Matt W. Kane

Education of Millionaires

Michael Ellsberg—2011.


  • “He came to my house in a three-piece suit. I was talking to him about the website he was going to be doing data entry for a $10 an hour, and he was stuck in a very 1999 mentality about the web. I don’t think you said the word IPO, but I’m pretty sure he said the word liquidity at some point in the interview.” And I’m like, “look, I’m looking for data entry and customer service. I want to make sure that when a customer calls, they feel taken care of.” And he said, “Well, you know I think that we need to be strategic about which relationships we can leverage…” And that’s kind of how the interview went. At one point he started saying, “so, there’s obviously several disparate paths involved and different priorities, so one of the things I’d do in my first week is build a priority matrix, so that we could reference…” I just had this picture in my mind of him building this priority matrix while I was doing all the work.
  • Both men were highly educated, but one man’s education consisted – I am guessing – primarily of theory, which is the stuff most readily on tapping colleges and universities. The other man’s education (and it was self-education, not obtained in a formal classroom) consisted primarily of practice. One man’s education was bureaucratic, formal and by the book; the other man’s education was gained on the front lines, often on the brink of personal disaster. One man was educated in the most pretentious institution in the land, the other in the school of hard business knocks. One man had focused on book smarts, the other in street-smarts.
  • Which kind of smarts to you think wins in an economic downturn? Which wins when the economy picks up again? Any internal debate between practical intelligence and academic intelligence, street-smarts and book smarts, there is little ambiguity about which side parents, relatives teachers, media and politicians push us towards only are kids.
  • As in Brian’s example, I can confirm: there is literally no job too shitty or low paying for which you won’t get a river of BAs desperately asking you for the work. These degree bearing applicants have attained the very thing society, their parents, their teachers and everyone else around and told them they needed to obtain in order to be successful – the credential clarifying their achievement and academic intelligence. Yet, in Brian’s case, the comparatively tame recession of the early 2000’s had hundreds of these college educated people lining up for $10 an hour job postings.
  • In this book, Gladwell shows once a person has demonstrated passable logical, analytic and academic skills, the other factors have much more influence on real-world results – specifically, creativity, innovative thinking, and practical and social intelligence. To the extent that we developed these aptitudes in our lives, we tend to do so out of the real world, not informal institutions.
  • What’s more, I wasn’t making solid money (somewhere around $75,000 as a freelance copywriter, plus additional money coming in for my own book writing, which push me over $100,000) simply because I have become good at writing copy. I was earning money because I had become good at marketing and selling my copywriting services. There are boatloads of good freelancers who are broke, simply because they don’t know how to market and sell their services.
  • The driving theme of the stories in this book is that, even though you may learn many wonderful things in college, your success and happiness in life will have little to do with what you study there or the letters after your name once you graduate. It has to do with your drive, your initiative, your persistence, your ability to make a contribution to other people’s lives, your ability to come up with good ideas and pitch them to others effectively, your charisma, your ability to navigate gracefully through social and business networks (what some researchers call “practical intelligence”), and the total, unwavering belief in your own eventual triumph.
  • Education is still necessary to learn how to do the great work that gets you paid. But these days, almost all of the education that runs up actually earning you money ends up being self-education and practical intelligence and skills, acquired outside the bounds of traditional educational institutions.

Success skill #1: how to make your work meaningful and your meaning work.

  • Brian Franklin, whom we met in the introduction, defines leadership as “creating a feature for others which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”
  • I walked the Berkeley Marina, saying to people, “look, I take care of your bow, and I’ll teach you how to sell, if he let me use it for my school during the week.” I had my pick of the boats! Honestly, I think a kid could still do that today, it hasn’t changed a bit.
  • The Art of Earning a Living is the art of finding creative ways of bringing the spheres of money and meaning together and making them overlap significantly.
  • I credit this growth to the sales, marketing and networking skills are described later in this book. It’s often easier to get a far greater return with much less risk by investing in your own earning power via sales and marketing skills, and is available on the stock market.
  • One of the capabilities that will be invaluable to you as you begin to work through the For Steps to Aligning Your Money and Meaning is developing a different – and I believe more realistic – relationship to risk. Indeed, if there’s one single trait that sets all the self educated millionaires I interviewed for this book apart from other people, it’s their relationship to risk.
  • I’ve seen that they have systematically and intentionally developed a style of working that allows them to take lots of small bets – bet after bet after bet – all while making sure that they don’t get wiped out of the game if one or many of them go south. In other words, I believe that for most of the people featured in this book a trait even more important than luck was resilience.
  • I believe this is a distorted view of entrepreneurialism. Most of the self educated people featured in this book took pains to make sure that their “downside was not so exposed,” to use the parlance of investigating: they made sure that a failed business would not mean total ruin, it would just mean a few scrapes, a few good lessons learned, and up they are again at a new one.
  • And I could imply what I wanted anywhere. I tried and couldn’t get it. To me, that’s enough of a data point to say there is a business there. Because if I can’t find it I know I’m not the only one. Other people can find it. There is an unserved niche in the market, something people can find but they want.
  • The point is, if you’re learning viable business skills while you also pursue your dreams, you win either way.
  • Does spending your teenage years, and your 20s, and the room practicing the violin teach you anything about being a violin teacher or a concert promoter are some of their job associated with music? If your happiness depends on your draft pick or single addition, that’s giving way too much power to someone else. Learn the business side of your craft, and you’ll come away with applicable, marketable skills no matter what.

