What a great motto and attitude to have in life. In fact I bet if we did a poll on some of the most successful people in the world, one of their character traits would be to buck against the trend and make their own rules.
Isn’t it Warren Buffet who says – “If the masses are doing it, it’s probably wrong!”
[Tweet “Make your own rules! If the masses are doing it, it’s probably wrong, find out more here….”]
Imagine being completely free from worry, from constantly looking around to see if anyone else has or is doing what we’re thinking or looking for a nod of approval.
I’ve been watching Australias version of ‘The Voice’ over the last couple of weeks and Kylie Minogue, as lovely as she is, will rarely make a decision without looking around, seeing if the other judges agree with her or getting a nod from Wil I Am, yet Ricky Martin closes his eyes, takes it all in and turns his chair based on his own gut feelings.
I have so much more respect for Ricky because of this. He doesn’t need approval, he doesn’t care what anyone else is doing, he’s on his own path and he’ll make all his decisions based on the outcomes he wants to achieve. Powerful!
It made me think of an interview I did last year with a chap called Dan R Morris. Quite possible one of the best interviews I have conducted in a long time. It was a long one, but it actually made me sit back and reassess my business and think about how many obstacles I put in my own way, just because I was living within ‘the rules’.
You can see that interview here – Dan R Morris Interview – There’s No Such Thing As Should!
That interview compelled me to write down a set of tips for myself, just guidelines (not rules), which I put together in a small ebook. I decided to share those tips here on my blog.
However if you would like to download these in an ebook PDF format, the link is at the bottom of the page. Feel free to download, save and refer back to as often as you need.
In the meantime, here’s my 12 Tips for Success!
Tip 1 – There is no such thing as should
I’ve selected this as the first step for success, as I think if you can change your thinking and adopt this mindset, it could completely change your business and by default your life!
This first point actually comes following an interview I held recently with the lovely Dan R Morris (a blogging expert) who, every time I said, should we do that, should we do this, he said – “there is no such thing as should”!
How many times do you decide against doing something because you’re not sure if that’s the right way to do it, or you haven’t seen anyone else doing it that way so surely it can’t be right or you simply thing you ‘should’ do it another way?
In fact if you started consciously counting the amount of times you use the word should in your vocabulary on a daily basis I think you’d be shocked!
The fact is we get caught up in thinking the is a right way to do things. There is a right way to launch a product, there’s a specific way to run our social media presence, there is a perfect length for blog posts / articles etc.
The truth is, there is no real right and wrong in your online business. Only test and measure. What will work in one niche may not work in another. What attracts one type of potential customer may not attract another. Therefore it’s your job as an entrepreneur and marketer to get out there and test what works and what doesn’t.
Imagine being completely free of self doubt and fear? That’s what will happen if you simply decide that there is no such thing as should and that to succeed you’re prepared to fail more often than you will succeed.
Grab that mindset and the world is your oyster. All your fear of failure will disappear if in fact it’s failure you search for! The more times you fail the closer you are to success!
So Step 1 of your success steps is to get out there and Make Your Own Rules. Try things your way, try things someone else’s way, try things anyway you want to.
Just give your idea a go, be prepared to fail and then dust yourself off and try again until you hit a winner!
Tip 2 – Stand out from the crowd
We live in a world of information overload. Every single day we are bombarded with information coming at us at a hundred miles an hour, from our smart phones, tablets, computers, TV’s, newspapers, radio, signs, friends, family etc!
In fact there is just so much it’s almost impossible to stand out from the crowd right? How on earth do we get seen in all that noise?
What if I told you that there was actually an easy way to shine like a diamond amongst all the other rubies, gems and mud out there?
Well there’s a word I want you to remember this year and that word is ‘familiarity’. If there ever was a powerful buying phrase, familiarity is it. Familiarity portrays comfort and trust. Comfort and trust equals positive purchasing decisions.
You will stand head and shoulders above your competition if you are a familiar voice that adds value and direction in an otherwise chaotic world.
Try to imagine your brand or business like an old friend, always there to lend a helping hand whenever you’re needed.
Have you been searching for your USP this year? Perhaps you’ve been struggling to find your unique position in the market? Well YOU are it.
The one thing that makes you absolutely, 100% Unique is you. There is no one out there more capable of being you than you. So find your voice, be confident being you. Be the best YOU, you can be and become a familiar voice / face in your market place.
Step 2 – Ask yourself how familiar are you to your market? How much of a friend are you / your brand?
Tip 3 – Less is more
You know it’s funny. I was interviewing a super successful chap recently and I brought up the subject of people wanting maximum results for the minimum amount of effort. We both laughed and said what a silly thought process that was. How you could you possibly achieve the best results if you weren’t prepared to put the required work in to make it happen.
