If you know me well, you'll be aware that I can be like a Rottweiler when it comes to solving challenges. Now this has obvious benefits but there are some hidden traps that can easily sabotage my progress unless I'm being self-aware.

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I don't know if it's a "man thing" or just personality (probably a mixture of both), but sometimes the old stubborn, stiff-faced focus can dominate my energy when I'm trying to overcome something.

Let me share with you a story that happened yesterday and show you something that happened in me which was new, and I trust something that you can potentially learn from in your business (and life) – especially if you're prone to becoming stubbornly defiant in the face of challenges.

So here's the story:

I was working on a coding challenge (one of my hats is in web development), and I tried my normal approach of changing something, then a different thing, then another different thing, one step at a time, to see if I could fix the problem.

Well, after 6 hours of on & off trying this approach, nothing worked.

I was frustrated, and angry with myself for having been so stubborn.

And then I sat back, and took the top down view that should've occurred five hours earlier.

I asked myself a question:

"Is there another way I can look at this problem that will help me to move things forward?"

A simple question.

I went downstairs (I work from home), had a cup if tea.

I stopped.

Only for 5 minutes.

And then the new approach came.

And it worked.

5 minutes to save 5 hours.

That's all it took.

There's a book with this phrase as its title (and I haven't read it yet):

Questions Are the Answers.

Quick side story: I met a guy a couple of years back at a bar in Las Vegas (and we were both totally sober by the way: I'm tee-total & he drank water) whose company is a competitor of Facebook, and he told me that he attributed his success to "ASQ's": he just Asks Short Questions. Lots of them.

We stayed up 'til 4:30am in the morning, chatting, getting to know one another. All because he asked short questions.

Back to the main story:

So, what did I learn yesterday?

1) Don't be stubborn (ha!! – requires practice to break old habits & develop new & better ones)

2) If you are working on a problem or challenge, don't spend more than an hour on it. Some would say, and I'm working towards this: "If you can't see the solution to a problem after 15 minutes of solid effort, stop and begin to ask questions".

Sometimes the solution that emerge will involve others becoming involved in some way. Other times you will see a new strategy that was hitherto hidden.

3) Allow yourself time to stop, change your physical location. Talk to someone. Exercise. Just do something different.

If it's a small challenge, the solution might emerge that quickly.

At least, that's what happened yesterday.

Mountain Climbing

Just after supper last night, I exhaled an enormous breath of exhilaration, turned to my wife and said:

"I feel like I've just climbed a mountain: it was hard work, but now I'm at the summit and the view is amazing."

Just one peak among the myriad we should all be aiming to climb.

So, if you're still shaking off the "stubborn man" mentality, I encourage you to begin a different mental process.

It will be challenging, and hard work (any change is). But the sense of reward will be significant, and will effect everything.

Start asking yourself questions. Give yourself time to look down on your challenges, and you will see change.

It's exciting and rewarding.

Podcast of this post

 

The video is *really* quiet, so turn up your speakers to full 🙂

Dan Ariely's book Predictably Irrational is a superb dive into the psychology behind why people make the buying decisions that they do, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it at the beginning of 2011.

What is more interesting is that I inadvertently attracted his attention – he wrote a comment on my Mad Web Scientist – which is pretty cool in my books.

So what if you intentionally used this strategy? It might just work, particularly if you did a whole string of short videos detailing your thoughts on a particular author's work.

Now, have a think why that might be useful attention to get, and write your thoughts below, in the comments section.

A bientot!

Dez.

Click on the following link to get more info about Mark Hoverson's Info Marketing Blueprint

http://Dezfutak.com/infomark/

Mark Hoverson's Information Marketing Blueprint is a step-by-step, in-depth guide to how to create compelling information marketing products that will not only help put money in your bank account, but will also brand you in your niche as a leader.

The Info Marketing Blueprint is not the first attempt by a savvy online trainer to help coach a new breed of information marketing experts, but what he has produced in his Info Marketing Blueprint is an outstanding example of how to unpack, step-by-step what is required in order for anyone with any skill to leverage it online, and lay the foundation for creating an online marketing publishing empire.

