Archive Monthly Archives: May 2016

How Successful Leaders Respond to Haters

If you stand for something, you will have someone hate you for it. Whether it’s politics, religion, or business, you’re bound to gain a few haters.

Haters mess with your head. They can cause you question your business, and even your sanity. They can make you feel like you’re the biggest idiot and you should just go walk off a cliff. At least that’s how I initially felt after receiving a message from my first hater.

First, let me set the stage. I write for a large media site called Pharmacy Times. I wrote about 10 reasons why Pharmacists have great jobs. Forbes had recently named pharmacy amongst the best, so I thought it would be appropriate to expound on why pharmacists have it so well off. Well, let’s just say many pharmacists disagreed with both Forbes and me.

My article went (slightly) viral in pharmacy groups. I received many hateful comments like,

“This kid doesn’t know anything.”

“How could Pharmacy Times allow such an awful writer to publish this garbage?”

But one pharmacist took her anger to the next level. She went to my Facebook Fan page to tell me exactly how she felt.

“I read your article in Pharmacy Times. You haven’t got a clue about pharmacy. Until you work it for 10 years, move out of your parent’s house and start to shave, save your opinions.”

Whoa. A wave of anxiety and excitement overtook me.

I think her response could cause anxiety or anger in any new writer. But why was I excited?

My medical training taught me to love the show House and Gregory House MD said it best, If nobody hates you, you’re doing it wrong.”

I stood up for a belief, and people hated me for it.
What’s interesting is that this woman is a pharmacist who hates her own job. Weird.

But how should I respond to this hater?

Run and hide? Ignore? Respond? And if I respond, what would I say?

Before I make a decision on a subject I’m inexperienced, I glean the wisdom of those who are more successful than I am.

Let’s take one option: Ignore them.

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers made a great video about what to do with haters. My favorite part of Derek’s advice, “Screw them. There is more than 7 billion people in this world… and if 10 of them don’t like you, ignore them.”

 

Albert Einstein agrees with Derek.

Madam Curie, or Marie Curie, was about to receive a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 19XX.

However, at the time she was romantically involved with another scientist, who was separated from his wife yet still married. The media covered this story and slammed her as a home wrecker. After returning from a conference in Brussels where she met Albert Einstein, she was met with an angry mob at her home, terrifying her two daughters (7 and 14 years old). Later, she received an encouraging letter from the German scientist.

Respond with Class

There will be times that you can’t ignore them. There will be times that you can’t ignore them. You will want to defend your pride and your integrity.

Take my virtual mentor and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk. He responds to every hateful review on his NYC Best Seller books

Here’s one example of Gary’s responses on Amazon’s Crush It!


Did I respond to my hater? I really wanted to say:

“You need to wake up. If you hate your job, then change it. You’re responsible for your own life and pursuit of happiness. If you hate being a pharmacist, then get into a new job so that you’re not so toxic about your own profession. If you can’t say anything nice, then stay silent. If you speak up here again, then you will be banned from my page and your toxicity will stay with you, where it belongs.”

But I didn’t say that. Oh, how I wanted to. But I decided to slow down, and think about how to respond to such a toxic comment. She attacked my age and inexperience.

So what did I do? Run or respond?

After an hour of contemplation and sharing it with my business friends, here was my response:

“Thanks for reading the article and stopping by

I’m sad that you don’t agree, and you think that I’m too young (and too hairy! I won’t deny that I haven’t shaved in a few days, my wife likes me a little gruff 😀 ).

Not sure if you’re a pharmacist, but I hope you have a job that’s satisfying”

Who are your haters really mad at? My mom said it best when I was bullied in grade school, “People are mean to you because they’re mean to themselves.”

Remember, haters are likely miserable people who have very little positive influence in their lives. Because of this, have sympathy–rather than anger–for your haters. If you decide to respond to them, show the utmost class and respect. They are likely having a bad day. This is your chance to be remarkable like Gary V–offer a refund, go the extra mile! This will help you stand out from the rest. You never know–help out a hater and you might just turn them into a fan.

Aspiring Entrepreneurs – Stop Buying Courses and Do This Instead

Too many aspiring entrepreneurs waste their precious time and money on online courses. Let me share a personal story to explain and what new entrepreneur should do instead of buying courses.

My friend Mark told me he wants to start a side-hustle business, but hasn’t made significant progress. Recently, I asked him how his business was coming along and what he told me was discouraging.

Mark said he was very distracted. He wasn’t able to make a profit from his idea. After diving deeper about his lack of focus, I discovered he bought 32 online courses in 2015. The most expensive one was $1200, but the majority were priced around $50. His yearly “education” cost totaled around $2,000.

The sad truth was Mark failed to complete 30 out of 32 courses.

Mark isn’t alone. Around 10% of course buyers end up finishing a course, according to one study by Infinia.

