Category Archives for Self Development

Can You Bounce Back From “Failure?”

 

My wife and I talk about failure once a week.

This past week I deemed myself a failure. My wife and I recently attended Podcast Cruise and I took the week off from my 28 day writing challenge.

Every day I struggled with my challenge and my motivation to follow through with writing every day. And because I struggled, I told myself that I’m a failure. And so, I didn’t write! I fulfilled my own negative-prophecy.

And that is when most people give up. We tell ourselves that we will never succeed because we messed up once.

Imagine if we told our inner doubts to infants learning how to walk. “Well, you fell on the ground again. I guess  you can’t walk.”

Like any infant would, we need to get up and try again.

Cheers

The Reason Why You Can’t Finish Your Side-Hustle Projects

As of February 2017, I currently coach 5 side-hustle entrepreneurs who have day jobs. Each of them live busy lives. One of them works a full-time pharmacy job, has 2 kids, stays involved with industry groups, and has a few hobbies too. Life is busy for the side-hustle business owner.

I offered a coaching session to a fellow side hustler back in August 2016. We talked about his niche website, his following, and how to grow his audience and business so he could one day leave his soul-sucking day job.

We spent the majority of our coaching session together discussing his biggest obstacle: perfectionism. He wanted to launch a course for his email list, but felt like there were too many things stopping him from finishing it.

Have you felt like that?

Maybe you feel the urge to check one more blog post before moving forward. Maybe you believe you need to do more research before you work. Or maybe you want to scrap the entire approach and start a new one.

Whenever I hear about a project like this from a coaching client, like a book, course, or product, that is not finished, but in their words “requires more work”, I know there is a procrastination issue.

There’s something major missing from the client’s life:

DEADLINES

A quick story about the power of Deadlines.

Évariste Galois was a young French mathmatition during the early 19th century. One night, he got into a fight with another young man over a woman, and Everest was challenged to a duel.

Everest knew he would likely die in the duel, because he was a nerd (I know from experience as a nerd who fights a masculinity battle he can’t win).

Everest had so many ideas about theoretical algebra in his mind, but never put it on paper. He thought to himself, “If I don’t write this now, it’ll be lost forever.”

He wrote in his journal all night and into the early morning hours up until his duel. Sadly, Everest died in the duel as he predicted.

Months later, a friend sorted through Everest’s belongings and found his journal. As a fellow mathematician, he couldn’t believe Everest’s theoretical writings. The friend sent the journal to the local college, and later, Everest’s theories about algebra became breakthrough discoveries in the math field.

Deadlines are required for dreams

As a side-hustle entrepreneur, we begin our journey with passion to chase our dream. Our passion is quickly tested with trials, obstacles, rejections, and disappointments. We find ourselves lackadaisical about the journey after defeated by our obstacles.

Take the step now to set a deadline for yourself. Don’t think far off. Identify your first simple step that can be done in 15 minutes, then set a deadline for when it will be completed.

Bonus step: give yourself a reward when you complete your deadline. You’ll find yourself creating a new habit if you continue to give yourself rewards when you complete tasks.

Goals without deadlines are simply dreams that won’t happen.

Don’t let another wasted hour go by without identifying your deadlines!

Overcome Shine Objection Syndrome

“Ooh, that sounds like a great idea.”

How many times have you been distracted buy a new shiny idea? Too many to count, right?

I found myself constantly distracted when I started my entrepreneur journal. I loved new ideas. They became my cocaine.

Online gurus enticed me onto their lists, and further distracted me with offers for their course. And the funny thing is I felt like I was accomplishing a lot by buying a course or pursuing new ideas. I felt like I was going to learn so much and intern this would make me a lot of money.

The truth is that all of it was distractions.

As a side hustle entrepreneur, you’re working for yourself. No one has expectations from you other than your clients. It is easy to allow yourself the free time to work on things that are new and shiny and fun.

Ways people use shiny objects

Shiny object syndrome is a symptom of the real problem. We use distractions as an escape from the stress of doing work. Here’s why people avoid doing work and chase shiny objects:

Avoid fear of completing a project

Avoid the fear of failure

Avoid the fear of success

Avoid the fear of rejection

These fears create stress and anxiety and lives in our lives. When we have this stress we look for a way to distract ourselves to relieve the stress. One of the best ways of distractions is the shiny object syndrome.

Risks involved with a shiny object syndrome

Chasing new ideas feels good. There’s a thrill of learning a new way to grow a business. It’s like opening a new toy on Christmas day. If you played with many Christmas presents, then you’ll know that the magic fades.

