PreneurCast is a marketing + business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
This week, Pete asks Dom (and everyone else) the top 9 questions he asks himself every day to make sure he and his businesses are on track.
Pete and Dom discuss the type of questions you need to ask yourself every day
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Questions, questions, questions
Dom Goucher: I always feel when we start these things that when the call happens that we should kind of say something like, “Knock, knock, Neo,” or something else quite mysterious.
Pete Williams: Just get a bit of voodoo at the start, you reckon?
Dom: Yeah, yeah.
Pete: Maybe next week. We should open with a joke, maybe.
Dom: No, mate. I’ve heard your jokes.
Pete: Ooh, ouch. They’re really, really bad? Okay, I’m not quite sure whether you mean they’re either really, really bad or R-rated.
Dom: Let me put it this way: maybe we should either sneak them in the middle or put them at the end.
Pete: They’ll turn people off. Fair enough.
Dom: Welcome one and all to this week’s PreneurCast with me, Dom Goucher…
Pete: …And me, Pete Williams.
Dom: Glad you remembered who you were today, mate.
Pete: Yes. It’s been a big day of training today, so it’s impressive I was able to recall everything.
Dom: Yeah, I do sometimes forget. It’s right at the start of my day and right at the end of yours, and your days are pretty full.
Pete: Well, at the moment the next four or five weeks are pretty much the heaviest workload when it comes to the Ironman training. For some reason. it’s meant to be springtime here but we had the biggest rainfall in Melbourne in 50 years yesterday or something like that, some weird stat. So it’s a bit cold and a bit wet at the moment. I had a three-kilometer swim this morning in the outdoor pool, so that was kind of interesting when you take a breath and you get a mouthful of water from the rain. That was interesting.
Then follow that with a 90-minute run in the rain on Beach Road. So big session this morning, but all going really well. Still fit, still healthy, which is the thing that’s surprising me the most, actually, out of this whole campaign. My body is the fittest I’ve ever been, ridiculously fit, but also no real major niggles or injuries yet, knock on wood. So that’s been very, very cool. With the amount of work and effort I’m putting my body through on a daily basis, it’s actually holding up pretty well. It’s been great so far.
Dom: Yeah, yeah. I am, again, shamed by your very existence. I struggle to get out of bed in the morning, you know?
Pete: This has been a 10-year goal in the making. It hasn’t been something I got out of bed one day and said, ‘I’m going to do an Ironman.’ It literally has been 10 years of planning; and not just planning in terms of training-wise because I haven’t been doing 10 years’ worth of training for this event at all; far, far from it. But it’s been 10 years of planning. This is going to be a goal, for the last six months of my twenties will be focused solely on doing an Ironman.
Business, relationships, friendships, have well, well known about this for many, many years. Like they say, there’s no such thing as an overnight success in business or anything. This Ironman’s not going to just be a six-month campaign; it’s definitely been quite a few years of putting things in place to be able to get me in a position to be able to do the training and do the work.
Dom: Good on you for saying that, actually, mate. It doesn’t surprise me. I know you and I know this is the way that your brain works, and a 10-year plan isn’t remotely surprising for you. But good on you for just admitting that, yeah, it’s not an overnight thing. You didn’t just wake up one morning having been a couch potato for most of your life and gone, “Well, you know what? I think I’ll do an Ironman.” And then you’re super blingy Mr. Training Man overnight and all the rest of it. It’s good to know that it’s achievable by at least, well, above-average humans, anyway.
Pete: I was actually having this conversation with my cousin last night, who’s a reasonably accomplished athlete. He plays footy, Australian rules footy, and he’s a little bit younger than me. So he’s still playing into his late 20s and will probably go around a couple more seasons. And footy’s a pretty tough sport in terms of physically getting abused and hit every weekend and stuff like that. We were having a conversation about it and he’s like, “What does it take to do an Ironman?”
Realistically, it’s just a 20, 24-week solid commitment of training, and you’ve got to have a bit of a base. I raced triathlons relatively seriously when I was in my early 20s at uni and a little bit in high school. So I’ve got a swimming background and a running background because I did that all the way through high school, and then obviously, the bike when I was just focused on triathlons. But realistically, I’m doing a 20-week campaign for the Ironman in terms of training, and I have been running.
I did the Melbourne marathon last year. I’ve been running for years and always have done. I’ve got a fairly solid fitness base to come off; but from a cycling and swimming perspective, literally, between when I stopped racing triathlons back in 2003 through to 15 weeks ago it might be, I probably swam a dozen times, max. In terms of cycling, I probably cycled four times, literally. I didn’t have much of a cycling base when I got into the Ironman stuff.
