What Jeff Bezos, LeBron James, and Arianna Huffington Have in Common

If you could incorporate the common thread between Jeff, LeBron and Arianna that guarantees success, would you do it? Of course you would (but almost nobody does).

Jeff Bezos LeBron James The Future of Employment: Arianna Huffington

All three are the absolute best at what they do, but what is the ONE thing that ties them together?

  • Do they work 24/7/365 to stay ahead of the competition?
  • Did they have a personal coach that pushed them at the top?
  • Do they possess more “passion” towards their craft than anyone else?

The answer is no, no and no.

We need to dig deeper.

Of course Jeff, LeBron and Arianna have an undying hustle. But hard work alone is just your ticket to the dance — you’ve still got to get the girl.

And each of these three built their empires through a collection of personal mentors and coaches. In fact, their first comment whenever receiving praise is to give gratitude towards those that helped them along the way. But many people have coaches / mentors — this doesn’t guarantee success.

Lastly, following your passion is horrible advice. Jeff, LeBron and Arianna have a constant yearning to be the best in their field — but so do all of their competitors.
So if it’s not 24/7/365 hustle, personal coaches or passion, what is it?

The (Not-So-Sexy) Secret to Success

What ties Jeff, LeBron and Arianna together in their success is bland and boring — but absolutely essential.

The common element between them is the age-old (often ignored) advice of getting a good night’s rest. That’s right, all three of them prioritize sleep, especially when their best performance is required.

In today’s post I’ve invited my friend, Eric Conley, to debunk the fallacy of high-profile CEOs and athletes burning the ‘midnight oil’ to get ahead. He’ll dig into the habits of Jeff, LeBron and Arianna and how they propelled their careers to achieve true mastery. And perhaps most importantly, he will teach you the secret to unlocking your hidden potential (note, it’s not simply getting enough sleep).

Eric — take it away.

Cutting Sleep May Bring Success, but at a Cost

Ranjan Das is by all accounts an overachiever.

As the CEO and Managing Director of SAP for the India Subcontinent he led all the market-facing functions. His responsibilities included crafting the go-to-market strategy, driving customer satisfaction and managing the profit and loss for all revenue-generating functions[1].

His relentless work ethic provided him the reputation of driving SAP India’s business ahead of its rivals in the country[2].

In addition to his success at work, Ranjan was a health freak — he ate perfectly, worked out daily and ran marathons to satisfy his competitive spirit. His ambition to succeed trumped everything. He even refrained from bad habits like drinking and smoking.

So why is it, at the ripe age of 42 Ranjan died from massive cardiac arrest?

The 4-Hour Sleep Myth

In today’s culture a lack of sleep is a form of braggery. We often associate sleep deprivation with success or superhuman abilities.

Candidly, I used to be in awe of people who are uber successful who claim to get by on 4-5 hours of sleep.

But stories like Ranjan’s are becoming more and more frequent.

If you haven’t guessed already, Ranjan’s death is cited towards his sleep (or lack thereof) habits.

He boasted he “only needed 4 hours of sleep”. Sadly, his position on sleep became a vicious downward spiral — each time he was quoted on his late night routine he was applauded from peers and rewarded with continued success, eventually becoming a leader in the juggernaut company that is SAP.

To Ranjan, the fallacy of less sleep equaling success led to an early death, despite his reputation of being a “health freak”.

What’s unfortunate for Ranjan is that the consequences of sleep deprivation (including his death) were overshadowed by the lifelong societal and career praise he received.

Keep this in mind the next time you overhear a co-worker boast that “she was up all night” to complete a project. Her decision to do so caused WAY more harm than good.

How Jeff Bezos, LeBron James and Arianna Huffington Use Sleep to Catapult their Success

Jeff Bezos

Amazon.com rivals Wal-Mart as a store, Apple as a device maker, and IBM as a data services provider. Founded just 20 years ago and with revenue expected to hit $90 billion this year, Jeff Bezos is the posterboy for self-made success[3].

Yet night after night he dedicates 8 hours towards sleep.

This is quite admirable, considering the ruthless pursuit by Bezos into making Amazon an e-commerce powerhouse.

“I’m more alert and I think more clearly” as a result, Mr. Bezos says. “I just feel so much better all day long if I’ve had eight hours.”[4]

The key lesson here is to prioritize clarity and focus to achieve your best work over being fatigued, but busy, with directionless tasks.

LeBron James

And when athletes combine sleep with nutrition and exercise their results skyrocket.

Consider the following:

  • Tennis players get a 42% boost in hitting accuracy
  • Sleep improves split-second decision making ability by 4.3%
  • Football players drop 0.1 off their 40-yard dash times by sleeping more

And most impressive, a 20-30 minute power nap improves alertness by 100%[5].

The advantages received from increased sleep can be the difference maker for professional athletes.

That’s why LeBron James, arguably the best basketball player, repeatedly gets 12 hours of sleep a day.

At just 30 year’s old, LeBron is in his 12th NBA season and has accumulated 34,332 career regular season minutes (14 among all active players)[6]. Sleep — perhaps more than anything else — is the reason he is able to perform at an MVP level everytime he steps on the basketball court.

Arianna Huffington

As the President and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington leads a busy life.

So much so that in 2007, Arianna passed out from sheer exhaustion. She broke her cheekbone on her desk and got five stitches under her right eye[7].

This was her wake up call — no pun intended.

Since the incident, she gave a TEDWoman Talk, “How to Succeed? More Sleep” which has received nearly 3 million views.

In her speech, she negates the boasting, one-manupship of sleep deprivation stating:

“..f you try to make a breakfast date, and you say, “How about eight o’clock?” they’re likely to tell you, “Eight o’clock is too late for me, but that’s okay, I can get a game of tennis in and do a few conference calls and meet you at eight.” And they think that means that they are so incredibly busy and productive, but the truth is they’re not, because we, at the moment, have had brilliant leaders in business, in finance, in politics making terrible decisions. So a high I.Q. does not mean that you’re a good leader, because the essence of leadership is being able to see the iceberg before it hits the Titanic. Ad we’ve had far too many icebergs hitting our Titanics.”

Huffington admits that by making sleep a priority she’s had to say “no” to good opportunities — but the benefit of doing so is profound.

Unlike her former zombie-self, she is able to focus on the critical business decisions she makes at HuffPo AND have energy for family time and playing with her kids.

In her own words, “As I got more rest, I could work and come home — and become the human jungle gym again”[8].

If Arianna, one of Forbes most influential women for 2014, allows adequate sleep in her life, couldn’t you?

How Sleep Unleashes Your Inner Genius

I recently went on a week-long trip back home to Ohio. While staying there, my little sister was kind enough to let my fiance and I sleep in her full-size bed — a little snug, but much better than the couch.

And let me tell you, I went WAY beyond my normal sleep routine. Night-after-night I slept for at least 10 hours and woke up whenever I wanted to.

My body quickly adapted with the late to sleep / late to rise routine almost overnight. What’s odd is that I found myself tired in the afternoon — even though I slept in.

Not only did I have less energy during this interim period, but I also shortened my days:

Normal Routine

Rise n’ Shine: 5 AM

Bedtime: 10 PM

Total Waking Hours: 17

Ohio Routine

Rise n’ Shine: 9 AM

Bedtime: 11 PM

Total Waking Hours: 14

Did I miss my alarm clock while in Ohio? Absolutely not.

And I didn’t go back home to be productive — I came to relax and enjoy time with my family.
But during this time I realized just how valuable my *normal* routine is. I make sleep a priority and turn off all electronics, including my work iPhone, by 9 PM — no excuses.
To the contrary, when I was in Ohio I stayed up late to watch movies that I’d already seen multiple times.

This reminds me of the advice I found on Reddit:

“If you wouldn’t wake up early to do it, you probably shouldn’t stay up late to do it.”
The moral of the story: It’s 100% acceptable (and encouraged) to stay up late every once in a while. But if you continually watch late night TV or have your eyes glued to your iPad you need to ask yourself, “Would I wake up to catch the next episode of The Walking Dead or scroll through Kim Kardashian’s latest Instagram pictures?

And although the intent behind this question is to keep you mindful of your priorities (i.e. sleep) we know that knowledge without action is useless.

With that, I’ll share with you my personal, advanced Stop and Snooze Routine to ensure you wake up with creative energy to complete your life’s work.

Stop and Snooze Routine

The Stop and Snooze routine begins with a simple, but profound idea — an evening alarm on your alarm clock.

You are probably using your alarm clock to wake you up in the morning, but you haven’t considered using your alarm to help you get to sleep.

Setting up your evening alarm is easy — just work backwards from the time you wake up.
For example, if you want to have seven hours of sleep (recommended minimum) and need to be awake by 6 AM, then you’d need to fall asleep by 11 PM the night before. To be asleep by 11 PM, you’ll need to set your evening alarm to 10 PM to trigger your Stop and Snooze Routine an hour before sleep.

A Day in the Life

Ninety percent of the time, I’m asleep by 10 PM during the week. I get at least seven hours of sleep before I wake up at 5 AM for CrossFit.

To help me get to sleep by 10 PM, I have my evening alarm clock prompt me to begin my nightly routine at 9 PM:

  1. Pack gym bag with office clothes
  2. Set workout clothes and shoes out in the living room
  3. Have boiled eggs (peeled), oatmeal with blueberries and a protein shake ready in the fridge
  4. Drink Sleepy Time tea
  5. Read until I fall asleep

As mundane as this routine might seem, I get excited anticipating my 9 PM alarm. Even if I’m working on my laptop, I know that when 9 PM comes around, it’ll be time to quit. The rest of the evening is “my time,” and I get to cap it off with reading — something I always claimed to “never have time for.”

And when my 5 AM alarm goes off, I’m out of my bed and out the door in less than 15 minutes because I had set everything up for myself, leaving me with zero excuses to miss a workout.
What’s more is that when I workout in the morning I virtually guarantee myself to have a great day. I’ve been compiling notes in my Five-Minute Journal for months and there is a definite correlation between CrossFit in the morning and increased productivity / happiness for the day.

Action Steps

  1. Determine what time you want to wake up in the morning. Count backwards the number of hours you wish to sleep plus one and set your alarm (i.e. wake up at 5 AM while getting 7 hours of sleep requires a 10 PM snooze time and 9 PM evening alarm).
  1. When your evening alarm (i.e. 9 PM) goes off, begin taking care of all the items you would normally put off till morning and get them done now. This includes picking out your clothes for tomorrow and setting out your breakfast items (dishes and preparing your food) and shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes. Even as someone who preaches good sleep habits, I’m never motivated first thing in the morning. Why fight against yourself in the morning when you can get your morning tasks out of the way at night?
  1. After spending 15 minutes getting your things ready for the morning, it is now “your” time. Enjoy it reading, meditating, taking a warm shower, talking to your spouse — whatever! This is your guilt-free time, and you can choose to do whatever you like, just make sure the lights are out by 10 PM (or whatever time allows you to get the hours of sleep you need).

How YOU Can Fall Asleep in Minutes

We’ve seen how poor sleep habits (allegedly) brought a high-profile CEO to an early death, even though he was considered a “health freak.” Unfortunately, this story will be forgotten. The culture we live in praises sleep and believes it is required to get to the next level.

Luckily we have three of the most influential people on the planet to model after — Jeff Bezos, LeBron James and Arianna Huffington. All three of them sleep MORE than the average person and attribute their success to a good night’s rest.

It’s time to stop making excuses. Let’s use sleep to launch our own success and get started right away by using my advanced Stop and Snooze Routine.

And if you’re trying to go to bed earlier, but find yourself tossing and turning for hours on end, download my FREE e-book How to Fall Asleep in Minutes.

This book will help you:

  • Stop worrying about the endless list of thoughts racing through your head so you can fall asleep quickly.
  • Avoid the snooze button in the morning and wake up at 6 AM to get hours of work done while your competition is still asleep.
  • Have consistently high energy while others struggle with the afternoon slump.

Sleep is a force multiplier for everything in your life, and will effectively double the results for all of your work and health goals.

When you’re ready, download my e-book How to Fall Asleep in Minutes and get started today.

What to say to family and friends who don’t support you

I was driving home from my office, my palms were sweating and I just wanted this day to be over. In about 20 minutes, I was going to tell my parents that I’ve decided to quit university and become a full-time coach for professional poker players.

Ugh.

This was one of the most nerve-wrecking moments in my life. I was sure that my parents would get extremely angry with me and throw me on the street. My mother always wanted me to finish the University, and with just 4 exams to go I knew she would beg to “just finish the last bit”.

What she didn’t know was how much I hated it there and how unfulfilled I felt by doing something just to make others happy. I knew exactly what I wanted to be doing in my life, and programming, listening to boring lectures and taking exams that provided no value to my life was a torture.

I was even more afraid of my father. He has a PhD in Archaeology and is one of the best people in the field. He’s even taught a few classes at the university. I knew that education meant a lot to him, but I just couldn’t see it work for me.

Of course I was nervous about breaking the news of quitting university, but I was even more nervous about talking with my parents about what I did for a living now – coaching professional poker players on productivity.

What comes to your mind when you hear the world “professional poker players”? Well, my parents thought about degenerate gamblers connected with drugs and mafia that would most likely kidnap and kill me if something went wrong. I would need a lot of luck to convince them otherwise…

I took a deep breath and entered the apartment.

“Mom, dad, we need to talk. Come into the living room please. You will want to sit down for this.”

When they came into the room, they were super worried – I mean, who wouldn’t be if someone dragged you into a room, told you to sit down and that you need to talk…

“Listen, I need to tell you something. I won’t be attending the university any more.”

The dead silence filled the room. My mother was speechless and looked at me with disappointed eyes. Then she started to cry.

My father managed to stay a bit more composed and asked me why I decided to do that and what I’m going to do if I’m not going to be going to university any more. Well, at least he didn’t start screaming at me, so that was good.

Over 15 very dreadful minutes I explained why decided to quit university, what I’m going to do instead and my exact plan for the next 9 months.

After I finished talking, my mother kept repeating the same thing: “I really think you should finish your studies. You are so close.”

My father on the other hand, surprisingly, said to me: “If that’s what you decided to do, that’s fine with me. I know that the educational system isn’t what it used to be and that it won’t help you with your current goals. I hope you manage to succeed in what you decide to do.”

Now I was speechless.

This happened over a year and a half ago, and it was a major turning point for me. After this conversation, I put all of my time and energy into growing my business and starting an independent lifestyle. It wasn’t easy, but it was exciting, liberating and unforgettable. I finally started living my ideal life. I managed to build a poker productivity coaching business and later on moved to working with freelancers, consultants and executives – and now I devote most of my time to Skyrocket Your Productivity.

Before I was able to break the news to my parents, I had to secretly work on my business from an office.

Before this conversation, I worked secretly from an office that I rented with a few poker players so I could record videos and have coachings and webinars in there (I couldn’t do this at home because we have very thin walls at home and I didn’t want anyone to find out about my poker productivity coaching business.)

I would be away all day long. I attended the minimum possible amount of classes at the university, and since my office was 5 minutes away, I could spend all of my days there, pretending I was at university / out with friends. I loved staying in the office, but all of the time I’ve spent at the university was just killing me. It didn’t align with my values and my vision, and I would be more drained after a 1-hour lecture than an 8-hour work day that I actually enjoyed.

This went on for more than 6 months before I managed to build up the courage to finally start living my own life. The main reasons why I didn’t have the courage is because I didn’t know what to say to my parents in the first place and because I was afraid that my business might fail and I would end up living on the streets.

