The Freelancers’ Show 081 – Book Club: Book Yourself Solid with Michael Port

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Michael Port joins the Freelancers to talk about his book Book Yourself Solid. He gives a ton of valuable advice for building your business and clientele

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[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net.] [You're fantastic at coding, but do you have an action plan to take it to the next level? The upcoming book, Next Level Freelance, will help you optimize your freelance business for happiness. The book is packed with actionable steps to make more money, case studies, tips to find more clients, and exercises for you to establish your desired lifestyle. Extras include: 9 interviews with freelancers who make great money while enjoying great work-life balance, videos on strategies to find quality subcontractors, and videos on making more free time by outsourcing your daily tasks. Check it out today at nextlevelfreelance.com!] [This episode is sponsored by Planscope. Planscope is a project management and collaboration net built for freelancers in the way they work with clients. It makes it easy to price out new estimates and once you’re underway and help answer the question, these get done on time and under budget. I’ve been using Planscope to do my estimates and manage my projects and I really, really like it. It makes it really easy to keep things in order, and understand when things will get done. You can go check it out at Planscope.io.] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 81 of The Freelancers' Show! This week on our panel, we have Curtis McHale. CURTIS: Hello! CHUCK: Ashe Dryden. ASHE: Hi everyone! CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hi! CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. This week, I just want to remind you that I did put up that video that I was talking about, GoingRogueVideo.com, where you can learn about my story of how I went into freelance, the mistakes I made, and the things I did. I’m really excited about it and I hope it helps some folks out. We also have a very special guest this week, and that’s Michael Port. MICHAEL: Hi! Good to be here! CHUCK: It’s great to have you! We read your book, “Book Yourself Solid”, MICHAEL: Yup! CHUCK: I know that you have few other things going on. Do you want to talk about those? I’ve been looking at some of them… MICHAEL: Sure! Well, I’ve written 5, almost 6 books if you count the multiple editions. I’ve written 2 editions of Book Yourself Solid, and then I recently came out with a completely new illustrated version called “Book Yourself Solid Illustrated” so that you don’t have to read the entire thing; you can now see all of the concepts illustrated out really at fun design. I’m really proud of that. I can brag on that because, of course, I didn’t do the illustrations; a visual strategist named Jocelyn Wallace did. I wrote a book called “Beyond Booked Solid”, which is what you do when you get booked solid. You hit the ceiling and you feel like it’s not worth it anymore. How do you build something more scalable, leverage-able, profitable, etcetera. I wrote a book called “The Contrarian Effect”, which is about why it pays big to take typical sales advice and do the opposite’. I also wrote a book called “The Think Big Manifesto”, which is about thinking big about who you are and what you offer the world. CHUCK: Awesome. I did get kind of the feel of thinking big from Book Yourself Solid… MICHAEL: That’s my theme for all the work I do. The reason I do what I do is because I want to help other people think big about who they are and what they offer the world. In the process, I get to do it for myself. I think great personal brand identities are based on fully self-expressed people. When you’re fully self-expressed, you’re pursuing the same ideals that you’re infusing into your marketing, into your branding. I had no idea right from the start that that’s what you needed to do. I sort of figured you needed to be like everybody else at the beginning so that they took you seriously. I started my career as an actor, which I guess is the ultimate freelancer. And then I left acting and I spent about 5, 6 years in business and fitness industry, and then I went on on my own. I thought, if anybody knows that I’m an actor, they’re going to think, “Well, what does he know about marketing, he’s just a dumb actor,” this was my small thinking. When you do think about it, it took me a while to realize this, that the actor is the storyteller, marketers are storytellers (hopefully, they’re telling authentic stories), actors are performers, I’m a professional speaker so I can perform, and I always stand self-expression. Fundamentally, for the freelancer, people are hiring you because of who you are and what you stand for. So this idea of a unique selling proposition is, “Well, I’m good,” when you’re in business school, but what makes a freelancer unique is who they are. Before it’d be distinct, then you need to be more of yourself. It took me a while to realize that, but once I did, then things really started changing for me professionally. CHUCK: That’s awesome. I really like that, too, where I feel like sometimes I hold back a little bit, and I don’t know! MICHAEL: We all do that; it desert to one degree or another. When we have to center our self sometimes, there are some things that we think or want to do that are inappropriate in some situations, of course. But mostly of us are afraid of failing or afraid of rejection, these are common feelings to have. When you’re out on your own as a freelancer, you’re going to get rejected all the time. That’s hard. Sometimes, we feel like if we are more reserved, if we hold ourselves back a little bit, then we won’t get as rejected, that it’s hard for somebody to say no to us because we’re not different, we’re not unusual. It’s just the opposite. You often get rejected when you’re bland, you’re water down. Plus, when you think about rejection, people, to a certain state, feels like people are rejecting you because you’re the freelancer. They’re not always rejecting you – not always. It could be there’s [unclear] for a whole those degreases. Our job is simply to do our best job, to work as hard as we can, to reach the people we’re meant to serve. And if we can reach the people we meant to serve, then our job is to demonstrate to them that we are the best person to serve them. I think that one of the big myths that the marketing educators continue to sort of perpetuate is the idea that marketing gets you clients. Marketing doesn’t get you clients; it just creates awareness for who you are and what you offer the world. So if I come on your program and there’s somebody who hasn’t heard of me before who was listening and they’re like, “I think I get what he’s saying, it makes sense. Sounds like a nice guy. Let me go look into one of his books, let me go to his website and look if there’s anything that I can read, or his blog, or I can download,” that kind of stuff. That’s all that’s going to happen at that point. They’re not going to listen this and go, “I got to buy everything this guy has.” Maybe they will buy a book, but that’s a very, very small investment. So the process of ‘what you do’ once they becomes aware of you up until the time they buy from you, it’s what’s most important. That’s the process that needs to be developed very well so you build a foundation for your business so that other people feel comfortable standing on it. They felt like, “This was built for me. I feel like I’m meant to be here. Let me give this freelancer the opportunity to earn my trust.” Now, the freelancer needs to go about earning trust overtime because trust isn’t built in an instant. If you have a well-designed sales cycle that starts with a no-barring entry offers, and then earned you trust overtime so you can make sales offers – and this is important to understand – make sales offers that are proportionate to your matter of trust that you’ve earned, you know how to price your offers in the sweet spot of your clients’ or customers’ desires, and you know how to have simple sales conversation, you’ll book the business. Now, no one’s going to book the business every single time. To book a business more often than not, if you follow that sort of systematic approach because you have in the sales conversations at the right time, that’s the key. Often we had the sales conversation too soon. If the sales conversation happens too soon, it falls on deaf ears. We need to make sales offers that are proportionate to the matter of trust that we’ve earned. So we use a few of the course out promotion strategies, they’re not complicated. You’ve got networking, direct outreach, referral strategies, speaking strategies, writing strategies, and web strategies; they just create awareness. People will become aware to come check out your foundation; if your foundation is strong, it give an opportunity to earn their trust. You go about earning their trust overtime, you start making sales offers that are proportionate to the matter of trust that you earned. If your offers are properly priced and you now had a very simple sales conversation, then you’ll book the business. Ultimately, people that are coming to you say, “Hey, I’d like to have that sales conversation,” and that’s what you want; that will make you feel comfortable. CHUCK: I have a question here regarding this, I