I bought a new bike and hence doing some serious Ks and time in the mountains and stuff like that. I think having a solid fitness base is a great start, but I think if you just make the commitment and do the training and listen to your body and don’t blow yourself up too soon, it’s achievable for anyone with a decent fitness base and the ability to make the commitment. I think the ability is the keyword. Anyway, that was not the topic of the podcast; it’s a side rant, as we always do at the start of every episode.
Dom: If I was a listener, I’d suspect deeply that sometimes we just didn’t know what we were going to talk about, so we winged it for awhile until we worked something out. I’m not pointing fingers, but I’m just saying.
Pete: We have plans before the call starts.
Dom: Yeah, I know we do. But sometimes, we do go a little bit, well, off to one side.
Pete: Makes it whimsical and enjoyable for the listener.
Dom: Whimsical and enjoyable, yeah.
Pete: Speaking of listeners, I actually was loving the feedback we’ve had from last week’s episode.
Dom: Yeah. You know what, I was going in that direction as well. That was pretty cool last week.
Pete: Yeah, I had some very cool emails, some very good tweets from people saying they really enjoyed last week’s episode. Now, if you haven’t checked that out, let’s not spoil it for everybody, but we made a big, big promise in the podcast that if you listened to the podcast all the way through and played along with us, you would have the most productive podcast you would ever listen to. And from the response I’ve had, we’ve fulfilled that promise, which is really, really cool. I hope people actually get the podcast out every now and again, and just re-listen to it for what it’s worth and what it’s meant to do. I do think it’s one of those things that if you continue to devour that particular episode on a regular basis, you’ll actually get some good results.
Dom: Yeah. And oddly enough, speaking of re-listening to stuff before we get on to the main topic, I’ve had a lot of feedback this week, both from some personal friends that listen to the podcast and just in general, people re-listening to The 7 Levers podcast.
Pete: Ah, awesome.
Dom: In fact, a little team I’m part of, we’ve pulled that out. One of the other team members pulled that out and we said, “Let’s use the 7 Levers as a model for assessing the status of this business and where we’re going to go forward with it.” And I just thought that was great; really, really handy. It’s like a little blueprint; you just go get the numbers and then start looking for which lever to pull.
Pete: Fantastic. Well, that’s the whole idea of it. I’m really glad that people are using that; and obviously, I’m glad you’re using it, of course, as the co-host. But for other listeners, it means a lot when people sort of say, “I’m actually applying this stuff and it’s actually helping,” which is very, very cool because that’s what this is all about. It’s giving advice from our trench warfare and hopefully, it’s helping other people fight their battles.
Dom: Yep. So what’ve you got for me this week, then, Pete?
Pete: A whole bunch of questions.
Dom: You’ve got questions for me?
Pete: I’ve got questions for everybody.
Pete: This is not going to be a typical sort of question podcast episode where we’re going to sit here and answer listeners’ questions. I’m going to actually probe and push and prod our listeners with a whole bunch of questions. I don’t know where these came up in my mind, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot the last couple of days. It might have been a conversation I had with someone. I’m not quite sure where the root of this episode came from, but basically, it’s almost a Tony Robbins-type quote, ‘The power of our life or the power of our answers is determined by the power of our questions,’ or something like that; I don’t know the exact quote.
Someone might be able to find it and tweet it to us – @preneur, if you want to tweet that or anything else to us. But asking good questions regularly and really self-assessing is quite important. While I was at the masseuse tonight, this is how prepared I was: I actually took time while I was on the masseuse’s table tonight getting a rub-down – I’ve got to re-word how I say that every week…
Dom: Yeah, you really need to be careful with that one. ‘Having a sports massage,’ perhaps.
Pete: Yes, yes. I wrote down the Top 9 questions that I regularly ask myself; not in any particular order, not in any particular sequence. It’s the Top 9 questions I think that people should put a note on their wall, on a Post-it note, maybe the screensaver of their computer, whatever it might be; and if someone’s a graphic designer out there, feel free to design something. Make a nice little checklist or reference sheet, and we’ll mention it in the next week’s episode. And if you’re a designer, we’ll give your business a plug. Let’s go through these nine questions; I think it’s worth just touching on each of the questions and give some context around the question and how it fits. Does that sound like a fair probing podcast edition?
Dom: Yeah, I actually like things like this, the kind of checking yourself. I was watching an interview with one of the Atlassian founders; I don’t know if you know the Atlassian company down there.
Pete: I have absolutely no idea.
