This post will save you $100,000. You can thank me later.
Earlier this year, I decided to take some risks in order to grow.
I’m a bit of a risk junkie – I love to push myself to the edge in order to see what happens.
Have you ever noticed how your brian sees the “worst case scenario” right before you take a risk?
“If I fail, then I’ll lose my savings, and then I’ll be on the street, and then I’ll be eating out of a garbage can and talking to raccoons!”
“If I fail, then my girlfriend will leave me, and I bet she’ll go out with LARRY… and then I’ll have to be the guy who lost his girlfriend to LARRY, and then I’ll always be alone, eating with raccoons, while Larry is dancing with my girl!”
I’m sure you can relate. No one likes raccoons or Larry.
Those “worst case scenario” things almost never happen, which is why fear is kind of bullshit.
(A friend remarked this week that they like it when I say “bullshit” when writing. So far we’re up to a “bullshit” count of one in this post.)
This was one of those times, though, that the “worst case scenario” actually happened. For me, my worst case scenario was to lose my investment of $100,000. That happened. In six months. Ouch.
It really, really sucked.
Side Note: for those of you who think that life is just always roses once you have financial security or become an internet marketing guru, that’s bullshit (count: two).
Anyway, I had my week or so where I wallowed around in misery, feeling like a failure and beating myself up, and then I put down the chocolate ice cream and started moving again.
It turned out to be a wonderful, rich, enlightening growth experience, because it finally gave me permission to cut out things that I hate. And I recovered that money within about 60 days of learning the lesson by way of pain (funny how that works, right?). But they were expensive lessons to learn, nonetheless.
So, to spare you the money it would take to learn these lessons yourself, just take them from me.
Here’s how to lose $100,000 in six months…
1) Focus on GETTING instead of giving. Most people approach business, relationships, social circles, opportunities… just about everything, really… with a “taker” attitude. They analyze what they are going to get rather than what they can contribute.
I’ve heard people argue that this is actually a good thing, but I just think that is bullshit (count: three). Every person that I see operating with that mentally ends up “getting” less than they expected, which makes them feel like they have to go out and “get” even more. It’s a cycle.
For example, when I date a girl for selfish reasons, someone always gets hurt. One of two things usually happens: either I’m so focused on making myself look and feel good that I neglect her needs, or I’m so caught up in thinking about “winning her over” that I act like a buffoon and push her away.
All of that goes away when I think about what I can give rather than what I can get.
In this business example, I was focused on how much I could extract from a sales message, an affiliate, and how much money I could “get” from a product, rather than creating a great product that naturally sold itself. Yeah… that’s a problem. It resulted in unhappy customers and an unhappy Ryan.
Here’s why this matters:
When you think about what you can “get,” it puts you in a state of lack. If you have to GET something, that assumes that you DON’T HAVE IT. And when your brain is constantly thinking about what it doesn’t have… well… that’s what we call a bad thing. And then we get depressed and eat with raccoons and worry about Larry.
But when you think about what you have to GIVE, it assumes that you *already have something to give.* That puts you in a place of abundance. And when you operate from a place of already having something, and simply sharing what you have, that’s a much more resourceful state. You tend to do your best work from that place.
People are attracted to that type of person. People who have something to give are calmer, more present, have less stress, and are the type of person that others want to be around. So, find something to give, and start doing it. That will open up doors. TAKING will shut them.
2) Buy traffic to something before you have your conversions dialed in. This makes me want to barf, because it’s such a rookie mistake.
I don’t know what I was thinking. If something doesn’t convert, don’t spend money to promote it. That’s pretty much all there is to say about that.
By the way, if something doesn’t convert, it’s probably because you’ve already done #3…
3) Deviate from your core message. I love sales copy. I love sales psychology. I love NLP, magic words, and copy tricks that increase conversions.
That is, until you do them so much that you deviate from the original message that you are trying to convey.
You’ve got to realize that your sales message is a portal – it’s a filter that allows certain people in the door. If you speak to the lowest common denominator, you’re going to get lowest common denominator customers.
If you make things sound easy and “push button,” then you are going to filter in the people that think that that kind of bullshit is possible (count: four).