Then, one evening after I came to the office, I was just so sick of the university (they wanted me to create a boring business plan for a fictional project that just made no sense when I already had a profitable business) that I decided to end my misery once and for all. I reached out to one of my mentors at the time and ased him for advice. With that and a little bit of research, I finally managed to prepare my speech. I drove home and broke the news.

I know that you might have friends and family members that don’t support you in your ideal lifestyle. I know that your situation isn’t the same as mine. Maybe you want to create a side-business and your wife thinks it’s too risky. Maybe you want to change your job and your friends aren’t too excited about it.

I want to share a framework with you that helped me go through this difficult conversation that you can use to talk to your friends and family members and get them on your side.

Here are the most important things that I did:

#1 – I showed honest appreciation.

I started off by telling them how much I appreciated all of the help and support thwy’ve given me in the past. I mentioned specific examples of what I was especially grateful for.

This put them in a better mood and helped me slowly transition to my decision, so I didn’t shock them immediately.

#2 – I didn’t make my decision about me. I made it about something bigger than me.

I didn’t just say “oh I hate university, I don’t want to go there any more”. Instead I explained that this just isn’t in line with my vision and that if I kept doing what I was doing now, I would be very unhappy and also wouldn’t be able to spread my ideas to other people who might benefit from them.

I talked about 3 specific case studies of how I helped my clients and showed them the letters from the readers of my content that benefited from my advie. I wanted to show them that I’m making a positive change in the world and that I wanted to do more of it instead of just writing outdated computer programs that wouldn’t transform any lives.

#3 – I knew exactly what I was going to do over the next 3, 6, 9 months.

I didn’t just say “oh I want to have my own business”. I already had a business that was bringing in decent revenue and I shared with them a specific plan that I carved out for the next 3, 6 and 9 months.

This showed them that I was well prepared and that this wasn’t just some random idea that I would give up on tomorrow. They felt way more comfortable with my idea once they saw that it’s actually well thought-out.

#4 – I had a back up plan with a time constraint.

I went beyond just a plan for my business, I created a back up plan as well. I said that if my business didn’t work out, I will go back to university the next year (in 9 months) and finished my studies.

This made it easier for them to accept my decision because it wasn’t a final decision and they could still see a way out. They also didn’t have to be so afraid that I would end up homeless on the streets any more.

#5 – I asked for advice

In the end, I asked them for advice. “What would you do if you were me?” They pointed out to me that I should create an emergency fund for myself and take care of my finances. This made them feel important and they really appreciated me reaching out to them for advice.

I’ve used a version of this framework over the next few months when I broke the news off to my friends and other people I knew. Most of them tried to convince me to not quit university at first, but by the time I explained my plans to them and asked them for advice, most of them were ok with it and some were even supportive.

FRAMEWORK: What to say to family and friends who don’t support you

You can use a similar framework when talking to friends and family members that don’t support you in your ideas:

#1 – Show honest appreciation
#2 – Make your ideas bigger than you (include the positive change you will make in the world)
#3 – Have a written-out plan for your idea
#4 – Have a back-up plan with a time constraint
#5 – Ask for advice (“What would you do if you were me?”)

Want more?

Derek Halpern from Social Triggers made a great video on what to say to your friends and family that don’t support you that I’ve found really useful in refining my default responses as well, and I would highly recommend you to watch the video if you are struggling with this issue.


Watch Derek’s video – it helped me improve my framework for talking to friends and family members that don’t support me.

Don’t be afraid to test this framework out in real life – you might need to tweak it a little bit for it to fit your situation, but IT WORKS.

Do you have any friends or colleagues who want to work on their business ideas but are frustrated because they gets no support from the people around them? Share this article with them – they will LOVE you for it!

Want more systems and frameworks like this that will help you build a successful business and skyrocket your career? Sign up to my newsletter below to get more frameworks delivered to your inbox and get instant access to my Free 22-Page Guide to Creating Bulletproof Habits.

-Primoz

Learn How to Use Automation And Dominate Your Work Today + free Automation eBook

How would it make you feel if you could get work done in your sleep or while you’re grabbing drinks with friends? And what if I told you that that’s actually much easier as it sounds, regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur or if you work in a 9-5 job?

Hint: It feels awesome when you wake up and there’s already work done and waiting for you. And this doesn’t have to be hard or cost thousands of dollars.

So what is this sorcery that helps us get work done in our sleep and doesn’t require us to own our own team of people or clone ourselves? This sorcery is called automation, and I know just the right person to show you how to learn the art of automation. You will learn the magic of creating systems that run on their own and get work done for you, regardless of what you’re doing and how motivated you are.

This person with a magic wand is my good friend Frank from Amp Your Results. He’s the person I go to whenever I want to automate something or make my systems run smoother, because he has knows exactly which tools to use to create awesome systems that run on their own.

Frank was very generous and agreed to write a very detailed post just for the readers of Skyrocket Your Productivity that will show you the basics of automation and answer these questions:

  • What is this automation thing?
  • How does it look like in action?
  • What can I automate in my own life?
  • How do I even get started with automation?
  • Which tools can I use to automate with very little effort?

So without further ado, I’ll let you read Frank’s post. Happy automation!

-Primoz

Enter Frank:


Don’t work uphill. Life’s already pretty tough, ESPECIALLY for ambitious people.

If you’ve been relying on your discipline to achieve your greatest goals and you’ve failed — there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. Your approach is what’s throwing you off. You’ve been working uphill. There’s a smarter way.

Take it from the people you know in your life who always seem to be productive no matter what. Isn’t it frustrating? You could be working 100x harder than they are, but they seem to pull further ahead! We can do this too by learning HOW they do it.

It’s not genetics. It’s not money. It’s not the breaks. It’s not even being surrounded by successful people… how do you think they became successful to begin with? It’s their habits and mindsets that got them there.

Here’s what I’ve learned from these successful people:

The only way to make consistent progress on your goals is by building and improving the systems in your life and eventually automating those systems

Take Honda for example. How long do you think they would last if they had every car built by hand? That’d be ridiculous – no two cars would look the same, the workers’ energy would be SHOT after a few months of this strenuous work, and they wouldn’t even be able to get very many cars out the door in time.

So what do they do? They’ve built automated systems to build these cars with precision and very little (human) energy.

If a company has capitalized on systems and automation to make THEIR success easier to achieve with less energy from their employees, why are YOU, the CEO of your life, allowing your “company” to work uphill?

 


It’s just not the way to live.
Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What systems and automation are and why you should care
  • What your life can look like once you’ve automated the boring out of it
  • How you can ease into your work without scurrying around for what you need to get started
  • The systems and automation mindsets that will help you pave a smoother path to your goals
  • Action items you’ll be taking after this article to get started (you’ll only choose one and it’ll take 5-10 minutes to get started depending on how fast you can click)
  • The tools and services you can start using to get started TODAY

My goal is to give you a few different angles on how to approach your work and your chores. I want you to walk away from this thinking “How can I make this repetitive task easier? How can I automate this thing that I do every day anyway?”

Now we could get started with examples, but I don’t think you’ll benefit long term. Sure, I could teach you how to build specific systems, but then you may not be able to do this on your own. You’d walk away, have a cute little system, but then never know how to REALLY bring home the results. So let’s cover the fundamentals first.

You know the old saying “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day… teach a man how to build an automatic fish snare contraption, feed his entire village for centuries.”

 


Get it together, buddy.

A DAY IN THE AUTOMATED LIFE

“This sounds awesome. But what would MY life look like with automation?”

Let me take you through a day in my life to give you an example.

The other day, I started the day brushing my teeth, shaving, applying deodorant, you know – the hygienic works. Part way into getting ready, I found that my deodorant stick was on its last legs. I snapped a picture of it and upload it to Dropbox, which triggered my IFTTT recipe (more on this later). Later that day, I would get an email confirmation from my Fancy Hands virtual assistant that they purchased the deodorant for me at the lowest price possible online.

I went to the kitchen and prepared some scrambled eggs, yerba mate tea, and vitamin complex. I haven’t successfully automated these yet* but I’m getting there.

I was starting to run low on yerba mate, so I snapped a picture of it and uploaded it to Dropbox, which triggered my IFTTT recipe. It forwarded the photo to Fancy Hands as well as instructions on how to find it for the best price online. They found it for me and sent me the links to it a few days later.


Note: I created this IFTTT recipe when Fancy Hands’ payment processor went down. Since they couldn’t buy it for me directly, I had them price hunt for me, which still saves me time and energy. Their processor is up and running again today, so my new IFTTT recipe will have them buy it for me.
Once I sat down at my computer, my Windows batch script had already activated all the tools I needed before I even sat down – my favorite text editor Darkroom, my Internet blocking software Anti-Social, my timer for a quick burst of writing, and my music playlist on Grooveshark.


A screenshot of my computer before I sit down to write.
I quickly go through my Flow checklist to get into flow and write for an hour. I finally posted my article, which again triggered an IFTTT recipe to have Fancy Hands proofread and ensure my links are working.

This was the email I got from Fancy Hands, with notes for proofreading.

Then it was 8am — time to head out for work.

I got to work and sat at my desk. Again, all the tools I needed were already there, including:

– My morning checklist, which reminds me to take some time to set up my workspace before I sit down, which includes sit down

– Anti-Social

– My playlist on Grooveshark – can you tell I love my music when I work?

– My timer program to start the day with a quick burst of work


My morning work script
Sometimes you need to make a system on the fly. After lunch, I read my email and saw many shipping notifications for parts I had ordered. Since these notifications usually don’t require action, I made an Outlook Rule right away.

Essentially, the mindset I use to automate is:

IF <commonly occurring situation>, THEN <pre-determined action>

IF I get a shipping notification, THEN move it to my Order Info folder.

IF I get a shipping notification that doesn’t contain IP, THEN send it to my Evernote.

Now, if my boss ever asks me for the receipts for certain purchases, I can either find it myself or have Fancy Hands find it for me in my Evernote.

Now it may be easy to dismiss some forms of automation as “cute” or “just for fun”. When I tell most of my clients and friends about how I automate buying stuff by just taking a photo of it, they usually say something like: “Well, that’s neat. But why not just write that you should buy it on your to-do list or shopping list?”

First, I personally like to minimize the number of errands I run. I don’t consider myself lazy, but if a task can be streamlined or automated, like grocery shopping, I’d prefer to automate it and spend that extra hour or two doing whatever I want to do. Second, sure, I could’ve added buying my yerba mate on my to-do list. But when you consider all the problems with putting a low-importance task on your to-do list, it’s worth it to automate it instead.

Think about how you work with your to-do list now… or any list for that matter. Have you ever avoided your to-do list just because it looks so intimidating? Tons of tasks vs. one you. If you have, you’re not alone. If you haven’t, you will soon.

Adding low-importance tasks like these “water down” your to-do list, making it more difficult to quickly see what’s important and what’s not. All you get is a long list of tasks. And long lists don’t get done.

Another subtle point is discussed in the book, The Paradox of Choice:

The more choices you have, the LESS likely you are to choose ANY of them (you procrastinate) and the MORE likely you’ll feel unsatisfied with your final choice.

Have you ever stared at your to-do list, knowing you should get started, but then go on Youtube or Facebook instead? Ever had a day when you only got one or two really important things done, but you STILL felt like you should’ve done more? Both are examples of this Paradox of Choice.

By automating these choices, you eliminate these psychological barriers.

 

BUILDING YOU, INC.: PERSONAL SYSTEMS AND AUTOMATION

Now let’s start implementing systems in your life. Before getting started, burn these three mindsets into the back of your mind. They’ll help you save tons of time and energy as you experiment.

1) Use your high-energy times to automate and systematize to make riding out your low-energy times easier.

2) Stop spending time converting bad results from ineffective systems into good results. Spend that time on building good systems and the good results will follow automatically.

3) Use automation & systemization to take advantage of Structural or Digital Willpower, both of which are infinite, instead to your own willpower, which is VERY finite.

 

1) Use your high-energy times to automate and systematize to make riding out your low-energy times easier.

Everyone has “on” days, where you’re extraordinarily productive, knocking off long-scheduled to-dos. But sooner or later, we’re faced with the other side of our energy coin, the “off” day. Days when we’re mentally distracted and drained of energy.

The traditional approach to work is to work during our “on” days and feel guilty during our “off” days. This is a shortsighted strategy.

Instead, it’s wiser to spend your high-energy times to make it EASIER to get the job done once your motivation wanes. I write all about this mindset here.

And I promise you. Your motivation WILL eventually drop. It ebbs and flows for all of us. We’re not robots – we’re people. Energy cycles are real and they don’t always work the way we want them.

The graph above shows your day-to-day productivity given these two strategies. Relying on motivation means you only get things done when you “feel like it”, leaving you to begin where you started the next time you “feel like it”.

When you automate, you capitalize on that work for days to come. Think about one thing you’ve done over and over again. How would it feel if that task took HALF the time to complete because last month you made a system? How would it feel if it got done on its own because you automated it last week?

Compare the above graph to where you are right now. How much did last Monday contribute to your results today?

 

2) Stop spending time converting bad results from ineffective systems into good results. Spend that time on building good systems and the good results will follow automatically.

Too many people spend time at work tending to urgent tasks. But sometimes it feels like after you whack one urgent problem, two more pop up.


Now stay down!!!
Sometimes, you have to put down the mallet, get to the root of the problem and determine how you can improve the system that’s causing these problems.

Most times, just like it’s wisest to fix a hole in a ship first THEN bale out all the water, so too is it wiser to improve that system before you fix all the smaller problems. But let’s say you absolutely MUST tend to this one problem immediately.

Here’s what to do: Put a strict TIME LIMIT on how much time you spend fighting fires. Use my Flow Formula to achieve Flow as quickly as possible, set a timer for 25 minutes to work, take 5 minutes to rest, work for another 25 minutes, and let that be all the firefighting you do for the day.

Spend the rest of your day identifying WHY that fire started, identify the system that spawned that fire, and improve that system.

 

3) Use Systems & Automation to take advantage of spending Digital Willpower, which is infinite, instead of your willpower, which is finite.

We have a limited amount of willpower every day to spend on non-routine or emotional tasks. This is why dieters who rely on willpower typically break down around dessert time. They spent most of their willpower throughout the day RESISTING those foods they wanted!

A dieter who systematizes their diet may simply throw away all the junk food in their house, replace them with healthy snacks that they also enjoy, prepare 5 healthy lunches in their fridge, and leave their credit card at home when they go out.

This is “automation” in its purest form — through changing their habits. By taking these steps, they:

– Made it easier to do the behavior he/she doesn’t routinely do (i.e. eating healthy, eating her lunch)

– Made it harder to do the behavior he/she doesn’t WANT to do (i.e. harder to buy junk, harder to cave in the evening)

When you put barriers in place in real life, I call it Structural Willpower. When you use computers & software to accomplish the same thing, I call it Digital Willpower.

Another example: I can’t think of a situation where I wouldn’t want to pay my rent on time. So, rather than rely on my memory to pay that bill AND spend the time writing and mailing a check, I’ve automated my finances. I use my bank’s Bill Payment feature to automatically send my landlord a check every month on the day its due.

My benefits are two-fold: First, I don’t have to think about these payments and can instead focus on other important things in my life. Second, I’ve made it harder to NOT pay my rent. So naturally, I won’t NOT pay my rent.

