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MustImprove

Speed Is Good, usually only in the right direction
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Dear newly minted Fastlane member,


Good News!


With “just“ a focused attitude, relatively minor action (in terms of your life), little money, and without any formal qualifications whatsoever….

…(it’s true)….

…. you can set yourself on a verified road to financial freedom that will astound your friends, confound your enemies, and give you a grin to make Will Smith’s pearly white smile look British.

Well hot dang! Ain’t that terrific?

Sure is MustImprove, sure is! That’s why I’m here man! What next?!!

Well, I'll explain more below, but first.......


Bad News!

90% of people reading this won’t be bothered to make even the relatively minor effort required.

Threads here have shown time and time again that people can’t resist looking for the lazy-boy way to a mil, even though nearly every real millionaire says it doesn’t work like that.


…but wait, hold on, what’s that you say? All of you are part of the 10%?

Oh well, OK, then great! …and in that case I’ll continue. It’s my turn to put something in the pot.

This thread might get a few reads after all!


The Call We All Want…

A few days ago I received a most marvellous phone call. The type of call that makes you sing to your dog.


Oh, and for @Vigilante ----this is the start of the “next time”. Thanks. :)


It was a customer who I have done business with before, and he’s a good one.

This chap plays the yes/no game with millions of dollars. Are you a “yes” or are you a “no”?…for the money I mean. Well, he decides.

Anyway, I’ll paraphrase, but this is roughly how the conversation went”


Mr Millions – “Hey, MustImprove, how are you? Family doing OK?”

MustImprove – “All great thanks, hopefully you too. I’ve been hanging about with the cool kids over at The Fastlane Forum, discussing how wonderful entrepreneurial life can be. Boy oh boy, I sure feel dandy when I’ve added so much value for my customers that they just LOVE to do business with me, and that when they have a problem that smarts like a 5 year old jabbing your iris, I’m number 1 on their speed dial.”

Mr Millions – “Wowsers, I bet that’s a rockin good joint, but listen……..I have a problem that smarts like a 5 year old jabbing your iris, and you’re number 1 on my speed dial!”


OK, ya got me. That bit was HEAVILY paraphrased, but you get the gist.


So let’s split up and look for clues.

Those who still think the shiny silver bullet to drill the werewolf of mediocrity between the eyes is just around the corner on the internet, you go that way.

Those who are interested in learning something of the real world that can make every day like a Superbowl half-time show, come with me.


The Clues

Some of you still with me? Top work team! On we go!

Look, I’ve found some clues!

Besides, the luminous footprints, and a fake beard, please note the following:


Clue Number 1

Mr Millions didn’t talk about price. He knows my company will be one of the most expensive solutions, and this will be a 200k deal roughly (yeh yeh yeh fellow travellers, I know I need to expand my own mind-set too J). A solution is a higher priority.​


Clue Number 2

Mr Millions didn’t dictate terms, such as being here or there at certain times, or how I solve the problem. A solution is what matters.​


Clue Number 3

No clue, but just to drive it home like a prefect’s wedgie….. A. Solution. Mattered. More. Than. Anything.​


Now pay attention you potential power value generators, a key question is coming up!


A Key Question

How much incremental effort did it take me to secure a solution focused deal worth more than 7 times the average annual USA salary from just 1 customer?


I’ll have to hurry you…….​


You sir, with the stylish Hawaiian shirt at the back (not you Vigilante)….. Correct! – almost no effort at all!


Wow, imagine that. Almost zero effort!


No copywriting challenges and split-testing for months.

No 10k seminars with a guru.

No reading books for years.

No setting up a website, logos, and agonising over a brand.

No Google.

No research.

No digging in forums (again for years!) for the magic “buy now” link that will mean I can print money with no effort forever.

No No No No No No No….


”All” I did to win another great deal was solve the right problem at the right time for the right person ONCE BEFORE.


I want you to think about that.


<contemplation time for you and for me>


‘…and I wuda gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you darned kids!”


Enough reminiscing. What’s the lesson here, and what specifically should you do?


The Lesson Here

At the start, your most important piece of self-development (in my humble opinion), is to become a black belted, top-of-the-class, 1st round draft, Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, whoop-a$$ problem solver!

An ability (and reputation) for solving problems can open doors for you in any industry you choose, and for the rest of your life.

Think about that too!.....the rest of your life. Right now that probably feels like a long time. Well, that feeling won’t last as long as you expect, so enjoy it now!


…and by the way, some of those things I just told you “NO”/ not to do ARE actually important, just at a different time in your development. You need to use them selectively, but you don’t need them to start solving problems now.


So I say “become a problem solver”, and you (might) say. “Good for you MustImprove, but……..”:


“How do I become a problem solver?”


“Every problem is different!”


“How do I win the deal to solve the first problem?”


All valid questions. You are just starting out. You want/need more detail…I gets ya.


What Should You Do? – Two Steps

The first step is easy. It’s not easy to maintain, but that’s for later.


Step1….you find a girl to lov…..oops, sorry.

<reset>

Step 1 - Make a personal decision that from now on you will be steely determined


This means that you commit yourself to repeated and continuous effort, focused on a problem at hand, until you deliver a satisfactory solution (and ideally a delightful solution) for the person with the problem


Decided already?


Nah. Not right.


It doesn’t need to take a week, but you should consciously embrace this decision. It took me a few attempts, but one day, I really decided, and I’ve not looked back since.​



Step 2 - Develop your problem solving “muscle”

…and now we get to the piece that most of you will ignore, or promise to get back to later, and go for some action faking that will get you in trouble with @theag . If that’s you, you are probably one of the 90%.


By the way, @theag is a valuable member here. He’s a tough love “back-hander” kind of chap, and he smells action faking across continents. He knows the score. Good luck in the ring with him if you are a 90%er!​


For the remaining 10% of the 10% who stayed and haven’t got fed up with me yet, and by my reckoning that’s about 1% of those who read my opening lines, this is my Step 2 challenge to you.


I want you to get into the habit of solving problems for people.


That’s “all”.

It doesn’t need to take too much of your time.

It doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money.

It just takes a conscious decision and some effort.​


Just start, and start simply.


Your first goal is to find someone that has a problem…almost anyone with almost any problem, and smash that problem to smithereens…..out of the park son!

However small it seems, just make that person’s life better…..for free, and without obligation of any kind. Pheww…heavy I know!