Here are 3 misguided reasons aspiring entrepreneurs tell themselves to buy a course:

1 – I believe *this* course will make me successful

2 – I don’t know enough about [insert subject here], so I need to learn more before I take action (Imposter Syndrome)

3 – I need to add this skill to my business, plus there’s a 90% off deal, so I better buy it now

One of these beliefs will blind the aspiring entrepreneur, like Mark, to believe that a course will provide the “ultimate roadmap towards success.”

Rather than educate yourself with a passive learning model (ie watch videos of instructor talking), I suggest a different approach to your education.

Robert Green, in his book Mastery, describes the way every renown creator (from Albert Einstein to Henry Ford to Leonardo Da Vinci) grows into a master of a craft. The way to mastery involves an apprenticeship, which involves thousands of hours honing the craft. Green describes the best way to grow is by practicing the craft as the master does, rather than by reading textbooks or passively learning in the lecture hall (the lowest form of learning).

Never believe you must “master” a subject with a course before taking action. Every master starts as an apprentice. Every apprentice’s first creation never looks perfect, but by mimicking a master over time her creations begin to look more like her master’s.

If you believe you must first “master” a subject by learning from a course before taking action, then you will bog yourself down with unnecessary information and waste valuable time.

Learning is vital for the continued success of every entrepreneur. But how can one manage the need for self-development and simultaneously hustle her way to success?

 

I propose this way of learning:

Action-Based Learning (ABL)

I define ABL as educating oneself with necessary information to complete an active task or improve a required skill.

The key to ABL is identifying a task or skill as “active” or “required” for a project you currently work on.

Rather than learning things you believe “I’ll use this course one day”, ABL ensures you only learn things that are absolutely necessary in order to complete a task.

An entrepreneur who uses ABL asks herself questions before buying a course like,

  • “Will I see an immediate turn on investment if I buy this course?”
  • “Do I need to learn this material, or can one of my employees learn this skill?”
  • “Would learning this skill improve on what I’m already doing?”

Let’s use our aspiring entrepreneur Mark to explain how to use ABL.

Mark wants his website visitors to become customers. He heard on a podcast that the “best way” to do that is to create an email list. He proceeds to create an email opt-in form on the website, complete with an “ethical bribe” (lead magnet). However, Mark becomes discouraged to see after 3 months his autoresponder email series has not made a single customer.

He begins to research online how to create an autoresponder series that converts subscribers into customers. He finds no shortage of websites that offer free info, along with pitches to costly courses. He’s wary of the courses (some cheap and some expensive).

Mark has three choices

  • Buy a course
  • Learn as much as he can from free info
  • Hire a consultant/coach to improve his skill or do the work themselves

Mark decides to implement the free suggestions into his email autoresponder. After another 3 months, he’ll decide what he needs to change and if he needs more education.

Mark put ABL into action. Before using ABL, when Mark realized he needed an email list, he would have immediately searched for cheap courses to teach how to create an autoresponder email series. Mark used ABL by understanding that he first must take action, rather than learn material first.

When you buy a course before taking action, you submit to Imposter Syndrome. You believe that the course will make you less of an imposter and more of professional.

Take action and learn as you go. You’ll save yourself time and money.

Notes:

Don’t expect overnight success

People present themselves in the best light possible. It’s our human nature to appear sexy, intelligent, without-flaw. The world of “online business” is no exception.

Our grand teachers of internet marketing make themselves appear as those who have the grand master formula to “success.” If you only purchase a little taste of their magic, then you too can obtain their success quickly.

I believe many of these gurus mean well, and you will learn much about operating a business. But too many people expect the feeling of winning the lottery only to not receive the grand prize.

As you start your entrepreneur journey, never expect your first idea to be an overnight success.

Never expect your first 10 ideas to be a home run.

The road towards success involves daily hustle and multiple failures.

The creators of Angry Birds made more than 50 app games before Angry Birds.

Michael Faraday, known now as the father of electromagnetism, spent over 8 years as an apprentice to a prideful scientist who nearly stole Faraday’s first discovery.

J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before Harry Potter was picked up by a publisher.

Except the path of “success” to be difficult. Hustle isn’t easy. That’s why you need to take it one step at a time. 

The power behind hustling for 66 days is that small steps over time lead to a BIG change.

How to achieve goals when you keep failing

I set a goal to pay off $4,000 a month of debt with my business profits. And for nearly 3 months, I wasn’t achieving any of my goals.

I struggled with entrepreneur depression for two months.

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t motivate myself to get up and work on my dream.

A friend told me, “Alex, you say you have goals for your business, but you don’t have any consequences for not meeting your goals.”

I was acting like an employee who wasn’t doing his work, but still getting paid. I should have been fired! Would you hire yourself to accomplish your dream?