 

TAKE ACTION TODAY — START IMPLEMENTING AUTOMATED SYSTEMS NOW!

To get you started, I want you to choose ONE of the following and do it RIGHT NOW.

1) Create an account on IFTTT, a service that connects two services together, and use one of my recipes to automate some of your work.

2) Sign up with my favorite virtual assistant service, Fancy Hands, and give them one task to complete for you.

3) Write out one procedure you’ve done at work on a repeated basis and save it to Google Drive or Evernote so you can get easy access to it.

If you’re stuck on which one to get started on, go ahead and start with #1 first. Why? Several reasons:

– I don’t want you getting into Analysis Paralysis by worrying about which one is “best” to get started on. You can always do the other two later – so let’s get started with one first.

– It’s REALLY easy to get started with IFTTT. It’s only takes 10-15 minutes, so there’s no excuse for “not having time”.

– You can get the results of automation immediately with little time invested. Small, quick victories are very important for motivation. And the better you feel about using automation in your own life, the more likely you’ll eventually do all three of the above.

– It’s a gateway into programming for those who have absolutely no programming experience. Writing code is probably one of the highest leverage skills you can learn to make things easier at work.

 

To help you get started, I’ve prepared my Automation Toolbox just for you.

Click the book below to get your own guide on getting started in automation, systems, and outsourcing.

Not only will it go even deeper into detail for each of those steps, but also it will introduce you to some of my favorite automation tools.

Examples include:

  • Where I find contractors to do minor work for $5 per job — tasks like writing code for me, designing logos, and other minor design work.
  • Getting all your programs and apps you need in the morning to pop up automatically before you even sit down, like in my examples earlier.
  • The formatting I use to create Playbooks that not only help me save time and energy on repetitive tasks, but also help me outsource those tasks when I don’t necessarily need to be the guy doing them.

I’m not affiliated with any of the services I’ve shared with you. I’ve just had a GREAT experience using that tool or service.

 


* Fun Fact: I had tested automating my breakfast every morning by using an outlet timer and placing eggs in a water boiler. Later, that was replaced with some Arduino-powered behemoth of a contraption. I really don’t suggest either to anyone who doesn’t want to be awoken by a fire alarm…


 

 

Frank Magnotti is the founder of Amp Your Results, a new twist on productivity where automation and constraints are more powerful than sheer willpower and discipline.

Frank covers topics ranging from automation to psychology in a way that’s fun, easy to take action on, and use to prepare yourself for the next big leap in your life – be it a promotion, starting your new business, or leaping into a new career.

The Quick Guide to Surrounding Yourself with Successful People

This isn’t just a normal blog post. Oh no. This epic guide is more than 17.000 words long, and it’s packed with specific systems, pictures, scripts, examples… You name it!

I will tell you exactly how I’ve found my first mentor, got invited to grab lunch with Ramit Sethi in San Francisco, created my own mastermind groups and more! I will show you what worked (and didn’t work) for me along the way and the lessons I’ve learned from my mistakes.

I will also give you specific scripts, systems and action steps that you can take to take the knowledge and use it to change YOUR life.

In this guide, you will:

  • Find out how to find mentors and advisors that will help you skyrocket your business
  • Learn how to get surrounded by outstanding people that will “get” you and help you succeed in business and life
  • Get access to ready-to-use scripts and examples on how to make an awesome first impression, add value to VIPs and build relationships with them, make kick-ass introductions, throw awesome parties and meet ups… and more!


In San Francisco with two people that have had the biggest impact on my business growth: Ramit Sethi and Naveen Dittakavi

Imagine having access to a lot of VIPs, mentors and advisors that will help you take your business to the next level. Talking to awesome and inspiring people every day. Throwing parties that people will talk about for months. Going to a city you’ve never been to before and having people waiting in line to get to meet you.

It’s all possible, and I’ll show you exactly how you can do it.

Are you ready?

Table of contents & PDF version of the guide

It will probably take you a few hours to read this guide and months to implement it. I would recommend you to read it from beginning until the end and do the action steps that make sense to you along the way. I’ve attached a table of contents below so that you can find something quickly later on or pick it up where you left off the last time. You might want to get a cup of coffee along the way…

If you feel like reading this guide on your Kindle or iPad, I have you covered also. I’ve created an e-book out of it that you you can read anywhere you want. Get “The Quick Guide to Surrounding Yourself with Successful People” PDF!

1. The mistakes I made (that you can avoid)
2. How to build relationships with VIPs
3. Who you should be talking to at conferences (but you’re not)
4. How to find a mentor
5. How to get the most out of live meet ups
6. How to get the most out of online mastermind groups
7. How to reach out to people in online groups
8. How to get the most out of meeting awesome people in person
9. How to make a great first impression
10. How to write kick ass introductions
11. How to connect cool people in your city
12. How to run an online mastermind
13. How to get an accountability partner (and get the most out of it)
14. How to throw awesome parties and live meet ups
15. 3 systems that you can start using TODAY to start surrounding yourself with successful people
16. How to put this guide into action and prevent it from being just another thing you’ve read but never implemented

Let’s dive in!

As far as I can remember, I was always sitting alone at school. I was the guy that nobody wanted to sit next to. I was secretly happy when there were too few chairs in the classroom and someone was forced to sit next to me.

All of this began in primary school. You see, my parents had this brilliant idea of enrolling me into a school a few miles away from where I lived. This meant that all of my schoolmates lived next to the school and were able to hang out with each other every afternoon after school, and I was forced to go home.

So what did I do when I was at home? I played video games. I would spend hours and hours living in online worlds when all of my peers were playing basketball outside. I was super lonely, and I felt completely helpless.


Whenever I went out, I did something stupid like this… No wonder nobody ever wanted to hang out with me.

This trend continued in high school and even university. I was so used (and addicted) to playing video games and spending evenings alone that it was hard for me to talk to other people and build normal relationships.

I wondered what it would be like to be a popular person. How would it feel to be invited to all of the cool parties? How would it feel to actually get invited to birthday parties? I would’t know.

One summer afternoon in 2011, when all of my peers from the university were at the seaside and I was browsing the internet at home, I was so desperate that I actually opened google and wrote in “how to be more social”.

Among the sea of useless articles the likes of “10 tips for being more social”, I somehow managed to find a pure gem. I’ve found this article from Scott H Young that was very different from all of the other articles that I came upon. Scott had a very different approach to being social – instead of telling you what to say to impress your friends, he hinted that the people who have the best relationships are actually great listeners.


Reading this article from Scott H Young literally changed my life.

When I read that article, I thought to myself:

“Hmm, I could do that. I’m not that great at making jokes and telling stories, but listening, paying attention and asking a question here and there should be much more doable.”

I tested this out – the next time I spoke to people, I tried to shut up and be genuinely interested in what they had to say. Guess what? It worked.

My quality of 1-on-1 conversations immediately improved, and I realised that building relationships doesn’t depend purely on being an introvert or an extravert. It’s a skill that you can get better at.

“Building relationships is a skill that anyone can get better at”

Many of you who consider yourself introverted might think to yourself:

“Well, I disagree. I have this friend that is super extroverted and everyone loves talking to him – I can never be like him.”.

And you might even be right. you probably never will be able to be as good at building relationships and social skills as those with natural talent.

I want to stop you here for a second.

Let’s talk about swimming. How good of a swimmer are you? Are you as good as Michael Phelps?

No?

Why not? Because he has longer arms and legs? Because he trained swimming since he was a little kid? Probably.

But does that mean that you can never become a GOOD swimmer? Of course not. You can hire a swimming coach and drastically improve your skills.

And it’s the same with social skills and building relationships as well.


You don’t HAVE to win seven gold medals at olympics to get better at social skills.

Just because you can’t be the Michael Phelps of social skills doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your social skills and become the best that YOU can be at them.

In this post, I’ll show you exactly how I managed to improve my social skills and how you can do that too. I’ll also show you the mistakes that I’ve made and how you can avoid them, and in the end I will show you specific systems that will allow you to apply the knowledge from this article into your own life.

After I improved my 1-on-1 conversation skills, my social skills plateaued for almost two years.

In April of 2012, I started my 1-on-1 productivity coaching side-business, and the 1-on-1 conversation skills that I developed over time served me very well. Buy being a good a listener, I could really understand the problems of my clients and develop solutions to them together, which already paid huge dividends for reading just one article on becoming more social.

After a while, I realised that even though I was pretty good at talking to people 1on1, I didn’t quite manage to maintain my relationships. When I stopped working with a client, that was usually it and I would never hear back from them (or get in touch with them). I felt like I was still missing something.

In the beginning of 2013, I said to myself that 2013 would be the year when I would further improve my social skills and learn how to develop lasting relationships.

I started off by reading books – more specifically Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. They served as a great foundation for everything that I did from then on, and if you want to improve your social skills and relationships, I would definitely start there.

As I learned all of this new knowledge, I wanted to put it to practice as soon as possible, so I decided to start going to different events and see how it works in action.

As I did that, I failed many times.

I want to share with you some of the mistakes that I’ve made, so that you don’t need to repeat them.


Mistake #1 – I went to events just because “everyone else” seemed to go there, even if the topics didn’t interest me at all

When I met one of my university friends at lunch in early 2013, he told me about this new community that he has joined. It was supposed to be some kind of a “start up school”. I was very interested in the whole community and I was desperately hoping to connect with some people that would also be interested into business.

I went to a few of these events on various topics – cloud technology, creating mobile apps and other tech stuff.

Truth be told, I wasn’t a huge fan of these topics because I didn’t have a ton of knowledge in them. I might have learned something here and there, but none of it was really actionable and I often caught myself zoning out during the presentations.

Once, I even got invited to have a speech at one of the events. Of course I felt honoured, but in reality my time would have probably been spent much better in front of a crowd that was interested in the things I was interested in.


Speaking is fun, but it isn’t really rewarding if the crowd doesn’t have the same interests as you.

The other problem was that I wasn’t a huge fan of the start up approach in general. I never saw a point in finding investors and spending tons of money on ideas that might not even work. I already knew how to create an income with little to no monetary investment on my side and I wanted to mostly get better at that.

That’s why these events didn’t really bring me any lasting relationships. I put all of my energy to be genuinely interested into what the people were saying to me, but in the end I didn’t really know what to talk about, and I certainly didn’t enjoy these events.

Lesson learned:

Don’t go to “networking events” on random topics just because other people might find them interesting. Find events that you are genuinely interested in instead.

Mistake #2 – I tried to find people EXACTLY like me

Slovenia has a population of only 2,000,000 people.

It’s also a country that isn’t really big on starting your own business.

The people who do start a business in it (especially the young ones) usually want to create a start up.

So, how many 22-year old productivity coaches do you think there are in the whole country?

Probably not many. Yet, I was constantly looking for them. I wanted to find other needles in the haystack, with no success at all.

For this reason, I felt very frustrated – there were no people who were exactly like me that I could talk to in Slovenia, and that made me feel very lonely and depressed and almost stopped me from going to any events at all. I pretty much gave up and said to myself “Hey, I suppose I will never find like-minded people in Slovenia. I’ll just focus on the work instead”.

Within the next year or so, I realised that my thinking wasn’t the greatest. I realised that whereas it IS important to have common interests with the people that you meet (see mistake #1), it doesn’t mean that they need to be exactly the same people as you. In fact, by connecting with people from different industries you are growing your network much faster and you even get new insights and fresh points of view that you wouldn’t get if you were just stuck in your own industry.

The other problem with trying to connect only with the people who are in the same industry as you are is that you can never really grow your network. Why? Because these people will mostly run in the same circles and you will just end up meeting the same people over and over again.


Last summer, I grabbed dinner with two cross-fitters from US. It was awesome to get some fresh insights!

A lot of people that I connect with nowadays don’t have that many things in common with me. Maybe they read my blog. Maybe they’re a part of a mastermind group that I’m in. But they don’t necessarily need to be online entrepreneurs. They can be employees, students, freelancers or bloggers, it usually doesn’t matter that much. Because we have SOMETHING in common, we always have something to talk about and we rarely run out of things to say.

Lesson learned:

“Try to find people with similar interests, but don’t look only for people who are exactly the same as you. In fact, by meeting different people from different industries, you will get many more new ideas and get to know many other people as well.”

Mistake #3 – I focused on getting something from people instead of giving to them

In Autumn of 2011, I applied for an entrepreneurship conference in Budapest.

In order to get invited to the conference, I needed to write an application letter. As I wrote this letter, I thought it would be a really cool idea to make this letter REALLY good, and in order to do that, I decided to send the application letter to one of the bloggers that I was following at the time, Ramit Sethi.

So I wrote him an extensive e-mail where I asked him if he could look over the letter and hopefully give me some feedback on how to improve it. In exchange, he could then use that letter as a case study in case he ever wanted to show people how to get invited to similar conferences…

I never got a reply.

If I reflect on this today, it makes perfect sense. He probably never even opened the e-mail. I mean, if you were a super busy blogger that receives over 600 e-mails a day, would you ever really open an e-mail that says “business management motivational letter” from someone you’ve never heard of?

Probably not.

Lesson learned:

Instead of trying to get stuff from people who’ve never heard of you before, focus on building relationships and adding value to them instead.

Mistake #4 – I tried to connect with EVERYONE at conferences and failed to follow up

In July 2013, I went to my first conference. Ever. It was the “100k Summit” from Ramit Sethi in NYC.

I still remember the morning before the event started. I was driving in a cab from china town with a young Asian driver who I had to persuade to take me to the city centre. I didn’t know anyone at the event, and my legs were shaking because I was so nervous.

I was about to go to an event full of people who were earning a lot of money, some of them even 10 or 20 times as much as me. I had no idea how to talk to them. What to say to them. I didn’t see any way in how I could add value to them.

Truth be told, the event was awesome. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve learned a lot, had lots of fun and met a ton of cool, like-minded people.


We went to the “Hack the met” tour with other consultants in NYC. I never thought you could have so much fun in a museum…

But what I didn’t really do is build relationships with the attendees of the event.

My plan was to talk to everyone and then eventually find some people I would want to follow up with. But you see, following up wasn’t as easy as I thought when I would come up at 5am from a Korean karaoke bar and the next day of the event started at 9am.

When I came home from the event, I was exhausted, jet-lagged and extremely unproductive. In the end, I didn’t follow up with any attendees of the event.

As I go to events now, I don’t try to meet everyone. Even if the event is just 20 or 30 people, it’s extremely hard to build great relationships with all of them.

So now, instead of trying to get to know and follow up and have meaningful conversations with everyone, I rather focus on just meeting a few people and making sure that those meetings turn into follow-up Skype calls later on.

Lesson learned:

Pick a few people and follow up. I mention specific scripts for how to do that later on in this guide.

Now let’s take a look at what DID work for me and the positive outcomes I got from them.


How to build relationships with VIPs

This conference in NYC wasn’t a complete failure though.

By going to a small event of just 23 people, I got to meet Ramit Sethi and his team in person, which was something that I’ve always wanted to do but never thought was possible.


Yes, Ramit totally copied my outfit at the event.

I didn’t want this opportunity to go to waste. So here’s what I did to add as much value to Ramit as possible and hopefully build a relationship with him.

1. I’ve sent a video testimonial to Ramit before the event

When I met Naveen Dittakavi (one of my mentors) in person in Munich, I asked him what I could do to add as much value to Ramit as possible. He told me that something that very few people do but is extremely valuable is recording video testimonials. So I did it. The night before I went to the event, I recorded a short video testimonial and e-mailed it to Ramit. He loved it and remembered me when we first met.

