unique, because unlike other experts – Jakob isn’t as excited as about finding that one little tweak, changing the color of a button in just one shade, moving a button by 10 pixels, or making a title a lot more shocking.

Jakob has grown tired of such internet marketing manipulations, and now he focuses on converting the right people the right way in order to build true and lasting brands and businesses for ourselves.

Is It Truly A Good Idea To Improve Your Website Conversions?

This might seem like a funny question. I mean — how could improving your website conversion be a bad idea?

All things being equal, of course you want the highest conversion rate possible.

But things are not equal, and here are some questions to consider:

  • How are you going to improve your conversion rate?
  • What kind of audience will you be attracting due to that change?
  • How engaged is that audience going to be, compared to your existing one?

All these questions affect the effectiveness of the work you’re about to put in improving your conversions.

Conversion Optimization VS Your Core Values

If improving your conversions means installing pop-ups that your audience will not like, e-mail gates that they will not appreciate, or changing the way you write in a way that doesn’t represent you and your core values — Jakob’s verdict is: It’s not worth it.

Think about it: If you could have a list of a hundred people that are absolutely rabid about what you do and buy every product you put out there, compared to a list of 10,000 people that opted-in for all sorts of lead magnets that don’t really represent what you are about and don’t give a rat’s ass about your e-mails and offerings after they got their opt-in magnet. Which one would you take?

Suddenly, the obviousness (let’s pretend that’s a word) of the equation “more conversions = GOOD” is put to doubt.

So what should you be doing to get more bang for your buck? How can you get more engagement and build your e-mail list without filling it with the wrong people? Read below to find out.

Website Design: Do’s & Don’ts

In today’s episode, Jakob covered his Human Conversions Guide Manifesto – how websites should be built in this day and age to create effective and engaging personal brands.

The information below is a quick summary of everything we discussed, but for more information, make sure you listen to the interview as well as download Jakob’s free PDF: The Human Conversions Guide.

Do: Stop Worrying About Conversions

If you read through this post up to this point, you must have seen this first commandment coming.

In order to create a personal brand that’s human, relatable and engage-able you need to put aside the internet-marketing-conversion-optimizing mindset, and think of your website as your meeting place with other human beings that might be interested in you and your services.

The less internet marketing tricks that you play on your audience, hell — the better!

Don’t: Write To An Audience

Following up on the previous commandment, this one distills the way of communication even further: Don’t write to an audience; write to a single person.

The way I achieve that, by the way, is by not writing at all:
I only outline the text I want to write, and then I go on a walk and record it, pretending I’m speaking to one of my readers. Then, my VA transcribes it and turns it into text format, but in case you don’t have your own VA — you can have someone from Elance do that for you for pennies. Or you can even transcribe it yourself!

The point here is not the process as much as the hack that I found to work for me to get out of the “I need to write a post for my site” state of mind and into a “Hey man, here’s some cool stuff I learned from my latest episode”.

See the difference? Your audience (sorry, people) will see it too.

Do: Avoid Complexity

The next thing Jakob tackles is complexity. As you might recall from my interview with Kary Oberbrunner “clarity attracts, complexity detracts”.

Here are just a few ways people are getting clarity wrong:

  1. Every single page on your site needs to have one single job.
    People (myself included) almost always get this one wrong.
    Whenever you write a blog post, ask yourself: what’s the one thing I want this page to do? Build my list? Educate? Entertain? Inspire? Encourage to join my list? Sell my product? Sell my event? It can only be one.

  2. Your homepage is one of the first pages people see.
    Traditionally, it was THE FIRST page that everybody saw, but with today’s social media, many people reach a specific post in your site. Guess what they do then? They go and check out your homepage.
    Here’s the job your homepage was hired to do: Quickly, effectively and clearly communicate who are you, what’s this website about, and what will I (the reader) find here (what’s in it for me?).
    Do that and you help every single visitor who gets to your site understand if you are a good match, and what’s the next action they should take.

  3. Stop giving people so many options.
    I get it, you want people to opt-in to your list. Who wouldn’t?
    So like many others, you think to yourself, “let’s put 5 lead magnets on the sidebar and then at least one of them would apply to every visitor.”
    While that might sound like a good idea, research shows that having too many options actually leads to anxiety, paralysis, confusion, and worst of all, to postponing the moment of decision. Unfortunately for you, that is postponing the moment of deciding to join your e-mail list… until they leave your site and forget about you altogether.

Bottom line:

  • Keep it clear
  • Remove as many elements as possible
  • Don’t bombard people with too many options
  • Make a clear path for visitors to walk through your site

(I really need to apply these for me site, too!)

Don’t: Ask For Stuff You Wouldn’t Do Yourself

Last but not least is the real deal breaker: Whenever you consider putting a new pop-up lead magnet ad, a new welcome gate, or replace your homepage with the only option to get past is for me to give you my e-mail address, ask yourself this:

“How would I feel about this? Would I be willing to take the action I’m being asked to take? How will taking that action make me feel? Do I trust this guy with my email at this stage?”

It’s easy to develop a blind spot and rationalize to yourself stuff people are willing to do – when in fact it might make them uncomfortable.

I’ve done that mistake with my Sign-up process to my membership site back in March 2014.

The solution to this blind spot was incredibly easy: Send it to someone else and ask them: What do they think? Would they opt-in? Would they take the action that is requested on that page?

Final Words

As I said, in the interview Jakob went into much more detail than this summary. For the full story and more information listen to today’s interview (there’s a player at top of the page) and download Jakob’s free PDF: The Human Conversions Guide.

I hope this has been useful for you. If you have any questions to Jakob or me, or if you think we got it wrong, leave your comments and thoughts below.

Mentioned Resources:

 IIP075: Austrian Conversion Optimization Prodigy Shares His SecretsClick here to download your free copy of The Human Conversions Guide

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Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, and I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

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