Dom: It’s a big software company, so probably no, you wouldn’t know. But they’re actually mentioned in Daniel Pink’s book Drive; their novel way of managing their team and their people, etcetera, etcetera. I was watching an interview with Scott Farquhar, one of the founders.
Pete: Did you just swear then?
Dom: No, I didn’t. And if I’m writing that down, I’m going to be very careful when I write it down. But yeah, he was talking about how they have exactly this: a list of questions that they ask themselves on a regular basis to see how they’re getting on. At the time, I thought that was a good idea and I kind of made a little scribble to talk to you about it. But I’m intrigued to get your Top 9 questions.
Pete: Alright, so let’s delve into number one. Most importantly, this is not a sequential order of lists and it’s not ranked by importance; it’s just nine questions that you should be asking yourself in various ways in various circumstances at various times. The first one is, ‘How many offers did you make today?‘ Because realistically, when you think about it, the revenue your business generates is an exact multiplier of the amount of offers you made today. Now, this is something that really got solidified in my mind from Ed Dale, who talks about this in the context of Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson, who’s also a Melbourne guy, the cofounder of some school [School of Thinking] with Edward de Bono I think it is, maybe.
Anyway, he’s written a great book called NewSell, and it talks about basically, you want to make lots of offers. That’s the fundamental principle of the book; just like Rich Dad, Poor Dad is, ‘your house is not an asset’ or whatever it might be. The core principle of Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson’s whole philosophy is you want to make a lot of offers regularly. It’s called Check Move theory.
Dom: He’s the guy who did the W.O.M.B.A.T. book, isn’t he?
Pete: He is the guy who did the W.O.M.B.A.T. book, yeah. It’s mentioned in that as well; great, great read.
Dom: It’s funny, because as you started talking about this the other thing that popped into my head was the W.O.M.B.A.T. book.
Pete: Yep. Well, I’ll put a link to Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson’s website. Because on his website, I think he’s actually got the W.O.M.B.A.T. book in PDF form you can download for free.
Dom: He does indeed.
Pete: Really, really cool.
Dom: So we’ll definitely link to that. But yeah, so the NewSell idea of making offers…
Pete: It’s this Check Move theory. It’s basically that you want to make a lot of… In chess, the way you win is by going, ‘Check, check, check.’ And finally, you get ‘checkmate’ and you win. So it’s all about making a lot of offers. If you really think about it, as a starting-up business or an entrepreneur who’s trying to be an internet marketer or any sort of real-world business trying to make it, you want to make as many offers as possible. You want to have so many options out there for people to say yes to.
Whether it might be you want to speak to as many prospective leads as you can, you want to be making a lot of cold calls if you have to, or you might simply want to be just, if you’re in an online space, have a lot of products out there; have a lot of sales letters out there. I speak to a lot of start-up online entrepreneurs and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t make any money.” I’m like, “Okay, well, show me all your sales letters. Show me all the pages online that people have the opportunity to say yes to and purchase your stuff.”
Then you really dig into it, they don’t actually have an offer anywhere. How can people buy your stuff if you’re not making offers? An offer can be an e-commerce store. It can be a sales letter. It can be an autoresponder sequence. It can be something in your real-world business, maybe a newsletter that you send out to your past clients to offer them something new. It may be an upsell in the checkout process; it’s the “Would you like fries with this?” How many offers are you really making in your business today? Sit down and take some time to actually assess, “How many offers did I physically make today, and how many are out there on autopilot with leverage?”
Dom: Nice one. I like that you picked up on autoresponders there as well. We’ll come to back to that; this is like another entire episode, again, as we keep saying. I like the fact that, as you say, you can have these things that most people perceive as being static and just sitting there. But an autoresponder is just that way of the Hewitt-Gleeson point, the ‘check move;’ that idea of the more times you touch base with your clients – he really emphasizes the check move being touching base with your client, communicating with your client, somehow just making sure that you do enough of those. Because the more you do, the more likely you are to get a sale. And an autoresponder is a fantastic way of doing that.
Pete: Absolutely. Absolutely, because it’s all on autopilot. We’re doing episodes on autopilot marketing at some point; that can be kind of a cool episode. You can talk about different ways you can leverage and put stuff on autopilot. So question two is a fun question; it’s, ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?‘ When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Dom: You have that on your email signature.
Pete: I do. I don’t at the moment; I used to. I’ve taken it off at the moment.
Dom: You used to, yeah.