….and then, when you have done that and they say thank you (probably), make some time for yourself, pause for more contemplation, and reflect that you got your “starter for 10” (first question) correct, and that you’re now “in the game” properly.

You will have solved a real problem for a real person.

That’s worth a whole week of browsing without real action.


So, then you are a hero to someone. Birds are flyin high, and you’re feelin……good.

….then go be a hero again!.....and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and….well you know how this works.


You Will Become More Effective With Every Solution

As you solve each new problem you will get better and better at solving.

At first, your creative synapses will barely sputter a spark. You will find solutions hard to come by.

However with each solution sprint, and with your different: approaches, angles, and possibilities, you pour creative go-go juice onto your nascent twinkles of brilliance.

You get better. You get faster. You get stronger and more effective.

More importantly, your personal reputation will grow, as will your self-belief and personal confidence.

People will start to call you when they need a solution.

You will be number 1 on more speed-dials, and that’s a powerful position.


Start To Focus Your Energy

…and then, as you keep reading this forum and TMF (for young Jedi, I know you will still read a lot whatever I/we say), you will become more aware of the value that each of your solutions generate.

…and then, as you become more aware of the value that each solution generates, you will become more aware of the potential for money to flow to you as a result of your problem solving.


…and then you will be able to focus on the solutions that will make you a fully paid-up rubber stamped fastlaner.


….and Then Comes Copywriting and Marketing

@MJ DeMarco and others will tell you that selling, copywriting, and marketing are absolutely vital for fastlaning.

….and they’re spot on, absolutely right. Well, who knew eh?

My only nuance is that you get yourself on the road and rolling first, and in my (extremely) humble opinion you do that best by solving the problems you see first. As you roll on, you focus…..and then you scale with the skills!


Still Doubting?

Well, OK. I can’t force it, but do remember I am telling you this from a very personal perspective.

This is what has worked for me, and nearly every successful person I have known/read about operates (more or less) in this way.

By some standards I am reasonably successful (top 3% financially according to the stats), and I wake up thankful and happy every single day. Life is wonderful.

However I know that I am far from a finished article. I have a lot of work to do to improve. I must! ….but still I hope I can pass on a gift to you so that you can fulfil your potential in your own way.

I don’t need to write this up. I have nothing to gain, apart from the pure satisfaction of passing on some knowledge to others, and giving back to this most special community.

Make of it what you will.


Summary

Problem solving works.

It works for customers and it can give you everything you want too.

It’s not easy, but it is doable. You can do it. You just need to start doing it.

I have personally witnessed millions of dollars being given to people who solve problems. You can be one of those people.

You can choose to be a sheep in the utterly fruitless mass flock search for an easy mil, or you can choose to be a problem solver that the mil will find. It really is your choice.


Now, I’m off to sing to my dog. Success and good luck to you all!




P.S. Respect to MJ and all the other authors and posters who have shared “execution” stories and advice to help new fastlaners before me. I salute you. This is merely my take and real world experience around execution and solutions, and it’s just my small contribution to the shared pool of knowledge. Best wishes!
 
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MustImprove

Speed Is Good, usually only in the right direction
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Hey @TomTrepreneur !

You were first to bat in today’s Fastlane innings of life, so I’m going to dig in to your questions first.

I want to give you a personalised and thought-out answer, and so (if you will excuse me) I took a look through some of your old posts.

You come across as a decent and enthusiastic type. A good foundation! I’m not looking to beat you up or anything, and stalking isn’t my bag, so just take what I say as well intentioned. I want you to get “it”…….and all the joy that goes with “it”.


About 20 months ago in another thread, amongst other stuff TomTrepreneur said:

How would you go about finding out the information you would need in order to provide value in an area where it is lacking….”


MustImprove Translation Services Ltd reckons that might mean:

“……in what way do we go looking for problems to solve?”​


About 20 hours ago in this thread, TomTrepreneur said:

“…..in what way do we go looking for problems to solve?”


About 20 months ago in the other thread, a real smart person with more that 10k in his RepBank called @Get Right said to TomTrepreneur:


“Analysis paralysis.

Get in the game bro.

Love to see action in your next post! Go get it!”


….and, about 20 months ago in the other thread, some new guy called @MJ DeMarco with oh, I dunno, about 120k in his RepBank said:


“Engage in life. Engage an industry.”



…and yet….

About 20 hours ago in this thread, TomTrepreneur said:

“In a nutshell, my life currently comprises of me studying for most of the day, going to the gym in the evening and meeting friends on the weekends for drinks... “


Now that indicates to me that you haven’t really decided to be an entrepreneur yet, but you have decided that you like the potential payoff. Hmmmmm…….


….and that’s like trying to hit the winning home run, clinch the title, swig the champers, do the interviews, jump in the Lambo, raz back to your swanky mansion, and slap your supermodel wife on her tush as she pours the Margaux and flips your Wagyu steak……


……whilst you are on the back row of the stands with your soggy popcorn.


So yeh, like I said, first you got to decide man!

That’s step 1.


The key thing about this entrepreneurship lark is that you need to build a small snowball and start it rolling. In fact, scratch that, you probably need to build hundreds.

The point is that not all snowballs will hold together and gather momentum, but eventually you get better at building the core of the snowball, and better at rolling them. Then you have a chance of building one that starts to roll on its own, adding to its own layers as it trundles.


So, let’s assume that this time you REALLY decide to be an entrepreneur. Then what?


Let me address your questions directly:


“….is it literally as direct as asking random people "do you have any problems you need help with"?


No, if you do that, folks will think you’re a scout with a hormone issue. Best not.


“Like literally helping someone take out the trash? I know that's not much brain work, but is this the kind of attitude you're talking about, just to get into the mode of helping people in at least a small way?”

Now you are getting warmer, and since you mention the trash, let’s get all hypothetical.

Imagine, go on play along…..

…….You are on your way to work, and you see a previously un-noticed elderly neighbour struggling to lift their rubbish bag. Do you……


A) Trot on. “Hey, life’s tough for everyone dude, en I got ma mojo on to pay 6 dollars for a Starbucks pumpkin special!”


B) Stop and help.​


Turns out Mrs Jones wants to give you two dollars. Obviously you politely refuse (now ain’t that the perfect word!).