Success lesson #2: how to find great mentors and teachers, connective powerful and influential people, and build a world-class network.

  • He figured there must be some other young entrepreneurs in the country to its face these questions, so he began doing some research. He found that, indeed, there were others out there. He came across lists like business week’s top 25 entrepreneurs under 25, and the top 30 under 30 from inc. using the sales skills he had developed in launching three businesses, two of them failed and one was not successful, he began cold calling young CEOs off the list. If the key to great sales is to have a great product to sell, then Elliott had dreamed up perhaps the greatest pitcher in all history: “come on an all expense paid ski trip to Utah with me in the bunch of other top CEOs, I fly you out there first class, we’ll all meet each other, and we can share information and knowledge.” As Elliott says, “it’s not that hard to convince someone to go on an all expense paid ski chair.” Beyond the skiing, most of the young CEOs had never met each other and were thrilled with the chance to meet other top young leaders.
  • 20 CEOs joined together on that first trip, which occurred in April 2008. The average age of the participants was 26. Five weeks before the trip, Elliott was in the hole for the grand on his personal credit cards to cover the trip. Ever the enterprising mind, he used his self-taught sales skills to once again call up new corporate sponsors to see if they pay for the trip, he got the entire trip covered by sponsors.
  • The trip went so well, in fact Elliott decide to do another trip six months later, for 60 young business leaders. Naturally, he found sponsors to pay for that as well.
  • I asked Elliott how he counts for his success in life at such a young age. He told me point blank, “I should be my access so far, 100%, to the people I’ve met and learned from. It’s not even a question. Motivational author, and college dropout Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” And on the bigger picture, you are a reflection of the 20 or 30 people who give you the best advice. Everything is about people. It all starts with you surrounding yourself with great people who you can learn from.
  • “This turn out to be the most significant decision in my business career – to find someone who is massively successful and go to work for him. Through that, I got into the world of marketing and sales. I discovered a lot of the past marketing and sales geniuses, like Claude Hopkins, Eugene Schwartz, John Carpols, and David Ogilvy, and read all of their books. I start applying all I was learning about marketing and sales to consult with real estate businesses how to market and sell themselves.
  • So many people started asking him how he built his business so rapidly, he opened the second division of his business, which teaches info marketing skills to entrepreneurs,
  • Eben said, “Leadership is like a fat one. Imagine the leaders are the water near the top, ready to burst out of the fountain. The water about to burst out is being pushed out by the water below it. If you want to be successful, find leaders who are doing amazing things in the world, and push them up. Find powerful people and help them reach their goals. If you are of service to them, they will be of service back.”
  • Here’s a story about how I met a second great mentor in my life, Bryan Franklin, whom I introduced you in the introduction. I had kept hearing about this guy Brian,, through friends of friends. He was supposed to be one of the most successful executive coaches in the country. He was only 38, but he had been earning $1 million a year the past 10 years coaching executives at some of Silicon Valley’s hottest firms.
  • If you want to recruit powerful mentors and teachers to your team, the secret is giving. Giving. Giving. Support them. Figure out how you can help them, and then do it. Be the water beneath them, pushing them up the file in. Be enterprising about it – figure out ways to give and support them that will blow their mind.
  • The two biggest forms of connection capital are, your already existing connections and your ability to give good advice.
  • The more connections you have, the more you make still. For simple reason: the more people you have in your network, the more they connect you to other people, and the more people who want to join it. Lots and lots of people want to be connected to Elliott Bisnow because he knows lots and lots of people.
  • The second major component of connection capital is your ability to give relevant and valuable advice.
  • Eben says that the three areas of life the majority of people spend most of their time worrying about money, relationships and health.
  • Going to teach you to questions that, if you put them into use at parties, events and conferences, will change your life forever and will grow your network faster than ever thought possible:
    • What’s most exciting for you right now in your life/business?
    • What’s challenging for you and your life/business right now?
  • If it’s a personal context, cocktail party, dinner party etc. ask about their life, if it’s a business context, conference, networking event ask about their business.
  • In particular, you should learn about direct response marketing and copywriting, the type that Eben teaches. Direct response is all about generating sales and revenue now, as opposed to “brand or image” marketing. Which consumes large amounts of money to generate revenues in some vague, distant future, if at all. Can help people generate sales and revenue now, you’ll never be a wallflower, you will always find people like to talk with you and wanting your advice.
