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HOT TOPIC Learnings from 700+ PMs with fellow forum members

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Andy Black

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To date I've had over 700 PM's with fellow forum members.
(EDIT: 2,500 PMs now.)

I PM to give thanks for following me or for giving me rep.

I always ask how things are going, and strike up a brief conversation.



I've noticed some common themes from these conversations (especially with people trying to get started or trying to "get traction").


My main learnings are that:
  1. People often over-complicate things.

  2. People often get in their own way.

  3. People often believe they can't give value to the forum yet (saying nice things like "I'd love to give back when I can add value.")



Sound familiar?



There's been some classic GOLD threads addressing this, and here's a few:

I wrote a post along similar lines:

And Justin Jackson wrote a great article here:




In my opinion:

  • Over-complicating things, getting in your own way, and not believing you can add value are all symptoms of the same thing.
  • Each of the posts listed above are trying to address this exact same thing.
  • The symptoms above are all related to being "me" centric, and the posts above are all ways to stop being "me" centric.
If your goal is to help others, then things get a lot less complicated.

If your goal is to help others, you're less likely to get in your own way - because you're not even in the picture anymore.

If your goal is to help others, you'll realise that giving thanks to other forum members can add a lot of value to their lives, and to the forum. (We know we should give to receive, but I'd no idea of the power of "giving thanks" until I thanked so many people in the forum.)




A few months ago I decided to "learn to create talking head videos".

I got tangled up that first evening, because my goal was wrong.

My goal was to create a video.

My goal was not to say "thank you" to @SinisterLex for the videos he was adding to the forum.

I screwed up.

I over-complicated things.

I got in my own way.

I believed I couldn't add value to the forum.

All because I was thinking about "me", and not thinking about Lex.




After I gave myself a stern talking to, I created my very first talking head video.

Here it is (and it's very relevant to this thread):





I've done 16 videos so far, and it's not until this evening that I've noticed a common theme.

Here's another video that might help you:






Here's another where I talk about my "founding story"... a story from 2009 that still sends shivers down my spine when I remember it:




I talk a bit more about that story in this radio interview.



Who will you help this week?

Who will you thank today?
 

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AndrewNC

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People often believe they can't give value to the forum yet (saying nice things like "I'd love to give back when I can add value.")
EVERYBODY can add value.

I get the same thing as you do all the time from people I help saying "I wish I could add value someday, I have no skills to offer". What most people don't know is that the help I give them...turns out to be a chapter in my book. Helping them actually helps me because it gives me clarity of what I should write about.

They are helping, even if they don't know it.

Now, being on the other side of the spectrum...

I met Kelsey a week ago and we've been on a number of dates. Her dream is to be a snowboarding instructor.

She gave me free snowboarding lessons. I could have said to myself "I have no value to give back in snowboarding." But she is getting experience helping me...which will make her a better candidate for jobs later. And then I later realized she does network marketing - I gave her some sales training advice that is helping her.

...just because you don't have value to give in ONE context....the person you're talking to can benefit from YOUR area of expertise in other contexts: Cooking/fitness/health/relationships/etc.

 

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I am guilty of seriously over-complicating things but I realized it was due to a few things.

1. I make the decision of 'what idea I want to execute on' way to big of a deal. I feel like I've only got 1 shot so don't want to screw it up. This has caused me to execute on almost nothing.

2. As a part of number 1 I fear losing money on a pursuit that will not have any return.

So I end up way overthinking things and do nothing.

Now I realize I don't have to dump tons of money into an idea before I can find out if it works, so I'm just going with the one that I think *might* be best.
 

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Thanks for this post Andy, I've already checked out one of the threads you suggest, got to go to bed now, but I've bookmarked this.

Cheers
 
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Andy Black

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Someone just PM'd me after reading this post, asking how to learn to give without expectation of anything in return.

Here's my reply:


How to learn to give without wanting anything in return?

Baby steps. :)



Smile first.

Say hello first.

Say thank you.

Give a Like.

Send some Rep.


Strike up a friendly conversation with someone who looks bored or is having a bad day at work.

Hold a door open for someone.

Help someone with their shopping.

Give some money to a homeless person.