Pete: It’s a powerful question. It’s not a marketing question, it’s not a business question, it’s not a profit question; it’s just an ‘enjoying life’ question. And that could be as simple as going to the ballet, doing an Ironman, buying your partner some flowers, I don’t know. Life can be so redundantly boring if you just do the same crap every day, and that’s something that just does my head in. I like to challenge the status quo and just to keep energetic, and do something different. It also is a great way to bring up new ideas by doing something and actually experiencing something for the first time. When you’re young and in high school and stuff, you’re more willing to explore.
And the older you get, the more routine you get, and the more mundane life gets. So it’s really important to ask yourself that question seriously. When we the last time you did something for the first time? You sit down with most people and say, “Let me look at your calendar for last week,” and you grab the calendar for the month before and the year before, the weeks will be almost identical. Got up, went to work, came home, took the kids to netball; got up, went to work, went to the pub, had drinks with a mate; got up, went to work, picked the kids up from ballet, whatever it might be – it’s very repetitive.
You’ve got to take time to do something new to make life exciting, so that’s an important thing. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Third question, ‘What mechanical work did you do today?‘ Now, mechanical work is something that I talk about a bit when I talk about outsourcing it and leverage. What I mean by mechanical work is stuff where it’s just the mechanics of the actual task and there’s nothing unique, there’s nothing bespoke to you, there’s nothing intellectual property that only you can do about that particular task.
It’s something that’s mechanical; it’s just rinse and repeat. The reason I ask ‘What mechanical work did you do today?’ is because that’s your leverage points. That’s your lever points that you actually then go and look at ways to outsource that, whether it be outsourcing it through staff, either locally or overseas through the Philippines or India or wherever it might be; but also leveraging and outsourcing it using systems and software and tools.
Because anything that’s mechanical should be easily replicable and leverageable. So handball it, or write some software or a tool, or buy some program to do that for you. Generally, in most circumstances, as the business owner or the entrepreneur, there is no benefit in you doing mechanical work. You might as well get an employee to do that or an assistant to do that. Your main focus should be on traffic-generation and conversion.
It shouldn’t be on delivering the product, and most mechanical work is delivering the product. Some factors, features and elements of conversion and of traffic-generation are also mechanical work as well. That’s a really important thing. Continue to reassess what you’re doing on a daily or weekly basis. Sit down, analyze that diary, and pull out the elements that are mechanical that you can then leverage and get off your plate.
Dom: On this one, I’m red-hot on this at the moment, having gone through some outsourcing stuff that I got from you. A few people talk about outsourcing. But between the leverage stuff that you and I talk about offline and also the outsourcing material that I’ve got from you in the past, I’m absolutely red-hot on looking for anything that, when I do it, if I do it more than once, can I write it down what I did? Can I document it? Can I describe it? Can I systematize it? If the answer to any of those things is yes, right, it’s going out. It’s getting outsourced because it’s mechanical work.
Pete: Yep, absolutely. Absolutely. Number four. Number four and five. I’ll mention number four and five together. Number four is, ‘’What did you do today that you didn’t need to do?’ and, ‘What didn’t you do today that you should have done?‘ Now, the first part of that is, ‘What did you do today that you didn’t need to do?’ that’s, again, about just leverage your time. What did you actually do today that you didn’t need to do; whether that be you did it because you were trying to act busy but really you were just procrastinating; whether it was you actually did that you didn’t need to do because it wasn’t really due yet but you decided to do it because it was urgent, not important, or whatever the whole argument is around that; or maybe you did it today but it could have waited three days.
It’s really important to make sure what you’re doing is the most critical and efficient thing you can do every day. Have we spoken about in the podcast the five questions that I ask my team to email me every day? No, we haven’t yet, have we? No.
Dom: Not specifically. I know them, which is why I’m having difficulty remembering if we talked about them or not.
Pete: Let’s leave it for another episode. We call it a ‘teaser’ in the industry. But basically what we want to try and do is make sure that people are working on the most focused and the highest priority things every day. Even for yourself, say, “What did I do today that I didn’t really do today?” and then, “Why did I do those? Was I just trying to act busy, but I was procrastinating; I didn’t want to do the hard task because I was scared to do it for whatever reason?
Or was it something I did that I personally didn’t need to do and I could have actually palmed that off and delegated that? What did you do today that you didn’t need to do? Really important question. Also, this could be what did you do this week that you didn’t have to do; any timeframe is relevant, obviously. So the second part is, ‘What didn’t I do today that I should have done?’ What was actually on my to-do list today that I didn’t do, and why didn’t I do it? Was I scared to do that?
There’s things that come up and you have to do, and it’s like, “I don’t want to make that phone call. I don’t want to have to have that conversation.” Or, “Every time I actually start and write, I don’t enjoy the writing process, so I always avoid writing, but I know I should.” Really just reassess what did you do in this particular period of time this week; what didn’t I do this week that I should have done? So it’s a really important thing, to really clarify. And some of these questions are hard to answer.