The Info Marketing Blueprint is much more than just a step-by-step guide however – at every stage along the way, Mark addresses common limiting beliefs, mindset issues and misunderstandings that he has encountered throughout his business life, and even if you are a seasoned business owner, you will certainly benefit from the seeds of wisdom that he educes through the wisdom he shares borne out of his experience as a business coach and trainer.

The Information Marketing Blueprint deals with every level of creating and marketing an information product, right through to how to create effective and compelling video sales letters, training ans sales webinars, and much more.

Lastly, Mark Hoverson has pitched his training program at a very affordable level, because he is truly passionate in his desire to assist struggling business owners and marketers to get out of the poverty trap and poor cashflow that dogs so many potentially outstanding people.

Visit http://Dezfutak.com/infomark/  to find out more about his training program now.

I have huge respect for Gary Vaynerchuk – he is about 10 years ahead of the curve in terms of online business ethics and transparency, so if you're thinking about getting started in the online game, you and you haven't caught up with his books & videos, you should switch off your TV for a couple of days & grab a pen, take some notes, and write down an action plan based on your skillsets and passions.

I'm about to launch my first online training product on video marketing and video creation, and Gary makes it very clear that if you have skills that others want to benefit from, it's never been easier and cheaper to get started.

So how do you get started? Well, buy a couple of Gary's products, get yourself a simple WordPress website and start writing about your skills, offering free downloads in exchange for your email address, and then once you've got a few dozen, start asking them how you might be able to help. And, better still, hang out on the Warrior Forum, a superb place for finding out how to get started. If you have any questions, please do fill in your details on this page (or at the bottom, in the comments section).

Wishing you every success as you build your online empire,

Dez.

Please add your comments & questions here!

Yesterday evening I was in Stokes Croft visiting a client, and the blazing evening sun invited a brief photo shoot using my phone.

This morning I got an email from one of the guys who works at Foo Magazine, where I'd been, saying:

"You got out of Stokes Croft just in time last night. There were riots on the streets. Very hectic!"

Below are some of the photos I took: you might recognise one or two of them if you live in Bristol.

It's strange to think that just a short time later, the whole landscape was suddenly changed into a violent scene of destruction

Facebook ads for nearly free?!

 

When someone posts a sales page claiming that they've got Facebook ads for near zero cost, I'm interested.

Now we both know there are scammers out there, but the *one* place on the internet where you can't scam people easily is the Warrior Forum.

Spence has produced is a superb product – and I'll be using it over the next few weeks in my Facebook marketing and advertising strategy.

Be warned though – $10 for an information product may deceive you into thinking the content is rubbish. You'd be sadly wrong if you were of that opinion, as the Warrior Forum special offer area is where you can get some incredible bargains.

And $0.00 Clicks from Facebook Ads?? Proof Inside – High Quality U.S. Traffic! is definitely one such bargain.

Once I've applied what's in the course, I'll do a follow-up post on this blog, and give you a sneak-peak into some the the strategies I'm using at the moment for lead generation and sales.

 

UPDATE UPDATE: This has become the WSO of the day!!! (WSO = Warrior Special Offer)

Dez.

I finally left my 16 year old teaching career recently, to work full time on the internet. When the head teacher gave the traditional speech at the end of the school term, he said this:

"I'd heard about Dez Futak doing 'something on the internet', so I thought I'd find out for myself. Well, when I Googled his name this morning just to check, I discovered 7 pages of links with his name, so I guess what he's doing must be working!"

So how do you brand your business online?

The best way is by leveraging what the technologies behind the internet to help amplify the effect of your own content creation.

Most businesses now recognise that this is of paramount importance in the increasingly transparent world of the internet.

How do you want your business or personal presence to be perceived by others?

Increasingly, the first place people are going to find out about you is online. It's the natural thing to do.

In order to maximize the chance that they'll find information about you that you want them to know, you must be putting out content regularly, through many different channels.

I was shocked (I shouldn't have been really) to find a freelance job being advertised this morning, where the main task was to use "Astroturfing" techniques against another company in order to tarnish its reputation.

Online reputation management, social media management and content creation are now longer a luxury for a select few large corporations.

Every business must now seriously consider how it wants to be known.

Gone are the days of simple Search Engine Optimization strategies – we now also have social media optimization, reputation optimization, and so on.

So how do you go about leveraging these online technologies?