don’t know, there were parts of the book that kind of address certain parts that kind of made me think, but there are a lot of different things that I do for people. So it’s not just one target market with one product, or one series of products. I do coaching, I do client work where I program for them an hour for a certain amount of money, there are all of these different things that I do. I’ve been trying to figure out how to represent all of that. Am I approaching it backward? Should I just pick the niche and go after just the one niche? MICHAEL: I make a distinction between target marketing niche; often they’re conflated. So I’ve think of target market as the specific group of people or businesses that you serve – it’s the demographic. The niche is the area in which you specialize; you get known for that specialty. When you get known for a particular specialty within a particular demographic in group of people or businesses, etcetera, they’ll help spread those messages for you. So a target market is really important for 3 reasons: number 1, so you know where to find people – you knew where to find, you knew where to go, you knew where to do your marketing because otherwise, where are you going to do your marketing? You just put a little card up on the posted board at the dry cleaners? That’s generally not going to work so well. So you know where you’re going to do your marketing. You know what associations they belong to, you know who influences those groups, you know other businesses or other industries that serve them that are not competitors. You know where you’re going to do your marketing, number 1. Number 2, when you show up, they know you’re dedicated to them. You don’t work with anybody disposing a checkbook; you work with people just like them, helping them get a very specific result that they want. Number 3, they’ll scribe your messages for you. That’s ultimately what you want because they already have established networks of communication; they’re talking to each other. That means your messages will spread more quickly. At this point, my target audience is broader than it was when I first started. Dozens, if not hundreds, of different types of service professionals will be Book Yourself Solid or come to my programs, etcetera. But I can do that and sort of I can get away with that now because I’ve established a reputation based on the work I’ve been doing over the last decade. When I started, I only focus on the fitness industry because I had some credibility in that industry; I had some connections in that industry. As a result, it allowed me to get book solid faster. There’s 2 ways generally that the service business build; number 1 is you pick a target market and you bring them a very specific service of product. And then once you’ve booked up in that particular target market with that particular service, you can start bringing that particular product or service to other verticals, similar markets. They had the same needs and desires and want the same result and benefit of that result, that’s one way. Or, you could pick a very specific target market, you could bring them a very specific product or service that they need. Once you’re doing well in that market with that product and established some real credibility, you can start to bring in additional products and services that serve other needs that they have because they will trust you. They said, “Well, you can help me do X, you could probably also help me do Y.” You can do a combination, sure, but I think that often it helps to be very, very focused and clear and specific and as simple as possible when we’re thinking about business development. Let me take a medical profession since it’s a perfect example of this. If you blow your knee out, you want to go to the best orthopedic surgeon who specializes in knees. You might have to go to the general practitioner to get a referral because of the way that healthcare is setup, but you’re not going to let that general practitioner operate on your knee. So if I’m looking for somebody to help me, say, in programming, I’m going to look for somebody who works with an audience exactly like me because they know my world, they understand the world in which I live, they understand exactly what I need, they know how to produce that result, and that’s what they do, this is who they serve. So that makes me a lot more comfortable, and I’ll look for that expert in a particular area really, really specifically so I know they’ve done it again and again, and over and over, so they don’t have to learn on my dime essentially. Most people, that’s what they’re looking for when they’re out there and looking for someone to provide services for them. So I think when you have a lot of different services that you offer and they are seemingly discreet, you can certainly sell some of each one of them. But can you build a really, really big reputation doing all of those little things because you don’t get the aggregate of the work in one particular area, you don’t get the buildup. Let me just take your marketing, for example. If you’re marketing to a whole bunch of different target audiences, or you’re marketing to one audience but a whole bunch of different things, you don’t get stacked up all the marketing efforts that you’ve done. For example, I don’t need to do as much marketing now as I did when I started, or as somebody else is starting out because all of the work that I’ve done over the last 10 years is out there – there is a significant body of work that continues to market for me. That’s because it’s in a particular area, it’s on a particular topic, and I get more and more grounded in that, more solidify. And look, I joke off and then I’m going to do a dating version of Book Yourself Solid, so it’d be like Book Yourself Solid for Dating: A Marketing Guru’s Insider Secrets to Getting More Dates that you can handle even if you hate dating because Book Yourself Solid is about relationship building. When you look at dating, it’s not that different with the way you develop relationships with potential clients when you’re a freelancer. I can pull it off now! My publisher says, “You’ve done 5 successful books, I’ll give you a shot here.” Even my audience, the ones who were single will go, “Yeah! We met from you; I like your other stuff. This could be interesting.” If I was like a dating coach, I also can do programming for you, and then also coach you around ‘how to travel from Europe’, He’s just like “These guys all over the place; he cannot be exceptional at any one of those things.” Does it make sense? Are you with me on this one? ASHE: Yeah, it makes sense. MICHAEL: Yeah. Right. CHUCK: It’s a little bit scary, though, to think about narrowing the people that I work with to just one vertical, but at the same time, I can see the benefits. MICHAEL: Yeah! Let’s take an example: Eric mentioned target market: software companies; niche: Rails, and that’s Ruby on Rails, right? CHUCK: Uhm-hmm. MICHAEL: That’s exactly right! Now, you can even more specific where there’s like the software companies. You can focus on a particular type of software. Let’s just look at software companies: if software companies in general, we’re going to go general, with your target audience, how many software companies are there in the US? ERIC: A bazillion. ASHE: Lots! CURTIS: Lots! [Laughter] MICHAEL: So if you think that you’re limiting yourself at any way by saying, “Okay, I’m going to focus on software companies,” let’s take a vertical inside of software companies. Give me an example of a vertical inside of that market. ERIC: Consumer Fitness software companies. MICHAEL: Perfect. How many Consumer Fitness software companies you think there are? ASHE: Still got a lot. ERIC: Half of bazillion maybe. MICHAEL: If there’s half a bazillion of those, do you think there are enough of those for you to get book solid in? You betcha! Again, a lot of videos to establish yourself to really get a foot hold, it doesn’t mean you won’t work people outside of that market if they come to you because if you work with somebody in a particular software company and they love you, that CEO [unclear] friend who has that company that needs to a certain kind of programming, he knows you can do this because he say, “Hey, John, we got to call Curtis, we got to call Eric, etcetera, because he is really great! He helped us,” and he comes to you and he said, “Hey, you helped my friend’s company, can you help me, too?” and you say, “Yeah, sure! Absolutely.” So you can still work with other people outside the marketing. It just makes your marketing so much easier and makes it easier for them to spread your messages for you. ERIC: That’s a lot like how I did it. I actually read Book Yourself Solid when I started and I kind of pick like I’m going work with indie company and do Ruby on Rails. As I started kind of integrating like focus on kind of smaller niche in my case, I specialized. So I was working with software companies that use Redmine, which is like a subset of a subset of Rails. At first, I was scared like, “Oh, I don’t know if I’m going to have enough work,” and there was plenty of work. I actually ended up not accepting clients for 6 months to a year just because I had so much work and so many people kind of on a waiting list. It was surprising because you think like, “Oh, maybe I’ll get one or two clients,” but I’ll have to kind of go and just take anyone with a pulse, and it was the complete