Here’s the process that I used to record the testimonial:

First, I wrote a script where I explained:

  • Who I was (Primoz from Slovenia)
  • The problems that I used to have (Used to work as a programmer in a boring job)
  • Why this was a difficult problem to deal with (Because I felt like I wasn’t making any meaningful difference in the world and I was earning very little money)
  • How Ramit’s product helped me solve the problem (He showed me how to start my own business on the side and eventually quit my job)
  • Specific results that I got using the product (going from $7/h to $165/h at the time)
  • How my life and business changed afterwards (I was able to work less, earn more money and travel more, including the trip to NYC to meet Ramit in person)

I’ve found this to be a great framework for a testimonial, and you can use it to record testimonials for the people you follow as well. Whether you use a script or bullet points doesn’t matter (just use whatever works better for you), but writing your ideas down certainly helps you articulate what you want to say.

Then, I recorded the video using my webcam and uploaded it on youtube via this link: https://www.youtube.com/my_webcam

It didn’t take me one just try to get this right. I wanted to make sure that the testimonial is as good as it can be, so I actually spent almost two hours and hundreds of tries to record a really great testimonial.


Here is the testimonial, in case you wanted to see it.

2. I prepared for the event. A LOT.

For three weeks before the event, I blocked off my afternoons and focused on identifying the weaknesses in my business and preparing questions for Ramit.

Here’s the exact process I used to prepare questions:

The core of my preparation was the CreativeLive seminar from Ramit.


CreativeLive seminar on Money & Business from Ramit

As I went through this seminar, I:

  1. Took notes: In a paper notebook, I noted down whatever I felt applied to me and my situation in business. I focused mostly on the actionable things that I could change.
  2. Thought about how these notes applied to me: Whenever I noted something down, I asked myself: “How can I leverage this? How does this apply to me? What can I do in my business to apply this insight?”
  3. Prepared questions: Whenever I wasn’t sure how exactly I could apply something to my business, I wrote it down as a question.
  4. Tried to answer the questions myself: I answered many questions for myself by asking questions like “What would Ramit do?” and googling around to find the answers.

With the questions that I still couldn’t manage to answer for myself, I used the following process which Naveen taught me to make sure that my questions were really good.

  • BE SPECIFIC: First, I wanted to make sure that my questions were very specific. Questions like “how do I get more testimonials” would just get vague answers. Instead, I focused on being much more specific and pinpointing the parts of the processes that I don’t understand. For example, I would ask something like: “What is the exact script that you would use for asking for a testimonial?”, “What is a good timing to ask for a testimonial on a 6-month project?”, “Would you ask for a testimonial via email, at the end of a client call or schedule a separate call just for that?”
  • VISUALISE: Then, I visualised what the answer to my question would be. I imagine standing in front of Ramit at the conference and asking him the question, and then listening to his response. If my question could be answered with another question, like “what do you mean by that?”, I went and made the question even more specific or added more detail (see below).
  • RESEARCH: To avoid the “obvious” answers and get really personalised answers, I wrote down what I already tried, what worked and what didn’t. I wanted to show that I’ve done my research beforehand and tried the solutions that I could find on the internet before asking the questions.
  • OFFER SOLUTIONS: Whenever I already had some ideas what to do but wasn’t sure which solution to go with, I would write down three solutions, choose the one that I felt is best and explained why. (“I’d like to get your thoughts on X. I’m thinking about doing X, Y or Z. I think Z is better because… [insert reason], but I’d love to hear what you think.


I use a notebook like this to take my notes and write down questions.

Let’s take a look at what a good question would look like:

“Hey Ramit, I’ve really been struggling with raising my rates with existing clients. More specifically, I’m not sure at what time I should raise my rates.

Here’s what I managed to come up with:

  • I can raise my rates after we finish the first project that we do together
  • I can raise my rates after the client gets some really good results
  • I can raise my rates after a fixed time frame like 3 months

I feel like raising my rates after the client gets some really good results seems best because they will be compensating me for the value that I bring to them and they will be happy to pay me more as I just made them a ton of money. What do you think?”

This is how I used the guidelines to form this question:

  • BE SPECIFIC: I didn’t just ask about “how to raise my rates”. I asked about WHEN is a good time to raise my rates with an existing client. There are other things that I could ask, like “What should I say when I try to raise my rates with an existing client?” or “for how much should I raise my rates”.
  • VISUALISE: You can notice that there’s a huge difference with raising rates with new and existing clients. If I didn’t specify what I’m looking for, I would almost definitely get back the question “are you trying to raise rates with existing or new clients?”.
  • RESEARCH: By preparing the three solutions, I already show that I’ve done my research and make life easier for Ramit to answer my question (it’s easier for him to just say “you should do X because…” than to explain all of the possible solutions to me).
  • OFFER SOLUTIONS: By choosing a solution on my own and explaining my thought process behind the choice, I again show that I’ve actually thought about this problem on my own, and I also show Ramit my thought process (in which he might find some holes that I can fix).

Once I’ve written down my questions, I decided to implement a system that will help me keep the questions at hand and keep them neatly organised.

I decided to go with another system that Naveen used in the past:

  1. I bought about a hundred small notecards, in about 10 different colours total. Each of the colours would be for a different topic or a different speaker (there were a few guest speakers that I wanted to ask some questions).
  2. I wrote down the questions that I had onto the notecards on the flight to US. I left about half of the notecards empty so I could write down additional questions during the event. In the end, I split the notecards into two different envelopes – one with the questions that have already been answered and one with questions that I still had to ask.
  3. During the event, I would simply walk around with my questions in the pocket and I could have the questions ready to be asked within seconds. After I got the question answered, I would write down the answer to the back of the card.


Notecards are cheap, simple and effective.

This system worked great for me because:

  • I didn’t have to rely on my memory to remember the questions
  • I could easily categorise my questions with colour coding
  • It showed that I was well prepared for the event
  • It helped me prepare questions that were really good because I could see them in front of me, on a piece of paper and they weren’t just random words put together in my head
  • It made it easy for me to write down the responses to different questions

To this day, I still use the same system when I attend conferences and events.

3. I put Ramit’s advice into action even before the event.

A few weeks before the event, Ramit instructed all of the attendees to track in which parts of the business (sales, creating content, client calls, prospecting…) they spend their time for a week. I’m not sure how many attendees actually did this, but I took this advice to heart and went beyond the task.

Not only did I track my time. I later analysed it, created spreadsheets and charts around it, wrote down my insights and printed out the whole report and brought it to the event. This helped me understand where my business was at the moment and which questions to ask, and it also made a good impression on Ramit.


Click here to see the document I put together for the event.

4. I took massive action

When I came home from the event, I was completely burned out. 16 hours of travel time, a 6-hour difference in time zones and 5 days of conferences, hanging out and partying and very little sleep left close to no time to really recover. After I came home, I slept for about 17 of the next 24 hours.

After I found some time for my family, friends and my girlfriend, I was back on track. The first thing that I did once I came home is that I took some time to deeply think and reflect on what I’ve learned in over the last few days. Then, I made an action plan and started creating systems for implementation.

I knew that I was easily going to implement the things that I was excited and comfortable with doing, like group programs and seminars. But on the other hand, I knew that there were a few things that I didn’t really feel ready to do, like:

  • Hiring an assistant
  • Raising my rates
  • Asking for referrals
  • Asking for testimonials

I knew that I was going to struggle with those things, so I mapped out what was stopping me from completing those things.

For each of the things I wasn’t comfortable with, I asked myself what’s stopping me from implementation and I wrote down the specific barriers.

For example, I knew I would struggle with hiring an assistant because:

  • I was afraid to not have consistent cash flow in the future and would have to let her go
  • I didn’t know which tasks to give to an assistant
  • I didn’t want to spend hours looking for assistants

Then, I systematically demolished each of those barriers. I would ask other consultants from the event which tasks they used their assistants for, how they managed to find quality assistants and how they made sure they would have enough money to have an assistant.

2 months later, I had my first assistant. I also managed to double my rates, got more testimonials in a week than before in a year, and more.

Interestingly enough, my business grew the most from implementing these changes – the ones I wasn’t comfortable with.

5. I “closed the loop” with Ramit

One month after the 100k Summit in NYC, I was in the US again. I was in Marriott hotel in Stamford, CT and I was attending another conference that Ramit organised – this one was called Behaviorcon.

Behaviorcon was a slightly bigger conference, there were 13 speakers and about 200 attendees. I used the same techniques for preparation and notecards and asking questions, although I only spent a day or two preparing for each speaker.

I actually didn’t speak to Ramit much though. I knew he was busy with organising the event and I spent most of the time getting to know other speakers.

On the last day of the conference, Ramit came to me and asked me about the results that I got since the 100k Summit. I casually said that I managed to double my revenue, and this was his reaction:

“Wow, stop right there. I need to get this on video! Let’s go outside.”

So we went outside of the main room, he pulled out his iPhone and we recorded a short video testimonial right there on the spot.


You can find the testimonial that we recorded here.

What did I do here? Well, Ramit always talks about the concept of closing the loop – implementing other peoples’ advice and letting them know about the results that you get. So I decided to use this concept on him.

The opportunities that opened up to me after the 100k Summit

All of the things mentioned above added a ton of value to Ramit:

  • He knew that I was well prepared for the event, so he was happy to answer my questions
  • Out of the testimonials and results that I shared with him, he could create case studies and sell more of his courses in the future

This wasn’t just valuable for him though – by preparing well, taking massive action and closing the loop, I showed Ramit that I would implement anything that he throws at me – and that separated me from many other people.

Because of this, he invited me to join the beta testing of a program that he was developing – Zero to Launch (I wrote a detailed review of my experiences with that program).


I can’t describe how awesome it feels to be able to test a high end product before anyone else has seen it… It almost feels unfair.

This program allowed me to transition from having a consulting business to creating online products and finally making money in my sleep. It also gave me the opportunity to get my questions about building an online business answered directly by Ramit.

On top of that, I also got invited to attend a talk from Ramit at Google in San Francisco and grab lunch with him and some of his other top-performing students in San Francisco.

When I joined his beta testing program, I used the same concepts as I outlined before to take massive action and keep getting cool results. And because I got cool great results, Ramit flew me to San Francisco, recorded a case study for his Zero to Launch program and featured me on his blog and his e-mails. This allowed me to gain credibility and made it easier for me for reach out to other influencers in my field, and it also doubled my email list in the process.

There are tons of opportunities that open up if you follow the advice from people and then let let them know about the results that you get (“close the loop”).

ACTION STEPS: How to build relationships with VIPs

Let’s take a look at what you can do to start connecting with VIPs yourself.

If you’re going to a conference soon…

  1. Take a look at the list of speakers / attendees and identify the ones you’re particularly interested in meeting
  2. Find out all that you can about them. Read their blog posts if they have a blog. Read their book if they wrote one. Check out their interests and accomplishments on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.
  3. Prepare great questions for them. You can use the system outlined above for how to do that.
  4. Write down the answers that they give you and implement their advice.
  5. After you see some positive results from their advice, send them the specific results that you got.
  6. Once they see that you’re taking action and implementing their advice, you can start e-mailing them some good questions that you can’t solve on your own.
  7. You can go to the next level and record + send them a video testimonial if you get some really crazy results.

Just by repeating the process above, you will soon be able to meet relationships with these people and many new opportunities will likely open op for you.

If you’ve bought some online products or read some books…

You can use a very similar system to the one above to build relationships with people, even if you’ve never met them in person before.

  1. Send the author an e-mail with some specific insights that you implemented and send them the specific results that you got.
  2. Repeat the first step over time. You might not get a reply immediately. But you will get on their radar and opportunities will open up over time (if they are beta-testing a new product, who do you think they will invite? that’s right, the action takers who let them know about their results).
  3. After a while, try sending them a short question in case you’re stuck on something that they can help you with. Remember to use the framework for developing good questions that I write about above!
  4. Implement their advice and let them know about the results that you get.
  5. Again, if you get some really cool results, record and send them a video testimonial!.

I use the process above to keep in touch with Derek Halpern from Social Triggers. Note that I don’t want or need anything from Derek. I just think he’s a cool guy and I love to let him know about the results that I get from implementing his advice.


Here’s an example of an e-mail I’ve sent to Derek recently.

If you want to take it to the next level…

If you want to take it to the next level, try finding new, creative ways of adding value to them. If a blogger is visiting your city, offer to take him out for lunch or send him a list of cool places and restaurants he can visit. Write a review for one of their products and post it online.


You can read this amazing article from Selena Soo to find more creative ways of getting the attention of your favourite expert.


Who you should be talking to at conferences (but you’re not)

When I was at the 100k Summit, I also got to know Ramit’s team in person. I got to meet his cameramen, his assistant and a few of his product developers. As I was having lunch with one of his product developers, I asked him what he would do to get the most out of the event if he were me.

He said:

“Well, I would look at what everyone is doing and try to do exact opposite. You see, all of the attendees are trying to connect with each other, but there’s nobody really trying to talk to the members or Ramit’s team.”

It made sense – I would be able to build relationships with the attendees at a later time anyway through the online community, whereas I might not be able to talk with Ramit’s team as easily.

I really took this advice to heart. For the remaining of the event, I strived to build the relationships with the people on Ramit’s team. I grabbed lunch with his camera crew. I talked with his product developers during the breaks. I tried to connect with his assistant when she had the time to talk.


Drinking juice with one of Ramit’s copywriters… Yeah, that was fun!

I will be honest – most of those conversations didn’t really lead into anything, at least not immediately.

But it was all worth it because of one gem. I stayed in touch with one of his product developers. I kept him up to date with my progress from the 100k Summit. I let him know about any big wins that I got by using Ramit’s courses. I also started asking him what he would do in certain situations that I wasn’t sure how to handle.

And guess what – his advice was pure gold. He really took the time to write me detailed responses and gave me ideas on how to grow my business. I implemented the ideas and got back to him with the results that I got. In a way, it felt like having access to a mini-Ramit, and these conversations gave me insights that I could hardly reach on my own.

There are a lot of gems like this out there, you just need to be on the look for them.

ACTION STEPS: Who you should be talking to at conferences (but you’re not)

Whenever you go to a conference, make sure you also get to know the people behind the scenes. While the speakers will be swamped with questions, the camera crew, assistants and product developers will probably sit alone and do random things on their laptops. Approach them and start a conversation. Ask about what brought them to the event.

These people won’t be bothered by you. They will love you because you will be the one person who’s actually paying attention to them. Use this to your advantage, build relationships with them and follow up!


How to find a mentor

In April of 2013 (a few months before the 100k Summit), I joined Ramit’s mastermind group called “Ramit’s Brain Trust”.

It was an online community of top-performers (mostly freelancers / consultants and employees who wanted to get the top jobs in the world).

I still remember my first post on the Facebook page of a community. Actually, let me bring that up for fun:


My first ever post in an online Facebook community…

It was a terrible, vague post and that guy Naveen Dittakavi linked me to some feedback on how to improve it. I never did. I clicked on the link that he gave me, saw a lot of resources that I wanted to go through at “some time in the future”, but never really visited again.

As I was overwhelmed by this, I procrastinated posting again. I actually didn’t post in the community again for two months.

As I wasn’t active in the community and was mostly just consuming content, I didn’t get the results that I wanted. I actually sent an e-mail to unsubscribe from the program. Fortunately, Ramit’s support team sent me an e-mail whether I’m completely sure that I wanted to unsubscribe, and I wasn’t 100% sure so I even procrastinated sending that e-mail back.