  • It’s almost a cliché and in inside joke among my friends now. Whenever I meet new people, I compulsively start finding out what they’re up to, and then giving them unsolicited marketing advice on it. Maybe it’s cheesy. But I’ll be damned, it works. In the most all cases, I find it’s greatly appreciated.
  • If you know a lot about vintage wine, or gourmet cooking, or find tequila, or tango dance, or travel in Latin America, or Buddhist meditation and philosophy for kite boarding or social media marketing work contemporary art or some other interesting cool hip and unusual hobby or interest, it’s very likely you’ll be able to share your gift among people you want to connect with. Of course, more street hobbies like sailing, football and baseball can work too. Though there’s a bit of a “join the club” affected these, which makes it harder to stand out and truly broaden someone’s horizon.
  • Another great resource, which adapts some of the strategies for the digital and social media age, comes from David Siteman Garland, In his article “from Tim Ferris to Seth Godin: how to interview and build relationships with the most influential people in the world.”
  • It is possible to learn these things in college, but they are usually learned through extracurricular activities such as student government, leadership and cultural, charitable political or Greek organizations, sports teams, peers support groups and so forth. Yet extracurriculars are essentially a form of free or low-cost self-education. The more you focus on these, the less you’ll be focusing on the formal curriculum you’re paying and going into debt to study in college.
  • Elliott has decoupled his labor from his capital, and focused on building some pretty amazing capital for himself: a world-class tribe of people he helps and to help him. He has become a capitalist – the capitalists of giving and service to others.
  • The amount of money you earn is the measure of the value that others place on your contribution… To increase the value of the money you are getting out, you must increase the value of the work you are putting in.
  • The problem is, the concept and skills of “helping other people get what they want” – which is the main method by which we can connect with powerful mentors and teachers in life, as well as by which we will earn the money we want to earn in life and achieve what we want to achieve – is noted to be found in a formal educational curriculum, from elementary school through college.
  • In turn, Eben, Elliott and the other people featured in this book focused their self-education on gaining skills that allow them to contribute to other people, and higher leverage and higher impact ways. Specifically, they focused on the ability to provide valuable, high impact, high leverage advice and leadership in the main areas of concern we’ve identified earlier: money and business, sales and marketing, spirituality and purpose (which often are expressed in the business world by the word “leadership”), and health and relationships.
  • These are the areas people tend to “want things” in. If you learn how to help them get what they want in these areas – as the self educated entrepreneurs we are learning about business book have done – you can connect with anyone you want to.
  • If you’re just starting out on your path, and you’ve got nothing else to give, and give your enthusiasm and your willingness to implement other people’s advice. This is worth a lot more than you think.
  • “I get to many requests from kids who will reach out to me and say, “Mr. Ferrazzi, I saw your speech, or heard you on something or other. Cannot have dinner with you, a coffee with you, and pick your brain on things?” And this is the totally wrong way to go about it. I want to say to them, “read my books, and then talk to me. The rudeness of wanting me to regurgitate what I’ve already written down and spent years telling people is ridiculous.”
  • The right way to go about it is to be generous with the person you want to connect with. And in this case, the generosity is: you tell a story. Tell a story about how you drew inspiration from their teachings and their example, how it impacted your life, and all the ways you are passing the gift unto others now. If you move me enough with what you have accomplished with my teachings and how you are serving others, then yes, of course I want to help you. I’ve helped all kinds of young people who have reached out to me with their stories of the amazing things they’ve done applying the concepts in my books. When I invest my time and effort in helping a young person, the dividend I receive in return is the gratitude, and their success.”
  • Keith told me a story of how he put this concept into action when she was the young person seeking advice from a powerful mentor. “When I was a kid, I built a relationship with the chairman of Baxter international at the time, Vernon Loucks. At least once a quarter, I would give him a ring, send him a simple update email, and let him know how his advice is been beneficial to me – how I applied it, and how it’s been helpful, then thank him in few civilly, praise how much I respect him, then follow up by after that with another question. A quarter later, I tell him how I replied that advice, and what happened.