opposite effect. Any marketing I did, like you said, I’d release an open source plugin, it would take me a week just to kind of build that, and then I’d get like a few new clients just from that one thing and I would still get clients 3 years later. MICHAEL: Perfect example! That’s exactly what we’re talking about! ASHE: My experience has been really similar for a while. I was working on an open source project management type thing and all of my clients were specifically for doing customizations for those. That was over a year worth of work, and I was always booked out multiple months in advanced. The nice thing about that, too, was that they would then refer me to other people who needed the same kind of work. So really, I didn’t have to do any marketing myself. It was just kind of building up my name in that area, and then that kind of spread like wildfire which is nice. MICHAEL: That’s fantastic. And you can take this step further. So there’s your target audience, and the target audience has a lot of people in it, or a lot of companies in it. Then you can look at, “Well, who’s ideal for me? Which of these companies is ideal for me from a value perspective, from a personality perspective, from characteristic perspective?” And even from a project perspective, what kind of projects do you like to work on? So you’ll start to identify who is ideal for you inside your target market because the people that are ideal for you and the companies that are ideal for you are still another subset of the target audience. This is what I called the “Red Velvet Rope Policy”. For those of you who had read, Book Yourself Solid, it’s the first chapter of the book. The idea is you create a filtration system so you’re allowing only ideal clients. This takes a lot of courage. Again, especially when you’re at the beginning like there’s no way saying no to a client. Any of you guys ever worked with the dog fight like a client that drained your energy? Have you ever been working with one those? ERIC: Yeah. ASHE: Yeah [laughs]. CURTIS: Oh, yes. CHUCK: Just one? MICHAEL: How did that make you feel? ASHE: Burned out. MICHAEL: Yeah! CHUCK: I went on taking a month off when it was done because it’s, “Oh, my gosh!” MICHAEL: Perfect example! So you finished that client and issued a month off, so you had no income for a month, which actually means that client hurt your business; didn’t help you make any more money. CHUCK: Yes. MICHAEL: So it’s the exact opposite of what we want. We want to be working with people that energize us, that inspire us, and most importantly, allow us to do our best work because there are 2 things that happen when you’re doing your best work: number 1, you love almost every minute of the work you do, which of course, inspires you to do more, it compels you to do more of it, which means you might even want to do more marketing, which means you might even fall in love with the whole idea of marketing and seminar services. That’s number 1 – you’re going to like the work you’re doing. Number 2, people are going to be talking about your best work, and that’s the best kind of marketing there is. But ultimately, what usually happens when you’re working with a dumb client – and there’s might not be anything wrong with these people, they’re just not right for you for whatever reason – usually what happens is a conflict occurs especially for the kind of work you guys do where it’s project oriented. You guys are all familiar with project creep, of course. Yes? ERIC: Uhm-hmm. CHUCK: Yes. MICHAEL: Then there’s working on a project with the creep. CHUCK: [Laughs] MICHAEL: That kind of project is a project that you will just go pull your hair out over. You’re like, “Why did I even go into freelancing myself? This sucks!” and that’s not the experience that you want to have as a freelancer, you wanted the house of freedom and have the opportunity to say, “Yes, this is what I want to do – to be self-expressed,” that’s why you chose to do this. So I say, identify what kind of people you do your best work with, what kind of projects are best for you to work on, and know when to say no. Sometimes, you’re at success, we all come when you know when to say no so the things that are not right for you. ASHE: Yes. MICHAEL: Just like dating; you don’t say yes to every opportunity that comes along. Do you? No, of course not! I hope not. CURTIS: Yeah, my wife wouldn’t be happy about that. [Laughter] MICHAEL: Well, you signed a non-compete on that one. CURTIS: [Chuckles] Yes, I did. CHUCK: [Laughs] MICHAEL: Right. Anyhow, that’s it. The ideal client is a small set of the target market, and you’re really looking for those ideal clients. Look how it changes the nature of the sales conversation. When you’re having the sales conversation, you’re able to say to somebody, if it is true, “I do my best work with you. You’re an ideal client.” They said, “What do you mean?” “Well, I’ve noticed that you’re collaborative, you see the follow through on the things you do, which means you handle responsibility well, you’re direct with the communication, you seemed to have a lot of integrity in terms of the way that you operate. Those qualities really allowed me to do my best work; it’s inspires me. So you’re going to get my best work when we work together. So really, I think the best thing for you would be me. And I know the best thing for you, for me it would be you,” that changes the nature of the sales conversation significantly rather than like, “Oh, cool! You have programming work to do? I totally do that!” CHUCK: [Laughs] Totally! MICHAEL: [Laughs] Right, exactly. It changes the nature of the sales conversation. So who does that person want to work with? Is that person want to work with, in this case, a programmer who will work with anybody that has depositing checkbook, or can file up a mirror? Or, the person that does their best work with somebody just like them, and loves working with somebody just like them. That answers [unclear]. If the question is [unclear], the answer is obvious. CHUCK: I have to say that I didn’t realize who my ideal clients was, so to speak, until I had worked with several different clients, and then I really had a good idea, “The people like this “oohhh” not so much; people like “oh,” I can’t get enough of working with people like that. MICHAEL: That’s a great point. Sometimes, it’ll take you a little while, sometimes you know it because, say, you were working inside of an organization, where you do lots of different projects and you got sensitive. But often, you’ll figure this out as you go. What I say is, this red velvet rope, can you be a little bit loose her when you’re starting so that you test the waters – and also, you might have more builds than me paying right now. And the less to pay them with, then when you’re more savaged, you’ve got a couple of projects under your belt. But then, overtime, you’re going to tighten up that red velvet rope. But I do think it’s important to how that filtration system in place right at the beginning so that you are thinking about who’s ideal for you and who’s not. And then you know if something is not ideal, they should be mad against the issues that may come up. So setting expectations at the beginning of the relationship is essential especially for project based work. Because if we don’t set expectations when we’re working together, you’re probably not going to do what I want you to do even though you’re doing what you’re supposed to do because my expectation is completely different and my expectations are then going to change, are then going to be whatever I want. But if we set an expectation and I know exactly not just what you’re going to produce at the end of the project, but how you’re going to work, how we’re going to communicate, what you expect from me. If you start very clearly to say, “Look, the way that I do my best work on this project get you the goal of it,” your statement is this way. You need to produce this work by this day, you need to produce this work by this day. If you’re work is not produced by that date, the project will be late (and that will be on you), the project may not be as comprehensive (and that would be on you), etcetera. I think that what happens is, when you book your client, we’re so scared to lose the client before we start that we don’t set those clear expectations, we just start. But we want to set those clear expectations right at the beginning, as soon as they’ve said, “Yes, let’s go.” You’ll give them, tell them what they can expect from you and they’ll tell you, “Here’s what I would like to expect from you and you can tell them, “Yeah, I can do that,” or “I can’t do that.” But you don’t say, “Look, when you email me, you’ll get a response in 24 hours or 12 hours of whatever it is.” When something is broken, I’ll explain why it’s broken, why it’s going to be fixed, and how am I going to be fixing it within X number of dollars after the breaks. This kind of clarity is really most important, and clear communication is where it allows you to do great customer service. So people who want different schemes for, “Hey, we’ve been good customer service, we’re going to send out a card and we’re going to send them on a ribbon that says on the ribbon ‘Oh, my god!’ tied up,” I don’t know…I will never forget that… CHUCK: [Laughs] MICHAEL: “Darling, tie up this project in a nice little boat,” something like that. But none of that matters if communications aren’t really clear; We’re working