As this was going on, I noticed that the guy that commented on my post, Naveen Dittakavi, was visiting Munich, Germany and that he organised a meet-up there.

Munich was just 4 hours away by car from Slovenia, and I knew that this was one of the rare opportunities that I could take to meet a successful consultant from the US.

I was on the edge of whether I should go to that meet up or not. I almost cancelled my RSVP, but in the end I manned up and went there anyway.

We met for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. There was Naveen, his fiancee, a friend of mine and another member of Ramit’s Brain Trust.


Meeting Naveen in Munich for the first time

At first, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from that lunch conversation. I’ve never met most of these people before, and I wasn’t very talkative in groups of people.

But for some reason, this time it was different. With Naveen, we talked about things like raising your rates and finding more clients. And copywriting. I even asked him for advice on how to prepare best for the 100k Summit that was coming up in a month or so and about the productivity techniques that he uses to get a ton of work done.

I was finally able to talk to someone about all of the things that I kept inside of me before-hand, and it was awesome.

When I came home, I was eager to implement the advice and see how it worked in action.

As you can see, I used his systems for asking good questions and going through CreativeLive videos in my preparation for the 100k Summit that I described in the previous chapter, and I also joined the copywriting course that he recommended to me – Copyhour.

I then shot him an e-mail with what I’ve implemented so far and how I benefitted from his advice.


Here’s one of the many e-mails I’ve sent to Naveen to close the loop with him.

He was very excited that I implemented his advice and he said he enjoyed meeting me in Munich and that we should set up some calls over Skype to chat more in the future.

As it turned out, we started chatting on Skype every few weeks or so and kept the calls going for a long time. I asked questions, noted down the answers, took massive action and let him know what worked and what didn’t in our next call.

From these conversations, I gained a ton of knowledge and I managed to get un-stuck many times in my business. But most of all, I appreciated that I had a mentor who was really good at what he does. This gave me the confidence that I needed to grow my own business, because I knew that if I messed something up (which I did of course), I could reach out for help and get solutions to my problems.

Of course I also did whatever I could to add value to Naveen – I started sharing the insights that I got from our calls in blog posts like this one, I started posting in the Ramit’s Brain Trust Facebook group and sharing the insights and results there as well.

I was no longer alone in the business world and this was just the first of the relationships that got me to where I am today.

ACTION STEPS: How to find a mentor

Finding a mentor of your own really isn’t that different than getting in touch with VIPs. It’s all about taking advice, implementing and following up. That’s what will separate from all of the other people who desperately want to find mentors. You don’t find mentors. Mentors find you after they see that you are a person who likes to take action and not another guy that would waste their time.

Another mistake that people make when looking for mentors is that they want to find the best people in the field. While that sure sounds like a good strategy at first, let’s think about it a bit more. Let’s say you’re just starting your own business. Will you really benefit the most by going to lunch with Bill Gates? Probably not, and he probably doesn’t have the time to mentor you. Instead, you should focus on being mentored by people that are 1 or 2 levels above you in the skill you’re trying to improve. They can give you all the advice that you need to get on the next level and they’ll be happy to help you out.

To find a mentor of your own:

  1. Find three people that you would like to be mentored by. Pick three people that are one or two levels above you (this can mean in business, playing tennis, nutrition, communication… don’t limit yourself).
  2. Look for advice from these people. Read their blog posts, books, etc.
  3. Implement the advice
  4. Close the loop with them
  5. After you do this for a while, you can start sending them some specific questions and perhaps even ask them for a short Skype call / lunch.
  6. When you do get to talk to your mentor, don’t waste their time by being unprepared. Prepare good questions (you can use the system from chapter on connecting with VIPs) and they’ll be happy to keep the relationship going.

As long as you take massive action and implement everything that people throw at you, you won’t have a problem with finding mentors. Right now, I probably have more than 10 mentors – some of them are amazing at creating online products, others are great at consulting while some of them are good at completely different things like nutrition or communication. I strive to learn, implement and close the loop, and I know that success will come to me.


How to get the most out of live meet ups

After my meeting Naveen, I thought to myself that there must be other people in that online community that are just as amazing as he is.

When I actually made it to the 100k Summit, I made sure to also organise a live meet up with other members of the Ramit’s Brain Trust group. I created an event within the Facebook group and invited all of the members from the NYC area to it.


The first live meet up I ever organised

When I arrived at the event venue, a small bar in manhattan, I was super nervous. I haven’t met any of these people before, and none of the 100k Summit attendees were coming to the event either. I was about 15 minutes early, so I waited outside of the bar while reading a book on the phone. Eventually one of the guests of the bar recognised me and pulled me inside, saying that a few people already came early and that I should join them inside.

I ordered an Arnold Palmer and Buffalo Chicken Wings and slowly started to get to know the people in the group. There was only about 8 of us there, and we mostly talked about the differences between the men and women when applying for a job. I can’t say that I got to know many of the people out there deeply, but there was one guy that I really did want to meet – his name was Frank.

Frank was super passionate about productivity and systems, and I knew that there was a ton I could talk about with him, although unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time to do it at the meet up as I had to leave to the airport. I did ask for his Facebook name and followed up with him later though.


The follow up chat from Frank and I after meeting in person.

After a week or so, we got together for a Skype call and we talked about a lot of nerdy productivity stuff – it was awesome! Now I really felt like there was someone who I could talk to about systems, top performance, staying productive and different tools that would help me automate some of my tasks and save me tons of time. By the way, Frank just recently started an awesome new blog on this subject and you can find it here. Because we both enjoyed talking to each other we decided to schedule another call in two weeks. And another one after that.

Eventually, we simply scheduled a recurring biweekly meeting and kept in touch. Within the next year, I managed to develop a relationship with Frank – when I visited NYC next time I stayed at his place. I’ve recorded a master class together for one of my online courses that you can get access to if you sign up to my email list. And in a few weeks, he’s coming to Slovenia with his girlfriend and I’ll be happy to show him around.


Frank is awesome at building relationships. A few months ago I received this awesome gift from him and it made my day – small gestures can go a really long way.

Seeing how easy it was to start a new relationship, I made it a point that whenever I attended a meet up from the Ramit’s Brain Trust group, I connected with 2-3 people and started a relationship with them.

As you can see, this is a lot different than what I did before – instead of trying to meet everyone up front, I only chose 2-3 people to connect with. How did I find these people? Well, one of the ways was to check out who RSVPed for the event. I went through the Facebook and LinkedIn profile of each attendee, selected the ones that I was particularly interested in meeting and found some basic information about them as conversation starters.

Another way was by getting introduced to other people. As I attended more and more meet ups, I also became more known in the online group community. Soon I would get to know the hosts of the events, and eventually the hosts and the people I knew started introducing me to other people: “Oh Primoz, you should totally meet John. John is struggling with keeping up with his work and I’m sure you could give him some tips on that.”

Whenever I had a longer conversation with someone and I knew I wanted to talk to him more in the future, I didn’t just say “Oh this was cool, let’s talk again sometime.” Why? Because what actually happens when you say that is nothing. You usually forget to follow up with the person and you maybe speak with them again in a few years if you happen to meet by chance.

Instead, I would look at my calendar and schedule a Skype call on a specific time and day right there on the spot and sent the other person the invitation to the event. If possible, I also added the other person on Skype right away. That turned out to be much easier than going back and forth and exchanging e-mails because it’s generally much easier to schedule something while talking to someone than via email.

ACTION STEPS: How to get the most out of live meet ups

Whenever you attend a live meet up, you can use the following the framework to maximise it’s value.

  1. Before the meet up, go through the list of people who RSVP-ed for the event
  2. Select 2-3 people that you would specifically like to meet and research them through Google, Facebook and LinkedIn
  3. Write down some notes on each of those people that you can quickly look at before or during the event – these will serve as your icebreakers and talking points.
  4. During the event, don’t try to connect with everyone. Focus on really getting to know a few people instead.
  5. Set up the next action with the people you meet before you leave the event. Schedule a Skype call or a coffee meeting on a specific date/time/place for best results.
  6. BONUS: If you already know a lot of people at the event, you can focus on introducing them to each other – it’s an awesome value add for the people you introduce.
  7. After the event, within the next 12 hours, send these people a follow-up e-mail and tell them how much you appreciated meeting them, as well as what you’ve learned from them (very few people do this, so you will stand out in a positive way).


How to get the most out of online mastermind groups

Even though I attended a few meet ups in the US, I was still living in Slovenia most of the time. And unfortunately there are no other members of the Ramit’s Brain Trust group.

I had to do something else. I needed to find a way to build more relationships, even if I didn’t meet the people in person yet. To do this, I decided to become more active in the Facebook group. But as my first experiences with it weren’t exactly great, I needed to do something differently.

To prevent another disastrous post that would get no responses, I started to look closely at what other people were doing differently to get different results. More specifically, I looked at the top performing posts in the community, the ones with hundreds of likes and comments.

What I found out was that the top posts usually fell into one of the three categories:

#1 – Successes and big wins from implementing the advice from Ramit

This is probably the biggest thing that gets people recognised within the community. The community after all is based around the people who bought Ramit’s products or services, and by taking action and getting incredible results, you are adding a ton of value to Ramit (because he can use this as a story or a testimonial for one of his new products), and they would also inspire other people within the group to try and get similar results. By doing this, other people will also recognise you in the group, start approaching you at meet ups and reaching out to you.


How I shared one of my big wins. I usually write far longer and more specific posts, but they are too long to fit in here.

#2 – Insights from conversations with other members of the Ramit’s Brain Trust group and closing the loop with them

Another category of posts that were very popular were posts with insights from conversations with other top members of the community. Let’s say I had a conversation with Naveen, the community manager and wrote down the insights from it in a post within the group. Even if the members of the group didn’t know me, they are very likely to read a post where Naveen is mentioned because they knew him and that the advice that Naveen would give would very likely be valuable to them as well. This way of posting also adds value to Naveen because it allows him to share his knowledge with more than one person without having to write a lot of posts himself.


Here’s a part of one of my posts where I wrote about how my accountability partner helped me live my dream life.

#3 – Well thought of questions on specific topics in personal development

The last category are well thought out questions. Bad questions like “can you please give me feedback on my blog?” would usually not get any publicity. However, very detailed questions (like ones that I wrote using the framework I described in the previous chapters) would usually get a lot of very detailed and very useful responses that can be amazing learning experiences for the whole community.


In one of my posts, I asked for help with re-building my old relationships. I got tons of amazing advice out of it!

If you decide to post a question and get some really good advice, I strongly recommend you to implement it and then close the loop with the person that gave you advice. You can do this by commenting on the original post once you get some new results and tagging the people that helped you out the most in your comment, or by reaching out to these people personally via Facebook messages or email and letting them know about the results that you got from their advice.


After I implemented the advice, I went back and closed the loop with the people who’ve helped me.

Closing the loop like this is also a great way to start (and maintain) relationships with other people in the communities because they will love to keep giving you advice and see you grow.

How to structure your posts in mastermind groups

From a structural point of view, the best performing posts were the ones that were based on very detailed stories. If someone just wrote “I just got a $20,000 raise!” without sharing any extra details, he would usually get a few responses with “can you tell us more?” and “congratulations!”, but that’s about it. He would soon be forgotten in the community.

On the other hand, if he took the time to write a story about the struggles he was having, the specific advice that he used to overcome the struggles and the results that he got, that would be a whole new thing. Other members of the community would remember him for his memorable story. Some members might benefit from his advice and would thank him for it. Others might want to get in touch with him to get advice on their own, similar issues.


I love using stories to engage people in my posts. Here I wrote about how I turned my friends into top performers.

Since I started using personal stories in my posts (and also blog posts and guides like this one), I have been getting much better results because people could get to know me more as a person. Being vulnerable, transparent and open (by sharing your weaknesses and failures) also tends to give you new opportunities to get advice on how to improve in those areas, and in a way draws in the readers even more.

Think about it, even this guide is made out of many stories, and you’re still reading it. It seems like this works pretty cool, right?

ACTION STEPS: How to get the most out of online mastermind groups

If you’re already a part of an online mastermind group but aren’t satisfied with the response that you get to your posts, try this:

  1. Brainstorm 10 different ideas for what you could post in the group (keep in mind the 3 categories of successful posts: big wins, insights from other members and good questions)
  2. Pick the one idea that you feel the most excited to share with the group
  3. Use stories in combination with specific results/questions to write a kick-ass post


How to reach out to people in online groups

The biggest value by far that I got from online communities is connecting with people 1on1. Yes, being active and posting in the groups is great. But I have found that live 1on1 conversations with people can be 10 or even 100 times as valuable as just replying to Facebook posts or exchanging some Facebook messages and emails.

One thing that I’ve seen so many people do online is say something like “Oh, we should really connect” or “We should talk about that subject sometime”. “We should really connect”? What does that even mean? That you will add me as a Facebook friend and never write to me or actually get in touch with me? Awesome. “We should talk sometime?” We already know what that means. Most likely we will never chat.

Don’t do this, you’re wasting your time. There is another, better way of connecting with people.

Instead of being vague, I like to reach out to people via Facebook and send them short but super specific and actionable messages that include:

  • Proof that I’ve done some homework (I usually say that I really liked a specific part of a post that the person posted on Facebook)
  • Specify exactly what I want as a result of the message (“let’s get on a 30-minute Skype call” is much better than “let’s connect”)
  • Make life easy for the recipient (I write down a few specific times and dates that work for me and attach my Skype name/google hangouts email. I also send them a google calendar invite to the event once they reply with a time that works for them)

So who do I reach out to? I usually reach out to people that could help me in some way / I could help them. For example:

  • If I’m struggling with writing good blog posts and someone gives me some really great advice, I will likely schedule a Skype call with them to let them know about the results that I got by implementing their advice and ask them some additional questions
  • If I find someone who is doing something similar than what I’m doing but has some unique approaches (let’s say he also has an online blog), I would try to get on a call to exchange ideas about creating content, promoting your content, etc.
  • If I see someone struggling with a specific issue that I’ve solved for myself in the past, I would reach out to them and offer to get on a call with them to understand their issue as best as possible and help them develop solutions

I want to show you a perfect example of how this is done in action. Here’s an e-mail that a reader of mine, Thomas, sent me a few months ago.


I really loved this e-mail from Thomas. Of course I said yes!

In this e-mail, Thomas did everything right. He let me know how he found out about me and established rapport by saying that he’s a member of Ramit’s Brain Trust as well. He told me a little bit about who he is and why I should meet him, and he added value to me by offering to exchange some blogging ideas. Then, he made my life easy by giving me a few times that work for him and writing his Skype name in the e-mail.

Since I got the e-mail, Thomas and I have become good friends. In fact, I’ve just had a Skype call with him to check just a few hours ago!

Another thing that I like to do is to connect with the top 1% of the people in the community (the most active ones and the ones with the best posts). This usually opens a lot of doors because these people tend to know a lot of other people that they can introduce me to, and of course I try to add as much value to them as possible as well by implementing their advice and introducing them to other awesome people.

You can see that I’m striving to add value in all of this situations. When someone gives me advice, I add value by applying the advice and closing the loop. When I exchange information with someone, we both get value from that (and usually implement each other’s ideas to add even more value to each other). When I give advice to someone, that’s automatically adding value.

