Personal Log – 005

Again I’ve been lagging behind. And for a very good reason. I’ve not been following my very own tenants.

I’ve been having struggle keeping up with the work load on this new site because I have outsourced any of it yet.

But I’m working to remedy this problem. In fact, I’ve set up a trial run for a freelancer to see if the person is qualified to get the job done.

You see, I’m hiring an editor for my newest site, but I’m afraid to pull the trigger. I don’t want to commit too much money into something I’m only 50% certain about. I’m afraid of losing money. But at the end of the day, it’s the fear itself that is holding me back.

Fear of success maybe. Fear of making lots of money.

It’s a thing. People often sabotage themselves for fear of getting what they’ve wanted. Some folks just don’t know how to handle success.

I’m no different. I’m afraid, too. And as I recognize the fear, I embrace it and step forward anyways. That’s what courage is. Stepping up in the face of fear.

I’m reminded of the song, we were made to be courageous. What a great song! I’m thankful that I’m made courageous.

So, I’ve done all that I can for this week personally. Now I’m going to have a trial run for the editor position. And if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go to UpWork and find an editor there.

We’ll see how this goes. I’ve defined everything as well as I know how. Now the true test will begin. Can I lead? Can I build this company through outsourcing?

Based on what I’ve read and learned these past weeks, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Don’t worry I’m documenting my process and will share my findings soon enough.

Cheers for now and God bless you!

I’m on my way.

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Personal Log – 004

As it turns out, writing an article every day is a much harder challenge than I expected.

I was distracted most of the weekend (Friday included) and yesterday was a fluke that I was able to find time to do any writing at all.  Even this journal entry is a day behind.

Granted, I’m travelling and on the road and there’s been a handful of extenuating circumstances.  But the truth of the matter is that I’ve just not been that committed to the process.

My other priorities get in the way of me moving forward with this challenge.  And this is what I’d like to spend some time talking about tonight.

You cannot create a new priority without eliminating a former priority.

This maybe intuitive for some and maybe a lesson I should have learned years ago, but this week I realized that every time I commit to something new, I also have to commit to giving up something.

Most people have an assumption that they aren’t successful because they have not spent enough time pursuing their goals.  And I think that’s partially correct.

What many of us don’t realize is that all of our time is occupied every single day.  Whether we are actively occupying it or passively, it is always being used up.  No matter what decision we make on our time usage, it continues to pass us by.

Now the want-to-be-successful person takes the approach of I need to spend more of my hours on work and that’ll help me reach my goals.  So, their allocation of hours spent on work increases.  And work-life balance goes out the window.

30 years later you get to be rich, middle-aged, with two kids and a divorce because you were never home.

Don’t let this be your life story.  Work-a-holics slowly become alcoholics because of this scenario.

Good news, my friends.  There’s a better way.

What we need to realize is that not all our time is created equal.  First off, there are certain times of the day where we are more functional and have higher productivity.  Typically, this is in the morning hours (8-11am range).

My hyper-focus window is 8:30am – 10:30am.  If you give me a balanced breakfast and a cup of OJ right before, I’ll be in the zone for those two hours.

Figure out how to get in the zone and use this time to get things done.

Secondly, understand that everything in life is a trade.  So, if you want to work on a website every night, you might have to give up 1 hour of watching Walking Dead…

So, my practice is printing off an empty schedule for the week and taking inventory of what I do each hour of the day.  This is my current schedule working, sleeping, being lazy, being loving, and everything in between.

I also take inventory of what I want to accomplish and how long each of these tasks will take for me to do.  Is it a daily task or a one-off?  What’s the time frame for these activities and what is the value it’ll create for me?

Yes, I’m a productivity nerd and actually assign a “business value” to each of these activities in terms of how much it’ll contribute to my happiness.  I have a 1 to 100 scale that I use for weighting.  You can use your own values, the scale isn’t important as long as you’re consistent.  My ranking formula for new priorities looks like this:

“Business Value” / (Minutes * (Days/7)) = Happiness ROI 

Then I look for opportunities to trade my time doing one activity for another of higher value to me.  I start with only time that is being spent on active tasks to be more efficient with my time.  Then I being to review some of my passive time, like time spent playing games on my phone or surfing the web or watching TV.