on something, things are going to break – my set were done for an hour yesterday, that has happened in years, went down for an hour yesterday; all of my sites rather, all my email, everything. No big deal because I’ll be working with the guy for 8 years who does all my tech and his team. He emails me immediately, he says, “Here’s what’s going on, here’s what we’re doing, here’s what we’re expecting to be fixed.” “Okay, fine. I don’t forget about it.” But if I can’t find him and I don’t know what’s going on, then we start freaking out because you have no idea what to expect, and that’s really, really important. I’m a boater; I’m obsessed with anything marine. So I find as much [unclear] as I can on my boat and things are breaking all the time. I have 2 diesel engines, each one is 480 horse power, those are massive things. And I know a little bit about diesel mechanics because I have taken a couple of courses, but a little bit is the operative work. So if I’ve got an issue and my mechanic comes and he can’t figure it out and doesn’t know what’s going on, we guys have ordered a part and the part is taking a while, I understand that he might make mistakes. I understand that a part might not commit. But if I don’t get updates regularly, communications, then I think, well, he didn’t order the part. Or, he got the part but he’s not coming to fix it. We make all these assumptions. So once you have made that sale, those expectations are going to be really clearly set. CHUCK: That makes a lot of sense. One thing that occurred to me while you were talking – and I’m going to kind of rollback the conversation a little bit – was you were talking about that ideal client. And in the book, you talked about the different attributes that they have where they work well with other people and things like that. I was like, “How do you get in front of those people?” that’s when it occurred to me that your niche and your target market are what tell you how to get in front of these people. MICHAEL: Yeah. CHUCK: And then the ideal client, the list of attributes that you want these people to have, that’s what you do when you’re trying to get hired – you find out if they fit that bill. MICHAEL: You nailed it. Exactly right. 100%. I’m giving a speech on Thursday doing this tour for Entrepreneur Magazine in a bunch of cities giving these keynotes. There’d be hundreds of people there who all need to get book solid, but not all of them will be ideal for me. They’ll be ideal for sitting in that room listening to a speech or buy in a book when I don’t interact with them, but they’re not all going to ideal to be in more of my mentoring programs or to become a certified Book Yourself Solid code or any of that stuff. My job is to try to connect with the people that I meant to serve by being really, really clear about who that person is. That person will recognize themselves and go, “I want to refuse meant to serve me, that’s what he’s talking about. Maybe he is. That’s why I need to think about it.” And then if chatting with people afterwards, or if somebody comes on to, say, my newsletter list, and then comes to a webinar or comes to other things where we can have more interaction, I can start getting to know them. So the sales process doesn’t have to be wicked fast; it can be slower, and as a result, more effective because you’re having these sales conversations with the right people. It is one of the reasons that we always have something to invite people to offer so effective, as what I call it because it’s what it is; I never came up with a clever name for it. But they always have something to invite people to offer. It’s similar to what you guys do here except other people can participate in the actual experience. So when I started my work, I used public speaking as a way to get in front of people. That was my primary marketing strategy, but I wasn’t get paid for it at the time, which is I get anywhere I can go that my audience was at, I try to give a speech. But I wasn’t into the selling from the stage thing; the “Hey, go to the back of the room! I’ve got these products for you and you better get them now!” CHUCK: [Laughs] MICHAEL: If you don’t, life will end for you deeply, and the whole room will blow up. That wasn’t really my thing, but I still had to figure out a way to make a connection with them so I could carry on a sales conversation that initial sales conversation, which is “Hey, I do this, and you need this,” that’s where it starts. So I said, “What if I invite people to something that they even find relevant,” because relevant is really the word we should be using in the dictionary for marketing; we should take that word marketing that was called a relevancy because we’re trying to be as relevant. The more relevant we are, the more people pay attention to us. And if they pay attention to us, we have an opportunity to serve them. So I said, “Well, people don’t loved to be sold, but they love to build reputations,” two things that are relevant. So what if I just make an invitation? What if I say, “Listen, every week at this time, I do a teleseminar. And the teleseminar is focused on Thinking Big – it’s called the ‘Think Big Revolution’. Each week, I’m going to bring you different topic that’ll help you think bigger about who you are and what you offer the world.” And because the people I serve are service professionals, a lot of the topics that I bring or hundreds of the topics I bring will be relevant to you. And certainly I’m talking about different aspects of business, business development, or we’re going to also talk about life and mindset and personal development because I think those 2 things go hand-in-hand. So I’m talking about what we do on this call. So if you want to come, here’s how you get the information. I’ll give you an invite every single week, tell you what the topic is, and give you the calling information. If you want to come, you come; if you don’t want to come, you don’t come. I never sell anything on the call; let me be really clear about that. It’s really just a place for about 10 minutes, I come to introduce a topic, and then we talk about it. I facilitate this conversation and I was doing this with hundreds and hundreds of people overtime. You just have to be a good facilitator in the conversation, but there were 3 reasons that it was so effective. Number 1, it was consistent. Consistency demonstrates credibility, it demonstrates reliability, it demonstrates that you have dedicated yourself to serving them. That’s number 1. Number 2, it’s frequent because you can do something consistently. But once a year, it’s not going to say top of that. Once a year is a one off event even if you do it every year. That’s not enough. It’s not an always you have something to invite people to offer. That’s a “Well, the event is January, it’s December. Now, I have something to invite people to.” Always means it’s frequent. And then number 3, it brings people together. Because what we’re all looking for, especially the people that I serve – I serve freelancers, so these are professionals – they want to connect with others. They often feel like they’re alone. So if they could get involved in this conversation, not just listen to it, but actually get into the conversation and they could share their opinions and then they talk to each other and they can support each other, now we got a community. And when you are a leader of a community, people see that as something significant; that lands about the credibility to you. Of course, ultimately, a lot of the questions come back to me and I am able to answer them as sort of the authoritative figure on the call, and that, of course, is very effective. So that was doing 2 things: (1) it was progressing my brand identity as the guy that call when your target thinking is small; and also demonstrating that I could produce the results that they wanted, which was getting booked solid, and then I was meant to serve them. I found that 85% of the people that fired me in those days were all coming through that call; it was the very early offer that I would make, there’s no risk for them. And not everybody would come every week, mind you. But they were there like came once a month, they would know that I did it every week same time, same place that [unclear]. And if couldn’t be there for whatever reason, I’m in a plane or something, I would ask someone who is part of this group to take the call for me and leave it, someone who’s participating regularly, so they felt some ownership. But at the end of the day, it was my asset, and that kind of asset is significant. So what we do here is fantastic. It’s excellent. It’s topnotch. The only difference here is that people on the outside who are listening can’t participate on the inside the way they could do in this [unclear] have something to invite people to offer, but this can be as effective certainly. It’s just a little bit different, that’s all. Does that make sense? Did you see where I’m getting at with this? ASHE: Yup! Sure. CHUCK: I’m seriously tempted to start one like next week. MICHAEL: Yeah! You should! This is one of those things. Look, if you got to put some work into it, 3 weeks, that’s not an asset built, right? CHUCK: Right. MICHAEL: I had people come, they might have read the book and try to always have something to invite people to offer. Since when? I said, “Oh, so how long have you been trying it?” “Three weeks” I said, “Seriously?” On my third week, I had 5 