After the initial call, I also try to keep these relationships going by checking in on a recurring basis. This might mean scheduling by-weekly Skype calls or just shooting an e-mail every few months or so to update someone on my progress or get an update from them.


Checking in doesn’t have to be complicated. This is an e-mail I got from Ramit a few weeks ago.

There’s another rule that help me a lot when trying to reach out to people:

The 3-second rule

If it takes me more than 3 seconds to start writing the message to person, I start overthinking. I say I’ll do it later. I find excuses not to reach out. I forget. Now, whenever I see the opportunity, I reach out to the person immediately. It usually takes about 2 minutes to write the message, so there’s no excuse that there is no time.

Paid or Free mastermind groups – which ones should you join?

Now you might be asking yourself: Where do you find communities of successful people that you can connect with? Should they be free to access or paid?

From my personal experience, paid access groups work better than free ones because there are usually less trolls and more people who actually take action and strive to improve themselves because they have already invested some money into something, which separates them from the masses of people looking for consuming tons of free advice on the internet.

The paid communities are usually:

  • Subscription based communities, like Ramit’s Brain Trust
  • Communities that you can join by buying one of the products (these tend to be more focused on a specific subject).

I am personally a part of a few communities from Ramit (RBT, Zero to launch community and the 6 figure consultants community), and all of them have proven to be incredibly valuable. I’ve also heard great things about the communities based around Marie Forleo’s B-school and Derek Halpern’s Blog that Converts.

On the other hand, I have personally created a few small groups of people myself that work really well. If you actually know the people within your free mastermind group personally, the small groups can work just as good as paid ones.

ACTION STEPS: How to reach out to people in online groups

Here’s what you can do to start building relationships right away:

  1. Go through the posts in the online group and find ONE person that you want to connect with: Someone who gave you advice in the past, someone who is doing something similar that you’re doing or someone who is good at something you struggle with.
  2. Add them on Facebook or find their e-mail address and send them a message using the script that I wrote below

You can use the following script to reach out to other people:

“Hi NAME,

I’m writing to you because… [insert reason for writing this email]

[in one sentence, say something interesting/relevant about yourself]

[write why they should talk to you / what’s in it for them]

What you be up for a call via Skype (my skype name is [insert skype name]), and I’m free at the following times:

[insert 3 times that work for you]

Best regards,

[YOUR NAME]”


How to get the most out of meeting awesome people in person

In November 2013, I was just coming back from celebrating my birthday in Budapest. When I came home, super tired from the long drive in the night, there was an email waiting for me from Ramit. It said “Come hang out in SF Nov 22nd”. I had no idea what that was about, so I opened the email. This is what it said:


Is this the best birthday present or what?

It turned out that Ramit was giving a speech at Google in San Francisco and he had a few spare invitations for the event. As he liked how active I was in Ramit’s Brain Trust and some of his other online communities, he decided to invite me there. He said that he would also like to grab lunch with me and a few more of his top students.

This was awesome. I would go to Google for the first time, grab lunch with Ramit and meet some other awesome people. I was so excited that I called my girlfriend in the middle of the night and give her the news. Then, I quickly booked the plane tickets and the hotel, and in a week I would be in San Francisco.


Grabbing lunch with Ramit was awesome!

I wanted this to be more than just a nice trip though. I wanted to make sure that I build relationships with other Ramit’s students, and I had to figure out a way to make a good impression.

As it turned out, I have just recently bought myself a GoPro camera, a super portable camera that I planned on using for recording cool experiences in my life. But since the camera had a high quality video and sound recording as well, I started thinking about what else I could do with it.

On the first day of my stay in San Francisco, I had a meeting scheduled with one of the attendees from the 100k Summit in summer, Richard. He happened to be in town at the moment and we decided to grab coffee together. During the coffee, we talked a little bit about productivity and top performance, and I thought that Richard had some really cool routines that a lot of my readers could benefit from. I asked him if he wanted to share those ideas with more people, and he was in.

We went to my hotel room in the Hilton hotel where we set up a mini recording studio, put my camera on top of a suitcase and recorded a short interview. I had a really good feeling about the interview, and suddenly I had the idea to do more interviews like this. Suddenly, it all made sense. I could interview the other members of the Ramit’s Brain Trust group and get their insights on how they manage to stay productive and get a lot of work done.


Our improvised hotel room studio

Over the next few days, we recorded 13 interviews. Everyone who I asked to interview was happy to do it, and it seemed like they had a great time.

Then, I took those interviews, uploaded some of them on youtube and shared them with the Ramit’s Brain Trust community, as well as my blog.

Doing the interviews helped me create content for my readers but it also added a lot of value to the people I interviewed (it made them feel important, it positioned them as experts and it allowed them to share knowledge with other people), as well as the other people in the Ramit’s Brain Trust group.


I shared the interviews in Ramit’s Brain Trust group

Overall, this was a huge success and it allowed me to start building relationships with the people I interviewed, as well as allowed me to get to know them better. With some of them, I started doing recurring calls. With others, I just checked in every so often or sent an introduction or two their way.

And with some of them, I decided to take it to the next level. I asked them to be interviewed for the master classes of my online course, and we recorded some really good videos that I probably wouldn’t have managed to create on my own.

ACTION STEPS: How to get the most out of meeting awesome people in person

What I try to do when I meet awesome people in person is two things:

  • Be unique
  • Connect with them on a personal level

You should always strive to do something that others wouldn’t do that will make people remember you and stand out from the crowd. That can mean recording interviews, bringing them personalised gifts, writing a blog post about the insights that you got from meeting them or another unique way of adding value.

Right now, take a pen and paper and brainstorm 10 different ways in which you can be unique and stand out from the crowd next time you go out and meet people in person.

I also try to connect with people on a personal level. I don’t just want to be a person who talks about business all the time. I want to find out about their family, their hobbies and their passions, and see if I can find some talking points for the future so I can stay in touch after meeting them.

Other than that, use the systems from the previous chapters. Do your research. Follow up. Set up a follow up meeting right there on the spot.


How to make a great first impression

From October to December of 2013, I took part in beta testing of Ramit’s upcoming product called Zero to Launch. The product was supposed to help me move from consulting to creating my first online product.

As I managed to get some nice results using the course, Ramit featured me as a case study on his blog. And as a part of his product launch, his team asked me to go on a podcast with Navid Moazzez.


The podcast that I did with Navid Moazzez

I’ve never heard of Navid before, but after taking a quick look at his podcast and his blog posts, I could already see that he’s a really cool guy that I would love to connect with. The interview was done on a very short notice, but I still took some time to go through some of his most popular blog posts and make a good impression. This is the e-mail I’ve sent him:


A part of the e-mail that I’ve sent to Navid (click the image to see a bigger picture)

After we recorded the podcast, we saw that we had a ton in common and that we should talk more often, so we immediately scheduled a Skype call two weeks in advance, and over time this turned into a recurring call.

Many opportunities came out of this: we introduced each other to other amazing people, we gave each other advice on growing our blogs, and we keep sharing each other’s blog posts to add value to each other’s readers and expand each other’s reach. I know that if I ever want to write a guest post or get on a podcast, Navid will be able to connect me with someone cool people.

Navid has also done a really great podcast on “The power of networking the right way” with John Corcoran, and you should check it out at his blog.

ACTION STEPS: How to make a great first impression

If you want to make a good first impression on someone who you got introduced to, here’s what you can do:

  1. Do your research and try to find some advice that they’ve given in the past (reading a book/blog/online community posts or listening to a podcast if they have one works great)
  2. Tell them about some specific articles/chapters of the book that you enjoyed, along with the specific insights that you liked
  3. Try to make their lives as easy as possible: If you’re contacting a blogger or a podcaster, write down a list of ideas that you can share with their audience (I do this with all podcasts that I get on and people LOVE it)
  4. Take initiative and schedule a time for a call, like Thomas did in his e-mail to me above

This framework works every time. If the person doesn’t share any advice online, then try to connect in a different way by talking about common interests like Thomas did in his first e-mail to me.


How to write kick ass introductions

One of the things that I love doing now that I know a lot of cool people is introducing them to each other. I usually do this in one of the two ways:

#1 – direct e-mail introduction

When I see that two people would benefit from each other, I send them a short e-mail intro and tell them that they should connect. I try to mention a couple of things that they have in common, a reason why they would benefit from getting in touch and what makes each of them very awesome. Sometimes I also add some additional details like links to LinkedIn or Facebook profiles. The aim is to make these two people excited to meet each other and make it easy for them to find out more about each other.


This is how I recently introduced two of my friends to each other.

#2 – “you should totally get in touch with these people”

Whenever I’m in a situation where I know more people that someone would benefit from meeting, I send them a list of people that they can get in touch with and their contact details. I tell them that they should mention my name when reaching out. Here are some specific examples of when I do this:

  • When a friend of mine takes a trip or moves to a city where I know a lot of people
  • When a friend of mine is researching a new business idea, I introduce him to the people that work in a similar niche or might be in his target market
  • When I get to know someone new and I see that a lot of people in my network would benefit from meeting him, I tell him to reach out to them
  • When someone I know is producing great content, I give them a list of bloggers or podcasters that I know that would benefit from having him on a podcast / as a guest poster

Here’s a real-life example that I’ve sent to Navid from the previous chapter:


This is how I introduced some cool people to Navid after he joined a mastermind group that I was a part of.

ACTION STEPS: How to write kick ass introductions

  1. Brainstorm 3 possible introductions that you can make. Think about the people within your business network, sports network, current friends, family members, old friends…
  2. Write a short e-mail where you cc both people to the e-mail and give some basic information about each person (Facebook profile, LinkedIn profiles help) and focus on making the introductions as exciting as possible
  3. Send out one e-mail introduction right now
  4. EXTRA CREDIT: If you know a ton of people that would benefit from meeting each other, block out 30min on your calendar each week to introduce awesome people to each other and add constant value to the people in your network


How to connect cool people in your city

A few months ago, I moved to a new city. Soon after that, I got an e-mail from one of my blog readers – his name was Giuseppe. Giuseppe saw that I moved into the same city that he lived in and he invited me out to lunch.

After that lunch, he invited me out to a “mastermind meeting” with some of his other business friends. We did this every week after that and it was awesome. There would always be someone new to talk to and each time we would talk about something different.

Giuseppe was great at organising these events. We always met at the same place, at the same time, on the same day. He also created Facebook events for the attendees to RSVP and take a look at who’s going to make it there next week.

It was really simple but effective, and you could easily do the same in your city. If you feel like your group is too small, you can ask each of your friends to bring a guest with him – and the group will grow in no time.

ACTION STEPS: How to connect cool people in your city

  1. Find a cool place to hang out. You should pick a place where you can eventually bring groups of 5-10 people that has some food and drinks and it’s possible to talk normally there. If it’s a very busy place, make sure you make reservations in advance.
  2. Set a recurring weekday/time so that people can block it off on their calendars. You might need to experiment with this until you find a time that suits most people, but something like a Wednesday/Thursday at 6pm or 8pm worked well for us.
  3. Brainstorm at least 5 people that you can invite to the event.
  4. Create a Facbeook event 2-3 days in advance (you can make it secret if they have privacy concerns) and ask them to RSVP for the event.
  5. If the group seems too small, ask attendees to bring one guest each. When you meet new cool people or have guests visiting you in your city, you can also invite them to these meet ups to spice them up.

Sometimes there will be more people, sometimes there will be less. Make sure you keep the events going consistently if at least two people can make it and turn this into a constant event. If you can’t make it to the event for some reason, find another person to organise it. Just don’t break the chain!


How to run an online mastermind

As I moved out of Slovenia, I felt bad for leaving some of my friends behind. I didn’t want to lose contact with them. Just before I left, we started a mastermind group in Ljubljana, similar to the one that Giuseppe started later on.

I was thinking about what I could do to keep this going, and then it dawned on me:

If I’m able to stay in touch with people from US via Skype, why wouldn’t I be able to get on a video call with my friends as well? And so I told my friends about the idea and got them to attend a Google hangout. It was awesome. We talked a bit about business and job hunting, how things are in Slovenia, and played some online games together.

We still have these meetings on every Sunday for two hours. Sometimes it’s just two or three of us, sometimes it’s up to 5. It works great because this allows me to stay in touch with my friends even while I’m travelling, and it helps them get un-stuck fast in case they run into a problem with their businesses.

We use Google Hangouts and Google Calendar for scheduling and running the events. When I created the event in Google Calendar, I did three things:

  1. I invited all my friends as “guests” to make sure that the event appears in their calendar and they don’t forget about the calls.
  2. I set up a recurring call so I don’t have to schedule calls all the time – if something comes in-between, we reschedule the call or cancel it, but the next call will automatically be there for us next week.
  3. I add a Google Hangouts video call to the event so that people know which call to join.

Here’s how you can do this yourself:


1. Invite friends; 2. Set up a recurring event; 3. Add a Google Hangouts call to the event

I do something very similar with my parents as well. We have Skype calls every few days to make sure that we keep a good relationship going and catch up.

ACTION STEPS: How to run an online mastermind

This is very similar to running a live mastermind, but there are a few differences:

  1. As the call is done online, I make sure that everyone has it in their calendars and gets an e-mail reminder for the call before (this happens automatically when you schedule something in Google Calendar)
  2. The calls work best with 3-4 people. 5 works as well sometimes, but more than that is really too much as people tend to get bored and browse on the internet instead of jumping into the discussion
  3. I usually don’t invite new people to these. Instead, I would connect with other people 1-on-1 or create additional small groups of 3-4 people. This way I can keep the engagement level high and still talk with more people. If I want to introduce two people online, I opt for an e-mail introduction instead of inviting them to these calls.

If you have some friends that you could have an online mastermind call with, then schedule it now. Set up a one-time event and invite people to join in. Have the call and see how it goes. If everyone loves it, then make it a recurring call and find a good time for everyone. But don’t get caught up in those details right now. Instead, just focus on getting on a call once.


How to get an accountability partner (and get the most out of it)

Every Tuesday at 11am, I have one hour blocked off for a call with my awesome accountability partner, Jacqueline. I got in touch with Jacqueline in August of 2013, when accountability partners became popular in Ramit’s Brain Trust.

Why do I have an accountability partner? Technically it’s to have someone kick me in the ass and call me out on bullshit whenever I have some mental barriers holding me back from success. But there’s more.

Having accountability partners is great for building relationships. And building relationships is a great way of getting extra accountability.

For a long time, I thought that having an accountability partner was all about setting up 3 goals for the next week and then following up to see whether you achieved your goals or not. But from my experience, that’s missing the point. It’s not exciting, and often it doesn’t really work unless you have some kind of a connection with a person.

I’ve had accountability partners before that weren’t serious. They wouldn’t show up for the calls. They wouldn’t work on their goals and found excuses all the time. I didn’t enjoy talking to them, and soon we stopped having the calls.

With Jacqueline, things are different. Our accountability calls aren’t super structured. Most of the time, we only talk about our goals for a few minutes or so and spend the rest of the time by sharing cool new insights and giving each other feedback to improve our businesses. And the calls are always fun, so I look forward to them.

Of course from time to time one of us gets stuck, and that’s when having a weekly accountability call really helps and we can help each other to get un-stuck.

We also learn a ton from each other. For example, when I first started having calls with Jacqueline, my life wasn’t really that exciting. She showed me how to live my dream life (she also talks about how to do that on her blog). Here are just some of the things I did since I started having calls with her that I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise:


Now I can actually say that I’m working through my bucket list and it’s not just another document on my computer!