To want the most for the least is an irresponsible way of thinking, that’s the conclusion we came to.
However, I was recently on a boat trip to swim with dolphins (which was amazing by the way) and the guide was telling us how the dolphins swim alongside stingrays, practically stalking them, as the stingray will do the hard work of finding and catching food, then the dolphins will dive in and steal the food from the stingray. In other words making the least amount of effort to get the maximum amount of food!
It occurred to me as she told this story that it’s not just human nature to think like this, it’s an animal instinct. After all why work harder if you don’t really need to?
Therefore it’s your job to make it as easy as possible for your target market to consume and act upon your information with the least amount of effort possible. You need to make it easy for them to find you, to access your info, to buy from you and to get results from you.
It’s very easy in the noisy world we live in to think that the way our potential customers equate value is with quantity, but actually you’d be wrong. Value is about quality, not quantity. In fact I’d go as far as to say that the less quantity but the more quality equals the greater value. (Think diamonds!)
Because of the sheer amount of information coming at us on a daily basis, time has become an ever decreasing luxury. Therefore if you can provide the maximum amount of useable information in the quickest and easiest consumable way possible, you will quickly build an army of fans!
So Step 3 is to master giving the maximum amount of quality information for the minimum amount of effort on the part of the consumer. Let them stalk you and steal your food!
Be the stingray!
Tip 4 – Think Results not Information
This brings us neatly to Step 4. To ensure you can help your audience get the maximum impact from your content for the least amount of effort, you must be publishing actionable, results based information at all times.
There is so much general information out there, that it’s not going to be too difficult to make your content stand out from the competition by simply looking at what you’re publishing from a customer point of view and asking yourself, how can my customer use this?
Imagine the content you’re producing actually changing lives. How viral would that become if you truly could have an impact like that?
So with everything you post / write about / publish, ask how this is useful to your customer. How can they put your information into action in their business / life?
One of the easiest ways to do this immediately is to simply add actionable steps at the bottom of every post / article / video you publish.
A bit like this report!
Step 4 – Be useful – think results, give actionable steps for people to take after consuming your content!
Tip 5 – Focus on engagement
It doesn’t matter how many times I tell others (and myself) that engagement is the most important thing for us to focus on when promoting our business, our ego dictates we look at the amount of fans / followers we have first.
To be honest the number of fans, followers, subscribers etc is irrelevant if no one is talking to you. You could have 100,000 subscribers, but if they’re not really familiar with you, they don’t trust you and they don’t really feel they know you, it’s 100,000 disconnected people who are unlikely to ever buy anything from you.
Imagine only needing 1000 subscribers to start generating between $1000 – $5000 a month!?
Well that is totally doable. You just have to become a trusted friend / authority figure to each and every one of those 1000 people.
The way to do that is to get your community involved. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Form groups on the social networks, send out surveys, hold online events and have an honest and healthy interest on what it is they really need from you.
Know intimately how you can help them and make their lives / businesses easier. Know the result they’re looking for and focus more on adding value than to selling to them.
Step 5 – Get to know your customer, engage in conversation with them and truly know what it is they need from you!
Tip 6 – Stay Ahead of The Game
It’s been proven that much of the engagement / viral sharing online happens on newsworthy items. Just look around you at some of the most popular blogs online. They tend to be news sites.
Reporting on the latest happenings in your industry / niche, will make you the go to person and add to your credibility and authority in your marketplace.
Now whilst I understand only too well how difficult it is to stay ahead of absolutely everything that is happening, especially if you’re a one man team, there’s really no excuse not to know generally what is going on and being able to share / disseminate that info out to your audience.
I talk a lot about niching down and being a specialist in one area. This is where that really helps! Imagine trying to keep up to date with several niches. You’d wear yourself out!
So how to do it. Create google alerts with main keywords you want to monitor. Create Facebook interest lists or google circles with the top authority sites in your niche and spend 20 mins a day just staying abreast of the latest news. Use an RSS reader such as feedly.com to add all your favourite blogs / websites that regularly report on the latest updates and set it to notify you when they publish a new post.
You don’t always have to be the one to break the news, you can simply share other sites.
The more you can share latest updates and keep your audience up to date the more they will trust you and thank you for it!
Step 6 – Stay ahead of the game and keep your audience updated with the latest news in your niche.
Tip 7 – Be Customer Focused
Gosh how marketing has changed over the years. Word of mouth marketing has always been the No 1 way to attract new business, but these days it can happen instantly! You can make a sale, impress a customer, they can post a positive review which someone else can pick up and boom you have another sale, all within a few minutes. Just like that!