Drastic action is necessary if you find yourself not meeting your goals after continual effort.

What if Not Accomplishing your Dream had Painful Consequences?

Maybe you haven’t considered this perspective, but it’s true.

If you don’t take action,
The world misses out on your great gift.
Your potential clients lose the opportunity you bring.
Children won’t be inspired to think big.
Make yourself accountable in a painful way.

If you haven’t made progress so far on your big dream, have you considered that you need to try different tactics?

Put yourself accountable towards your goals. After you write your goal down as SMART goals, add accountability.
Join a mastermind.
Hire a coach.
Give $1,000 to charity if you fail to achieve your goal.
Give up something you love if you don’t reach your goal.
Stop watching your favorite show.
Give up your hobby every weekend.
Stop indulging in mindless social media.

Get serious. This is your future. No one will build it for you.

When I tried to limit how much complaining I did through out the day, I found that I wasn’t able to limit it well just by “visualizing” a thankful Alex. I put 25 cents in my “complaining jar” every time I complained.

When I complained about something at my job, it hurt me, financially and mentally. Slowly, I began to complain less and less.

If you don’t pay the consequence for not accomplishing your goal, then you know that you need extra help.

2016 Q1 Review

Q1 was crazy, full of ups and downs.

Here’s how I structured this post. I reviewed my accomplishments in light of my 2016 goals (You can see those here). Afterwards, I put in unexpected events. Then, I added mental struggles at the end.

Here’s what I was able to accomplish in Q1 of 2016

Eliminated $40,000 total debt in 3 months (2016 goal: eliminate $100,000)

Paid off $31,000 house debt in 3 months

*May 2016 update* Only $7,000 left on the house, and it will be gone by end of May!

Built New Media Company (2016 goal: launch podcast)

Launched Pharmacy Life Radio (podcast) with ~7,000 total downloads in 66 days

Hired Salesman for media company

Profited $3,000

Write Every Day (2016 goal: publish book)

This practice is something that I grew to love. Years ago, I hated writing with a passion. I thought I sucked at writing. But now, I developed a sincere love for writing. While I’m not great and I struggle communicating my ideas, I grow better with every day.

Tidy up ~once a week (2016 goal: clean office every week)

The practice of tidying up my office created a “clean mind” space. My office used to be cluttered, which only distracted me from accomplishing work. Now, I have a relatively clean office

image1 (1)

Asked to speak at 2 conferences (2016 goal: speak at 5 conferences)

I’ve found this goal is difficult to obtain because I lack the vacation time needed to travel.

Give away 11% of income

This goal is going smoothly. I was giving 10% of my income away and 1% difference is an easy transition.

Dedicate more time to friends

All coaches who read this goal roll their eyes. Okay, this is not a SMART goal. But you’ll be happy to know every Wednesday night I watch anime with my best friend. It feels good to be with him more often.

Exercise 4x/week

FAIL. I lack the time (and drive) to make this a priority. I’ve maxed out my day as I build these businesses. Take a look

4:45 AM – Wake up

4:50 AM – Meditation, Prayer

5:00 AM – Hustle on Business

7:00 AM – Prepare for Work, help Megan (wife) with kids

8:00 AM – Work

5:00 PM – Arrive home and spend time with family

7:00 PM – Girls go to bed

9:30 PM – Go to Bed

Each day of the week after 7PM I have a coaching client or mastermind to facilitate, so that takes time away from my wife, which I hate. But, we both understand that this hustle is only for a season. It will come to an end.

Read, Pray, Meditate every day

I have been able to accomplish nearly every week day. Weekends I fall off from this habit.

Unexpected Events/Accomplishments

Content Marketing Business

Experienced 29% revenue growth

Built team of three employees

Started Coaching Practice

Launched 66 Day Experiment Mastermind group

  • 4 members, each with a specific goal to accomplish in 66 days

Open up late evenings and early mornings for coaching time

Finished Season 3 of 66 Day Experiment

I am excited to launch Season 4 where I will coach someone for 66 days through their own experiment.

I receive so much energy helping others breakthrough their mental barriers. That’s why I started coaching again.

If you’re interested in starting a side-hustle business, or need help with launching a business/website platform, contact me and I can help: Schedule a Quick Chat

Problems in Q2 2016

My content marketing business took a hit in profits. I easily lost 50% of the revenue.

But this won’t stop me.

We have a new system in place that automates our process (so I spend around 1-2 hours a week, rather than 10-15 hours needed) and my team handles the rest.

If I’m honest with you, I struggled with this setback. My business was growing like mad. But as then progressed downward, I realized that I could let this effect me, or I can pick myself up and hustle.

I choose to hustle.

What did you accomplish in Q1 of 2016? What will you accomplish in Q2?