And just for the kicks, here’s what a cabin of a 747 looks like (it’s much smaller than you’d think).


Me in a cabin of a Boeing 747 after my trip from San Francisco to London in Business Class

The cool thing is that once you build a relationship with someone, the accountability will come on it’s own. You won’t want to disappoint them and look bad in their eyes by not doing what you set out to do. Therefore, by having recurring calls with different people that you admire, you will automatically get all the accountability that you need.

ACTION STEPS: How to get an accountability partner (and get the most out of it)

You can get an accountability partner by following these simple steps:

  1. Find someone who has similar goals as you do (this can be in business, sports, relationships…) and you LOVE hanging out with.
  2. Send them an e-mail asking whether they’d be up for becoming your accountability partner. Tell them that it would include weekly 30-minute calls at a time that works for them and help you challenge each other and take your business to the next level.
  3. If they’re up for it, schedule the first call!

To make things even easier for you, this is how you can structure your accountability calls:

  1. Catch up. Don’t dive right into the business stuff. Talk about what’s new, what you’ve learned in the past week, how your family is doing, etc.
  2. After the initial catch up (this might last from just a few minutes to almost the whole call, just go by what feels right), talk about which goals you completed from the past week. Share your biggest insights that you got from completing the goals and where you got stuck. If you’re stuck, your partner can give you another point of view and help you get un-stuck.
  3. At the end of the call, set up 3 goals that you want to be held accountable for next week (I suggest choosing goals that you aren’t comfortable with chasing for the biggest improvement potential) and double-check the date and time of the next meeting to make sure that both of you can make it there.

Know that it might not work out with the first accountability partner. Maybe you won’t feel a good connection. Maybe they won’t care about improving themselves as much as you do. Maybe they won’t be serious and will forget about the calls.

That’s ok. It might take a few different partners until you find one that’s right for you – but all of the hard work of finding one is going to be worth many times over, so keep repeating the process above until you find one!


How to throw awesome parties and live meet ups

In my high school years, I did know one thing, and that was how to throw awesome parties. Despite not having many friends, my birthday parties always seemed to be well received. I tried to make the parties as awesome as possible, and that usually meant cakes, top quality cocktails and disco lights. Along with a ton of cleaning (I insisted on using real cocktail glasses instead of plastic ones… duh).

Whenever I planned parties, I tried to make them as exciting as possible. I would do things that others just wouldn’t. People would usually just get cheap liqueur and some chips. I would make high end cocktails with quessadilias, tortilla chips and many different dips. I turned the small living room into a dance floor. I installed disco lights, got some loud speakers and put on some party music (yes, the neighbours loved me…).

But what I wasn’t really great at is inviting people. I never knew how to write good invitations, when to invite people, who to invite… So I just sent very generic text messages and hoped that people would come.

If you’re anything like me and you like planning the parties but don’t like to take care of the logistics of inviting other people, do yourself a favour: get a co-host. I got this idea from my friend Raj while we were recording a master class for my online course. He said that whenever he hosts a meet up or a party, he always tries to find the most connected person in the city and appoints him to invite the people to the party and make sure they come there.


Raj throws the most awesome meet ups – here’s a photo from our last meet up in San Francisco

Another friend of mine, Marc, is really the master of throwing amazing parties and meet ups. Why? Because he creates the HYPE. He knows how to invite people in a way that they get super excited and can’t wait for the meet up to happen. Here’s a part of one of his event invitations:


How can you NOT be excited to attend a party like this?

Notice what Marc does in the letter. He puts a lot of humour in it. He includes pictures. He tells exciting stories (and rumours…). He makes things easy for people by providing them a place to sleep.

The key to throwing an awesome party is to make it awesome before it even starts. If you don’t know how to do that, that’s fine – but I’m sure one of your friends does! Find that friend and ask him to help you out with organising the party.

ACTION STEPS: How to throw awesome parties and live meet ups

Here are the steps that you can follow to throw the perfect party or a meet up:

  1. Find a way to make the party unique and memorable. It can be a themed party with tons of champagne. It can be at a special location. Think about what you can do differently so that the attendees will remember the party forever.
  2. If you don’t know that many people, find a co-host who does and let him handle the invitations.
  3. Make the party exciting before it even happens. When you write the invitations for the party, make them exciting. Once you write them down, read through them. Do you get the feeling that you just can’t wait for the happen? Good. If not, keep rewriting them until you get them right, or find someone else to do this for you. Do you have someone in your network who tells the best jokes and stories? He’s the guy to reach out to.


3 systems that you can start using TODAY to start surrounding yourself with successful people

In this guide, I wrote about my failures, as well as things that worked out well. But even though I improved my connecting skills a lot during the last years, I still mess up occasionally.

Last December, I got offered an introduction to a super VIP person and I didn’t even get in touch with them. It was during the holidays and I didn’t want to bother them during that time. Then, I thought that they must be busy because the holidays just ended. Excuse after excuse, I kept procrastinating it and never got it done. Sometimes I’m working on a project intensively and don’t manage to follow up with some people that I meet.

But it’s not the end of the world. It’s good that I can’t get everything right because this allows me to keep learning and improving from the mistakes that I make. Mistake by mistake, I get better and better, and that’s what you should focus on. Don’t focus on becoming the perfect connector in a week. It’s a long process that takes time. However, if you just get a little better day by day, you can get so much better in 3, 6 or 12 months.

If you came to me 3 years ago and told me that I would have friends all over the world that I would constantly talk to, I would tell you to stop making stupid jokes. But here I am, and you can be here as well if you only put your mind to it. If a socially awkward kid with no friends could do it, you can do it too!

ACTION STEPS: What YOU can do TODAY to start surrounding yourself with successful people

The way that you can achieve what I achieved (and more) is to focus on the process and not on the results. If you set up the systems that I use and do the action steps from this guide, you WILL get the results that you want. That’s why I want to give you three simple, must-have systems that you can put into action right away and start surrounding yourself with successful people.

Note that some of these systems are created in Google Docs. You can use Google Docs if you wish, but I don’t mind if you use another software, pen & paper or something else – just put them into action!

System #1 – Adding Value to Your Network

If you just implement one of these systems, this should be the one, and it will take you exactly 2 minutes to set up.

  1. Right now, go to your Google Calendar and set up a 30-minute recurring event that happens once each week and name it “Add Value to my Network” (or something sexier).
  2. Add the link to this guide as a description: http://www.skyrocketyourproductivity.com/the-quick-guide-to-surrounding-yourself-with-successful-people/
  3. During that time each week, take 30 minutes to add value to the people in your network. This might mean introducing two people to each other, taking people out for lunch, scheduling calls, throwing meet ups or parties, or something else. You can use this guide to get some specific ideas on what to do (you should put it in the description for easy access when you need it)

The event should look something like this:

System #2 – Managing Your Relationships

Once you connect with more and more people, it makes sense to keep track of them. Here’s a step by step process that you can follow to create a system that will allow you to do that.

Step #1: Go to Google Drive and create a new folder. Name it “Relationships”.

Step #2: Create a Google Spreadsheet called “Relationships” inside of the folder.

Step #3: Save the Relationship spreadsheet as a bookmark in your toolbar for easy access (click the little star in the top right corner of your browser).

Step #4: Save the Relationship spreadsheet as a description in your System #1 for adding value to people you care about (so you can bring it up easily during your weekly review).

Step #5: Copy-paste this template into the spreadsheet. Feel free to change it any way that works for you.

Step #6: For one of your friends, create an empty Google Document titled with their name (I suppose you know how to do that by now…) in the Relationship folder.

Step #7: Copy-paste this template into the document. Again, feel free to change the template in a way that suits you better.

Step #8: Repeat the step #7 for all of the people you want to stay in touch with

How to use this system

Once you set up this system, you should come up with something like this:

Good job! This is how you can use the system:

  1. Whenever you meet someone new that you want to build a relationship with, create a new document with his name for him, add his name to the Relationships spreadsheet and paste a link to his document
  2. Whenever you’re on a Skype call with someone, open his document and take notes into it (this is why you link to the Relationships spreadsheet in the browser toolbar and then link the documents in the spreadsheet – this way, you can find the document from any person in just 2 clicks.)
  3. Before a Skype call or an in-person meeting, you can check the notes from the last call and follow up on what you talked about. People LOVE this because they see that you actually paid attention to what you were talking about last time and care about them.
  4. Be creative! You can use this system to remember peoples’ birthdays. You can use it to make it easier for you to introduce people to each other. You can use it to consistently stay in touch with people by noting down when you were last in touch.

This system will allow you to build better relationships with people, remember what you talked about last time and make a lot better introductions. It will also allow you to stay in touch with people you care about and see when you should reach out to someone (around their birthday or a few weeks after you last talked).

System #3 – Closing the Loop

I developed this system recently because I realised that I had no organised way of tracking the books, articles and courses that people recommended to me.

To create this system, simply:

  1. Create a new Google Spreadsheet in Google Drive
  2. Link the spreadsheet to your browser toolbar and add it in the description of System #1 (adding value calendar appointment)
  3. Add three columns to the spreadsheet: WHAT, WHERE, WHO

This is what my system looks like in action:

I use the Closing the Loop Spreadsheet in three ways:

  1. Whenever someone recommends a course book or an article to me, I put it into this system.
  2. When I want to do some reading or improve a certain skill, I take a look at this spreadsheet
  3. Whenever I finish reading a book or an article, I follow up with the person who recommended it to me and let them know about what I’ve learned/the results that I got.

This system allows me to keep adding value to people and give credit when it’s due, while also keeping track of the resources I got recommended instead of just forgetting about them.


How to put this guide into action and prevent it from being just another thing you’ve read but never implemented

This is a long guide. If you actually read through it, I have to give you props. If you LOVED it and have some friends who might benefit from it, then e-mail it to them or share it on Facebook. Here’s the message that you can copy paste:

“Hey NAME,

I’ve found this awesome guide on the internet that will help you surround yourself with successful people and [grow your business faster]. I think you’ll love it because it has a lot of specific stories, scripts, examples and systems in there that you can put into action right away! Here’s the link:

http://www.skyrocketyourproductivity.com/the-quick-guide-to-surrounding-yourself-with-successful-people/

Enjoy!

YOUR NAME”

But just reading the guide won’t be enough. If you don’t take action, you will keep being stuck in the same place all the time and keep hating yourself for it.

Imagine all of the opportunities that could open up to you if you managed to surround yourself with awesome people and stayed in touch with them. How much faster could you grow your business? How would it make you feel if you went on a trip to New York and knew that there are ten people waiting to grab lunch with you? Think about it.

I know from past experience that putting guides like this into action can be pretty hard. They can be overwhelming (where do you even start), seem too time consuming and sometimes it feels like they just don’t apply to your exact situation.

That’s why I’ve put together a mini-guide that you can use to overcome the barriers that would otherwise prevent you from taking action.

Here is what’s included in Your Roadmap to Surrounding Yourself with Successful People:

  • A step-by-step roadmap that you can use to connect with your first 5, 15, (and later even more) people.
  • 28 mindset shifts that will help you overcome barriers like: “I don’t think I can add any value to other people”, “I don’t have enough time”, “I get nervous when talking to people and don’t know what to say” (and many more).
  • Specific ideas for putting guide into action if you are student, work at a corporate job or simply don’t meet that many people in person in your business.

You can find the guide below.

Thanks for reading,

-Primoz

My brutally honest review of Ramit Sethi’s Zero to Launch course

UPDATE: Click here to read my results & lessons from 1-year of the Zero to Launch course.

In August of 2011, I was working as a code monkey in a 300-people tech company in Slovenia, making $7/h. As I just recently got a raise, I was making more than a thousand dollars a month. Whoa!

Why “Whoa!”? Well, I was a university student, living at my parents with practically no living expenses… So all of a sudden, I had all this money coming my way and I had NO IDEA what to do with it. I didn’t want to waste it on something stupid like buying a new car or a phone.

I decided to reach out to a self-development blogger that I was following at the time, Scott H Young, and here’s what he advised me to do:

Scott Young

I followed his advice and found the website of this weird Indian guy with a very scammy name (I will teach you to be rich? SERIOUSLY?!). But since I trusted Scott, I decided to give it a shot and order his book from Amazon.

When I received his book, I still wasn’t sure whether I could trust this guy or not. It was in fluorescent orange and yellow colors, and Ramit wasn’t even wearing shoes in the picture.

Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You to be Rich

What would your first thoughts be when you would see a book like this?

A few days later, I was sitting in my bed and I just finished reading the last page of the book. I was shocked and angry at the world. I was thinking to myself “Why are there such awesome books out there and nobody ever told me about them?!”. Before reading IWTYTBR, all I read was fiction and textbooks… and none of those were particularly life-changing. But this book was. It showed me that life is much more than what we believe it to be, and I began to trust this Ramit guy.

Over the last few years, I took numerous online courses which gave me some amazing results:

In fall of 2011, I took Earn1k, which helped me start my own consulting business and move from earning $7/h in a cubicle to earning $125/h by helping people become more productive and changing their lives in the process.

Ramit’s 6-Figure Consultanting System helped me take the things to the next level – in just one month, I managed to double my monthly revenue and by now I’m working at $250/h – this means that I can cover my minimum monthly expenses by working just 1 hour a week! Yes, that’s a 4-hour work MONTH for me.

If you want to know more about how I went from earning $7/h to $250/h, check out my podcast with Navid Moazzez. We also talk about Zero to Launch and how to get from 0 to 500 e-mail subscribers in a month.

Primoz Bozic Zero to Launch

In July 2013, I even got to meet Ramit in person. Yes, he’s a legit human being and a hillarious guy to hang out with.

Meeting Ramit Sethi for the first time

Ramit loved the questions that I had prepared for him, but he didn’t really like that we had similar outfits…

Because I managed to set up my own consulting business and I only really need to work on it for 4 hours a month, I am now able to devote a lot of my time to implementing Ramit’s new course, Zero to Launch, which I was lucky enough to beta-test.

Note that as I am writing this review, I don’t get a cent from it – you will find no affiliate links in it or anything of that sort. It’s really just my honest review of the course.

What is Zero to Launch?

Zero to Launch Ramit Sethi

Unlike Earn1k and Ramit’s 6-figure Consultants, this course isn’t about consulting.

Zero to launch is about taking the knowledge that you have, creating an online product out of it and then sharing it with hundreds or even thousands of people.

I was super excited when I got offered to beta-test this course because even though I was making more than enough money with my consulting business, there were only so many clients that I could work with 1on1.

I also felt like I was saying the same things over and over again – so why wouldn’t I just record them and make a video course out of them?

Well, I’ll tell you why… Because I tried doing that in the past. But I thought that in order to do that, I needed to have a fancy website, professionally hosted videos, a complicated billing process… and of course I never actually managed to put anything together because I didn’t know where to even start.

With Zero to Launch, we went through a step-by-step process that helped me set up my website from scratch, build my e-mail list and sell my first products.

Let’s dive into a few specific examples of what I learned during Zero To Launch:

1. Do I need to invest thousands of dollars into a customized website?

Before Zero To Launch, I thought that I needed a fancy, personalized website and I actually spent more than $500 getting one. I also spent more than 100 hours tweaking font colors, setting up archive pages and fixing small details like having 5 posts on one page instead of 10.

Skyrocket Your Productivity old website

Here’s an image of my old website (you can even click this link to see what it looked like).

During Zero to Launch, I paid $50 for a Genesis template and got the website set up in a matter of days so I could focus on actually producing content for my readers.