Success skill #3: what every successful person needs to know about marketing, and how to teach yourself.

  • “In the end, I learned more from him and then in all of my schooling. He was a salesman, to the bone. He taught me the importance of sales. While in for my grandfather was, the key to making money was to cause something to get sold. Whether you sell it yourself, or you employ someone to sell it and you get some of the money. He would always say, “The only way to make money is to buy something at one cost and sell it at a higher cost. If you do that, and you hustle, you make as much money as you want.
  • Frank began rooting around for different businesses he could start. Eventually, he found his way to the writings of Dan Kennedy. And something happened to Frank, which also happen to me, and pretty much everyone else who finds their way there: everything changes after you first encounter Dan Kennedy.
  • At some point, if you’re interested in money, and the making of it, you should immerse yourself in the work of Kennedy, He’ll kiss you off, infuriate you, make you shake your fist, make you slam down his book at some point, but still, you need to read him.
  • In Kennedy’s words: “the breakthrough realization for you is that you are in the marketing business. You are not in the dry cleaning a restaurant or widget manufacturing or welding planning or industrial chemical business. You are in the business of marketing dry-cleaning services or restaurants or widgets or planning chemicals. When you embrace this, it makes perfect sense to set your sights on marketing mastery.
  • “What do people in this industry need? What’s bothering them, hassling them, costing them money, keeping them from getting what they want? … Customers with needs, long every single day. There are always people and niches with unfulfilled needs. With this approach to business, you don’t need to rely on luck, timing or the fickleness of fads and crazes – just on your own ability to observe and create. Choose a niche, find a need, and then see what could help those people do their job better.”
  • In turn, the product or service is designed to solve a specific unsolved problem or meet a specific unmet need, and if the message is targeted well, so that you happen to be someone with that unsolved problem or unmet need, you will be happy to hear about the product or service.
  • Sean spoke to me with utter clarity, purpose and passion about the problem he set out to solve. “There was no global, persistent, legitimate concept of identity that traveled with you from site to site. There was no single sign in or authentication system. There was no viable notion of identity.
  • It was a big unsolved problem Sean wanted to solve. “Microsoft tried it with Microsoft passport. No one trusts Microsoft enough to do that. A well tried to do it with magic carpet. Son tried it with liberty alliance. They were these big top-down efforts, and I felt like the only way this was going to happen was through a bottom-up movement. But the bottom-up movement was going to have to come through some other application.
  • “I took one hack at it with Plaxo. It was the wrong answer, though. When I saw the Facebook, it seemed like the right starting point, a piece of clay that could be molded over time to solve the right problem. The cofounder, Mark Zucker Berg, was the most ambitious and smartest person I’d ever met who had built a social network. It was also the most receptive to my feedback in terms of where I thought we needed to go. If you look at Mark’s actions even after I left the company, in terms of creating Facebook connect and the authentication network, and getting other websites to use Facebook’s data and trying to take your friend network elsewhere, he’s executing that vision flawlessly. And now as that platform is built, he’s answering the question “how do we integrated into the fabric of the Internet?”
  • Seth Godin writes in Purple Cow: transform your business by being remarkable, “start with a problem you can solve for customers, who realizes they have a problem! Good marketing, in other words, is not something you do after you create the product, the fact that most marketing is done this way is why we hate the word “marketing” so much. If you start with marketing – that is, with thinking about, it anticipating and meeting the needs of the market in the original, effective, compelling way – then that market will be glad to hear about what you are offering. Once you’ve designed a product that actually solve someone’s real problem, rather than just solving your own problem of needing more cash, you’ll still need to let those people know about it. The specific type of communication Dan Kennedy teaches, in which I recommend for most small businesses, is called direct response marketing.
  • Marketing is a mentality. It’s a worldview that puts customer’s emotional reality first, and inquires deeply about their needs, wants and desires.
  • Employers love rainmakers. They hire rainmakers first, and will never, ever fire them, so long as they continue making rain. Learn to be a rainmaker.
  • Understand that the matter what you are doing, even if you want to be a ballplayer or movie star – nothing happens until something gets sold.
  • The key to making money, and therefore living a life of less stress, is to cause someone to joyfully give you money in exchange for something that they perceive to be of greater value than the money they gave you.
  • The crucial turning point for me was listening to a recording that was part of Eben’s “guru mastermind” home study marketing course. The recording was called “how to write killer sales letter” and featured Eben’s main copywriter, Craig Clemens, who has generated over $50 million in sales through his copy.
  • Key revelation from the recording, for me, was when you are communicating with your marketing message, you need to get inside the heads of your prospects, figure out what matters to them in their lives, and talk to them about that, not about what you want to sell them. They don’t care about what you want to sell them. “If you aren’t talking to your prospect about their strongest and deepest wants, needs and desires, you are doing them a disservice.”
  • Good marketing, in turn, speaks to the prospect about their deepest emotional realities, their innermost desires, and about helping them achieve what they want in those realms. Thus, the best marketing is all about human connection, on a genuine level. If you can truly help your prospect achieve their deepest wants and desires in the area of your product or service addresses, then you are actually doing your prospects a great service.
  • The recording gave a specific process for getting inside the heads of the people you are communicating with, say you can talk with them about what is most important to them. If you talk with them about what’s most important to them, instead of talking about your pitch, which I guarantee is low in the list of what’s important to them, they will listen, and they will trust what you have to say. The process Craig offered was simple: make a list of your prospects biggest fears, frustrations, desires, dreams and nightmares around the issue your product or service helps them with. This 25 answers for each of these categories
  • She created a beautiful portrait of the inner emotional reality of her prospective clients, the answers to this exercise. And with that portrait, I began constructing an email to send to her list, which spoke directly to her prospects most urgent needs:
    • Are you absolutely, positively sick of constantly feeling self-conscious of your body?
    • Are you tired of looking into your closet and seeing all the close you wish you could fit into again?
    • Do you feel like your way is holding you back from doing what you want to do in life?
    • Do your cravings feel out of control?
    • Etc.
  • run by Brian Clark.
  • One of my favorite pics on the site is a series on “how to write magnetic headlines.”