Tip a waiter or waitress bigger than normal.

Give a hitch-hiker a lift.

Double back and give a hitch-hiker a lift.

Drop them further towards their destination than you needed to.



Make someone smile.

Have a laugh with someone.

Put your hand on someone's shoulder and look them in the eye when you say sorry.

Put your phone down when someone talks to you.



Start small.

See the effect your actions have on others.

Feel those nice feelings within yourself for doing it.

Create an imbalance in the world.

If you got something back each time you helped someone, then each transaction would be complete.

Have faith it will come back to you.



Like everything, just start.



It's been said I live in a "sunny little world".

I didn't realise I did until they'd said it.

I didn't realise some people lived in dark little worlds.

My world revolves around making other people's days a bit sunnier.

I smile first.

They smile back.

I live in a world of smiling people.

That's pretty good for starters eh? :)
 

Roli

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I am guilty of seriously over-complicating things but I realized it was due to a few things.

1. I make the decision of 'what idea I want to execute on' way to big of a deal. I feel like I've only got 1 shot so don't want to screw it up. This has caused me to execute on almost nothing.

2. As a part of number 1 I fear losing money on a pursuit that will not have any return.

So I end up way overthinking things and do nothing.

Now I realize I don't have to dump tons of money into an idea before I can find out if it works, so I'm just going with the one that I think *might* be best.
What you're displaying is a cognitive bias I like to call (because I couldn't find it named anywhere else) is anxiety-avoidance bias; whereby our brains put a higher premium on avoiding embarrassment, which in turn causes us anxiety, over getting a good result. I wrote an article about it here, it's centered around sports trading, but I've given a couple of good tips which should help anyone in your situation.
 
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Andy Black

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Who can you help? What can you help them with?
(Originally posted here.)


I knew I'd never sit with a manual and go through it step by step when I wanted to learn how to build websites. Instead, I found someone who desperately needed more work, and offered to build them a website. (You can read that story here, and watch the video here.)

I've progressed by constantly trying to help people, and observing where my help has had the biggest impact.

Think about who you have helped in the past, and who you enjoy helping.

What did you help them with? Are there more people who need that help too? Is anyone getting paid to help them?


Demonstrated Cashflows

Some people might say their market is all the women in New York between the ages of 25 and 45 who love tennis and have kids. That's not a market though, that's a demographic.

One of the podcasts on www.tropicalmba.com defines a market as a "demonstrated cashflow".

Some businesses/people use Shopify as their eCommerce store. Being a Shopify customer means they are already dipping their hand in their pocket every month. That is a demonstrated cashflow. Hence the emergence of "shopify ninjas", etc.

I stick with B2B, since business owners can (often) see spend as an investment. If they make/save $2k when they spend $1k with you, then that's a good argument to buy.

World-wide, businesses pay a lot of money to generate new business. They hire sales and marketing people. They spend money on websites, paid advertising, PR, content marketing, etc.

A few years back I heard that Google makes $100m/day revenue from AdWords. That's a big demonstrated cashflow that I can attach myself too. If you're spending on AdWords, you often don't mind spending a bit more to get more bang for your buck.

Follow "demonstrated cashflows".



Product-Founder Fit

Dan Norris mentions this in his book "The 7 Day Startup". (Great wee book btw.)

He thinks too many people just think of product-market fit, and don't think about their own skill levels, experience in business, strengths/weaknesses, and likes/dislikes.

Think about what you tend towards, and what ends up on the bottom of your to-do list even though it's important.

Think about what activities give you energy, and what drain you.





Additional reading
 
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Someone just PM'd me after reading this post, asking how to learn to give without expectation of anything in return.

Here's my reply:


How to learn to give without wanting anything in return?

Baby steps. :)



Smile first.

Say hello first.

Say thank you.

Give a Like.

Send some Rep.


Strike up a friendly conversation with someone who looks bored or is having a bad day at work.

Hold a door open for someone.

Help someone with their shopping.

Give some money to a homeless person.

Tip a waiter or waitress bigger than normal.

Give a hitch-hiker a lift.

Double back and give a hitch-hiker a lift.

Drop them further towards their destination than you needed to.



Make someone smile.