2. How many blog posts should I write a week?

At my old website, I wrote a ton of blog posts. At one point, I even wrote daily tips for my readers… like “take a walk”, “drink water” and “clean your work environment”. Meh. It wasn’t high quality content, and it wasn’t driving much traffic to my website. I blogged for about 6 months, and I got to about 50 e-mail subscribers total.

Now, I have more than 1600 subscribers on my e-mail list and I have just a few blog posts up there. In fact, I managed to get 500 subscribers with just TWO blog posts that were one month apart!

Getting new subscribers every day

Look at how many people could be signing up to your e-mail list!

And now, I also know how to write epic content that people read, share and talk about. No more “daily tips” that everyone forgets the next day. For example, I’ve written a 17.000 word Guide on Surrounding Yourself with Successful People that is packed with specific stories, scripts, systems and real-life examples. This guide alone had gotten thousands of views within days, as well as feedback like this:




I give the majority of my content out for free via my blog and e-mail list, even content that I could potentially sell, because I know that there’s a lot more where that came from.

Now I don’t want to just create content. Now I want to create the best content out there, and thanks to the content creation frameworks from Ramit’s Zero to Launch I know exactly how to do that.

3. Should I use SEO, Facebook, Twitter or something else to drive traffic to my website?

Before Zero to Launch, I thought that I needed to do EVERYTHING to drive traffic to my website. I didn’t want to miss out on people who would see my blog on Twitter or Facebook.

Now I know that I just have to focus on what works for me. I actually deleted my Twitter account and I don’t really use Facebook all that much because I know that those techniques were under-performing against other ones.

This allows me to focus on what actually works for me (mostly guest posts and podcasts). I’m not sure what will work for you, but by investing more time into what worked for you in the past, you will be able to get much better results.

Juggling balls... no, apples.

I can juggle 3 balls (or, in this case, apples) at once… But there’s no way I can do it with 20!

4. If I’m stuck on something, what do I do?

I told you before that I wanted to create this big online course that had a complicated billing system, professional videos, etc… but I just didn’t know who to talk to about my next steps. There is so much information out there in the internet, but how do you know what really works?

With Zero to Launch private community, I was able to get first-hand advice from people like James who have already sold online courses before. By having a short chat, I was able to move on to taking action instead of being paralyzed by not knowing which information is right and which isn’t.

And if I wasn’t really sure about something, I could always ask a question in the Facebook group and even get first-hand feedback from Ramit!

Zero to Launch private community

Yes, Ramit actually answers the questions from his students!

5. How do I know if anyone will actually buy my product?

I have a friend who actually spent a year or so (and thousands of dollars) on developing a product. A few months ago, he launched it. Guess how many people bought it? ZERO. Now he’s trying all kinds of different things to “fix” the product, but he still isn’t making any money.

Why?

Because he didn’t validate his idea before-hand. He didn’t ask anyone if they would actually be interesting in something like that (or be willing to pay for it). When I advised him to do that a while ago, he said that “he wants to keep it a secret”.

With Ramit’s idea validation framework, I was able to know very soon whether my idea was a good one and if someone would actually buy it. And since then, I have actually managed to develop a few products and successfully sell them!

6. Ok, this looks cool… But will I actually be able to make any money with Zero to Launch?

With my old blog, I was able to make about $20 with Amazon affiliate links. That’s it. No consulting clients, no product sales. I had no idea how to even monetize my blog.

Since Zero to Launch, I have already launched a few products and I got sales like this:

Product sales from Zero to Launch

A part of the sales from my FIRST Zero to Launch product

On top of that, I even got a few consulting clients that helped me earn thousands of dollars in extra revenue.

How is your life different since Zero to Launch?

The biggest difference for me is probably earning money in my sleep. It’s such a great feeling to wake up to e-mails like this:

Zero to Launch sale

With my latest product, I managed to get enough sales to cover my monthly rent in just 4 days!

I’m also able to work from anywhere I want to, at any time – whether it’s from a coffee shop or from business class on a plane.

Zero to Launch allowed me to work from anywhere in the world

The view from my last trip to New York…

Last but not least, I can now do a lot of writing and podcasting, which is something that I REALLY enjoy – and I get to share it with hundreds of people, instead of just one person!

My e-mail list exploded since Zero to Launch

How would it make YOU feel if 300 people actually read your e-mail?


Results from 1 year of Zero to Launch

Since writing this review, a lot has changed. I’m going to show you the results and the lessons that I’ve learned in one year since I joined Zero to Launch.

Revenue: $40,000 in a year.

Over the last year, I have successfully launched 2 online products, as well as a few 1on1 coaching programs for entrepreneurs. In 2014, I’ve made over $40,000 in profit just through this blog.

Of course this didn’t happen over night. For example, here’s what the process looked like for creating my first product:

  1. In February, I launched a small, live 2-hour workshop that was sold for $49.
  2. In April, I took the feedback from the workshop and extended it into a 4-week online course, which was also sold for $49.
  3. In June, I reached out to some of my mentors and advisers and recorded eight 60-minute interviews that I added to the course and created a master level of the course, which was priced at $97.
  4. In July, I decided to raise the price of the course to $97 (pro level) / $197 (master level).
  5. In 2015, I will redesign the core 4-week course with the feedback I got from my students over the last year, to make it even more valuable.

Still, once the hard work is done up front, you can reap the benefits of your hard work for months, if not years to come.

The beauty of it was that once you put in the work and create a great product, you can automate the majority of the sales process, “make money in your sleep” and reap the benefits for months or even years to come.

Over 2,200 new e-mail subscribers

Over the last year or so, over 2,200 new readers joined my e-mail list. To be honest, I would have liked this to be a bit higher, and I know that if I focused primarily on growing my e-mail list, I could easily get to 5,000-10,000 subscribers.

But here’s the thing: I chose not to. Instead of creating a $50 product that would be “ok” and massively promoting my website. I decided to take the time and get feedback from my readers. I got on a call with over 50 students who joined one of my e-mail courses, I asked them what they liked and what they didn’t like about the course, and what they would like to see in it in the future.

This helped me improve my sales copy to improve sales conversions, 4x the price of my course, as well as improve my product so my students can get better results.

Now take a look at the graph below:


I get 100-200 new e-mail subscribers each month.

What do you notice?

You can see that even though I focused primarily focused on creating a really good product this year, I still consistently got 100-200 new e-mail subscribers a month.

How did that happen?

Did I do some kick ass SEO? Did I buy Facebook ads? No, I have no idea about any of those things.

I got a consistent stream of new website visitors (and subscribers) because I created great content like My Quick Guide to Surrounding Yourself With Successful People that my readers loved, returned to, and shared with their friends.

That’s one of the things that separates Zero to Launch students from other bloggers. They write incredibly valuable content that their readers love, share, and take action on.

I finally have a lifestyle that I always wanted to have

Making decent money is great, but money isn’t really that helpful if you don’t have a lifestyle that you would really enjoy.

I’ve written briefly about this before, but now my life is completely different than it was a year ago.

A year ago, I was doing ok. I was making a few times more money than an average salary in Slovenia, I could go eat at fancy restaurants, and I was my own boss.

Still, there were a few things I didn’t really enjoy. For example:

  • I had to work around the schedules of my clients, so sometimes I would need to wake up at 6am to have a call, or stay up until 3am even though I wanted to sleep at that time.
  • I needed a really good internet connection for my calls, so I couldn’t do as much travelling as I would have liked to.
  • When I had 15 clients and I spoke to them once or twice a week, I came close to a 40-hour work week, and I didn’t make any money unless I did coaching calls.

Now, things are different. Now, I can literally work whenever I want, however I want, and whenever I want. I can wake up at 7am or 1pm. I can work from Slovenia, San Francisco or Thailand. In fact, last August I went to Thailand for 1 month with a friend of mine on a week’s notice.


I recorded a new video course in Thailand last August.

Another thing that changed is that as I started growing my business, I got to meet many other online business owners, like Selena Soo, one of the best publicity strategists in the world.


Grabbing lunch with Selena Soo in NYC

And with that, new opportunities opened up as well. I got many new podcast and guest post opportunities, recently I was even profiled by Business Insider:


Click here to read my profile on Business Insider.

Lessons from 1 year of Zero to Launch

I’ve showed you some of the results from Zero to Launch program, and now I’m going to share with you two of my biggest lessons that I learned within the last year.

1. You don’t need 100,000 e-mail subscribers to make a good living.

For a long time, I thought that I needed to have hundreds of thousands of e-mail subscribers if I wanted to work on my business full time. It felt so out of reach and unrealistic that I would ever get there.

But now that I’ve created my own business, and made over $40,000 in a year with only 2,000 e-mail subscribers, I can see that there’s another way.

it’s possible to make a good living, even if you have a relatively small e-mail list. What matters much more than the quantity of the people that you get on your e-mail list is the quality of the subscribers.

For example, there are many “internet marketers” out there that use Facebook ads to drive Facebook readers to fishy websites where they somehow trick them into collecting their e-mail address. As you can imagine, even if you trick 10,000 people into giving you their e-mail address, they probably won’t open many of your e-mails and buy many of your products if you start selling to them right away.

On the other hand, if you have 1,000 e-mail subscribers that…

  • Have seen a guest post from you on a blog of a blogger that they have been following for years.
  • Loved the posts on your blog, so they decided to join your e-mail list.
  • Were blow away by the FREE e-book you have given them as a gift for signing up to your e-mail newsletter.

What will THEY think to themselves?

I bet it’s something along the lines of, “oh wow, if this guy’s free material is this good, then I can’t imagine how good his products are. let me check them out!”.

And that’s how you can make much more money with a high quality e-mail list of 1,000 subscribers than with a low quality e-mail list of 10,000 e-mail subscribers.

2. Build relationships with other bloggers.

Last year, I was introduced to Navid Moazzez from the Lifestyle Architects Podcast. Navid and I did a podcast episode together, and at that point we could have just parted our ways and never spoken again.

But we didn’t.

Instead, we decided to help each other out in any way we could to help grow each other’s businesses. So I introduced Navid to a few friends of mine who I thought would be great candidates for his podcast. When I asked Navid to introduce me to some podcasters, he happily connected me with 10 amazing podcasters.

I later did a great interview with him for his Branding Summit , which turned out to be one of the biggest online summits on personal branding out there. And when I talked to a Business Insider journalist that asked me who else has an amazing story that she can share with her readers, he was the first person to come to my mind, so I gladly sent over an introduction.


An interview I did with Navid for his Branding Summit

It’s a win-win relationship for both of us. We do whatever we can to help each other, and because of this, we constantly open up new opportunities that help us grow our businesses.

If you’d like to learn more about how to connect with other successful bloggers, read my 10,000+ word guide that I wrote on this topic.

How will YOUR life change if you go through Zero to Launch?

And what can Zero to Launch do for you? Well, it can give you the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without financial restrictions.

Do you want to be able to take a month off to be with your family like James? Maybe have the option of quitting your job if you want to? Or maybe you just want to be earning money while you take a trip around the world?

All of this is possible. I’ve done it, James has done it, and more of Ramit’s students have done it:

Zero to Launch Maria

Maria got a $700 product sale in the middle of a Monday afternoon!

Zero to Launch Chris

Chris got 3 job offers with only 16 e-mail subscribers!

Zero to Launch James

James took a month completely off work to spend time with his family!

There are so many opportunities out there, and you can definitely get them as well.

So right now you’re probably wondering if Zero to Launch will work as well for you as it did for us.

I’ll be honest, Zero to Launch is NOT for everyone.

Zero to Launch is NOT right for you if…

  • You want to get rich quick. It’s very likely that you won’t be making $10k/month right off the bat. It took me a few months to release my first product and get my first sales.
  • You think that this program won’t work for you because of (insert X excuse). If you disqualify yourself before even putting in the effort, you will never get the results that you want.
  • You aren’t willing to commit at least a few hours each week into working on your online business. If your excuse is that you “don’t have time”, then creating your online business just isn’t important enough to you yet.

Zero to Launch IS right for you if…

  • You understand that it takes some time to get the ball rolling in the beginning, and that you will be able to benefit from the hard work that you put in now for years to come. You will actually be surprised how many new opportunities will open up for you once you get everything up and running.
  • You like to take massive action. The beta-students that got the best results were the ones that didn’t focus on the barriers that were holding them back from success (“I’m not white, tall and extremely good looking like he is”, “I don’t have rich parents”, “I’m from a third world country…”). Instead, they focused on putting in the work and getting the results that they wanted.
  • You have the attitude that you will “make the system work for you no matter what”. I do a lot of testing to find out what really works best for me (Facebook advertising? Guest posts? E-book opt-in offer? “free updates” newsletter?), and it’s likely that you will have to do some testing yourself to get the best results. If you love testing and are willing to trust the system, then this course is perfect for you.

If you decide to try out Zero to Launch, keep this in mind:

If you are going to try the course out, I wanted to give you a few tips based on my experiences:

  • Set up a good, visible opt-in offer before doing massive promotion. You want to be able to capture the e-mail addresses of your subscribers before you go ahead and promote the website. As an opt-in offer, an e-book and a 7-day boot camp worked well for me. To make sure they’re visible, I use the Plugmatter Feature Box plug-in
  • Don’t waste too much time stuck in tactical hell. You don’t need a fancy website to get started. Get a studiopress template and move on! You don’t need fancy webinar software and a complex billing system to create and sell your first product. I used Google Hangouts for the webinar, Paypal to sell the products and Google Drive to give my students access to my content. It’s “good enough” to get started, and these things can always get professionalized later.
  • If you ARE stuck, reach out for help. There will be a great private community at Zero to Launch, and many members (including me) will be happy to help you out if you’re stuck with something. We love helping people who are willing to take action and then get results!

Let me help you go from Zero to Launch faster

I’ll be honest with you. With Ramit’s Zero to Launch system, you will get all the knowledge that you need to create a successful online business.

But in the end, YOU are still the person who will need to put in the work.

And I know that you already have a busy life. You probably have a job, a girlfriend or wife, maybe even kids. The truth is, life is busy. And finding the time and energy to build and grow your business won’t always be easy.

If you really want to get the most out of Zero to Launch, this is what you will need to do:

  • Put in 5-10 hours of work a week: You will need to sit down, study the course materials and take massive action. You will need to work on your website, write blog posts, promote your blog posts through podcasts and guest posts, create products, collect feedback from your customers and much much more. All of this takes time and energy!
  • Overcome your mental barriers: Sometimes, you will need to do something that you aren’t comfortable with. You will need to e-mail another blogger and ask to guest post on their site. You will need to send out a survey to your e-mail list. You will need to pitch your first product to your list. It won’t be easy.
  • Get un-stuck: You will eventually run out of the initial boost of motivation. Your life will take over. You will have a busy week at your job, or maybe you just won’t feel like working on your business. As you keep receiving course e-mails, you might feel like you’re “falling behind” and it will be harder and harder to get back on track.

Things like that WILL happen. So instead of relying just on motivation, “trying harder” and “pushing through it“, why don’t you anticipate that things will go wrong and plan for them in advance?

You can do this by creating habits and systems that will help you make consistent progress in your business and follow through with the course. I share these systems only through my e-mail list, and I also put together a 22-page Guide to Creating Bulletproof Habits which will help you get from Zero to Launch faster.

To get access to the guide and the systems that I use to keep growing my business, just enter your e-mail below and click “GET ACCESS NOW!”.

-Primoz