people. You got to earn it. You got to earn attention. You got to earn an asset. CHUCK: It’s the same as the podcast. I think the first couple of weeks we did this, I might have had some people come over from the other shows that I do, but we may have had 100 people listen to the show. In the grand scheme of things, there’s not a lot of people listening to the show. But now, we have quite a few more and it’s the same thing, we’re consistent. We put out 81 episodes every week. MICHAEL: 81 episodes…wait a second, did you say 81 episodes every week? CHUCK: This is the 81st episode, yes. MICHAEL: Oh, you do 1 a week? CHUCK: Yeah! MICHAEL: Okay. The way you said it, I thought you do 81 episodes per week. CHUCK: No. [Laughter] CHUCK: I’m not that good. MICHAEL: That would be impressive! But of course, you never make any money because you can never do any work with clients, right? CHUCK: Yes. MICHAEL: But, that would be impressive. CHUCK: But it’s the same thing. And people complain, “Well, I don’t have very many people listening to my show,” and inevitably, the folks who have been doing it for a while, that’s what they tell them. You have to keep going! MICHAEL: Yeah! And you also need to do the marketing that you do. It needs to be in an area of a natural strength, a natural talent. For example, if somebody starts a podcast, but they’re not particularly inquisitive or particularly entertaining or particularly energetic, they don’t have the voice for it, whatever it is, it may not work very well even they’re great at what they do. Even if they are compelling people, that particular mission might not work. The kind of call that I did might not work. If you have trouble managing large groups of people, you’re not kind of dynamic if people run over you. If your guest just keeps going, keeps going, you’ll never get anything in there. Every time you stutter, then you might not have a talent for it. And of course, there’s just skills that you can learn, too, but same thing with blogging, “Oh, my god! So and so said she has blog, I’m going to blog, too. That’d be so cool!” If you’re not and you don’t have a natural talent for writing and then skill built on top of that, you might not be compelling as a blogger. As a result, you’re not going to build a big audience even overtime. So you want to make sure the things were picking are in our image of natural talents. There are 6 courses out to promoting strategies, you guys [inaudible]; they’re now working. I look into these developing people relationships with the people that you already know. CHUCK: I love the way you explained that in the book because I hate going to networking events and you’d come away with a bunch of business cards for people you still don’t know. MICHAEL: I can probably say that in my entire career as a freelancer, I have never gone to one “networking event”. But, people were saying, “God! That Michael, he is a good networker.” Let’s just forget about the networking for a second, let’s call it “connecting”. Again, you have to figure it out, you don’t have to do anything, but it’s a great idea to figure out they ask to do work you need to do in the way that you are comfortable with. Essentially, you didn’t write the rules, but you can solve [inaudible]. You don’t have to go a BNI group even though that BNI is great and wasn’t a waste, but you don’t have to do that kind of stuff. I figured, in freelancing, we might break the rules. We say, “Forget about the way, everybody else does it. I’m going to do it my way,” and that’s very good. We should try to do that in as many ways as possible. So I have to figure out another way of building my spirit of influence; getting to know the people that I needed to know. I look at networking as developing people relationships with the people that I already know. Because I feel that if I have deep relationships with the people that already know that I think are relevant to my business, not just the people who are going to buy my services, the people who are going to open doors, get the meetings for speeding gigs introduction to various people in the publishing business, all the things that are relevant to develop the business. If I have relationships with these people, then they will do these things for me. But if I just have sort of customer relationships, I would feel bad asking because I feel like I’m not right. So there are 3 things that I do each day and I recommend other people do. Number 1, I suggest that you introduce 2 people to each other who do not yet know each other but might find each other relevant – these are people you know, mind you – that people you don’t know. You need to know these people because you need to know what’s relevant to them. Now, it could be around in their something that’s personal, it could be around something that’s professional. I’d like to say, “Hey, Tom, you got to meet Steven. Steven, you got to meet Tom. You guys are both sales engineers; you’re in the same area, you’re like 2 minutes away from each other. What if you ever met? If [unclear], here’s each other’s info. Peace out. See you later. Happy sailing! And because I know the boating community, 9 times out of 10, it’s very searchable community and we always love meeting other boaters. They’d probably, “Oh hey! I’m a D1 and slipped D1 at this marina. What don’t you come by? We’re all [unclear] so stop by,” so they might meet each other. Great. Personal. Now, if you think about the friendship, wonderful! No big deal. But they always going to remember that I made that introduction to support them. If they end up hating each other, they’re not going to blame me for that. “That kid introduced me to that guy…” CHUCK: [Laughs] MICHAEL: Because the guy, he’s not going to be an asshole because your friends are not a-holes. They’re nice people so you don’t have to worry about that. So that can be for personal or for business. I might say, “Mary, I know you program on Rails, and Sally I know you also program on Rails. I’m wondering if you guys know each other. Maybe you could go collaborators, networkers, etcetera. Here’s the information. Peace out! See you later!” that’s it. And I do that each day with 2 people in my network, that’s it. Obviously, you guys are much better in math than me, but there’s something called “Factorial Math”, yes? CHUCK: Uhm-hmm. MICHAEL: The idea is if you know 10 people, there’s about 45 connections in those 10 people. You have to find them because you got to find things that are relevant to each other in those matchups. But nonetheless, you can matchup, if you have 10 people, you can make a lot of connections even just from those 10 people so you don’t need to know tons and tons of people. I call this the ‘Network of 90’ because I really don’t think you need to know that many more people to get book solid. I think you need to have a good strong solid base of your network and that’s going to book you solid. I think that with the advent of Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook and etcetera where the goal is to just collect more and more, everybody could base their reputation on how many followers they have, how many likes they have. For getting booked solid, those kind of loose relationships are not going to be able to open the doors for you in the same way. They absolutely can. I’ve been in lots of opportunities through those platforms; I think they’re great. I’m just saying that we’re all been focusing on collecting rather than connecting inside our network. So we collect, “Hey, how are you? Great to see you! Tweet action later!” and that’s it. Now, we’re going to pump stuff out and maybe they’ll pay attention to us, maybe they won’t, and that’s not going to develop the people relationship for us. So if we meet somebody on Twitter, we want to move that relationship to email. We want to move the relationship from email on the phone. And then we move that relationship on the phone to actually meeting in person. We want to keep moving forward just like dating guys; everybody knows how to do this. So you start with this very slow, develop a relationship, and trust this build because commitments are made to fulfill; that’s where trust are based on. You make a commitment and you fulfill, you make a commitment and fulfill. So introducing of 2 people is very relevant. And it always you’re looking forward and knows they top of mind when they know somebody or that need something that you have, they’ll think of you first because you’re top of mind. The second thing that I do each day which is very, very effective is I share some information with at least one person or 2 people in my network; let’s just say 2 just for the sake of argument, let’s just say 2. It’s not something that I have done per se. Let’s say I saw a great blog post by Curtis, or I saw an excellent podcast that I thought was really, really relevant to a particular person in circle of my network. I might say, “Hey, Steve, I just saw there’s a podcast. It’s about How to Balance Your Checkbook, and you were just talking to me about balancing your checkbook and what a pain to the neck it was, this guy would be awesome for you.” Now, these people has lot of balance to his checkbook and he’s 45 years old and he’s got some problems, but I saw and checked in my desk, that’s my example. CHUCK: [Laughs] MICHAEL: So I said, “Look, here’s the article, I immediately thought of you. Have you seen it? If not, here’s the link. What do you think?” and now we had a conversation that’s