It’s scary to sit down and self-assess and look yourself in the mirror, but it’s important to build your strength because lifting weights is not fun. Running on Beach Road in the wind and the rain for an hour and a half is not fun, but that’s going to get me to the goal I want, which is an Ironman. And this is the same thing as well. What did you do today that you didn’t need to do, and what didn’t you do today that you should have done? That’s four and five. Number six, nice, quick, easy one. ‘Did you drink two liters of water and have two pieces of fruit?’ Let’s get health-conscious.
I think it’s important. There’s a whole delve of conversation around what denotes health and well-being and vitality and stuff like that. Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Body is worth a read, and I know Timbo and Lukey over at smallbusinessbigmarketing.com, their awesome podcast recently did an episode on health and well-being. They interviewed someone on their podcast about this exact topic, and I encourage people to delve deep into that. You want to make sure you have a bit of fruit and some veg every day and a couple of liters of water, just to remind yourself, “Did I actually do that and am I looking after my body?”
Because looking after your mind’s one thing, looking after your bank balance is another thing. What’s a really bad analogy that everyone talks about is if you had a racehorse or you invested $50,000 in a racehorse, you wouldn’t feed that crap every day, so why do you do it to yourself? It’s such a truism because it’s a true thing. You wouldn’t do that to a horse that’s going to provide you an income from racing and winning, why do that to yourself who’s actually providing the income from working? So that’s really important.
Dom: One of my clients is in the health and fitness space, and one of the great tips I got from him for making sure that you drink enough water is to actually have a two-liter bottle or a one and a half-liter bottle of water on your desk when you’re working, because it’s in front of you and you can see the water going down or not going down. And the moment I started doing that – and obviously it’s more obvious out here; I shan’t talk about the weather, but it’s quite warm. It’s more important for me during the summer months, certainly; it’s more obvious that I need to drink water.
But having that bottle on my desk, a clear bottle that I can see whether I’ve drunk it or not – I’ve got it in front of me now, and I’m actually feeling slightly guilty because there’s not very much missing out of it and it’s the middle of the morning. But it’s there; it’s a visible reminder that you need to do it and it’s also a marker to show you how much you’ve done.
Pete: It’s important. Yeah. Sorry, we’re talking over each other.
Dom: I was just going to say, that is just a great tip. It’s really obvious. And also for me, being surrounded by more technology than really a sane person should have on one desk, having it as a bottle with a top on it means it’s perfectly safe for me knocking it over and ruining things as well.
Pete: Absolutely. What I took away from what you were saying there is something very important: out of sight, out of mind.
Dom: Oh, yeah.
Pete: That’s important with everything. That’s why I was saying these nine questions should be printed and put on your desk somewhere. It’s why you’re having that water bottle handy. It’s why you want to have these checklists and things. Because it’s not just out of sight, out of mind; because it’s so true that what you focus on expands; what you don’t focus on, you forget. It’s as simple as that. So number seven. Number seven is, ‘How can you profit from your waste?‘ This is a really cool question that I got taught by Jay Abraham, and it’s all about getting the most of out what you’ve got.
And he’s got plenty of tales and stories and case studies of clients of his who have worked out ways to profit from their waste, whether it might be a sawmill – their main focus in their business was just cutting down trees and turning them into 2×4 planks of timber. And they would just have all this sawdust left over. So they turned around and sold that sawdust off. Whether you might be a hairdresser and you can take your offset haircuts and sell them to make wigs for dolls. Rather than throwing the cut hairs on the ground out, can you work out a way to package that up and sell it off?
Whether it’s for profit or for fun or for just good will; I know Bakers Delight, a chain of bakeries here in Australia, my understanding is what they do at the end of every day is that any bread that’s not sold, they can’t resell it for health regulations, obviously, but they actually give it away. A charity comes to the bakery every night at 6:00 and they actually give that bread away for free as a donation to a local charity that they can then use for the soup kitchen or something like that. I’m sure they’ve worked out how they can also then write that bread off as a tax deduction that they’re giving away because they didn’t sell it, rather then just throwing it out.
There are so many other ways you can look at how you can actually profit from your waste. Let’s take the whole selling the MCG-side of things. Obviously, there was the waste of the actual MCG when they knocked the stadium down. If they were smart enough early on, they could have created their own series of memorabilia before I came along and did all that and gave them the idea. That’s a way of profiting from waste, and the MCG could have done that themselves early on. A whole another story – they ended up doing a bit of an auction for the remaining stuff after I scooped in and gave them the idea.