Success skill #4: what every successful person needs to know about sales, and how to teach yourself.

  • On the coffee table sat a copy of my first book, if you want to be rich and happy, don’t go to school: ensuring lifetime security for yourself and your children. I picked it up, as well as the notes she had jotted down on her legal pad. She looked down at her notes confused. On her pad, she had written “Robert Kiyosaki, best-selling author.” “It says best-selling author, not best writing author… I am a terrible writer. You are a great writer. I went to sales school. You have a master’s degree. Put them together and you get a best-selling author, and the best writing author.” Anger flared from her eyes. “I’ll never stoop so low as to learn how to sell. People like you have no business writing. I am a professionally trained writer and you are a salesman. It’s not fair.”
  • My first job after leaving the Marines, I went to work for Xerox. I was formally trained by Xerox to sell. Every day, five or six hours a day, I’m being trained to sell. How to overcome the fear of rejection. The biggest lesson I had to learn was how to fail faster. That was the biggest one because every day, I take three sales calls, take the rejections. So all my rich dad said to me was, “you’ve got to increase your rejections. The faster you fail, the more you are going to learn.”
  • That’s because success is its own skill. There is the skills of the craft. Then there’s the skill of success.
  • In my experience, the skill of success breaks down into three things. The skills of marketing. The skill of sales. In the skills of leadership.
  • You just have to learn effective marketing, and effective marketing is really simple. It’s the ability to get people who don’t know about you to know about you. That’s it.
  • The second skill of success is sales.
  • When sales is done well, it’s a really simple discovery conversation. The conversation basically follows the following contours: “hey, what do you really want? What matters to you? Well, this is my ability to provide that. Does that seem like a match to you?”
  • The third skill of success is leadership. Leadership boils down to the ability to change the hearts and minds of people. Not controlling them, it’s a myth that the leader has control. Your leadership consists precisely in your ability to define the feature you don’t have control over. The leader doesn’t have control over what the employees do, she has to influencing employees to do what she thinks is best.
  • Why still there realize – and what most people who are resistant to learning sales don’t realize – is that there is a lot of room between just hanging out your shingle and hoping people show up, on the one hand, and forcing and manipulating able to buy things they don’t want to, on the other hand. Most people, for reasons of integrity, don’t want to do the latter. But they think the only other option is to do the former, so that’s what they do to sell themselves: Diddley squat. This is where the mistake lies. There is a lot of room between these two poles, between pressuring people and doing nothing. Between those two poles lie options that both close the sale and exhibit high class and integrity.
  • Everything you thought sales was about, including the scripts, pressure, pitching, gimmicky closing techniques, sleazy guilt tripping, truth stretching – in other words, all the stuff that makes you want to run the other way when you hear the word sales – does actually work very well. Particularly not the “major sales” in which the buyer perceives the price point as significant, the sales happens over many conversations, and the buyer is likely going to have an ongoing business relationship with you or your firm after the sale.
  • What works then? It’s simple. While we normally think of salespeople as fast talking slicksters it turns out that the more the prospect talks – about their problems, their fears, their frustrations related to the needs your product or service addresses – the more likely they will want to do business with you. Which means, effective sales isn’t about spewing off a slick pitch. It’s about asking a lot of questions. The right questions. Event listening.
  • What are the right questions? Any question that gets the prospect deeply connected with their frustrations, fears and desires around the problem your product or service addresses.
  • Victor demonstrated this approach on Jenna. I was astonished. He knew very little about Jenna’s business, weight-loss, yet simply by asking the right questions, he was able to sell her very effectively on her own services! In this improv dialogue, Victor spontaneously played the salesperson, and Jenna played a hypothetical prospect in her business:
    • Victor: so how much weight do you want to lose?
    • Prospect: about 20 pounds.
    • Victor: and why do you want to lose that weight?
    • Prospect: I want to feel good and attractive.
    • Victor: and why is feeling good and attractive important to you?
    • Prospect: I’d like to be in a relationship, and I just don’t feel confident around man. I walk into a room and feel like I’m invisible, or like my body is disgusting. I feel so out of control around food.
    • Victor: and if you did have more confidence in your life – walking into the room and not feeling self-conscious – how would that impact your life?
    • Prospect: well, hopefully I get into a relationship and have more friends and be less lonely. And hopefully it would benefit my career too.
    • Victor: let’s talk about the first one. Talk about being lonely. How does that feel right now? What is that like?
    • Prospect: it’s terrible. I go home and just be cookies for company. It’s a vicious cycle because all I can think of is the cookies. After I eat the packets of cookies I feel sick in the want to go out, even if my friends are calling me to go out.
    • Victor: what would happen if this problem dinning get resolved?
    • Prospect: I be alone, I be miserable, I’d have no kids.
    • Victor: and how would you feel about that?
    • Prospect: terrible. I want to be a mother. I want to have a family. I want to fulfill that role.
    • Victor: and what you are telling me is, the way today is quite possibly getting in the way of your life, the unfolding path of your life. What is it worth to you to fix the problem and have the life you’ve always wanted?
    • Prospect: a lot.
    • Victor: a scale of 1 to 10, with one being not important at all, intending extremely important, immediately where are you?
    • Prospect: 9.5.
  • As we went more into the sales demonstration, Victor commented us, “you see, I haven’t sold anything. All I’ve done is ask questions. But the questions go beyond the superficial. They go into the deepest levels of why they want this change in their life. “The reason this method works is that people’s underlining motivations are very different. Two people could walk into your business wanting to lose 20 pounds, but for very different reasons, at either the conscious level but the unconscious level. If you say, I can help you lose 20 pounds, without going into why they want it, then you are no different from anybody else. But if you can get into the underlining motivations – they’re not buying the 20 pound weight loss coaching. They are buying a new career. Or shot having a great relationship. Or shot at being a mother with kids.
  • “And if you talk with them about that, and help them solve that problem – the underlining motivation – then they’ll want to do business with you. Because they can tell you actually get what’s going on inside of them, and you care about what they care about, and you’re helping them with something that is actually very deep to them and not the superficial problem.
  • If you try to sell a solution before you mutually agreed on the problem you’re trying to solve – which is what most salespeople do – people mostly aren’t interested.”
  • After Victor’s demonstration, both Jenna and I bought SPIN selling.
  • And sales become – breathe a sigh of relief – and honest conversation between two authentic human beings.
  • Once Jenna and I began honestly talking with and listening to our prospects, on an emotional level, about the deepest wants, needs, fears and desires, rather than subjecting them to some sales pitch about our services, our businesses began flourishing. It turns out – surprise, surprise – people don’t really want to be pitch that. They want you to listen to them, they want you to fear them, they want you to get them, and they want to trust your integrity that you will only sell them something they’ll end up being happy with, so that you can continue to do business together in the future.
  • The origin editors of Spin Selling