something that’s relevant to him. If I know that…Ashe, you do Ruby, right? ASHE: I do. MICHAEL: So let’s know that you’re on Ruby on Rails so as soon as I see this big argument New York Times about Ruby, I thought, “Wow! It was really interesting. I don’t really get because it’s not my area, but I know that you will so I said, “Hey! Have you seen this article? It’s really neat, it just came out of Times today. Have a look!” What does that mean? It needs you to pay attention to what’s going on around you. You have to read. You have to be aware of what’s relevant to the people that are in your network. If you are, you’ll stay top of mind for them and they’ll know you’re thinking of them, and you know what’s relevant to them. They’ll also see once they learn it person. Now, you can collect articles that are interesting to you and potentially to your network and you can share them at a later date. Like if you meet a guy named Paul tomorrow – Paul is a Ruby person, you had this great article that you found like a month or two ago – you said, “Hey, have you seen this article?” You can collect these and use them at will and then you don’t have to be worried about, “I don’t know what to send today.” But you start putting it in the habit and you noticed you’ll find yourself doing it without even have to think about it. Go! There’s something comes in that steel. So that’s the second thing I suggest you do each day. The third thing I suggest you do each day is just find a way to share some compassion with somebody in your network. You call them up, write them a note, send them some chocolates, whatever it is, to say, “Hey, maybe we’re going through a tough time. I’m here to support you.” Or, if they’re not going through a tough time, they just got some great project or just achieved some of the goal of theirs that’s impressive, that’s really cool, you send them a congratulatory gift or present or call them, take them out to lunch, or something. So you find a way to do that with at least one person every day. Now, let’s do the math on this: 2 and 2 is 4 and 1 is 5, so you’re connecting with 5 people a day – introduced 2, shared articles with 2, just compassion with 1. 5. If there’s 5 days in a week, what’s 5 x 5 guys? ASHE: 25 CHUCK: 25 MICHAEL: There’s 4 weeks in a month, what’s 25 x 4? ASHE: 100. CHUCK: 100. MICHAEL: 100. That’s 100 people that you’re staying in touch with every single month in a significant and connected meaningful way. Do you think you’d be booked solid if you were staying in touch with a group of relevant people, 100 of them, every single week who had influence in your particular field? What do you think? CHUCK: I think my head just exploded. MICHAEL: Hopefully in a good way… CHUCK: Yes, in a good way. MICHAEL: Cool! So now let’s explode the rest of you and go one more. Let’s look at direct outreach. There are people that you’d like to know that you do not yet know. Often what happens is you reach out with somebody when you need something from them. Like, “Hey, Michael, I just wrote a book. I’m wondering if you blog it.” Or, “Hey, Michael, I just wrote a book. I’m wondering if you’ll promote it for me?” I don’t know who they are until that first email came in, and the first call comes in. CHUCK: I love those. ASHE: [Chuckles] MICHAEL: If somebody said, go introduce yourself, “Hey, Michael, we’ve got a friend who just wrote a book we look at to blog it,” of course, he’s our friend. That’s different. that’s why the network is so important. That’s why staying in contact and deep relationship with these people is so important because then you could do that for others in your network. But if you don’t know the person you’re reaching out to and you’re asking for something, generally you’ll get a no. but if you’ve been developing a relationship a relationship with that person overtime by staying connected but not asking for anything, well, you might have an opportunity to ask them something when you’ve earned more trust. So you create what I call the ‘List of 20” – 20 people that you do not yet know but would like to know. If there’s only 5 that come to mind, it doesn’t matter. I’m just using 20 because it works out in the course of the month nicely in mathematics. So each day, you reach out to at least one person on that list. Let’s say, you want to get to know really cool infomercial programmer in the industry named Bob, and you say, “How do I reach out to Bob today?” Why don’t you look at his Facebook page? You go to his Twitter page, you go to his LinkedIn, you go look at something wherever. And you send him email, no! Either through those platforms or via email or however you want to contact them and say, “Hey, I just saw you did this thing. Right on! Keep up the great work. Peace out!” that’s it. Then you go to the bottom of your List of 20 and number 2 becomes 1, number 20 becomes 19, and you do this something similar the next day from the person that is now number 1. Guess what will happen a month later: the person who was in the bottom of the list will come back to the top of the list. You find another way to connect with them. And you might start a conversation with them and then you move them into your network who was all of a sudden now you’ve started to develop a relationship because then they respond, and they go, “This person is really cool!” This seems scary to a lot of people because you’re reaching to people you don’t know, but you do it in such a soft easy way, you’re not asking for anything; who doesn’t love to be flattered? People come might go, “I’m sure you’ve heard this, I love your book.” “I’m sure you’re bored with that.” “Are you kidding?” CHUCK: [Laughs] MICHAEL: One off, when they gets bored with people telling them that they love their work, that’s crazy! Now, please tell me that’s so cool, thank you! And then you remember that person. Whereas, that person comes up to you and say, “Michael, thanks for coming and give this speech. I was wondering, could you do this for me?” It’s a totally different dynamic. They run up to you and give them your book, “Can you carry this one for me and read it and tell me what you think?” If anybody is writing any books, don’t give them to the speaker that was on the stage after their speech because they don’t want to put it in their bag to carry at home because they travel very light. So you don’t want to give them stuff, say, “I’d love to send you this thing. Do you have an address, a business address that I can send it to you at home? I don’t want you to make it carry at home. But, I’d love you to see this. It’s really cool.” You can do that, that’s fine. Here’s another [unclear], when you see somebody give speech, they [unclear], you might, “Oh, he’s awesome.” He’s got to get in mob by lots of people and you don’t want to be in the mob. You don’t want to be just one of them. So as you seen him a little bit later, he say, “You create speech, thanks so much. Of course, because you’re interesting looking about your cool bow tie, you’ve got your funky hat on, or whatever it is, something that is easily remembered. A week or two later, you shoot a quick email just want to say great speech. But I want to reiterate that we don’t specifically take away that I had from last speech. Thank you so much! Peace out! See you later!“ And you continue develop relationships that way. And then overtime, if you need something, the door will be open to you to ask for who’s going to get it, but at least the door will be open. So those are 4 things that you can do every single day. You know how many minutes they take? I don’t know…10 – ten minutes. I have a piece of software that can help you do it. I don’t make much money from it, but it’s a cool thing; you’ll save money if you want. Because sometimes, people have trouble like how I manage that thing, how do I manage it? So I’ve got some software that helps you do that. CHUCK: That’s awesome. I want to go back really quickly to the “to have something to always invite people to”. I’m curious, are there other things that you can do besides the webinar? MICHAEL: Yeah, sure! Absolutely. You can be yourself in person. What are those things called that they do at Facebook? They’re like coding competitions, what are those things called? ASHE: Like Hackathons? MICHAEL: Yeah! Hackathons. Obviously, they do not just a Facebook, but as a [unclear] compared to you guys. I know that because I saw the Facebook movie. A Hackathon, you can put together monthly Hackathons. Super cool if you do them – I don’t know if you can do Hackathons online, or you have to do it in person for competition purposes that they can be gotten in person or virtually if possible. Someone in the fitness industry, they can say, “Hey, let’s meet up every week at this time at this place in pertaining for different work out [unclear].” Someone in real estate say, “Listen, I bring a minivan, I take only 10 people and I do a tour of all the development properties going up and investment properties that that’s their particular industry.” Someone who’s an interior designer, they can partner up with other types of designers, contractors, other subs that work on homes, etcetera, and they can do little events where there’s someone presenting up a particular design concept or building concept, and they all invite all their people; they do it all the time. Again, you don’t have to have it packed. Just the fact that people know you’re doing this is remarkable in it of itself. So there’s no limits