And they did very, very well with that for that for themselves. But there are so many ways you can actually profit from your waste if you think about, ‘What is left over that I could then turn around and possibly sell?’ And you can take that to the point of actually selling your systems. I know Jay Abraham talks about this quite a bit as well where he’s advised clients to say, “Well, there’s no wastage in your business because you’re a service business; can you actually take what you do, package it up as a system, and sell the system to people in a non-compete area? Can you teach people how to do what you do so well in their business in other areas?” That’s a way to profit from your waste.
Dom: Yeah. Two things that I got out from that definitely is, how can you or someone else profit from your waste? As you say, there was the example of the charity benefiting from somebody else’s waste. It’s not the classical definition of the word ‘profit,’ but there is a benefit. Instead of throwing something away; if somebody gets something, some benefit, from what you were going to throw away or that is extra to your requirements, then it’s good for you. You feel better. You’re contributing somehow. So yeah, it is one of those things people don’t think about.
And again, the point about the systems that you develop. It’s something that I certainly have been thinking about as my business grows and the kind of clients and the scale of client that I take on changes. I’m looking around and I’m thinking there are people that maybe I wouldn’t now take on as a client, but they still need this kind of service; and maybe I could create an info product about what I do so that I can still help those people and maybe make a small amount of profit from them but without me actually having to do that work myself.
Pete: Exactly. And the leverage in that is you can actually find a client who wants to work with you and say, “Look, I’ll do it at a heavy discount to start with,” or someone who’s got a tight budget, you say, “Look, I’ll give you my time and I’ll do the work for you at a discounted rate. But you have to allow me to record myself doing your work, and then it becomes a product.” So you’re getting paid up front to do the product or to do the actual thing you do while recording it, and that recording becomes the secondary back-end alternative product.
So you’re getting two birds, one stone. That’s fundamentally what this question’s all about; how can you profit from your waste? How can you get more out of what you’re already doing without having to do anything extra? Maybe another idea is you’re already sending invoices to clients. Does your invoice need to be a full sheet of paper? Can it be two-thirds of a sheet, and at the bottom of the invoice, have another offer, have an upsell, have a cross-sell on your invoice? It’s just wasted space. There’s waste right there. It’s not wasted sawdust on the ground at the mill, but there’s wasted space on your invoice. Can you maximize profit from that waste with an upsell offer?
Dom: American Express have been doing that for a very long time.
Pete: Yep, absolutely.
Dom: Just to do that little sound effect insert thing that we talked about – I’m still not going to do a real sound effect, but ‘Ninja tip! Ninja tip!’ That whole thing that you are giving away a big ‘secret’ there, the idea that you offer your services to somebody for a discount, record the process that you follow, and then that becomes your information product straight out. There’s your example given without you having to sit down and work out a good example.
Your client has come calling and given you an example. You just do the work as normal, just talk out loud while you’re doing it, or make a note of what you do as you do it. Screenshots, screencasting, screen-recording, audio-recording – whatever it is, and away you go. There you go, folks. Stop now, stop listening, go away, do that, make some money, off you go.
Pete: It obviously depends on what business you’re into; it doesn’t apply to everything. But also it comes down to horses for courses.
Dom: Yeah. But that’s an amazing load of value out of that one question.
Pete: Well, mate, there’s two more to go. We’ve got two more questions to go. Question eight. Let’s dive into question eight. This is one of the more powerful ones of the nine as well. It’s really important to ask this almost on an hourly basis, ‘What’s the primary focus of ‘blank’?’ So what’s the primary focus of this action I’m about to do? What’s the primary focus of this webpage I’m about to build? What’s the primary focus of this direct mail campaign we’re about to build? What’s the primary focus of this phone call I’m about to make?
It’s really, really important and I don’t think a lot of people do this. I know I certainly didn’t very, very early on. Stop for five seconds, 15 seconds before you pick up a phone call, before you start having a meeting, before you start having an all-in discussion about a sales copy for a long-form sales page or a website you’re designing. What is the primary focus and outcome you’re trying to get from this thing? There’s always going to be a primary focus and there’s always going to be a secondary focus; and if you don’t set that context up front in your own mind or in a discussion perspective, you will try and get too much out of what you’re trying to do.