Have a laugh with someone.

Put your hand on someone's shoulder and look them in the eye when you say sorry.

Put your phone down when someone talks to you.



Start small.

See the effect your actions have on others.

Feel those nice feelings within yourself for doing it.

Create an imbalance in the world.

If you got something back each time you helped someone, then each transaction would be complete.

Have faith it will come back to you.



Like everything, just start.



It's been said I live in a "sunny little world".

I didn't realise I did until they'd said it.

I didn't realise some people lived in dark little worlds.

My world revolves around making other people's days a bit sunnier.

I smile first.

They smile back.

I live in a world of smiling people.

That's pretty good for starters eh? :)
Imagine how great this forum would be if people follow this advice.

This advice can change the world one person at a time.
 
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Andy Black

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it is a shame you don`t have your own blog..
Thanks @eekern.

Yeah, I do have my own blog, but I didn't know what to do with it. It was all about AdWords, so I ran out of steam posting on it.

It's not since I've been posting about all sorts of non-AdWords stuff in TFLF that I've realised I can add value to the world in other ways - so I'll start dropping non-AdWords stuff into my blog too.

Oh, and before everyone bounces on my head, I'll "build an email list" and all that stuff that I currently don't do. In fact, I'll then be newbie boy asking dumb email marketing and social media questions. Haha.


I make money by selling my AdWords service to businesses.

I never expected to get work from fellow forum members. (I don't expect forum members to be spending $10k - $100k+ per month (or day!) on AdWords.)

But what's happened for me is that I've got work THROUGH forum members who have referred me onto business owners who DO have significant spend on AdWords. (Plus the occasional wee client from here - hi guys!)

... all because I just wanted to share the knowledge I'd gained so that others in here didn't have to lose their shirt to acquire the same knowledge.



There's a lesson in there somewhere I think.
 

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Delmania

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Oh, and before everyone bounces on my head, I'll "build an email list" and all that stuff that I currently don't do. In fact, I'll then be newbie boy asking dumb email marketing and social media questions. Haha.
In the spirit of giving back, as you have made a difference in my life, I can answer this one. You're an expert in AdWords, so you can create a mini-course (set of videos, an ebook, etc) that you can offer as a lead to people who visit your site to get their email address. As for the content itself, don't fret too much about it, sending out a simple email that informs people of new posts or a digest. If you want to do more, take a look at the 5 Bullet Friday by Ferris.

Don't worry about copywriting or social media, or any of that crap. In your words, just focus on providing value in an email.
 

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See the effect your actions have on others.

Feel those nice feelings within yourself for doing it.

Create an imbalance in the world.

If you got something back each time you helped someone, then each transaction would be complete.

Have


It's been said I live in a "sunny little world".

I didn't realise I did until they'd said it.

I didn't realise some people lived in dark little worlds.

My world revolves around making other people's days a bit sunnier.

I smile first.

They smile back.

I live in a world of smiling people.

That's pretty good for starters eh? :)
I love this outlook. I am guilty of not seeing and accepting my own value and effect on people in the world due to coming from a background of humility in my sport. I never liked to take credit for my own achievements and most certainly for making others feel good.

Instead of pushing away appreciation, I should embrace it and use it as fuel to provide more value. Thanks for that Mr. @Andy Black
 

Delmania

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I love this outlook. I am guilty of not seeing and accepting my own value and effect on people in the world due to coming from a background of humility in my sport. I never liked to take credit for my own achievements and most certainly for making others feel good.
That's not humility, that's meekness. Humility is when you can take credit for your work, but not laud it over it over people. Meekness is based off low self-confidence. You don't think you are worthy of your work. Humility is based on self-confidence. You know you are worthy of your work, but also know you have faults and weaknesses, and that your work needs to be useful to someone.
 
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Andy Black

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This reminds me of a story that has influenced me to this day.

Back when I was a party animal living it up in London, I remember staggering home from Leicester Square.

I was heading up Oxford Street, and even in these wee hours in the morning it was pretty busy with other revellers making their way home.

The guy ahead of me stooped down and, without breaking his stride, shoved a twenty pound note into the outstretched hand of a homeless guy sleeping in a doorway.