to this. This is something I made up. People said, “How do you come up with this stuff?” “I’m just making it up!” CHUCK: [Laughs] MICHAEL: It’s true. You just make it up. If it works, keep doing it. There’s no rules, but the framework that I have seen work effectively is consistent, frequent, and brings people together. CHUCK: That’s awesome. CURTIS: Yeah. The gem indulged that my wife goes to, I don’t say it’s every month or a few weeks, they have to bring a friend where each person who’s like a subscriber can bring a friend and work out and they get a lot of business like word-of-mouth business and stuff like that just from that because in a way, it’s basically doubling their potential clients and they can talk to the people and see all that stuff. It works great for them. They didn’t do any real advertising or marketing and they’re growing greatly fast. MICHAEL: That’s great. I’ve got to study martial arts for about 15 years. Overtime, that’s one of the things we did except we just did it weekly open practice for anybody. So it wasn’t even just to bring a friend; it was weekly open practice. Wednesday, 6:30 class, open practice, anybody could come whether you know this discipline or not, it doesn’t matter. You want to come check out this discipline, come; you’ll really have a great time. If you’re from another school from somewhere, come; you’d have a great time. No selling there, just we wrote. That works really, really well. And they liked it, they know you do it. So it’s cool! I think it’s great. CHUCK: What’s the thing that you find that most people have the hardest time with with the Book Yourself Solid process? MICHAEL: It’s an interesting question. It depends with different people of course. I think sometimes, freelancers have a hard time staying clearly focused. They will go on a lot of different directions because a lot of different things that interest them. And there’s so much information out there, there’s so many different people talking about, “This is the way to go, this is the way to go, you got to do this, you got to do this.” If you try to keep up with like every new cool platform that matchable rolling about every day, you have nothing to do. You couldn’t do anything else but that. So what we need to do is look at the base minimal requirements for certain things. One of the guys at my mentoring program, he’s like a search engine guy and does websites and stuff, he said, “I’m like a shiny new object with software. I love new software. It’s totally of my ally. I’m always getting new software; I think I’m going to use it for this and that. I feel like I’m spending a lot of money. I don’t know, instead of using it, how should I look it? What should I do?” I said, “First things first, what’s the base minimum requirement you need to run your business in the following areas: from marketing perspective, sales perspective, process perspective, and project perspective? Do you need a software to help you with projects? Yes. How many pieces of software? Just one, that would be the base minimum requirement. Great. Do you need any software to help you with email collection and online newsletter, online opt-in free version? Yes, I do. How many pieces of software? Just one. Great!” and you go through that. That means we came up and he said he needed 5 pieces of software. I said, “How many pieces of software do you have right now?” He’s like, “25 maybe.” I said, “Great! So you’re going to cut 20 of those, you’re going decide ‘these 5 are what I’m going to use, and you’re going to use them period. If you add another leg to the business or you’re doing something else that’s generating revenue for which you need a piece of software, then maybe you’ll get it. But until another piece of software produces revenue for you, you stick with what you have, and you sell what you have.” So he seemed incredibly focused. It’s like, “I do a 4-week intensive, we know exactly how we run it. We run it every 3 months like clockwork, we had assistance in place. It’s all mapped down.” “Great! We’re going to do a new one.” Next time, he said, “We do love your mentoring program; we do love your coaching-training program. They're all mapped out, they're all designed; we know exactly what we're going to be doing each day as we move forward." Now, things will come up, things will change, we want to make improvements, and then we do that. But the clearer we are with respect to what we do -- meaning, how we produce the results for the people that we serve -- the less we need to do in the business. We use this software to do this, that's it. Let me focus that I'm bringing in a new business and not just sitting behind the computer playing with stuff. Does that makes sense? So I think that's an area where people often have a hard time. For somebody else, it's not going to be software programs; it's going to be they can't stop reading new books like New Strategic Ways to Implement Six Sigma Design or something. It's different for everybody, but often, less is more in the freelance world. So one or two things to various specific group, do a great job with it, become the best in your field at it, and then you can grow from there if you want to scale and you want to bring another people to work for you, you now start to turn your intellectual property into software. Whatever it is, fine, do it. But stay really focused. One last thing...it's kind of a long answer but, everybody knows 37signals of course. 37signals is one of the most impressive companies in the industry. They have few pieces of software, they're super clean -- I'm not saying clean from a programmer's perspective, I don't know what are behind the Cs -- but to the consumer, they're super clean, they're very easy-to-use, there's not a million different things out every week, and they're reliable. Great. And that's what they sell. They don't have a huge company doing over to make a ton a month. That kind of consistency and clarity focus is really important. ERIC: One piece of advice I heard at a conference, it was based and related to marketing, you'd basically pick one like tool or system or whatever and learn it. So not only you're an expert at it, but you know it so well that you're bored with it and not toward because of like shining object, but like "Oh, yeah. I know this at the back of my hand." And she was advising once you get to that point, then you can look at getting a second one. The more I think about it, the more I could like, "Oh, but you can do that with software, too." You could be that person, that expert at this eCommerce software and you do it day in day out and you get bored of it because you're that good, and you could inhibit that to whatever you want. MICHAEL: What you're talking about is the pursuit of mastery; that is how you master something. Look at that for in-store and compete in night; you don't compete in hockey and ice skating -- oh, those are the same things. You don't compete in hockey and gymnastics as well as wrestling. It's impossible to be the best at all of those things. Michael Jordan tried to also play baseball; it was too late for him. He couldn't get good enough at that stage; he couldn't do both. That's the pursuit of mastery; save the thing [unclear]. Master martial arts by trying ten at one time. You learn one until you're proficient, then you go learn another, you're proficient, then another until you're proficient. There's a great book by George Leonard called "Mastery" and it's all about mastery; the difference between dabblers - the people who dabble, the people who obsess, the people who master. They have very, very different mindsets and different ways of being. If you can hit that now right on the head, then that's it. You guys have heard of course the learning development quadrant -- I don't know what it's called. But the idea is that you start to learn something you're unconsciously incompetent. You don't even know what you don't know. That is you start to learn, you'd become consciously incompetent, "I know now what I need to know but I don't know it." Then you'd become consciously competent. So now, you know what to do, but you have to think about it a lot. And then finally, you'd become unconsciously competent, where you don't even need to think about it; you can just do it like it's enough. I can give a speech -- I don't need PowerPoint, I need all that stuff, I don't need notes to look at. I'm now unconsciously competent. I could be doing something completely different 5 minutes before going on stage, I can walk on stage, and I can do it because I've been doing it that long -- that's what you want to get. That's how you'd become best at something. CHUCK: Alright, well, this has just been an awesome discussion. I need to go back through it and pull a whole bunch of action steps out from my list of things that I want to do. MICHAEL: Cool! I'm glad it was helpful. CHUCK: I also want to say that I listen to the audiobook, and then I read the book when I had time. It was fun to listen to you talk, but it was interesting because I can kind of let it flow by me when I listen to it and then really pick out the details when I read it. MICHAEL: Interesting. Yeah, sure. CHUCK: There was a ton of value there. So, thank you again for writing the book. MICHAEL: You're so welcome! It's my pleasure, obviously. CHUCK: Alright. Are you going to be speaking or participating in events that we might be interested in? MICHAEL: Actually, these Entrepreneur Magazine events