Some of this is OK because we need our rest, and games can help with creativity and reduce stress.  And if we work hard, its important for our body and mind to have a chance to recuperate.

So, I haven’t been trading my time effectively.  I tried to just cram a new priority into my schedule without truly trading it for something in my current calendar.

That’s my excuse take it or leave it.

Truth be told, I’ve been working on other projects which have been much more successful lately and that’s where my time and energy has been spent.  While this site and create more useful content is one of my long-term goals, its not high on the priority list.

Right now, my biggest priority it creating an online business that can be complete self-sustaining and I’ve been able to model one from an existing entrepreneur.  After testing his strategy and quickly gaining traction, I’ve been investing more of my time and energy into this little project.

As it takes off, I’ll share some updates on it and also the process so that others can attempt it, too.  If you are so interested.

Well, that’s all for me this night.  I’m hoping to be back to my regular schedule of posting on Monday nights, but with so many changes to work and life and other business things I have to be flexible.

Thanks for tuning in!

Cheers!
-Alex

P.S. You might have guessed already, but I’m going to pause the 30 days of posting.  More profitable activities lie ahead.  Good luck and God Bless!

Personal Log – 003

It’s week three and I’ve found the Holy Grail!!!

At least it feels like it.  I’m going to get really specific this next 30 days and get deep into my subject matter.

And the crazy thing that I’m going to be doing is publishing posts daily for the next 30 days.  Insane, right!

For a site that talks about outsourcing, I’m going to be doing a lot of in-sourcing and hard-labor.  But that’s the true secret to living the outsourced life… Its something no one wants to talk about.

I’ll let you know the dirty little secret about the outsource life…

It takes a lot of hard work on the front end.  It take’s stamina and dedication to your craft and honing your skill set.

More than all of that though, it takes a system and a mindset shift.  The struggles that we face today are always the creation of our past paradigms.  Our thinking is the cause of our success and failures.

How do we change our thinking though??? I can’t think myself skinny (or muscular in my case), can I?

No, thinking is only the beginning.  Hard work and dedication is the other part of the equation.  It’s the 80% in the 80/20. Though the 20% is just as important if not more.  Without shaping our thoughts properly, we’ll get lost in doing the wrong things and wasting our precious time.

I’m here to help.  Don’t stress out and worry.  I’ve been the basket-case that wants to pull my hair out after failing to execute time and time again.

I’ve also wasted months and years doing the wrong things and gotten angry and frustrated about my lack of success.  There is hope though.  There is a better way.  Learn from the mistakes of others and keep challenging yourself to grow.

That’s my ra-ra speech for the day.

Back to publishing every single day. 

I did discover a very useful guide on content creation (remember, I need help with execution).

Here’s a brief summary of the guide contents (or you can read the whole article yourself).

Figure out what you want to publish and why.

  • If its boring and you’re not passionate about it, for-get-a-bout-tit (now I’m Italian)
  • Why do you want to have a blog?  Be honest about how much money you want to make and why.
    • Your goals really do matter and making money is the means to and end.
    • Don’t be ashamed of wanting to make money or lots of it, I’m not.
  • Figure out how you’re going to monetize your site.  Pick only ONE strategy (for now).
    • There might be many different ways for you to make money online, but if you try to do too many things, you’re never going to succeed.  Make one strategy work before trying another.
  • Validate that your product/channel will work by getting 3 sales before using it to monetize.