The homeless guy shot awake and jumped to his feet - staring in disbelief at the note in his hand.

He started shouting "Yes. Yes.", doing small fist pumps to himself as he gathered his belongings to go find some shelter or food somewhere.

I hadn't even spotted his dark form in the doorway.

It wouldn't have occurred to me to give him any money, never mind a whole £20 note.

Wow.

I looked up to watch the reaction from the Good Samaritan... only to see his back as he continued walking briskly away.

He didn't even glance over his shoulder.

He might not have heard the guy shouting "Yes. Yes."



He hadn't been generous to be a hero to this guy.

He hadn't performed a good deed to even see the effect it had.

He did it anonymously, and kept going before the homeless guy even saw him or had a chance to say anything.

No-one else saw it either. It was done in a split second.

I only saw it because I was walking directly behind him.

The guy not stopping is what I remember most.
 
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Andy Black

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you have made a difference in my life
Wow. That's amazing, and humbling. Thank you for saying that @Delmania


Don't worry about copywriting or social media, or any of that crap. In your words, just focus on providing value in an email.
That made me laugh. I called it "crap" too in my video post-mortem of the sales-pitch I screwed up.
 

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Wow. That's amazing, and humbling. Thank you for saying that @Delmania
:)

That made me laugh. I called it "crap" too in my video post-mortem of the sales-pitch I screwed up.
I can't remember which podcast it was, but one of the episodes of the SPI podcast dealt with writing and sales copy. The answer to the question of "how to do it correctly" was simple: use your own voice. Your audience is there because they like you. Your mannerisms, your personality, the way you phrase things. When the time is right, they'll gladly pay you for something. I don't want to dismiss the value of writing good sales copy, but when you're just starting out, KISS.
 
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funny that I just read this thread.

There is a woman in my town who has been going around for the last 2 weeks picking up trash off the streets for the city I live in voluntarily to help clean it up. I reached out to her to offer up some free goodies as a thank you for what she has been doing.....

...2 hours later and she's going to start working for me on Monday.
 
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Andy Black

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funny that I just read this thread.

There is a woman in my town who has been going around for the last 2 weeks picking up trash off the streets for the city I live in voluntarily to help clean it up. I reached out to her to offer up some free goodies as a thank you for what she has been doing.....

...2 hours later and she's going to start working for me on Monday.
Great story, thanks for sharing.

What a terrific example of doing good without expectation and good things happening in return.
 
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Andy Black

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Video where I talk about PMing 700+ forum members:

 
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I was recently asked in one of those PM conversations:

"What would you say have been the most influencing factors, ideas or strategies that have lead to your success?"



Here was my answer:

"The most important things that have led to my success?

Hmmm... Good question... Thanks for throwing it right back at me and making me think!

Realising that I already have the skills. That I already have the knowledge. That I am smart enough. That I am good enough. That I know enough. That I *am* enough.

That realisation allowed me to be happy with my own path. To start listening to myself. To be at peace. To be grateful for what I already have. And to enjoy the journey.

I came over all peaceful last year.

I'm still driven, but not to prove myself to anyone else, or to myself.

It's given me permission to ignore advice, even from smart people.

To follow my own path."


.
.
.



Your definition of success might be different from the next person's.

Your path is definitely going to be different.

Follow your own path.

"You are enough."

Go!
 

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Andy Black

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Amazing post Andy.

Simple words. Simple truth.
Thanks Aaron.

"Simple" seems to be a common theme recently.

I like simple. High praise indeed.
 

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Andy - just a remarkable thread. Thank you!

I'd like to nominate this thread for gilding, it's total gold. Both a great starter package or mindset revision & reminder. There should be a serious compass thread, a fast lane GPS - beyond mining the already golden threads.

I'm not advocating to be spoon-fed, but a way of having a user get their own bearings. And then learn from the experience. Surgically accepting or crafting the necessities in order to overcome their own incompetence in acquiring the fast lane mindset.

I have so much to learn from everyone here.
 

bryan forsythe

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To date I've had over 700 PM's with fellow forum members.

I PM to give thanks for following me or for giving me rep.

I always ask how things are going, and strike up a brief conversation.