Your website will get confused. Is it a lead-generation site? Is it an e-commerce site? What’s the whole purpose of this page? What’s the purpose of this action I’m about to do? I’m going to sit down and do 45 minutes of Critical Focus Time – I think we’ve spoken about it in a previous episode. I’m going to sit down for 45 minutes, focus on one thing. What is that primary focus going to be? If you sit down at your desk and go, “I’m going to work on my business for an hour,” what the hell does that mean? What does working on your business mean for an hour? Does it mean I’m going to be doing the books, I’m going to get distracted by an email, I’m going to take a phone call?
That’s not productive. My primary focus for these is 45 minutes is to write an email newsletter I’m going to send out as a ‘check move,’ and that’s going to be my offer for today. I’m going to sit down for the next hour and do this. I’m going to go for a run. I’m going to do some training for the Ironman. My whole focus this hour is making sure my four, five-minute intensive intervals are hard, or whatever it might be. This is the core focus I’m working on. My swim set this morning: my core focus was the pull part of the swim session in the pool. That’s P-U-L-L, it’s part of a stroke.
What is your primary focus? It’s so important. And I ask this question in the office so many times and I’ll stop a meeting and say, “Hang on. What was the primary focus of this conversation? What was the primary focus of this discussion going to be? What was the primary focus of what we’re trying to actually discuss here? Don’t get off topic.” So many conversations you get off topic and you forget what the primary focus is. It’s really, really important and a very powerful question to ask yourself extremely regularly. What’s the primary focus of…
Dom: … X? I completely agree. I find the individual object like this page, this phone call, whatever; that’s got power in itself. But to me, the one that has the most effect is that five minutes of thinking, or however long it is of thinking and planning, and just making a note or whatever before you actually engage into that allotted time slot; as you said, the CFT, the Critical Focus Time. What is that phrase? Basically, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never going to get there.
Dom: It’s more important to spend five minutes working out what you’re going to do for the next 50, than it is to allocate the 50. Because if you allocate 50 minutes and do nothing, or do nothing that’s focused, or do stuff you don’t need to do or that’s not going to have impact on your business, etcetera; then you may as well not have used that 50 minutes that way. You may as well just have carried on wherever you were going before. So that is really powerful. Before you do anything or while you’re doing it, always review what is the primary focus.
Pete: Absolutely. And then, then the final. We’ve come to the final question. The final question I think you should be asking yourself when you do your review stage; so maybe you’ve designed a webpage, you’ve designed a direct mail campaign, you’ve done something. And the question is, ‘Did I ask too much of it?‘ One of the things when you’re assessing why didn’t something work or why didn’t it work as well as I thought or whatever it might be, one of the core things that I continually find when I discuss things with people and delve in and give mentoring or coaching is that they’ve asked too much of it.
They’ve just asked too much of it. And what that means is you’ve sent out a direct mail campaign asking for people to go to your website, fill out a form, phone your business, make a decision about three different things. Have you asked too many questions? Have you made too many offers in one communication? Have you asked too much of that person? Have you asked too much of that staff member? Have you asked too much of the webpage?
Have you asked too much of it? It’s just a great way to reassess and go, “Hang on, my expectations were too much of this thing, this task, this person.” And it just helps reassess and make sure you’re on track when you’re coming back to the start of that particular planning session and having a core primary focus. Because maybe you’ve had too many focuses or not a there’s no clarity on your focus and then you’ve asked too much of it.
Dom: To me, those two questions are absolutely, or can be really related. If you take the example of a webpage with some kind of form on it, you’re obviously measuring the response, measuring your traffic and your conversions on that page as we have been trying to get people to do forever. If the page isn’t gathering as many leads or as many responders as you would hope for and you want to know why, then the first thing to do is say, “What was the primary focus of that page, that form,?” And then measure and say, “Did I ask too much?”
One of the most classic things that I see – saw one the other day from a potential client. They have a form; they want sign-ups. They said, “We want sign-ups.” Now, that’s a little bit vague. So I had to go back and ask them a question because they had a form on the very first page of their landing page. It’s a three-stage sign-up process, and the first page has a form on it with, I think, 11 fields.
Dom: One of them’s phone number and it’s required. At that point, I said, “What is the primary focus of this and are you asking too much?” Because if really what they want is for people starting to be within their circle of influence, starting to just be somebody that they can communicate with, they really only need an email address. I’m sure they’d like all that other information, but do they need it? Are they asking too much, and is that why they’re failing to get these sign-ups? That’s just one example of where those two questions connected in my mind, certainly.
Dom: That’s a great, great set of questions there. Let’s just run through those again; we’ll summarize them in the notes, obviously. But after some feedback on the 7 Levers episode, with people saying, “Oh, we were scrambling to write those down…”
Pete: Fair enough. We’re hopefully going to have a little app done at some point, as we spoke about previously. We’re going to try and work with someone who’s a listener in getting something like that put together, so we’ll keep you in touch on that one. But today’s podcast, today’s episode, the nine questions for you all in no particular order:
1 ) How many offers did you make today?