Success skill #5: how to invest for success.

  • You want to be in the reorder business.
  • They spent their $700 on designing the bottles in the company’s now iconic black and white – because it was cheaper to print and color. The rest of the materials were purchased on 30 day terms, which gave them a very short window to make the company work. John Paul and Paul believed in their products and – using John Paul sales skills – hustled the hell out of them. “I went knocking on doors, beauty salon doors, door to door selling our product and Paul did the same thing off the stage when he did beauty shows. We kind of work together as grass roots on… Finally when the bill was due… We didn’t have enough to pay the bill, so it was, the checks in the mail. Five days later, we had just enough to pay the bill. John Paul told me, “no one wanted to invest in us. But once we were underway, it did grow organically. It took us about two years to pay her bills on time and have $2000 left in the bank for my partner and me. Initially, that’s how we knew we were successful at John Paul Mitchell systems.” The company kept growing organically, and growing and growing. It now does over billion dollars in annual sales, its products are sold in over 100,000 salons in nearly 100 different countries.
  • She stayed initially with her aunt in Jamaica, Queens. A serious violinist since she was a little girl, Jenna supported herself in those early days by playing violin for tips during her hour-long trip each way into Manhattan and back. She make $50 during each direction in rush hour.
  • At that point, she began plying her savings heavily, not into stocks and real estate, but into learning how to increase your own earning power. She invested in studying with all the marketing and sales teachers I’ve mentioned in success skill #3 and #4. And that is when her own earnings – and net worth took off.

Success skill #6: build the brand of you.