I've noticed some common themes from these conversations (especially with people trying to get started or trying to "get traction").


My main learnings are that:
  1. People often over-complicate things.

  2. People often get in their own way.

  3. People often believe they can't give value to the forum yet (saying nice things like "I'd love to give back when I can add value.")



Sound familiar?



There's been some classic GOLD threads addressing this, and here's a few:

I wrote a post along similar lines:

And Justin Jackson wrote a great article here:




In my opinion, over-complicating things, getting in your own way, and not believing you can add value are all symptoms of the same thing.

In my humble opinion, each of the posts listed above are trying to address this exact same thing.

In my humble (but accurate) opinion, the symptoms above are all related to being "me" centric, and the posts above are all ways to stop being "me" centric.




If your goal is to help others, then things get a lot less complicated.

If your goal is to help others, you're less likely to get in your own way - because you're not even in the picture anymore.

If your goal is to help others, you'll realise that giving thanks to other forum members can add a lot of value to their lives, and to the forum. (We know we should give to receive, but I'd no idea of the power of "giving thanks" until I thanked so many people in the forum.)





A few months ago I decided to "learn to create talking head videos".

I got tangled up that first evening, because my goal was wrong.

My goal was to create a video.

My goal was not to say "thank you" to @SinisterLex for the videos he was adding to the forum.

I screwed up.

I over-complicated things.

I got in my own way.

I believed I couldn't add value to the forum.

All because I was thinking about "me", and not thinking about Lex.




After I gave myself a stern talking to, I created my very first talking head video.

Here it is:





I've done 16 videos so far, and it's not until this evening that I've noticed a common theme.

Here's another video that might help you:






Here's another where I talk about my "founding story"... a story from 2009 that still sends shivers down my spine when I remember it:






And finally (for now!), here's another video where I do a post-mortem of a sales pitch I screwed up:






What do you reckon?

Who will you help this week?

Who will you thank today?
Hey man!!! Right on. Good stuff for today and tomorrow. Timeless. The best kind of evergreen.
All the best.
 
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Andy Black

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Bump.

A few people wondering how to start.

It's very simple - if they would just get out of their own way and stop over-thinking.

(Over-thinking - the art of solving problems you don't have.)
 

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Thanks Aaron.

"Simple" seems to be a common theme recently.

I like simple. High praise indeed.
This is so true in so many aspects of life. Why do people try to over complicate things?

This is a very difficult habit to break and we are all guilty of this most of the time.

In my line of work unfortunately most people over complicate a multitude of things to look or sound intelligent or to actually try and look like they know what they are doing and unfortunately with devastating consequences.

In my line of work clear SIMPLE communication is vital and without clear SIMPLE communication the consequences can be fatal.

My advice to all the complicated people that cross my path is keep it SIMPLE not everyone that crosses your path today or tomorrow will understand what you are trying to say or what you are trying to achieve.

Make sure you understand something to the point you CAN make it sound SIMPLE. Keep it SIMPLE, so a child can understand it.

I know this is not quite the same as what you are saying @Andy Black but I believe this lends its self to that or its at least a good place to start.

Thanks for the PM yesterday @Andy Black, I enjoyed our chat, you are a true gent, keep spreading the love ;)
 
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4,306
Ireland
This is so true in so many aspects of life. Why do people try to over complicate things?

This is a very difficult habit to break and we are all guilty of this most of the time.

In my line of work unfortunately most people over complicate a multitude of things to look or sound intelligent or to actually try and look like they know what they are doing and unfortunately with devastating consequences.

In my line of work clear SIMPLE communication is vital and without clear SIMPLE communication the consequences can be fatal.

My advice to all the complicated people that cross my path is keep it SIMPLE not everyone that crosses your path today or tomorrow will understand what you are trying to say or what you are trying to achieve.

Make sure you understand something to the point you CAN make it sound SIMPLE. Keep it SIMPLE, so a child can understand it.

I know this is not quite the same as what you are saying @Andy Black but I believe this lends its self to that or its at least a good place to start.

Thanks for the PM yesterday @Andy Black, I enjoyed our chat, you are a true gent, keep spreading the love ;)
^^^ 100%


Here's a video on this subject that I did:
 

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