Content Creation

  • Use the 1-in-1-out strategy
    • If you’re like me, you read a lot.  I mean a LOT.  But do you retain half of the junk that you consume?  And each time you get a useful nugget, does it really go to good use?
    • This strategy is simply to take only one piece of content that you consume and turn it into a single article / post.
    • When you read 3-4 articles a day, consume 1-2 Blinkist summaries, and digest another YouTube or two; there’s a lot of content that you could teach others.  Stop hoarding your knowledge and share it with the world.
    • This slows down your consumption of information and helps you make it more usable, too.  When you have to summarize and create articles out of this content, you actually learn it better and you also have a reference guide to go back to in your own words.  It’s a 4xWIN because you also help the original content creator plus your audience.  And I’m all about winning — cue Charlie Sheen.
    • Have at least a 30 day content plan.  Make sure you have a list of articles and URLs that you can use to generate articles so you don’t have to go looking for content each day.
  • Have an Evergreen Structure
    • Create a template for your posts to make writing easy and consistent.
    • I’ve been working on creating an Action Plan type of post format which states a problem and how to solve it.  It’s how my mind works when I look up articles; and I like to find solutions.  I’m working on fine tuning my template to maximize my effectiveness in both post creation time and usefulness for my audience.  (I’m always looking for feedback, so please leave me comments.)
    • Each person’s will be different depending on your topic, but the article covers some SEO tips including proper tagging, an image above the fold with a quote or other signature detail that is consistently on each post, and using your keywords within the article.  Check out Yoast SEO plugin if you’re using WordPress for a handy way to be SEO ready.
  • Email Collection strategies
    • Be sure to collect e-mails and your copy writing can be very minimal to make this work.  This article is coming from SumoMe.com, so of course, they’re offering their tool set of Welcome Mat, List Builder and Scroll Box.  There’s tons that you can do with these tools for free and I use them myself, so definitely check out how to use these tools more on their site.
  • Promotion
    • After you finish creating your content, you should focus just as much time on promotion.  Content is worthless if no one can find it.  (AMO TIP: Once you create a system, you can outsource this piece.)
    • Create your checklist of places to submit this content to like StumbleUpon, HackerNews or other sites that fit your domain.
    • Think about scheduling out Tweets, Instagram updates, Snapchats, and Facebook updates using a tool like HootSuite.
    • Don’t forget to e-mail your post to one person you know and let them know you were thinking about them.  A personal touch goes a long way.
    • Once when you have system set, it should take you no more than 15 minutes to execute on your promotion plan.

Publish Every Day

  • I’m working on turning this into a habit, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.  My goal it to create 5 posts each Monday evening and schedule them out for the week Monday-Friday.  Then on Saturday / Sunday, I’ll spend some time generating 2-3 posts to fill in the gaps.
  • The advice the article gives though is to set a rigid schedule that is planned out and allows you to work on your posts every day at the same time.  To block out your schedule.  It’s a great strategy and one that I highly encourage…
    • It just doesn’t work well for me.  I work best in concentrated bursts, so while Pomodoro might be a great strategy for many people, I prefer the 90 minute power session with a 30 minute break afterwards.  I do two of these power sessions each Monday night and I normally get more done over those 3 hours then I do the rest of the week.
    • Whatever your strategy, do what works best for you.
  • Execute like a champ.  Don’t stop publishing and executing every single day.

That’s the gist of the post.  It was a great piece and truly the only strategy I feel that I’ll need to create a successful blog.  Maybe you’ll be using this strategy too to create an amazing blog.

Remember this was a high level recap of the mega-post they had on SumoMe.  If you’ve enjoyed it, I highly suggest reading the whole thing on their site.

You’ll learn a lot.

Believe me.

Finally, will you be my accountability partner? 

I’m planning on making this strategy work for at least the next 30 days and I’ll be reporting back on whether it worked for me or not.  If I start missing days, comment and tell me that you want more posts.  I’m working hard to make this site work for you.  Your opinion matters.

Cheers!
-Alex

Personal Log – 002

This draft is a little late.  Due to the hecticness of last week, I wasn’t able to get my dedicated Monday night time.  So…

Week two – I’ve failed already.

But failure is where we discover our true character and how we react in the face of failure is telling of our resilience.  I want to be more resilient.

This week has been filled with adventure as my organization sent me to a three day Leadership Dynamics workshop… and what I learned was amazing!

Ever heard of conscious leadership?  Neither had I.

I’ve heard of being aware and conscious of your behaviors and all the self-development, psychology talk that is in the entrepreneurship space, but this was a bit different.