How I Launched a business in 66 Days

What follows is my story of creating a business in 66 days. If you would rather listen to this, feel free to listen below.

 
But first, let me address why this is so difficult for anyone to start a side-hustle business.
 
As I hope more and more people out with starting businesses, I’m learning that everyone struggles with imposter syndrome. That is the voice in everyone’s head that says things like
You’re not good enough
You don’t have any experience doing that
Why would anyone pay you?
You’re not creative enough
etc.
 
Good news!
Everyone has that voice. Even famous creators like J.R.R. Tolkien and Thomas Edison struggled with impostor syndrome.
 
I learned how you can overcome impostor syndrome.
Acknowledge your doubts and hustle daily
The easiest way to acknowledge your imposter syndrome is by writing down your fears as you experience them. You remove fear’s power when you do this.
Before I launched my latest media business, I struggled with whether or not this was a good idea. There was a lot of pressure to succeed. After all, I will be recording myself for 66 days. My hope is for success and bragging rights, whatever I created.
I wrote down my fears about this business idea. As I did, I took away fear’s power to shape into a new fear. Fear changes it’s shape so easily. Fear of failure can easily become the fear of success.
 
Working in the face of doubt creates confidence. Just like the apprentice practices his trades daily to eventually become a master, so will practicing mean your hustle create confidence within you.
 
When you acknowledge your fears and daily hustle in spite of those fears, you create the confidence to build a successful business.
 
Let’s look at what acknowledging my fears and hustling daily did for me.
Here are some of the accomplishments I made over 66 days:

  • Profited $3,000
  • Hired salesman
  • Syndicated podcast on large website (3 million visitors/month)
  • Achieved 7,000 downloads and New and Noteworthy top 10 on iTunes
  • Gained 14 five-star ratings on iTunes

Only after daily action was able to see the pieces coming together.

Here’s a quick scenario of what could have happened had I listened to my imposter syndrome voice (let me know if you relate to this)

Start hustling business daily

Begin to doubt ideas

Not achieve my abstract goals or expectations

Because idea does not gain traction (i.e. interest from others), I slowly begin to not work on the idea as much

I give up on the idea…

Here is what an outline of my action plan to create a successful side-hustle:

Step one

Validate business idea

I did this in two ways.

I confirmed that businesses within the chosen niche were spending high dollar amounts on advertising. I checked conferences within my niche and reviewed how much businesses had to pay to exhibit.

The second way I validated my idea was to convince someone to sponsor my show before it launched. This way was nerve-racking. After making dozens of calls to businesses, I convinced one business to sponsor the show.

Without validation, a business idea is a fun way to waste time.

Step two

Marketing

I knew that sponsors will want a large audience in order to sponsor. The majority of my work was spent creating content for my business that would drive traffic to my website and podcast.

On a day-to-day scale, here it’s how I did this while working a full-time job, spending time with family, and operating two other businesses

5:30 AM – organize and delegate content creation and marketing plan to team

6:00 AM – email/Social media outreach to potential sponsors

Once per week (in evenings or on weekends) – record content for podcast

During 30 minute lunch break – cold call potential sponsors

Lessons learned

Validation is essential

I learned this from failing so many times.

Here are my failure stories summed up:

I would come up with a “great” idea. Build a website. Create an email list. Create giant document with content ideas and even start a few blog posts. Create systems on how the business will operate. Create five-year Business plan.

I would spend weeks “building the business”, but never validate my idea.

I realize are the quickest and surest way to ensure success is to convince someone to give me money before I invest more time and money.

 

I’m not Superman

The biggest struggle I had was lack of time.

I mentioned previously how I would try to call sponsors during my lunch break at my day-job.  More often than not, I was unable to make calls because I was either too busy at work or mentally exhausted.

I told a fellow business friend about my struggles. He told me “You’re not Superman.” He pointed out that I needed to give that work to someone else.

This is the first time I hired a sales person. I’m still training him now but I believe that working with him will maximize my time and create more sponsorships.

 

Success involves other people

I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mastermind. If you don’t know what that is, a mastermind is a group of like-minded individuals who meet on a regular basis and challenge one-another to grow.

Without my mastermind groups, I would have never been able to

  • Create the 66 Day Experiment (3 seasons completed!)
  • Payoff $50,000 of house debt in 5 months this year
  • Launch a passive income business
  • Become a contributor on Huffington Post and Entrepreneur
  • Or launch my newest media company Pharmacy Life

 

You need a mastermind. You need a group that is dedicated to your success, even if you don’t believe in yourself. If you’re interested in joining one, you can talk with me! Click here to chat.

 

The unsexy truth of this article is that it takes discipline, daily hustle, and sacrifice to build a successful side-hustle business. If you are willing to harden yourself against imposter syndrome, you will find success.

This Rule Will Save You Precious Time – Season 3

Show Notes: