2012 was an amazing year for me. I left my dead-end job; I started an entrepreneurship magazine; I moved to a new country; I spent 1×1 time with internet marketing gurus Ed Dale and Guru Bob; I attended the ePub conference in LA and met amazing people who have become dear friends of mine; I moved countries once again, and finished 2012 by helping Julie launch her own makeup magazine.
Here’s the funny thing: Judging by my last year’s resolutions I had little hits and a ton of misses. How can a year — where I hardly accomplished any of my plans — end up so great? That was the question I needed to answer in order to make 2013 even better.
I Was Lucky In 2012
I got lucky in 2012, but that’s not surprising given the fact that luck can be created by massive action taking. In 2012 I unleashed some wild action-taking practices, and made sure to grab the bull by the horn. But how can I use my new year’s resolutions to guide and direct the sheer force of action-taking in 2013?
I found the answer to this question at the LA Marriott Airport Hotel, in the hands of Phil Lopez.
All goals are composed of ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’; All of your goals must resonate with your core values. The ‘what’, the ‘why’, the ‘how’ — must all resonate with the ‘who’. Find the ‘who’, and the rest becomes obvious.
Many of my 2012 resolutions where about the lifestyle I wanted to live. As it turns out, I was reverse-engineering this lifestyle goals using the wrong thinking path of “How->Why->What”.
“I hear Pat Flynn is making good money from niche websites” — that’s the ‘how‘.
“I want to quit my job and never work for corporate again” — that’s the ‘why‘
“I need to make good passive income to allow that” — that’s the ‘what‘.
The result? In 2012 I set to build 3 successful money-making niche websites. I focused on “good” niches, not on niches that I had any interest in.
When you start with the ‘how’ or the ‘why’, your goals are born out of fear, greed, and short-sighted thinking. Ultimately, the ‘what’ does not resonate with you, and the goal is missed. As I hate writing about stuff that I don’t care about, it was incredibly stupid of me to resolve to do just that!
How I Found My Deeper Calling
The correct path to choosing your goals in life, explained Phil, is starting with who you are and then realizing what you want and why. At that point, the how should become obvious. It’s “Who->What->Why->How” vs. the common “How->Why->What”.
Using an exercise that Phil gave me (and is included in his fantastic new book, scheduled to be released at Q1 of 2013), I finally found my ‘who’. These are my 6 core values that will serve as my compass in 2013:
Making a difference
Going the extra mile
Putting The Rubber On The Road
Looking at these values, I realized that my problem was not corporate vs. entrepreneurship or freelancing. My problem was that I was not satisfying my core: I was not making a difference. I was not growing.
Look, I know there’s an endless debate of “Should passion be your work? Should work be your passion? etc.” But reflecting on 2011 and the first half of 2012, I extracted the following three life lessons:
3 Lessons I Learned About Life In 2012
The base of leading a happy life is to enjoy what you do.
It really doesn’t matter how much money you make if you don’t enjoy what you do.
There is no sum of money in the world that is worth wasting your time for.
It’s now time to create my resolutions for 2013
This year I’m using a different process, combining core values with Google-style goal making. I will share the process and my resolutions with you on my next blog post — I bet it could help you with your own resolutions, so stay tuned!
How about you? Did you make your 2013 resolutions already? Answer YES or NO in the commets section below!
Chris Guillebeau recently shared a question on his blog:
You arrive very late at an airport you haven’t been to before. Security takes forever, but the flight is on time—which means you’re even more rushed. You walk into the terminal and look for your gate: A70. Damn… you’re currently at A18. Above you is an “Express Train” that runs between A1 and A75 with an unknown number of intermediate stops.
You know if you take the escalator up to the train and catch a ride it could be faster—but remember, you’re unfamiliar with this airport… remember, time is short. You have only ten minutes to get to A70 before they close the flight.
The question really is how much control are you wiling to give up on? Today, I would take the train.
It’s not because I’m lazy, or because I come from a country where it’s forbidden by law to leave passengers behind (I often forget that this is not the case in other places around the world). I’d do it because I became well-adjusted to finding myself in unexpected circumstances, and figuring things out.
I trust my ability to respond in an agile manner, regardless of the outcome I originally went for. Remember, I might miss the flight in any of the alternatives either way, so why run like a maniac? Better off choosing one action, such as going up the stairs, and figure it out from there. There’s always another flight leaving sometime, if this doesn’t pan out.
I left Israel 100 days ago. Due to an unexpected change of circumstances, I had to find my way back, QUICKLY. Reflecting on my time in Denmark, I realized that the original outcome I was aiming for (leaving Israel and living a much less stressful life) was not the most beneficial one.
Learning how to figure things out quickly and making rapid-action-taking my way of living, is the most significant benefit of this period abroad. Taking action brought me outcomes that were both unplanned and beyond any of my expectations or dreams. “It is wiser to find out than to suppose” said Mark Twain.
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day
Teaching your market has many benefits. Lets examine 7 advantages of educating your prospects for free, and how it can be an amazingly profitable strategy for you.
When I started my business at 2006 I was developing a website management system. The system’s main feature was being super easy to use. It’s second strength was automatically improving the site’s SEO.
Meet the uneducated customers
My target market was people who needed a website but had low computer and internet skills. A simple-to-use program was my solution to them. Most of them didn’t even have a website yet. That’s what I call today “Uneducated Customers“.
My offer appealed to these uneducated customers because it was an easy to use system that helped ranking well. They thought that it’ll be like magic.