Turns out Mrs Jones has several elderly neighbours, and you know that old Jack has a bad back, and Mrs Jones used to help him, but now Mrs Jones can’t even do her own really.


Turns out your town has an aging population problem.


Turns out the official regulations forbid your official city refuse disposal experts from officially setting foot on private property.


Turns out that Mrs Jones is willing to introduce the pleasant and kind young man to her old dear’s tea party group so you can ask all the questions you want over a nice Earl Grey.


Turns out 10 of the 20 think 40 dollars a month to have an emptied, cleaned and washed bin at a time of their choosing, is a fair deal.


Well done! That’s a 400 dollar monthly recurring revenue from one street.


Hey, setting foot on the field of play wasn’t so bad was it?


Turns out that’s a snowball.​


As MJ and Jean-Luc say…..”Engage”!

Look you just must get out there and interact with people….naturally.

That can be in a slowlane job….there must a problem to solve there, otherwise the job wouldn’t exist.

Can you solve the original problem better?

Can you help the business owner save money?​


It can be at the gym (good for you)….what could be improved for the members?

Just casually chat to the manager

After small talk, say that you are passionate about improving businesses, especially good ones like his

Offer to do a member survey for the manager (for free)

Find the biggest problem

Find a viable solution.

Deliver a prototype (for free)

Ask him if he wants you to increase his member’s satisfaction significantly​


These are just examples based only on what you said, but those “off the cuff” examples can lead to serious Fastlane results.


“ I myself have been looking for a way to get started for quite a while, and researching to find a niche on the internet is the thing I've planning on doing to get started, but since you mention no need for research, I'm trying to determine, do you mean completely irregardless of whether we have our niche, product or service or not?”


When I said “no research” I was illustrating the point that once you have solved a problem for a person, they tend to trust you to solve their next problem. So I didn’t need to research to win this particular business. My previous action negated the need for research in this case.


Research can be important. When you have a snowball rolling, do research to make the snowball roll faster or better….but you don’t necessarily need it to get started.


My advice

You strike me as a good chap who has spent a long time procrastinating, looking/researching all over trying to find the perfect place to focus your effort. Stop. The perfect place does not exist.

Your previous 2 years of super-duper in-depth but ultimately fruitless research should tell you that.


Start building some small snowballs by having natural conversations with people about their lives in whichever organisation/location you have in your daily life.

Observe, ask questions, and listen.

Ponder.

Think how you can improve their life.

Make a gentle suggestion to them as to how you can help them make the improvement.

Listen again.

Do a quick/small proof of concept for free.

Worst case scenario: one person with one problem (now hopefully solved) thinks you’re a decent and spiffing fellow. Your reputation grows.

Best case scenario, you discover a scalable business opportunity​


I advise to start solving problems that are all around you, whatever your current industry, status, or hobbies. These are your potentially big snowballs.

Don’t look for massively scalable problems at first. Just start creating value in the world for someone.

As you do more, you will get better, and you will start to see which snowballs are rolling better than others. Then you can focus on those.


You have spent 2 years researching. Imagine that instead of researching you solved just one small problem a week for someone….taking trash out, gym surveys, or whatever.


By now you would have rolled 100+ snowballs, thereby massively increasing your chance of finding a real problem in the real world that you can solve and scale.

I think you are probably a pretty smart guy. Honestly, which use of your time makes more sense to you if you look at it objectively?...assuming you want to be a fastlaner!

Research doesn’t smash the ball out of the stadium. Focused energy with the right solution just might.

You can be a player, but you must decide to be player.

You might need to start on a little league field being watched by the community litter pickers, but that little league field is the first step to the majors.


You need to believe that the apparently small/hidden problems can lead to something much much bigger.

They can.

Ditch the soggy popcorn, pull on your problem solving plimsolls, “get in the game bro”, and start rolling some snow….then you have a massively greater chance of getting that Wagyu.

I truly wish you the best of success!
 

Andy Black

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Thanks @MustImprove for a kick a$$ thread, and walking the talk.

Can anyone see why @MustImprove is seen as a problem solver, or more importantly, WHY business people would come to him to get his help?

Does it look like he's trying to help?

Does it look like he's doing so because he wants YOU to succeed, or because he's in it for what HE can get out of it?

(Apologies if you're a she @MustImprove .)



We all are sitting on Gold mines, if only we could help each other more, create valuable solutions, solve problems.
Amen.




A story I originally posted here:


Due to a clerical error, a man gets to choose whether he spends eternity in heaven or hell.

He asks if he can take a quick peek at both before he chooses.



They show him the canteen in hell first.

It's a massive banquet table with fabulous food and beautiful ornate chairs. The smells make his mouth water and stomach grumble.

He wonders if this is a mistake.

The dinner bell sounds and people shuffle in silently. They look gaunt and miserable, with a tortured look in their eyes.

They seat themselves and start to eat. It's then he notices the spoons are 2 feet long.

The delicious food falls off the spoons as they try in vain to feed themselves.



They show him the canteen in heaven next.

It's a massive banquet table with fabulous food and beautiful ornate chairs. The smells make his mouth water and stomach grumble.

It looks exactly the same as the canteen in hell.

He looks closely and all the spoons are 2 feet long.

He wonders if this is a mistake.

The dinner bell sounds and people file in chatting amongst themselves. They look well-fed and happy, with big smiles on their faces.

The seat themselves and start to eat.

They use the 2 foot spoons to scoop up the delicious food and serve the person opposite them.



The canteens are exactly the same.

For some it's heaven, because they choose to help each other.

For others it's hell, because they choose to help themselves.



Your experience of business and life will differ depending on what you choose.​
 
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Andy Black

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It is truly inspiring and surprising what you receive when you give.

I had a coaching call earlier this year. I paid for 30 minutes at a special-offer rate, but we over-ran so I took up 2 hours of his time. I thanked him for over-delivering. His reply stuck with me...

He said if I paid for the full 2 hours then the "transaction" would be complete. He wouldn't have created an imbalance in the world, and there would be nothing to come back to him.

It's an interesting way of looking at it. Some might think it a bit foo-foo, but it makes sense even viewed with the cold lense of ROI. I feel I owe him. I am more likely to do repeat business with him again, and be happy to pay more next time. I am more likely to recommend him to others. With that extra 90 minutes of coaching, I am more likely to succeed and earn more money, and therefore more likely to be able to afford him at a higher rate.