Here are a few simple ways to leverage your existing content:

  • Use Ping.fm to join together your social media accounts
  • You can also use Pixelpipe to perform a similar function
  • Join up your Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn accounts to cross post
  • Use SocialOomph to time the release of blog posts and Tweets
  • Use a video syndication service such as TubeMogul, Traffic Geyser or Content Buzz to magnify your media content in many different locations

There are, of course many other ways to amplify the effect of your dynamic content online, such as the use of WordPress plugins which automatically publish your content to RSS feeds, Web2.0 properties such as Squidoo and so on.

In fact, not a month now goes by without some new and clever traffic-getting tool popping up online, and from the ones I've seen so far, they all seem excellent.

So, the battle is on: either you are branding your business, or someone else will for you, whether you like it (perhaps because you've outsourced your social media management to them), or not.

But you can't just sit by and hope. You've got to act. And now would be as good a time as any…

I was going to keep quiet about this. But I'm spilling the beans about mobile marketing instead.

The reason? Well, just as social media (Facebook & Twitter mostly) has become mainstream, so too will mobile marketing within a very short space of time.

You might already be using it for your business. If so, just say "Pah!" and move along to more important things now.

If you're not yet using mobile marketing – which can include QR codes – then I reckon your business will be missing out big time, not too far in the future from now.

Oh, by the way, if you're still not using Twitter & Facebook (AND YouTube in my opinion), then you should also stop reading now. Get on the phone and give me a call, and I'll show you how you can create a simple Facebook fanpage for free.

So, then, what's all the fuss about QR codes?

Well, about 6 months back, I was passing an Estate Agents (or Real Estate 'shop', if you're not from the UK & reading this!).

And it had a QR code attached to the shop window.

So why would a place advertising Real Estate do that then?

Well, if you have a smartphone (and in N America approx. 29% or so people now have one1), you are – at least at the present time – 72% likely to respond to the presence of a QR code in a newspaper, shop window, or some other form of advertising, according to a recent QR usage survey2.

So what does that mean for you, if you run a business?

Obviously, a big opportunity.

With smart phones rapidly becoming the norm within the next few years, you are at a big advantage if you can position your business at the head of the game.

And I haven't even begun to talk about ways to combine QR codes, SMS short codes and email marketing into a seamless sales funnel yet.

And how about combining all THAT with your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel?

You have got those, right?

 

If not, maybe we should have a conversation, (or Tweet or text!).

I'll be detailing more ideas that you can steal from this site soon, so stay tuned!

Lastly, if you want to make one of those pretty patterns above, visit the QR Code Generator page now.

 

References

1. http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/us-smartphone-battle-heats-up/

2. http://mghus.com/qr-code-survey-results

What it Takes to be a Winner

You already know the score here: dedication, perseverance, persistance, consistency.

OK, end of blog post, let's just get on with it.

Obviously not.

There is, obviously, more to be said.

When I started up in business 3 years ago, I remember thinking: "This is gonna be like when I first started teaching: at first, there will be a steep learning curve as I seek to acquire new skills, I'm not expecting to become an overnight success. I'm in this for the long haul. I know that I will have to persist if I want to succeed."

So it is with everything of real value in life, and in one sense, this extends to the entire physical realm that we're part of.
 

Kneed The Dough (Not Need the Dough)

Everything has to be worked, like kneeding dough to make good bread.

Now I'm not saying that there aren't some good ways to speed up the process. There are, and I will allude to what I believe is one very important "success accelerator" in a minute.

And in fact, I believe that that key is the one which unlocks all the other doors that must be opened to enter into the success journey.

But before I explore the nature of that key, I want you to understand what I personally mean by success – what are the metrics I use to determine whether or not I'm pointing my life in the "right" direction?

Two key metrics for me are summarized in these two words:

  • Fulfilment 
  • Fruitfulness 

The "Superkey" for Success

If I have a sense of fulfilment in my life, and evidence of being fruitful – making a difference – then I believe that I'm travelling on the success journey. Then I'm winning.

So winning, success, is a journey into fulfilment and fruitfulness.

What about the destination then? If I believe success is a journey, where do I think I'm going?

That brings me neatly onto the "superkey" that unlocks the other doors to be passed through.

Simply put, in order to be a winner, I must have a strong sense, a vision, of why I am doing what I'm doing.