Customers are not just purchasers of your product / services, they’re your reference guide, your advocates, your marketing team!
In fact as I write this I’m on a train heading back from last minute shopping on Christmas Eve.
As I shopped I became very aware at how many times I checked my iPad for recommendations of the best places to buy certain presents. Those recommendations were based on reviews, social media and what people connected to me were talking about.
Instant word of mouth!
Imagine all of your products and services pre-sold for you because the experience customers have when buying from your brand/business is so good they can’t help but tell others about you!
This is easier than you might imagine. All you have to do is to treat your customers as you would a friend! Make sure they have everything they need, talk to them and be available to help them should they need it.
Set up systems for fast support (for example a helpdesk), feedback (a facebook page), surveys (google docs), conversation (social media) and incentive based recommendation such as an affiliate program or discount based referrals.
You can be as creative as your mind and resources will allow here, but taking care of your customers doesn’t have to cost much. Just treat them as you would like to be treated yourself!
Step 7 – Put your customers first! Remember word of mouth marketing is the strongest form of marketing out there!
Tip 8 – Live for NOW
How many times have you been told to dream big, set big goals, reach for the stars?
Hundreds of times I’m guessing. I know because I’ve told people the same for years and I totally believe you should.
But while setting those big goals, you should also live big – now! By all means reach for the stars, but on the way, make sure you give yourself some quick wins. Learn to enjoy the journey. In fact the journey is more important than the stars.
Wasn’t it John Lennon who said, ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’.
Sometimes we set ourselves such huge goals with impossible deadlines it actually leads to disappointment and dissatisfaction when we don’t achieve them. The disappointment then leads to lack of confidence and low self-esteem which then leads to us not really believing in our big dreams after all.
What if actually, we gave ourselves a bit of a break. What if we stopped expecting so much of ourselves all of the time and just lived a little?
Look, I love Tony Robbins and according to his values, ‘Mastery is expecting more of yourself than anyone else could ever think possible’.
But that can also lead to exhaustion! So give yourself a break sometimes. Think about what really makes you happy. Don’t worry about what other people think and follow your path to true happiness whatever that may be to you.
Don’t feel pressured by others values and believes, know yours and live by those. Right now, every man and his dog will be talking to you about goal setting.
Well how about setting yourself a goal of being happy and grateful for all the things you have in your life right NOW! Go on, set yourself a goal to simply appreciate everything in your life every day. Then you can’t fail to have achieved one of your goals every day of the week!
Step 8 – Remind yourself of everything you’re grateful for NOW, every day and give yourself a break!
Tip 9 – Life / Work Balance
Following on from my point above, we really have been indoctrinated in society to work, work, work. So much so that we actually feel guilty when taking time off. If we don’t put work as a priority then how can we possibly achieve everything we want in life.
I know I think like that sometimes don’t you? I don’t want to get too deep here, but what’s it all about? Wouldn’t that be a good question to ask ourselves a little more regularly? Why are we doing what we’re doing? What’s the objective?
A few weeks ago I was down at Surin beach in Phuket where we’re living right now. The sun was shining, a beautiful bowl of Thai food was waiting for me to enjoy it, I was swimming in the cool blue Andaman sea and I asked myself that very question. Why am I doing what I’m doing?
My answer was – THIS! This is what I’m doing it all for. To spend time with my family, enjoying the best of life (which for me is the beach, the sun and traveling around the world). I don’t need a gold plated yacht or a fast car. Just to be able to be free and experience life, that’s what it’s all about for me!
Now I admit I do have some fairly lofty philanthropic goals which are going to take a fair amount of hard work to achieve. But I refuse to work 24/7, 7 days a week at the cost of enjoying time with my family.
What’s it all about for you? Have you asked that question lately? WHY are you doing what you’re doing? What does it give you? And how many hours do you really have to work to achieve what it is you want to achieve?
Step 9. Remember you are more than the work you do. Dig deep into what you really want out of life and make sure you stay on your path.
When you do your weekly ‘To Do’ list, schedule YOU time and family time first.
Tip 10 – Embrace the fact you love BSO’s
I love this one. No matter how hard we try, loving bright shiny new things is human nature. It starts when we’re super young and I experience it, at its full force daily with my 7 year old!
So let’s stop kidding ourselves. We like buying new courses, tools, software, apps etc. each one promising to improve our lives just a little bit more. And you know what, each one that I actually use does have an impact in what I’m doing. I may learn a little bit more, get a bit more organised, streamline my business or even just get an idea of how I can do it better or differently.
But note the important phrase in that sentence. ‘Each one I actually use’. That’s the trouble isn’t it? It’s all the stuff we buy that we never look at. That’s the costly stuff!