Just that one way of looking at things was worth that call for me. And it's stuck with me ever since.

It's odd, but until recently I've almost felt the need to apologise or justify to people why I would help them without asking for anything in return. Your post helped by almost giving me permission to keep doing what I believe is the right thing.

Thanks again.


(This has just reminded me... as soon as I've posted this I'm going to mail him straight away and ask if I can get on his normal coaching program, and at full price.)
 

MJ DeMarco

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Marked GOLD.

Sad that most would-be entrepreneurs don't know that the synonym for entrepreneur" is problem solver? And those that don't know this, aren't entrepreneurs, or are at least, end up struggling entrepreneurs.
 

MustImprove

Speed Is Good, usually only in the right direction
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Hey @RoadTrip !

Batter up!

I realise that some of my answers for @TomTrepreneur apply to you, and I thought that you might appreciate a little extra personal insight as well…..…. and thanks for the Rep you sent by the way.


Well, I donned my NSA baseball cap, and I looked at your old posts too.


I can see you have come up with some ideas already…..and at least one of the physical products got to the “sample ordered” stage. Good job, you have been taking some action!

…and it gets better for you because……


RoadTrip said:

“……..selling an infoproduct. Recently my first sales have come in. Now I'm working on scaling the business.”


You have solved a problem for some people (as long as they didn’t ask for their money back).

That’s a snowball mate!


Getting a stranger to send you any dough over the net can be more difficult than licking your elbow. So actually I think you have done pretty well there.


Credit to you. I’d say you have potential.


Let’s look at your specific statements/questions….


“….the common recommendation is recurring revenue through solving huge problems in old industries.


I bolded the “huge”, because I think that’s your (in politically correct language) area for substantial improvement.

You don’t need to solve huge problems, you need to solve problems. Ideally you create solutions that can scale.

I mean, you and I are probably best not trying to come up with an MVP for pulling a billion barrels of crude out of the Arctic for example. That’s a huge problem in an old industry.


However, what about painting and paint brushes? Can we find a problem (not a huge one) there?

Sure can brother!


You may or may not know about our very own @Likwid24 who has delivered one of the most fantastic entrepreneurial stories in TMF history. Here is a recent update thread.

https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/co...sh-cover-shark-tank-update-this-friday.58372/


Can’t be bothered to click? …I know, life is short so I’ll give you the headline news for free:

Smart Simple Solution >>>> Successful Shark Tank investment >>>> Serious wedge​

1.5 million dollars within 9 months


The problem wasn’t huge by some measures, but boy is it scalable!


Your next question…..


"What I can't get my head around... how to find these problems since I don't have that type of network (yet).”


Did @Likwid24 need a formal network? Hell no. He just needed to know some painters.


More importantly he needed to observe, ask questions, and listen.


Hands up. Networking can help you in life. Sure it can.


…but networking can just be talking to normal people in your everyday organisation and life.


So you work for a company. The company solves problems for cash and has expenses.

When did you last ask your boss or sales director what his/her biggest pain point was for client acquisition?

When did you last ask the CFO office types where they spend most of the money?​


See?


“TRUE value and build TRUE relationships”


You already have special access to a network of folks with a reasonable level of trust (TRUE relationships) in an established industry that experiences confirmed problems.


….and you are the kind of guy who can execute. I know, because you have done so already.


So start by increasing sales or reducing expenses for your current company. That’s “TRUE value”.

If they won’t listen to you, use your industry knowledge to develop a system that you can apply elsewhere.

If you are increasing revenue or lowering expenses then I bet you’ll be offered tea and biscuits externally before long.


IMPORTANT: In my opinion you already have much of what you think you need to find. You have looked 10,000 miles over the horizon for something that is under your feet.


“... Would be interested in your opinion on this.”


Well looky there….ask and ye shall receive!


@RoadTrip , I think you can make a difference in the world. Success!
 
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TeflonDon

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This thread is fantastic thanks a lot. I do have a question though. If we do not yet have our own business, and we are also unemployed, in what way do we go looking for problems to solve?

Having a go at answering this and the similar posts after it. .

Talking to people is the way to find problems. People at the gym, at work, friends and family, they all have problems. Talk to anybody and everybody you can, ask them how their day is going - don't just ask to be pleasant, show a genuine interest and people seem to open up quite a lot!

If you can start the conversation off and show interest, I'm finding people will open up very easily. Just let them talk, they'll tell you whats going on with their lives/jobs, what's annoying/stressing them, what they need to get done etc. Opportunities for this are everywhere.

I got a new dentist a few weeks ago. After one appointment I know quite a lot about him, including a major annoyance he's having in his personal life. The same works with the local shop attendants, hairdressers, and anybody else.

The other beautiful thing about talking to people and showing a genuine interest is they seem to want to help you in return when they can. Opportunities you didn't even know existed begin to come your way. .

Just keep your eyes open and help when and where you can.

P.S. I don't think you need huge problems, or successful people with problems. Maybe others will disagree with me, but to me helping is helping. If you can help somebody with their business, do it. If you can teach somebody something that helps them, do it. But for me, helping an elderly neighbour with their bins, helping somebody who's depressed to feel better, even helping somebody at the gym with tips on how to achieve their goals - it's all helping!
 

DaRK9

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Awesome post. This reminds me of what goes on at my job. I'm a bartender at a fine dining restaurant, but a while ago I overheard the owner on the phone with a local tech support company.

The printer was down in his office. I told him I had Tech background and asked if I could take a look at it. Easy fix. He asked if I knew how to make computers fast.

Yes.

Yes I do.

Now a funny thing happened. I was 100% fine with doing all this. When other employees found out, their first response was,
"He should have paid you extra."
What why? It took me a grand total of 40 minutes to fix. I'm still technically paid, since I'm on the clock.
"He was going to pay someone anyway."
Yes. But I spared him that expense.

Since then I've become the go-to guy for all tech problems.

Long story short. I handle their:
Web marketing
Website
POS System. (A new skill)
Menu design

All being paid extra now, and never asked for any of it outright.

This is why I stop people who say "If you are good any something, never do it for free." or "a business needs to make money, never do anything for free".

Sure you pay with a little time. But its marketing that pays off.

One more good thing that happened is now he tells me any and every technical problem. I have several SaaS ideas from this. One is an online food ordering system. Solves a big problem the big companies don't.