  • In 2009, I saw a tweet from a famous publishing industry exact I’d been following, Debbie Stier, then senior vice president of digital marketing at HarperCollins, which read, “Was somebody in publishing please hire this woman?” Intrigue, I click through the link, where I read about a recent college graduate named Marian Schembari, who had just done something remarkable.
  • Like many recent liberal arts graduates, she dreamed of working in a major publishing house. And like many recent graduates, she was not having much luck. “I graduated from college in May, and by mid-August, I was ready to slit my wrists, because nothing was happening. I had applied for jobs at all the major publishing houses and even the not so major publishing houses in New York. Basically, I was just doing what my college career center told me to do. I had a really great resume. I would spend two hours trying to personalize a cover letter and make it perfect, then send it out, and hear nothing back. All of the things that people told me to do in order to find a job didn’t work: no one called me back. I was just getting lost in the abyss of thousands of desperate jobseekers. I applied for a job in a small publishing house and the guy told me they got 500 application. It was not the greatest job, it didn’t pay anything and he had people trampling over each other to get it,” she told me. Marian tried to take a different track. She spent $100 on Facebook ads, with the headline “I want to work for HarperCollins” where the company name mentioned was custom targeted to people who had listed one of six major New York publishers as their place of employment.
  • Debbie, who worked at HarperCollins at the time, salt one of her ads pop up in her own Facebook page and wrote a post praising her for the initiative and integrity. That is fresh college grad had one of the most respected names in the US publishing openly urging her colleagues in the industry to hire her. Word of her employment campaign when viral within the publishing industry. She later wrote on her blog, “at least one person from every publisher I focused on emailed me to tell me that passed my resume on to HR, wanted to me, or just say they liked my idea.”
  • In the year and a half since she struck out on her own as a freelancer – and just two years out of college at the time I’m writing this – Schembari has created a lively and popular publishing industry blog for herself that routinely gets 50 or more comments every time she posts.
  • “Pajama job hunt”.
  • Marian’s advice to recent grads? She told me: every industry, from what I found out, has the top 20 blogs and people who are online influencers.
  • Your brand is what people think about when they hear your name.
  • Seth Godin: “if you decide to go out, and instead of finishing school, decide to learn things on your own that you thought were important – then that’s your story. Everyone needs a story to get a job. On the back of your first book, it says you went to Brown. That’s your story. Your story could be that you have the most popular blog on airline safety. And if you really have the most popular blog in the world on airline safety, and you are looking for a job doing PR on airline safety, that’s a really good story. That’s better than the story that you went to Brown.
  • If you don’t have a resume, what do you have? How about three extranet letters of recommendations from people the employer knows or respects? Or sophisticated project they can see a touch? For a reputation that precedes you? Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up? Some say, “Well, that’s fine but I don’t have those.” Yeah, that’s my point. If you don’t have those, why do you think you are remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don’t have those, you’ve been brainwashed into acting like you are sort of ordinary. Great jobs, world-class jobs, jobs people kill for… Those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.
  • Scoble interviewed over 500 people at Microsoft, everyone from the janitor to fellow non-college graduate Bill Gates, and blogged about what was going on at the company, from an insider’s perspective. Eventually he got tired of restrictions on his blogging, so he quit in 2006. Not many people who have such comparatively free range corporate jobs choose to quit, but such is the power of having an incredible personal brand – you can write your own ticket. He quickly found a job at a podcasting startup, then was wooed by fast Company, and now works for rack space, the world’s largest web hosting company.
  • I asked him what his job duties are. “I’m the public face of rack space in the valley. The company is in Texas, so the executives can’t be here every night. I am an ambassador and connector for them. I go to a lot of events, conferences, parties. I know every tech journalist in the world. I build relationships with press people. If we have a press event, I know whom to invite – and I have their business card. I also travel around the world and interview the leading edge startups. I understand what’s going on in the industry, and if I see something happening, I tell the executives, better kick it into gear in this area.” If Robert wants to travel somewhere to pursue a hot leave for the company he just goes. “I don’t even ask anymore. I’m going to Dubai next week.”
  • Sounds like one of the greatest jobs anyone could wish for. Not too many people have corporate jobs like Robert does – complete freedom to travel when he wants, go to which event he wants, and talk to whomever he wants, whenever he wants. And the reason is, not too many people have been as passionate, savvy and persistent about building up the personal brand and network of connections as Robert has. He’s become one of the most influential tech bloggers in the world, and lives a life completely on his own terms.
  • His career advice? Build up your presence as much as possible on new platforms, media and communities as they arise –the ones that already exist, and the ones we can’t even imagine yet, that will no doubt burst onto the scene. “Huffington didn’t exist five years ago. Tech crunch didn’t exist five years ago. YouTube didn’t exist six years ago. Facebook didn’t exist six years ago. Twitter didn’t exist five years ago. That’s the world were living in now. Why don’t you build a LinkedIn page instead of watching TV all night long? The savviest kids today already know how to build networks that work for them.” Robert believes that the time spent building your presence and network of connections online – your personal brand – is one of the most important things you can do, because it will open doors for you that simply wouldn’t open otherwise.
  • She always looked for the highest leverage thing that could be accomplished in that moment, and then got it done, never waiting for permission or instructions to make things better. She just did it. “I just kept doing big things, then asking for promotions once I did that. Doing, asking, doing, and asking.”
  • Danielle held “Firestarter groups” in 16 cities to help tech budding entrepreneurs to start the fires of their own creativity. “I held groups in post-dancing studios and in boardrooms. Whatever it takes exhibition point I did hundreds of one on one sessions to develop fresh teaching materials.

Success skill #7: the entrepreneurial mindset versus the employee mindset.