Confession time: when I fisrst started on this new journey of entrepreneurship, my far view was very blurred and foggy.

At the time, I simply want to have more time for my family, to have more fun. Actually, that could be enough as a why, but in my case, I also wanted to make a wider difference.
 

Defeating Death

You know, that "legacy thing". Many of us feel this way as a way of combatting own own mortality: it's a natural desire to want to leave a mark so that long after our DNA molecules have returned to the Earth, we somehow live on in the minds and on the lips of future generations.

And I'm not knocking that one iota. I feel the same way, and have done ever since those explorative teenage years when I began to emerge from the protective shell of self-centeredness.

Back to this "superkey": how do I find my why, how do I unlock that synergy within my being that will lead to harmony in my inner and outer life, and how do I know when I've reached that sense of purpose?

In other words, how do I judge when I'm winning?

Finding Life's "Why"

You've almost certainly guessed what I'm thinking by now, and if I've done my job well, the answer will be self-evident.

To know when I am winning, I must have a clear sense of my why – my aim.

"Why am I doing what am I doing?" is the question that will help me determine my focus, and then I will be able to see more clearly my target, so I can constantly refine and trim the direction of my life to achieve that fulfilment and fruitfulness that I desire.

Pretty easy then?

Obviously not.

Kneeding the dough requires a lot of energy, time and commitment.  BUT, if I have a clear sense of why I'm doing what I'm doing, and how I'm going to proceed along the journey, then that energy, time and commitment will seem much, much easier as life's curve-balls batter me into shape.

Let the Journey Continue…

In conclusion then, you, me, everybody, in fact, must discover our unique "why journey", and even more importantly, build and become part of a tribe of others who also want to discover a clearer sense of  that same journey together.

Everything else: the how and the what should stream from that greater sense of shared purpose.

Find your why.

Begin the journey.

Share that journey with others who become part of your tribe.

That's what it takes to become a winner.

Oh, and finally. notice that the dart board above has lots of holes in it.  Don't give up simply because you haven't hit your target yet. The process, the journey, is a fundamentally important part of the journey towards success.

For more information on how to find your why, read Start With Why, by Simon Sinek.

The Five C's of Great Leadership

Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy lives on, many generations over since his life and untimely death.

In this brief article, I outline the 5 C’s of Great Leadership, adapted from the svelt read "The Next Generation Leader" by Andy Stanley, and inspired by a recent "Wakeup" call given by John F Jackson, VP of Leadership Development at CarbonCopyPRO. 

 

Confidence

Confidence has its basis in an assurance of who you are – your identity. Martin Luther King Jr’s faith ensured that he knew who he was – his identity was thoroughly and completely wrapped up and made sure by his faith in God. You may not be in that same position – but every great leader (famous and infamous alike) has always had a sense of a higher calling on their life – some external reference point from which they were able to gauge themselves, that gave them a solid relational grounding with their own humanity and with others. 

Courage 

Courage is key to leadership – it’s the ability to take the risk when others would shrink back from taking the risk.

Compare for a minute King Saul’s response to his inauguration as king (he hid!!) with David the Shepherd boy’s fearless courage in the face of the real opposition in the character of Goliath, and you’ll see two distinct reactions to the call and challenge to be courageous in the face of great uncertainty.

Great leaders give courage in others as a consequence of their actions.

They can cause a hitherto timid and uncertain team to rally around their cause as a consequence of their inspiring courage.

Clarity

A great leader will develop and communicate clearly what their vision is to others to such an extent that they will foster trust in the team that they lead – even when the exact methods for achieving the goals set out in that vision may not yet be apparent. 

Coaching

You own experience can only get you so far – being coachable and teachable are essential for a leader to grow in areas of their life that would otherwise remain dormant. Coaching is essential to real growth for any leader, and is often responsible for breakthrough developments in personal self-awareness and its consequent positive influence on the relationships involved. 

Character

Character can only be developed by constant doing & reviewing in the context of the above four steps. Talent should never be seen as the master of a leader’s developing character, but should be subservient to the leader’s ability to harness and ring-fence what talent’s potential for over-reaching.

If you’d like to get more information on leadership, visit the Leadership Development page on this site – and please do add your insights below to extend these brief reflections!