Anyway, that's my "help" story. Looking forward to hearing more.

+REP.
 

Dami-B

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In fact, scratch that, you probably need to build hundreds.
Lovely post @MustImprove to many people stop after the first snowball. What if you helped out 60 people from now till december. One person for each day, a mindset like that will help you notice the problems around you.

My mum has a ministry she founded, but she didn't have a website and for over 8 years now, she's been begging my elder bro (who is a web-developer) to help her design anything, but he has never had the time cause of his job. Last week i saw a video posted by @Silverhawk851 about wordpress sites and decided to build one for her. I didn't know how to code (i still don't know how to code) but i built her something really incredible. I just called her and was like mum i'm going to build you a website, my God, she was overjoyed, i'd never seen her so happy.
If you had told me 2 days prior I would be building a wordpress site, I would have laughed so hard in your face but within two days I was done and its like the best present anyone has ever given her. She didn't pay me a cent, cause things are really tight for her right now, but I like the idea of the imbalance in the world I just created and I know what this means for her and that makes me so happy. That's why I want to be an entrepreneur, to create this kind of experiences in the lives of others.

Reading your post has made it so much clearer, and I know i'm on the right path..I mean just think of all the architects, managers, tailors, barbers, etc. think of all the problems they all individually could have in their businesses and personal lives, and the possibility of solving these problems. We all are sitting on Gold mines, if only we could help each other more, create valuable solutions, solve problems.
 

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Great post on so many levels.

Just go help someone, this week.

Seriously, thank you for taking the time to write that up.

Personally, my takeaway is to keep on helping people, even if it's just to exercise my problem solving muscle.
 

MustImprove

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Hey @LEF ,

First, welcome to TFF and congratulations on making your first post. I hope you find what you need. Let me answer those questions for you.......

What do you do when you end up with too many problems to solve? Do you say no or do you say yes, become a nice guy, and oveload yourself to a point that it effects your work/life balance? Or do you pick and choose the problems?

All problems are equal, but some problems are more equal than others.

It's true that as you mature as an entrepreneur you start to see and hear things that most (non-entrepreneurial) people miss.

I have a long long way to go in my own development, but these days I see and hear many problems / opportunities. It is, as they say, a blessing and a curse, but not a curse in the way that I believe you mean.

"Too many problems" is not an issue. Bring em on baby!

If you are hearing and seeing "too many" problems then you may have already taken an important developmental step. Bathe in that flow of delight, for many of us struggle for years to tune in to that addictive frequency.

...and the curse? Well spending too much time on each problem might be a curse. We all need to focus.

It sounds like you feel an obligation to jump on each and all of those problems.

You do not.

As you suggested, yes, you pick and choose.

Ignoring a problem does not automatically make you a nasty guy.


How Do You Pick, and How Do You Choose?

So you need to rig your problem filters for action. Fine, but before we get onto them, I must pick you up on another comment you made.

and would put me in a situation of sacraficing personal time.


This made me giggle, and the some of the replies I imagined you might get from a few of the more "direct" members also made me giggle.


It's your first post mate, and everyone deserves a break. So no big dramas, but!......

For all that is holy, slap that employee mindset so hard that it won't dare sully your posts again!

Personal time? What's that???!!!!!

This is the real entrepreneur world. There is no personal time.

You need to switch into a 24 hour a day entrepreneur mindset.

...and you are correct, you missed an opportunity with your director.


Let's role play a little...


LEF's Current World

Director: <says>Hey Employee, please can you help with these last minute unreasonable requests?

Employee: <might think this> WTF! It's 4:59pm! What a load of boolacks! Cheeky arrass! Last minute...! Should have asked earlier! Don't dump your thicko schmicko director problems on my plate of personal time! I gots to gets me a cheese steak!

Employee: <might say> Sorry, I only work to 5pm.

Director: <might think this> WTF! It's only 4:59pm! I ask once in a frigging blue moon! Our biggest customer that pays 70% of your f***ing salary has just asked us if we can help solve an urgent problem. I see a massive opportunity for the firm that can secure their stream of business for the next 12 months. F***! I want to make it happen!

Director <might say> Really? You can't help at all?

Employee: <might say> Sorry, no.


Result for Director: Director solves the problem a different way (maybe by himself), whilst muttering profanities that would make a viking blush.

Result for Employee: Best case, doesn't get fired. Worst case, first out the door when needs must.


LEF's Future World

Director: <says>Hey Employee, please can you help with these last minute unreasonable requests?

Employee: <might think this> WTF! It's only 4:59pm! They ask once in a frigging blue moon! Our biggest customer that pays 70% of my f***ing salary might have just asked us if we can help solve an urgent problem. I see a massive opportunity for ME and for the firm that can secure MY FASTLANE stream of business for the next 12 months. F***! I want to make it happen!

Employee: <might say> Sure, how can I help? Tell me more!

Director: <might think this> WTF! I don't get that reaction very often! Maybe he's got a bit of extra zip and spark!

Director <might say> Really? Thanks! Let me explain the problem now.



Result for Director: Committed employee helps Director achieve his goal. Director tip top chuffed having spanked the competition and shown why his crew are fastlane champs. Bon bons all round.

Result for Employee: Best case, discovers fastlane opportunity for end customer and current boss (to become a customer), gains insider insight into process requirements and costs, lays foundation for a life that 97% of people dream about. Worst case: Director thinks Employee is something of a star, maybe gets a raise, becomes a "go to guy", one of the last out of the door when needs must.


Do you see a difference?

So back to the filters. I'm going to be fast here.....need to sleep.

Opportunity and Kindness, that's where it's at.


Opportunity
Does the person with a problem have a direct impact on your life and financial well-being right now?... or your close friends and family's well being?

Yes? Then solve baby solve! Look for the opportunity (as per your future world above).


Kindness
Can you make the world a little better for someone with a kind gesture, and without any real or significant impact on you and/or your close friends and family?

Yes? Then solve baby solve! and (as always), look for an opportunity too!


Summary

You don't need to solve all problems you see. Focus on the ones that are "more equal".

See the problems, observe, evaluate them quickly, act for opportunity and kindness (more equal), and make a note of the better ideas for future review and development.

Then you won't have "too many" problems.

Success!:)
 

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Great thread and hugely entertaining :)

I can attest to the absolute value of problem solving. In a previous incarnation as an SAP consultant I worked in Germany (the home of SAP) and was surrounded by people who were much more technically proficient than I was. I mean I really felt stupid in comparison to some of these guys.