  • At some point in his sales career, he had learned about a concept called “the five-minute rule” from one of his sales mentors. This mentor, a high school dropout and now a successful sales manager had told Hal: “you’re going to have customers who aren’t going to buy from you. Some might be rude to you or cut your appointment short. You’re going to have days when you don’t reach your goals. And it’s okay to be negative sometimes. But not for much more than five minutes. You’ve got to live by the five-minute rule. Rich, moan, complain, vent, and get it out of your system, whatever you’ve got to do. But just for five minutes. Beyond that there is no benefit to dwelling on it. Instead, focus 100% of your energy on what is in your control.
  • Then I looked at him, and said, “Dad, I thought you knew me better than this. I’m great. In fact, I’m grateful. I can change what happened to me. There’s no point in feeling bad about it.
  • After I made these excuses to the guy as to why I wasn’t successful, he said, “Well, if there are other people doing well in your industry, and you are not, there’s nothing wrong with the business you’re in, they something wrong with you.
  • He said, “Look, young man. You are like most people. You think the grass is greener on the other side. What’s going to happen is you go into another business is you’re going to spend another six months, another year, another two years learning the technical skills of another industry, seeking go out and repeat the same bad business habits that have caused the failure in this present business.” The most respected tech or of marketing skills to small entrepreneurs and on iTunes
  • It all boils down to one thing. They’ve chosen to do what ever it takes to create the lives they want, including exercising the effort and the initiative to figure out what “whatever it takes” is.
  • Keep in mind, this distinction has nothing to do with whether you are actually an entrepreneur or an employee. It’s about mindset. Many employees display the entrepreneurial mindset, they are usually the ones who get promoted and promoted again.
  • The entrepreneurial mindset versus the employee mindset:

Entrepreneurial mindset:

  1. Focus on contribution.
    1. Focus on outcome.
    1. Sort for what’s needed.
    1. Work yourself out of a job.
    1. Go towards big decisions, even without authority.
    1. See your circumstances as illusory and temporary.

Employee mindset:

  1. Focus on entitlement.
  2. Focus on output.
  3. Sort for what’s requested.
  4. Work to protect your job.
  5. Turn away from even a small decisions you have the authority to make.
  6. See your circumstances as fixed and permanent.
  •  The people in this book did not assume that, by going to class V days a week and dutifully doing homework and papers and studying for tests, some wonderful outcome was going to rise from all this diligent output of work, just like parents and teachers and society said it would. Rather, they engage in deep inquiry about what outcomes they specifically want to create in their lives, and then relentlessly engaged in only the activities directly related to producing those outcomes in their lives.
  • Those in the employee mindset, in turn, feel satisfied if they just work harder and harder and harder – in school, at the workplace, in a business – without paying much attention to whether all that effort is directly producing the specific outcomes they want.
  • If you look for and take care of what is needed in a situation, rather than what’s requested by your boss, your teammates, or your clients, you’ll always be the first one up for promotions, the first one to win a new business and the last one laid off.
  • Multi-entrepreneur Russell Simmons told me, “Find out what people in your organization need, and give them that service. That is the way entrepreneurs think – I’m going to fix the problem.
  • What’s the best way to ensure you never climb to the next to a rung on the latter in your workplace or business? By clinging desperately to the lower wrong as if it were your salvation in life.
  • How do you become a leader in your workplace or businesses? I’m making yourself obsolete in your current role and finding a higher leverage role to play. And then making yourself obsolete and that and finding a higher leverage role to play.
  • The people in this book are successful because they didn’t wait around for someone to tell them to be successful. They didn’t wait around for someone to tell them they could make big decisions in their lives, and have big impact.
  • This last point might risk getting too philosophical for some readers. But I think it’s important. A key aspect of the entrepreneurial mindset is seeing the world around you as largely made up. Sure, there are social rules, but those rules are often arbitrary and outdated, and can therefore frequently be broken, bent, bypassed or just plain ignored, to good effect.
  • A stream of income and savings that help them live independently, which often became initial capital for the ventures that eventually made them affluent. Nearly every person I feature in this book started out working their lives in low status “dead-end” jobs, from fast food to waiting tables to door-to-door sales and telemarketing to manual labor. But they sure didn’t stay there. Why not?
  • In a wonderful book called 50 rules kids won’t learn in school: real-world antidotes to feel good education by Charles Sykes, rule 15 is: “flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it an opportunity.” He writes: “you live in a country with extraordinary opportunity and income mobility: if you start at the bottom, that doesn’t mean you will stay there. The important thing is to actually start.”
  • If you have the entrepreneurial mindset, it doesn’t matter what job you start out with, even hamburger flipper. You’ll find a way to become the most viable damn hamburger flipper in the joint, and then find a way to manage and lead the other hamburger flippers, and then find a way to assume even more responsibility and leadership in some other workplace, and on and on, up and up.
  • What distinguishes the guy who is the waiter, who then goes on to own his own hotel, and then a chain of hotels, versus the guy who just remains a waiter and stays bitter and angry about being a waiter for the rest of his life? Well, the guy who ends up owning the hotel never sees himself as a waiter, first of all. He only sees himself in the role of the waiter, as a necessary transitional point, to get from being a waiter, to being the manager of a hotel one day, which would give him the necessary knowledge to maybe own a hotel.
  • If you always ask yourself how you could make a greater and higher leveraged contribution to the people you work with and the situations you find yourself in; if you focus like a laser on actual outcome of the projects you’re involved with, rather than the output of your time and effort; if you weren’t relentless about taking care of what’s actually needed in your workplace or team, rather than just doing what was requested of you; if he started running towards the big decisions in your organization, rather than away from them, whether or not your job description called for it; if you become a diligent student of the ways in which social reality is more flexible and viable, and less predetermined, then you think it is – if you did all these things, is there any chance you would come out behind?