Now, if you’re okay with that, then that’s fine. I know people who are totally cool catering to that market, and they do a damn good job at it. I’m not okay with it, but I tried to do it anyway. And I lost.
(Note: the minute that I changed this, everything became seamless and easy. When you operate from your core message, good stuff just starts to show up.)
I need to explain WHY I did made this mistake though, because at the time, it seemed logical:
Our rationale was that we would do what it took to make money in order to fund the type of business that we really wanted. I realize now that this was bullshit (count: five).
We thought that we’d do what it took to make money, and then we’d build the type of business that we wanted.
But that’s no more true than you sitting in your office right now, thinking that you’ll work there until you can afford to live the life that you want. Once you can afford it, you’ll start doing the things that you want, right? Yeah, how long are you going to keep believing THAT lie?
But I was living that lie too, just under the guise of a business.
JUST LIVE THE LIFESTYLE YOU WANT NOW. The rest will show up.
JUST BUILD THE BUSINESS THAT YOU WANT NOW. If your message has any impact to it, things will happen. And if your message sucks, you’ll find out quickly.
What’s funny is, I thought that I had to “afford” the business that I wanted… but once I lost my investment, I just started doing the things that I wanted my business to be about anyway, and cool stuff started happening.
4) Completely remove yourself from the important parts of the business.
Systems and processes are good.
Ignoring operations with the expectation that people are getting stuff done like they are supposed to is bad.
I’m guilty of the latter, which is why I’m a lot better when I partner with implementers who will manage that stuff, while I just focus on my unique abilities.
5) Hire before you need to. It is better to wait for the right person to come along than to hire someone who can fill the spot… unless the position requires simple monkey work. If they will be packing boxes, it’s okay to have someone who follows a simple process.
Anything that requires creativity or self-initiative needs a person who fits the post. Put out feelers and wait for the right person. Do all things quickly EXCEPT for hiring. Mis-hires are very, very expensive.
6) Use InfusionSoft. Because of some glitches with the shopping cart InfusionSoft, we overpaid affiliates and gave away a lot of products without charging people. We reported it, they denied fault, and lost about $50,000. Every single person that I know that uses InfusionSoft hates them, yet people continue to consider it as a functional option because all the cool kids used to use it.
7) Worry about what other people are doing. My last serious girlfriend had two very awesome grandparents. I asked them both at separate times about the secret to life. They both told me this:
“Work hard, and don’t worry about the success of others.”
That was among the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever received.
And yet I need to be reminded of it over and over again.
When everyone in the world is peddling how awesome they are, talking about their big ideas, and telling you what is “working for them,” it’s easy to feel confused and to think of yourself as a failure. Remember a few things:
1) They’re exaggerating their success most of the time, because they’re comparing themselves too and want to feel good.
2) Real success comes from doing from what you do best, so directly copying what other people do will not serve you in the long run.
3) Other people being successful doesn’t hinder your success. Be happy for them. They will recognize true happiness among the bullshit (count: six).
I have one client who is very concerned with the direction of his industry. It’s getting very hypey, and he feels like he has to “out-hype” his competition in order to stay near the top.
Instead, I proposed that we do the opposite, and to stop worrying about what other people were promising, and just make a message that resonated along with a product that was kickass.
The result? One of most profitable product launch that that industry has seen in years. Super happy customers. Very low refund rates.
My friend Matt Clark recently had the second biggest product launch in internet marketing history. He didn’t use any overhype or secret NLP tricks. He focused on giving as much as possible and letting the cards fall where they lay. Everyone else is saying that “cheap is good,” and he came out with a super high price, because he knew what it was worth.
People told him that he was crazy. I was one of them. But Matt wasn’t worried about what everyone else was doing – he just did his thing. The rest is history.
Everybody else is trying to be everybody else. They brag about their success because they want you to like them. Just go be you – people will find it so weird that they can’t help but follow everything that you do.
Success comes down to this:
– Do what you love to do and be really good at providing a crazy amount of value.
– Surround yourself with people who will support you and help you grow.
– Ignore everything else. The rest is bullshit anyway (final count: seven).
If you deviate from that, you may just lose $100,000, too.