But I managed to turn a 3 month contract into more than a 4 year contract despite my lesser technical skills. Because I was the guy that was always willing to have a go at solving problems. Didn't matter if it was not 'technically' my area or department. I was always happy to help someone find a solution to their problem.

In the end, I was one of the last contractors to leave (and on my own terms) - not because I was a wiz at coding, or had the most extensive knowledge of my module, but because I was always willing to help other people solve their problems.

It never fails.
 

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@MustImprove = totally and utterly knocked it out of the park. I struggled, really struggled breaking out on my own when I was chasing after work... when I felt I had something to offer and I wanted to find people who wanted that exact thing and would pay the exact price I wanted for it. Now don't get me wrong it didn't not work, but it felt like climbing a hill made of quicksand. I felt like I was putting everything into getting the work so by the time I got any I was effectively exhausted and not working at anywhere near my best.

And it just got worse. Every time a job ended and I had to go out again I was starting from a point of already been exhausted and the whole process just made me more tired and disillusioned and no-where near the bouncy, energetic person a client wants to be dealing with. I was burnt out doing such work. About the same time I was playing about with the affiliate world and started doing really well... to the point I didn't need to do the work I'd be hating. A strange thing then started to happen. I didn't need to do the work so I stopped selling. I just became what I've always been. A natural problem solver. Now not tied to needing to do the work it felt awesome to be able to just go out and help people and offer advice on what they need to do with their websites and marketing strategies and not expecting anything back. Basically doing exactly what I had been doing and expecting nothing from it...

... you can guess the rest. No selling got me more requests for work then ever before and at 5 times the price I'd been fighting to get before... and all because I went from chasing the greens to chasing nothing, but serving others.

He said if I paid for the full 2 hours then the "transaction" would be complete. He wouldn't have created an imbalance in the world, and there would be nothing to come back to him.

I'm not the woo woo type, but I can totally connect with this. I have to admit if I help someone out I'm really rather annoyed if they do something equal in return. The existence of the imbalance feels like there's real room for growth, maybe for me or maybe for someone else in the world.
 

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Not at all Andy, very much on the money (literally).

...and of course once you are talking to people who you know will profit significantly from your work, your whole confidence and demeanor improves.

You don't shout and strut like a gobby Premiership footballer after a post-match shandy.

No. You carry yourself in a purposeful, considered, and "soft power" manner of the sort that @jon.a has seen/described in various military and business acquaintances. Those people just "know" they're in control.

When you (any of us, not you personally) are good at your job, effectively knocking on doors with a swag bag of moola for the clients, your sub-conscious body language snaps up and says "I've got the power".

You win more business because you are confident. You are more confident because you win business.
Oooo. Very good observation @MustImprove


This is happening with me at the moment.

I've always thought we have the following sliding scale in order of increasing perceived value:

1) I'll show you how to do it.

2) I'll help you do it.

3) I'll do it for you.

Now that I KNOW I can help businesses in certain verticals in certain locations (because I've already proved to myself I can do it) I've unlocked a hidden bonus level, which is:

4) I'm doing it anyway. Do you want in or what?​
 

MustImprove

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Since then I've become the go-to guy for all tech problems.

Long story short. I handle their:
Web marketing
Website
POS System. (A new skill)
Menu design

All being paid extra now, and never asked for any of it outright.


THIS. IS. PERFECT. Perfect for anyone still doubting.


........again, a real world example of real world problem solving leading to "easy" real world wonga.


This time, straight from the barman's mouth. You can always trust your barman, right?:)


A most fantastic lesson to complement the thread. Whatever @DaRK9 is pouring, we should be supping.


Sheeeesh, the story of you solving your bosses extra IT problem and getting new work is valuable in its own right. But "ohanas bananas", the fact that you solved an IT problem whilst working as barman, well, for your boss that's manna from heaven!


Do you know, I read some of @DaRK9 's old posts. I love it when I can find snippets and clues that can help the individuals and hopefully others too.

Check out what this wise "old" fellow had to say a while ago (and of course, he's not old at all)........


...The value you put out effects the money you receive tremendously. A great lesson for me, and I would recommend any young person here to give it a try


Hush now....That sound that you can hear, that's the wisdom of a seasoned businessman coursing through the veins of a young bartender with BIG potential.


For everyone reading, watch @DaRK9 's lips carefully when he says .....

All being paid extra now, and never asked for any of it outright.


Hmmmm, interesting, veeeerrrryyy interesting..... "...never asked for any of it outright."



In my first post on this thread I pretty much concluded with...

....or you can choose to be a problem solver that the mil will find. It really is your choice.


By going out of his way to solve his boss' problem @DaRK9 has chosen to be a problem solver that the mil will find.



@DaRK9 You epitomize the "correct" attitude. If you keep this up you will be a millionaire!..... and I'll drink to that!
 

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Great post! Very logical and actionable advice!

@MustImprove
Thank you
& I would interested to know ...How would I go about finding a problem to solve? How can I let people know I want to help them? especially people in entrepreneurship?

Look Around. Problems are everywhere. Everyday they hit you and the people around you.

I need to deal with stress, so I pay for yoga and qi-gong classes to solve that problem.
I eat local grass fed beef, not sold at local supermarket, so I pay someone to deliver beef to my house.
I have a cat with weak kidneys and bad teeth, so I pay someone for special foods.
My back is stiff, so I pay someone to help me with that.

Vica versa.. this 'business owners' also have problems.. they need leads, marketing.. And other things.

Suddenly I talk with a friend who wants to lose weight and deal with stress..
I educate him about yoga and healthy food, and refer the yoga class and beef delivery service. Mini problem solved :)

Just casual conversation alone is enough.

In my life last few weeks alone..

Friend is doing an interview for an overseas job, asking for advice what to write and say.
Friend became single and needs advice on how to date woman on Tinder.
The therapist of my girlfriend told her she doesn't has enough customers, so she has to do a cleaning job on the side.
Friend of my mom has a successful freelance business but is working 60 hour weeks and needs to automate stuff cause he is stressed crazy
Friend is going to jail and he needs a good lawyer.
Aunt needs help selling her house, just wants to get it over with Asap.
Girl on the street doing sales told me she craves an adventurous job.
Niece wants to grow her coaching business online with physical product but has no clue how.
Friend cannot concentrate on writing, needs accountability partner and productivity system.
Business owner has list but no clue how to monetize.
My cat puked on the carpet, again.