They didn’t know better.
Once the website was launched, I sat down, one-on-one with each customer, and started teaching them the basics of SEO. I taught them why content matters, explained keywords, importance of consistency, articles length, back-links, multimedia…the whole lot.
I considered educating my customers a vital part of the business. Wouldn’t you?
THE OH-DEAR-GOD MOMENT
Funny creators, customers. The more time we spent together discussing SEO, they more restless they became. The more thorough I was, the angrier they got. The more I educated my uneducated customers, the less satisfied they were.
I was spending my precious one-one-one time with each customer, trying to help them out. Still, none of them were happy. How could it be? Something was terribly wrong.
Simply put, this is what happens when uneducated prospects become your uneducated customers. Tweet This
The Amazing Advantages Of Educating For Free
Advantage #1: You Get Educated Prospects
This is kinda obvious. If you educate your prospects and your market, you will get educated prospects. More than that, you will get prospects educated by you.
This means you get prospects and leads that trust you and acknowledge your position as a market expert. How much easier will it be to sell to them??
Let’s compare educating an uneducated customer (someone who already paid you) Vs. an uneducated prospect:
Advantage #2: You Save Money On Refunds And Customer Support
As the comparison above shows – it’s not only easier to sell (and up-sell) to educated prospects, but it’s also much easier to maintain and support educated customers compared to uneducated.
Let’s assume that thanks to you, your customers will have a better grasp of the market and better understanding of how to use and benefit from your services and products.
By what factor do you think your refunds rate will plummet? 50%? 70%?
Add that to spending far less time and money on customer support and you’ve got yourself a nice addition to your bottom line.
Advantage #3: You Become An Authority
When you spend time educating your prospects, it’s inevitable that you will become an authority in your market. Your expertise will be acknowledged, and so will your opinions (you should really have some of those!).
Being an authority is obviously a huge advantage. You’ll be converting prospects at much favorable rates, while being able to get top dollar value for your services.
You will also attract higher paying and more professional customers. That’s how you attract people who value…value.
And oh yeah, in this frame you will also have the upper hand in negotiations.
Advantage #4: You Build Trust And Form a Tribe
Once you become a constant stream of great information, amazing things start happening.
Both Ed and Pat have MASSIVE tribes formed around them. When they have something to say, PEOPLE LINE UP TO HEAR THEM.
Any new offer these guys make, is sold even before they open their mouth.
Watching their social proof in action as a side viewer is intoxicating.
You can have the same.
Advantage #5: You Become The Go-To Guy
Once you start building a tribe, you are gaining mass.
Mass means one thing: Traction. It’s pure physics.
The bigger the tribe, the more traction you get. The more traction you get, the more referrals, traffic, subscribers, buyers, customers, joint-venture partners and opportunities you have.
Advantage #6: Your Knowledge Will Improve Dramatically
This is a lesson I learned when I was 14 years old, on a summer vacation job at ‘Teva Pharmaceutical industries’ AKA the largest drug manufacturer in the world:
The best way to learn how to do something, is by teaching someone else how to do it first. Tweet This
Creating and curating a constant stream of content will force you to get better, to learn more, to know more.
You will naturally start reading more often and more sophisticated content, which is generally a good idea when doing business.
The art of transforming something your read to something you teach greatly enhances your understanding of the matter.
And it will drill the material into your cortex so hard, it’ll never leave. This is knowledge that’ll stay with you forever.
Advantage #7: Giving Stuff For Free Is A Very Profitable Plan
For most people, having more educated customers, higher conversion rates, social proof, forming a tribe, becoming an authority and the go-to guy of the market is enough.
But I get it, you shoot for the stars. You want to make every minute you put into your business count. It OK. I have one word for you:
Repurpose: Anything you give out for free, you can also repurpose and sell.
Your webinar or Google Hangout? Can be later sold as DVD or downloadable material. Your great blog posts? Can become an Ebook or even a real book. You can also convert them to audio and sell them as audio CDs or as podcast pro-subscriptions. Your talks can become an agenda for a talk you give in conferences. Possibilities are endless. Be creative!
Bringing It Home: An Action plan
I strongly believe that reading this post won’t do you any good unless you actually take action. Tweet This.
So here are some steps for you to take:
Evaluation & Assessment
Ask yourself these questions, and be truthful in your answers:
Did I ever have a buying experience where I made a bad decision because I was uneducated? How did that make me feel?
Did I ever buy anything else from that seller?
Do I put my customers in the same position?
Am I aware of the dangers that converting uneducated prospects to uneducated customers poses to my business?
Am I an authority in my field?
Do I have a tribe of followers?
Who are the leaders in my market? What information are they giving out?
How could I outdo them?
Actions to take
Here are some actions you should take in order to improve your position, and start reaping the fruits of educating your market (DO IT!):
Contact your customers
Contact your customers and ask them the following questions:
What do they wish they knew before they purchased your product?
What gaps they still have about the field/market or your product?
Start publishing content, under these guidelines:
Publish at least once a week an answer to a question that a customer raised in your assessment phase.
This is great not only for market leadership but also for customer satisfaction and engagement.
Be consistent! You’re better off doing it once a week for a year than five times within one week and no more.
Publish information you wish all your customers knew.
Whenever you stumble upon a good resource – blog post, video, article – that you think your market will benefit of – share it!
You should also share these little gems with your cold leads. It’s a great door opener. Don’t send the email expecting them to call you back. Send it because you care for your market and your prospects.