that I mentioned are free, often [unclear] for entrepreneur, they got to pay for them. But they do it for promotional purposes and they're really fantastic. I've got one this Thursday in Teaneck, New Jersey, they call it "New York City", they're just doing it in New Jersey; I was in there because it's cheaper. I guess the other city sounds cool and other's going to be at Teaneck, but they're marketing it in New York City obviously. So, it's this Thursday at 10, New Jersey. All you have to do is do a Google search for Michael Port Entrepreneur Event Thought Leaders New Jersey or something like that, you'll find it. And then I'll do one about 2 weeks from now in DC, those are [unclear] as well. I don't know the date, but I do know it's in DC; actually at DC, not next door in Virginia, but in DC. Those 2 are free and upcoming. And then, obviously, I do all sorts of stuff that people can then access to it free. They can go to BookYourselfSolid.com, and they can get 3 free chapters from Book Yourself Solid Illustrated. The fact of the matter is I actually send many more than 3 free chapters, I just keep surprising them, "Hey, here's some more chapter for free! Here's some more!" because I needed to go and suprise people who are good and over deliver on the promise that you made. So, BookYourselfSolid.com, I've got a blog there, lots of good stuff, and I'm always around. Hopefully, I'll be around for many more years to come. So, thanks so much for having me. CHUCK: Alright. Well, thanks for coming! We'll go ahead and do the picks, and then we'll wrap up the show. Ashe, do you want to start this off with the picks? ASHE: Yes! I have 3 this week. This past year, I'm continuing so the next one I'm trying to do better by myself and to kind of treat myself and my body better. So, there's this post on LifeHacker about "How We Can Eat Better While We're Working From Home". That's the first one. The second one is a talk from JSConf Eu which just happened a few weeks ago called "People First". It's the slide deck that I'm sharing, and it's a really great read-through about the kinds of actions that we should be taking in our work every day to kind of consider the people first. And then the last one is "Learn X in Y Minutes". It's a list of languages with kind of quick ways to kind of dig in to them. It's a C, if it's something that you might be interested in. I'm a big fan of this one because it's also translated into quite a few languages. For instance, there is a translation of learning Erlang in Russian, there's one for JavaScript and Korean so it helps a lot of different people. Those are my picks! CHUCK: Awesome. Eric, what are your picks? ERIC: I got 2 today. The first one is "First20Hours.com", it's Josh Kaufman who wrote The Personal MBA, it's his next book. The website alone is worth it. If you don't get the book, he has a TED Talk video, and then there's this thing like a Vimeo video, and some audio. He basically talks about where if you don't want to get to like that master level, but you just want to be like decent enough at some skill, this is the process he went through. He learned how to like Kitesurf, Computer Programming, Yoga, Go, all that stuff. Basically, the idea was that in 20 hours, you can be good enough at something and that you have the skill. It's interesting because it's kind of the idea of if you know you're not going to be like a concert pianist, but you want to learn how to play piano, you can use his concepts to learn. The second pick is a fun one. It's a TED Talk by Apollo Robbins, it's called "The art of misdirection". He's basically called the greatest pickpocket in the world... MICHAEL: I saw that one! It's insane! ERIC: It's great, like I had to rewind it a couple of times just to watch it. You're basically watching like a magician on stage, and it's amazing. It's only like an 8-minute video so it's well-worth watching. CHUCK: Awesome. Curtis, what are your picks? CURTIS: I've got sort of 2. First that I wanted to pick is "JetPack", which is a WordPress plugin. It does a whole bunch of other stuff, but it just added Google+ authorship which will put your image right beside your search results in Google, and links up your Google+ profile. JetPack is also very aggressive with activating all its new features so I always install a plugin called "Manual Control", which doesn't autoactivate random features that may conflict with other things. CHUCK: Very nice. I've got a couple of picks. My first pick is "ShareMouse". It's a software that allows you to share your keyboard and mouse across multiple machines. I was using Synergy for a while and it just couldn't work, and I couldn't make it work. I was also using before that a Teleport. Again, it worked for a while then it didn't work. ShareMouse is a paid product, but it is been awesome so far. The reason that I really came down to need it is because my client actually shipped me a laptop and I have to do all my development on their laptop so I would much rather share the keyboard and mouse, and then shell into it and do it that way. Obviously, it's also set up for the VPN and stuff so there are some other concerns there as well. My next pick is "Tweetbot", that's the software I use to manage my Twitter accounts. I really, really like it. It works really well, it notifies me when people have tweeted any of the accounts that I'm watching, and I just can't say enough good things about it. Finally, the last one is a book. My wife actually got these on audible, and she's been listening to them. She really liked them so she recommended them to me and I've been listening to them as well. They are the "Michael Vay Books" by Richard Paul Evans. They're really fun to listen to. Basically, it's about a boy that has the power to control electricity more or less, so there's an organization out there that accidentally created these mutations in people and then they're trying to control it. It's really, really interesting. Anyway, go check those books out. Michael, what are your picks? MICHAEL: I mentioned earlier that there's also software that can help you with those Book Yourself Solid networking techniques. I collaborated with Contactually, which you might be familiar with, to create a Book Yourself Solid edition. So that's at "Contactually.com/bys", I'll give you those links so you'll have them. It's really cool. All the things that I mentioned are actually in there like you can make the introductions released later's templates that will help you do it, you can store all of your articles - if you've seen an article online, click the little button, the little plugin in your browser that store in there for years and you can put it out and use it for its purposes, and it does a really good job for tracking all these for you and it will feed the people on the schedule that you tell it to, so you'll never contacting [inaudible] too much. And if you're talking with them in email outside of the program, the program knows so it doesn't tell you anything. Reach out to so and so even though you've been talking to them all day. So, that's a great one. I actually put this list together like if all of the things we'd use, it's a long list. And then when you look at your site, there was like a long list. So if that all has been put together like a long list of all and stuff so let me just scan through it and decide which ones. I did put "Mastery" by George Leonard on there, and I'll pop the link in here for you. So that's one, and that's a wonderful book. George and I also has a black belt; he's a teacher in Aikido, and that's one of the reasons that he's so for in this in the concept of mastery. There's a video that I absolutely recommend everybody see on TED by Andrew Stanton, it's called "The Clues to a Great Story". He is one of the founders of DreamWorks, I believe he's one of the founders. He's behind Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and Wall-E, and he's extraordinary. He looks down a lot at his confidence monitor because I think it's the first time he gave a speech so you can see him looking for a lot of his words. But nonetheless, the way he teaches you to tell stories, which is essential for marketing, for public speaking, for anything that you're doing, it is outstanding. It's one of the best that I have ever seen. And I use "1Password.com" for my passwords. I can live and die without that thing; I think it's just so important. And then one personal one, which anybody who's remotely interested in any kind of boating, probably sail boating anything, you should check out "Chapman", which is the pioneer in seamanship basically bible. It's in the 66th edition that tells you anything. It's like 4-inches thick and it has everything you could possibly ever want to know about anything related to boating. CHUCK: Awesome. I love it when people pick the things that they're passionate about like the sailing and stuff. Alright, let's go ahead and wrap up the show. Thanks for coming again, Michael. MICHAEL: Yeah! Thanks so much for having me. You guys are great! CHUCK: You can go check him out at MichaelPort.com. Also, go check out the Thinking Big Revolution... MICHAEL: Yeah, there's ThinkingBigRevolution.com; I'm not in there as much these days. But I'd say the primary places to go are BookYourselfSolid.com and MichaelPort.com. CHUCK: Alright! Sounds good! Thanks for coming. We'll wrap up the show; we'll catch you all next week!

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