Lots of problems.

Hope this helps :)

Thanks again @MustImprove
 

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I know this could potentially sound ridiculous, but I have to ask.

It is worth pointing out that I'm an introvert, although I do not use that as a handicap or as an excuse.

When it comes to solving other people's problems, my question is, how do I go about doing it?

For instance, do I walk into a Stop and Shop, go up to some random customer, and ask them if there is a problem they need help with?

Being an introvert doesn't have to be a limiting factor. As a previous poster here pointed out, you can join Facebook groups to find problems to solve.

However, I think being an introvert is an advantage in getting people to talk because you will actually listen!

There is an art to having these conversations, and maybe I'll make a longer thread about this. Learning the art of listening has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. But the heart of it is this:

Approach people without wanting to convince them to have a conversation with you.
When they talk, do not offer opinions, judgement, approval. Remain neutral (this does not mean dead, it means not suggesting how they should react to you in turn).

Don't try to relate to them. Don't do anything. Make it entirely about them. NOT about your feelings, reactions, your passion, what you're trying to do. No relating at all.

Here's an example of how a conversation might go:

You: "How's your day going?"
Them: "Good. Great weather. It's good to spend more time out of the house."

Now, the topic that's open to you is spending time out of the house.

You: "What do you like to do when you're outside the house."
Them: "Oh you know...hiking, biking."

Now, the topics of hiking and biking are available to you.

You: "Where will you go hiking this season?"
Them: "Well, I really want to go through the Bruce Trail, but I've been so tied up these days"

Now the topic of the Bruce Trail is open, as is the topic of being tied up.

You: "What are you tied up with?"
Them: "A problem at work. We're in the middle of moving offices and it's hard to figure out how to do it without disrupting business operations."

Now you have permission to ask him about moving offices. You can ask him about why he's moving offices. From where to where. What it means to disrupt business operations. Etc.

A lot of people don't seem to understand this art of conversation. They jump all over the place. They never go deep enough. They're far too interested in "getting the juice" without listening. They make it about them, other than the person they are listening to. You receive permission to inquire more about a new topic if the person brings it up.

Being an introvert, if you can master the art of conversation like this, not only is it not threatening, but you will be SHOCKED at how quickly people will share their deepest more intimate problems.

If people are interested, I can write more about this. It is based on intense study, clinical validation, and personal experience. I've used it with strangers, professionals, and loved ones. I'm starting off my fastlane journey, so I haven't used it for an entrepreneurial (aka problem solving) venture, but with what I'm learning here, it's great to learn I already have the skill to unearth problems.

Edit: I posted a longer thread about this here.
 
Last edited:

MustImprove

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@MustImprove Awesome thread! Loving your writing style too.

Question: If you had a company aimed at helping small businesses e.g. Marketing for Lawyers, and you want to provide them value upfront so that they will trust you and maybe try out your service.

How would you go about that?

Turn up with a valuable lead

Give it to them, with an agreement for a follow-up chat/call next week


.....and we're off to the pseudo code races (it's not that bad, honest!). :)

GET next valuable lead

<next week arrives and likable fastlaner @tafy enters stage left>

WHILE super rich lawyer client still tolerating you DO:

GOTO or CALL super rich lawyer client after a few days​

IF previous lead = valuable
THEN offer "$X per lead" deal with no long term obligation​

ELSE offer next valuable lead to super rich lawyer client
GET another valuable lead​

END WHILE LOOP

POST a letter thanking super rich lawyer client for their time


....and the already stellar reputation of @tafy will burn a little brighter whatever happens.....:)
 

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Turn up with a valuable lead

Give it to them, with an agreement for a follow-up chat/call next week


.....and we're off to the pseudo code races (it's not that bad, honest!). :)

GET next valuable lead

<next week arrives and likable fastlaner @tafy enters stage left>

WHILE super rich lawyer client still tolerating you DO:

GOTO or CALL super rich lawyer client after a few days​

IF previous lead = valuable
THEN offer "$X per lead" deal with no long term obligation
ELSE offer next valuable lead to super rich lawyer client
GET another valuable lead​

END WHILE LOOP

POST a letter thanking super rich lawyer client for their time


....and the already stellar reputation of @tafy will burn a little brighter whatever happens.....:)
Funny you should say that. That is exactly the strategy I am using at the moment, and it works a treat. Why? Because you're bringing them what they want and need. They don't want to hear from Andy the AdWords guy, or directory guy, or marketing consultant. They don't give a sh*t about me and what I want. They just want to solve their biggest problem, which is not enough leads...

Starting to see the pattern?
 

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Another advantage is that you then only speak to people who you *already* know you can generate leads for (aka help).

Sorry if derailing @MustImprove !

Not at all Andy, very much on the money (literally).

...and of course once you are talking to people who you know will profit significantly from your work, your whole confidence and demeanor improves.

You don't shout and strut like a gobby Premiership footballer after a post-match shandy.

No. You carry yourself in a purposeful, considered, and "soft power" manner of the sort that @jon.a has seen/described in various military and business acquaintances. Those people just "know" they're in control.

When you (any of us, not you personally) are good at your job, effectively knocking on doors with a swag bag of moola for the clients, your sub-conscious body language snaps up and says "I've got the power".

You win more business because you are confident. You are more confident because you win business.
 

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Rep+ for OP

Rep++ for response to Tom

Hands up. Networking can help you in life. Sure it can.


…but networking can just be talking to normal people in your everyday organisation and life

Rep+++ for this. People think you need a special network of the rich and lucky, when you only really need a network of people with problems. If their problems are similar, you have a business idea. If you can provide the solution profitably, you have a business. If you can provide the solution to people outside your network, you have scale.

I missed this thread when it was posted. Can't believe I did that.
 

MustImprove

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Great post on so many levels.

Just go help someone, this week.

Seriously, thank you for taking the time to write that up.

Personally, my takeaway is to keep on helping people, even if it's just to exercise my problem solving muscle.
Thanks Andy,

Yes indeed, keeping on helping people is a truly smart attitude to take.

You never know when or how it can benefit you and others. I'm tossing around an idea of a thread around that concept. It is truly inspiring and surprising what you receive when you give.

I'm glad I could give something back to you. Cheers.:)
 

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But is there a line between solving others problems and being taken advantage of.

I have always been at the top of my class and I spend a lot of time teaching others and helping them understand the subject. But people start expecting even more things from me.

I get calls in that middle of the night about doubts.
I have my exams in a couple of days and I haven't studied properly because I spent all day explaining what the professor taught in class.

This is where boundaries with people comes into play though. If my phone rings, or someone texts me or FB messages me in the night, someone better be dead. And everybody I know understands this. (and I operate a 24 hour business)

The "fine line" isn't that tight. You've just got to communicate your expectations of how people will interact with you.

You can be helpful without letting people monopolize your time. They'll respect you more for being a bit selfish with your time anyway.
 

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Going back to your original thesis @MustImprove...

It dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that helping business owners is business networking on steroids.

They tell their other business friends and clients, and that word-of-mouth referral because you helped them, beats any other BS inbound or outbound "marketing strategies".




I quote two sayings in my signature.

doOYhPG.png




Their truth gets more and more obvious to me the more I believe and follow them.








.
 

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Awesome post. This reminds me of what goes on at my job. I'm a bartender at a fine dining restaurant, but a while ago I overheard the owner on the phone with a local tech support company.

The printer was down in his office. I told him I had Tech background and asked if I could take a look at it. Easy fix. He asked if I knew how to make computers fast.

Yes.

Yes I do.

Now a funny thing happened. I was 100% fine with doing all this. When other employees found out, their first response was,
"He should have paid you extra."
What why? It took me a grand total of 40 minutes to fix. I'm still technically paid, since I'm on the clock.
"He was going to pay someone anyway."
Yes. But I spared him that expense.

Since then I've become the go-to guy for all tech problems.

Long story short. I handle their:
Web marketing
Website
POS System. (A new skill)
Menu design

All being paid extra now, and never asked for any of it outright.

This is why I stop people who say "If you are good any something, never do it for free." or "a business needs to make money, never do anything for free".

Sure you pay with a little time. But its marketing that pays off.

One more good thing that happened is now he tells me any and every technical problem. I have several SaaS ideas from this. One is an online food ordering system. Solves a big problem the big companies don't.

Anyway, that's my "help" story. Looking forward to hearing more.

+REP.

Had a very similar experience at my first job when I was 16, a small seafood carry out place. I worked there for a few years and ended up taking on all their IT, web design, marketing etc and they always paid me extra for it. By age 19 I had worked my way up to manager and I have no doubt my attitude of trying to always come up with creative solutions played into that, there was plenty of people that were older, had more experience and worked there longer than I that were passed up for promotions. They even got rid of some of the people that were in positions "above" me to make room for me. Even after I had quit because I got a "real" job in IT they still keep in contact with me, always invite me to parties, give me Christmas presents and the owners treat me like a son. Great people who made a lot of money in little carry out seafood place.

The best part is they have been extremely encouraging in me starting my own IT company which I am doing right now, and they are going to give me free advertising to their 1,000s of customers when they open up this season, and they offered to do it without me ever asking.

How do you be a problem solver without being used?

Re-read this whole thread and you will see why your mindset is flawed. If you start solving problems you are going to start learning things, creating connections and adding value, which is the recipe for success. You are improving yourself and your situation simply by helping others, in a way you are using someone else's problem to help yourself.
 

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My mum has a ministry she founded, but she didn't have a website and for over 8 years now, she's been begging my elder bro (who is a web-developer) to help her design anything, but he has never had the time cause of his job. Last week i saw a video posted by @Silverhawk851 about wordpress sites and decided to build one for her. I didn't know how to code (i still don't know how to code) but i built her something really incredible. I just called her and was like mum i'm going to build you a website, my God, she was overjoyed, i'd never seen her so happy.

Hey @Dami-B,

I just wanted to compliment you on your action here. This is a nice example of the "solving" mind set, and the heart warming positivity a surprise solution can generate.

Just a thought......I don't know you or your mum, but she sounds like a lovely type. I'll be guessing a bit, but I reckon the imbalance might just be in her favour if you look back at everything she has done for you. Mums are generally marvelous things.:)

Anyway, you didn't know how to build a website, but you just "got on" and spanked every obstacle that wp-config.php could conjure. Good job!

The congregation might contain several business people......they might need a good website themselves....they might be impressed with your work. They might even be impressed with your work and with your attitude since you solved a problem, not only for your mum but also for an important part of their community....for free!

You never know where your good reputation will get you, but you have certainly given yourself a much bigger chance of getting there.

...and when you close a deal with a real business, you'll be able show us your Whoopi Goldberg Motown boogie.

Now that will be worth some Rep....for sure!

Keep it up Dami-B!
 
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MustImprove

Speed Is Good, usually only in the right direction
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4) I'm doing it anyway. Do you want in or what?
Bang on, and no mistake.

....along with the implied follow-up line......

"....because if you don't, your competitor does."

"Soft power" a go go. Top work Andy!
 

Saiful

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 31, 2017
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Dhaka, Bangladesh
Steps to solve problem?
1. Clearly state the problem; the more precise and detailed the better.
2. Identify the issue
3. Make a list of the seeds where it's rooted from
4. Make a guess about what things you can control contribute to the problem
5. Formulate a plan for iteratively testing each of these possible root causes. Test most likely cause first, if possible.
6. If necessary, seek out information that tells you how to address each possible root cause.
7. Execute the plan.
8. Repeat until solved.

Sad that most would-be entrepreneurs don't know that the synonym for entrepreneur" is problem solver?
 
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MustImprove

Speed Is Good, usually only in the right direction
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Apr 30, 2013
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Didn't matter if it was not 'technically' my area or department. I was always happy to help someone find a solution to their problem.

In the end, I was one of the last contractors to leave (and on my own terms) - not because I was a wiz at coding, or had the most extensive knowledge of my module, but because I was always willing to help other people solve their problems.
This made me smile.

Who would be your first pick (without knowing which problem you will face next week)?

A technical wizard who can solve a really difficult problem in a narrow silo.....

.... or a reasonably technical type who complements their own knowledge with interpersonal skills, working across multiple silos, and who probably knows many technical wizards capable of solving multiple problems in a wide variety of scenarios?

errrr, I'll take Nicko thanks. :)
 

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