So here’s a couple of tips for you in 2014. Firstly, pick your teachers not the hype. Pick 2 or 3 people who you really respect and admire and resolve to follow them and take action on what they teach. Buy their courses because you know you’re going to get fantastic value. Buy other courses on their recommendation because you trust them and know they have your best interests at heart.
Ignore hyper product launches from people you’ve never heard of in favour of sticking with the teachers you know truly want you to succeed!
Secondly, only buy something if you can login and begin using it there and then. If you cannot login at that moment and begin to use it, don’t buy it. Make that your rule.
You should be spending 20% of your time learning and 80% of your time doing. So when you go through a course, take notes, follow along and take action immediately. If you don’t use something within the first 7 days of buying it, get a refund as the chances are you won’t use it.
Yep I include my own products in that. We are opportunistic by nature so always make sure you buy something that comes with a no questions asked money back guarantee.
Lastly, know what you want to achieve in 2014 and only buy products that can support your goals. Don’t go off course no matter how attractive the deal. There will always be another opportunity down the line.
Step 10 – Know that you love BSO’s, just be more intelligent about buying them!
Tip 11 – Believe in yourself and your dreams
There will always be naysayers. Some closest to you!
I still remember to this day a couple I was very good friends with who worked for the same company as me. When I handed in my notice determined to start my own business, they tried everything to talk me out of it. I can still hear their words now – ‘well don’t come running to us when it all falls on its backside’ and these were people who cared about me!
Their issue was that they were so full of their own fears of inadequacy they reflected their own feelings and doubts onto me. That’s what the naysayers are doing. Remember, people are very afraid of things they don’t understand and for you to take the leap into being a master of your own destiny is very scary to many people around you. So don’t take it personally, don’t be angry, upset or disappointed. Instead, have sympathy for them.
Understand that it is their fear talking, but you’re not allowing fear to hold you back! Good for you!!!
The really dangerous voice though is the little ‘can’t’ voice inside your head. That’s your fear voice, your own voice of doubt. That’s the little beast we have to fight with every day and I’d love to tell you that voice goes away over time but after 10 years of being an entrepreneur, mine hasn’t left me yet! However, the good news is that the more you try, the stronger your ‘can’ voice gets. Soon for every question your ‘can’t’ voice asks, your ‘can’ voice will answer!
Imagine proving everyone (including yourself) wrong. Imagine achieving all of your dreams and goals, imagine taking your naysayers out to dinner to celebrate your latest achievement!
In fact just take a minute right now, close your eyes and imagine what your life looks like now you are in complete control of your destiny. Now that you took the risks others weren’t prepared to take. Now that you went out there and just made it happen!
Looks good right?
So here’s what you need to do now.
Step 11 – Create a picture board. Be clear about what you want your life to look like, picture it, believe it can be real and then get to work making it happen!
Dreams without action will remain just that – dreams. This is your time to turn them into your life!
Remember to enjoy the journey!
Tip 12 – Commit 100% to having the best life you can.
Following on from my last point, to really experience success in anything you do, you have to be 100% committed to making it work.
Whether we want the perfect landscaped garden, to lose 20lbs, to generate an extra $5000 a month or just to experience happiness every day! It doesn’t matter what it is, achieving your desired result takes a commitment to that achievement.
The challenge with our life’s goals is that they are long term. We have to be committed every day, which is tough for anyone to do. Life gets in the way, doesn’t it?
Things get too hard, or events occur that take us off course, or we simply get caught up in day to day humdrum and forget to move towards our goals.
How do we get the balance right? How do we stay committed but not get stressed? How do we know if the commitment we have is really taking us in the right direction? How do we remind ourselves to get back on track when we’ve deviated a little? Why does entrepreneurship sometimes feel so darn lonely?
I’m sure there will have been times when you have asked yourself these or similar questions.
One of the easiest ways to stay committed to your goals is to surround yourself with like minded people who want the same things as you do.
That’s why things like running groups or slimming world etc can work so well. You’re regularly meeting and conversing with other people who can help you stay motivated.
Groups like these also add an element of accountability to what you’re doing.
If you’re surrounded by support, positive energy and other people who are achieving the successes you want everything becomes real, tangible and achievable.
All of a sudden you’re not alone and you CAN DO IT!
Step 12 – Find a group of like-minded people to achieve your goals with. Join a mastermind or a club or a meetup group. Start your own group!
Whatever it takes, just get yourself surrounded by an energy force of people who can help you stay motivated on your path to success!
Thank you for reading this little guide!
Let me know below which tip has resonated the most with you and what you’re going to do TODAY to live by your own rules!