Check Move theory; how many offers did you make today?
2 ) When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Get out there and challenge yourself and do something new; do something for the first time.
3 ) What mechanical work did you do today?
What stuff are you doing in your business that is just mechanics? It’s not actually creative, it’s not actually using any brainpower, it’s just doing mechanical work; and how can you actually get that off your plate?
4 ) What did you do today you didn’t need to do?
Was that because you were scared, you were trying to procrastinate, or you were just doing stuff that you could really delegate? What did you do today that you didn’t really need to?
5 ) What didn’t you do today that you shouldn’t have done?
Because you were scared, because you forgot about it, because you were not on target; whatever it might be? What didn’t you do today that you should have done?
6 ) Did you drink two liters of water and have two pieces of fruit?
Got to look after yourself. You’ve got to fuel the machine that is you. You get more done if you fuel yourself better and look after yourself.
7) How can you profit from your waste?
Whether that be a hairdresser selling the off-cuts to a doll factory or whether you’re actually maximizing the space on your invoice with an upsell or cross-sell, how can you profit and get more from what you’re already doing or the wastage in your business?
8 ) What’s the primary focus of ‘blank’?
Whether you’re doing a webpage design, a sales letter, a meeting, or a phone call, what is your primary focus? Be clear with that before you start and then everyone in that conversation can have the same objective and the same outcome and the same context. It comes back to the whole context episode we spoke about previously.
9 ) Did I ask too much of it?
In the review stage, you should be continually reviewing everything you do – an email you sent, a conversation you’ve had, whatever it might be. Did you ask too much of it? And that, my friends, are the nine questions you should be asking yourself on a regular basis.
Dom: I have kind of an implied 10th question.
Dom: Yeah. And that is, Did you ask yourself these questions today?
Pete: Ooh, I like it. That is good.
Dom: That comes to me from something that I’ve been thinking about before the call today, actually. It’s a concept I heard of first through Eben Pagan, a concept called ‘sharpening the saw.’
Dom: Where most people – and you mentioned this throughout the episode today, most people are busy working. They’re in their work, they’re in their business; they’re not working on their business. They’re not improving their business knowledge, they’re not observing their business performance, all those things. So these questions are a good set of questions. They’re your questions – you’ve come up with them, and it’s a good place to start, and they are pretty generic and relevant to everybody and every business. But probably the most important meta-question is, ‘Did you stand back today? Did you review your day? Did you ask yourself these questions?’
Pete: Nice, nice. So on that note, let’s put a bow on it and wrap this episode up. I’m going to leave everyone with one final question as well, just to add an extra one in here. My question is, have you left us a review on iTunes yet? It’s important. We want your support. But we want your feedback. Obviously, you can tweet us, you can email us; but we would really love your support on iTunes.
So if you’ve got some time and if something you’ve done has made you a bit of money from what you’ve learned here or it’s saved you a little bit of time or given you a little bit more confidence, I’d love you to reinvest in us and reinvest by spending a couple of seconds over on iTunes giving us a review, a star rating because it helps us and that’ll mean we’ll continue to help invest our time in you and your business as well through the podcast. So thank you all to the thousands of listeners we’ve got regularly. We’d obviously love more feedback and obviously more listeners, so tell your friends too.
Dom: Absolutely. We do appreciate the feedback and we appreciate the input into the show, both from the formats, the topics that we choose, and any topics that you want to hear. At the moment, you’re hear us saying, “Pete, what’s on your mind? Dom, what’s on your mind? What’s happened this week?” But if it’s something that you want us to focus on, something that we’re not talking about, something that we’ve said we’re going to talk about but we haven’t yet and you really are interested in that topic; the comments or an email or a tweet, those are great places to get in touch with us.
But the big thing for us at the moment is the iTunes Store. It’s a great way to show us that you appreciate what you do. Because by giving us a comment, you’re telling iTunes you like us. By telling iTunes you like us, it promotes our podcast, which means more people will see it. Whenever we make it into the New and Noteworthy or the charts – and we have done that a couple of times recently, we see more subscribers. And that’s getting the message out there, which is what we’re trying to do.
Pete: Awesome. Guys, go forth. Ask yourself these questions. And we’ll see you same time, same place next week for another PreneurCast episode.
http://www.schoolofthinking.org/ – Michael Hewitt Gleeson’s site (where you can download a free copy of his book, W.O.M.B.A.T. Selling)
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