Day 1 – Introspection:

We received 360 feedback and reviewed our Strengths Development Indicators and a couple of other models of our motivations and how that works with the motivations of other.  Very interesting stuff.  Turns out I’m a mix of all three nature and supposedly very flexible.  But that same strength is my weakness because at times I’m indecisive and/or I can’t stay focused… hold on my dog is wanting to go out…

Day 2 – Triggers:

We covered analysis of our behaviors and what happens to us when we react to specific circumstances, people or things in general.  There’s a lot going on behind the scenes and we looked at what 6 year-old Alex was really thinking when he gets pissed off by some guy cutting him off on the highway and driving 5 miles per hours after!!!

And its not just getting angry.  Apparently, there’s all sorts of invisible scripts going on that we’re not aware of and as we work through these exercises, I had a couple of eureka moments.

Day 3 – Conflict Resolution:

Finally, we started covering strategies on coping with conflict.  We talked about resiliency and how to improve it via physical exercise, preparedness, breathing, etc.  Really good stuff.  And also how to deal with the psychological games that people play in the work place or in life in general.

Am I a better leader because of all of this?  Too early to say.  I know I learned a lot from this, but it’ll be a daily challenge to implement some of what I learned.  I’m excited to share with you guys this experience and I might get into some of the exercises and training in more detail in another post.

That’s my time for today.  Cheers!

-A

Personal Log – 001

As all of my content on this site is iterative, this Personal Log will be no different.  I plan to use this to track and document my progress with building this website project and other life experiences along the way.  Thank you for joining me on my journey!  Cheers!

4/11/16 – My first Monday Session

Since launching this site in January of this year, I’ve been playing with the concept of teaching others how to outsource aspects of their lives.  As I continue with the ZTL Program, I keep refining my audience and my goal is to help entrepreneurs and small/mid-size businesses grow through outsourcing.

This is my first Monday session of many.  I’ve decided that each Monday, I will dedicate the evenings to pursuing my entrepreneurial activities.  On top of an active schedule during the day, volunteer time and family time in the evening, I love pursuing business.  It’s what truly makes me tick.  So, each Monday will be my night where I get to take some time to each dinner out on my own and work my butt off on building blogs, drafting RFPs, writing e-mails and all these other business related tasks.

Some of these tasks could be outsourced… OK, many of these tasks could be outsourced.  But these things take time.  Baby steps.

I’ve been spending most of my time tonight researching more about the outsourcing industry and how others have succeeded in this space.  It’s quite interesting how many people have successfully built businesses through outsourcing aspects of their work.  Amazing really!

As I continue to write more and grow this site, I want to pause for a moment and thank God for the opportunity to do all that I do; to have access to the technology and prosperity of this generation; and to be so very blessed and highly favored.  I always want to stay grounded in my faith and be reminded that I am but dust, here today and gone tomorrow.

But if I can leave one legacy, it would be to pass on my knowledge and experience to future generations that they can be better than we ever were.  This is my prayer that the world of our children’s children be filled with Joy, Love, Peace and all good things.

Alright, before I get too sentimental… this log right here is truly a peak into my mind and my approach with building this site.  I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it.  Writing helps me to clarify my thoughts and opens me up to what I truly want to express.

If you would indulge me a little further, I think that you will find that life is as long or as short as you make it.  I hope you make the most of each moment of your life and the only way to do that successful is to focus on what you are best at and love most.  Don’t waste a precious second doing anything that you don’t need to be doing.

Maybe you can’t relate to what I’m saying today.  Stick around and maybe I’ll convince you.  You’ll come to see the LIGHT… just maybe, I’ll make a believer out of you, yet.

If you haven’t already, download your free 3 Life Questions Guide.

And if you want to keep moving forward in outsourcing your business, you’ll need to figure out these three things:

  • How Much is Your Time Really Worth?
    • Make More Money and Stop Wasting Your Time
  • Are You the Best at What You Do?
    • Key Strengths & Core Competencies
  • Where Should You Begin Outsourcing?
    • 3 Common Tasks You Should NOT Be Doing

Don’t worry, these articles are coming soon. 😉