When you’re working on a new project, or watching a new course, or reading yet another blog post, you trade momentum for short-term pleasure. The beginning of any project has the most resistance to the flow state (a place where work is finished easily and without distractions). A significant amount of time is required to learn new things. And it isn’t until about halfway through a project that you realize how to accomplish things faster. That’s when momemtum kicks in.

If you’re always starting new projects, new courses, new blog posts, then you lose out on any momentum gained.

It’s like if you were to invest a thousand dollars every month into the stock market for one year. Then after five years you decided to stop and invest in the real estate market and stop investing in the stock market. Overtime you may make money in real estate, but you lost all your momentum in the stock market, Because the real return doesn’t come until decades later when the compound effect takes over.

Shiny object syndrome kills the compound effect

Here’s how to overcome your shiny object syndrome.

Make the commitment right now to deny the pleasure of looking for another new idea. Deny yourself the immediate gratification of buying a new website domain. Deny yourself the pleasure in order to put in the time to work.

Every week I create new ideas that sound so fun to me, but if I immediately work on them, they will distract me from my important work. New ideas distract me from accomplishing my goals. So, I created a simple system that keeps me from pursuing shiny objections.

I write any new idea immediately on a sticky note and place it on my “new idea white board.” Then on Fridays, I’ll review all my new ideas and think them through. I may even seek away to validate if it’s a good idea. But Friday is the only day that I’ll review my new ideas

I wait till Friday because Friday is when my resistance to my difficult work is at it’s highest. But I don’t have any resistance to work on my new projects because they’re fun to think about. It’s fun to spend time thinking about how to try new Business idea.

Saying no to yourself is possibly the most difficult thing in the battle for willpower. But unless and you are able to crush your resistance, you will be beaten every time you have a new idea. Make the commitment today to delay gratification in order that you can finish the work that’s most important right now.

Leaders Need the Right Friends

www.flickr.com/1uplego

Could you imagine being an Avenger? If you’re like me and love to imagine, just think of the adventures you would have.
OK, if you’re not and this is getting too silly for you, let’s move on.

For outsiders, The Avengers is a team of superheroes, when brought together are more powerful than when alone. Their teamwork brings synergy to their outcomes. Each member brings the others higher.

Who is a part of your inner circle?

Check out this 3 minute video from my unofficial mentor, Andy Andrews

Or check out the blog post here

Do your friends

bring you down?
keep you where you are?
or hold you to a higher standard?

How do you know if you have a friend who brings you down?

Ask yourself these simple questions of a friend.
Does hanging out with X make me want to pursue my dreams?
Does X encourage me when I fail or feel like a failure?
Would my life be better, worse or the same without X?

If you answered “No” to some of these questions, Do Not Pass Go.

Should you end the friendship?

No. You never know how a person could change.

But, you can spend less time with that person. That may be a hard conversation.

A rising tide lifts all ships

I hear this phrase more and more these days. I’ve found that it’s true.

I recently started the Dojo Launch Team. It’s a private group of leaders with one purpose : to lead a successful life in all life arenas.

Many of the members are my new virtual friends. I’ve grown very fond of them. That’s because they have made my life better.
They encourage me. They give me exciting new ideas. They drive me to create something amazing.

When you surround yourself with high achievers, you rise with them.

How can you attract high achievers?

Join leader and entrepreneur groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. Check out Dan Miller’s 48 Days community, which is full of dream-achievers. Find someone you admire and ask them out for coffee, a Skype conversation, or email. Don’t ask for anything but their time.

3 steps to accomplish more if you lack discipline

Does Elon Musk have super powers?

How has he accomplished so much in his life? Is he extraordinarily different between you and me? He must have super powers to manage so many endeavors (space travel, energy efficient cars, solar power).

Good news. He isn’t a super human (although after reading his biography, he may think so of himself). He received the same genetic code as the average person.

Even more good news: you received equal DNA (99.9% identical) as Elon Musk. You have the same ability to accomplish as much as Elon.

That can’t be true; you may think. I don’t have his…
intelligence
connections
money

I agree that you don’t have the same “things” as Elon does, however, you possess the ABILITY to receive those things. They can’t be given overnight to you. They take years to develop. Elon started in his early childhood growing himself with constant reading.

You may be starting today from scratch. That’s fine. Here’s a plan to help you achieve more even if you lack discipline.

Step 1
Know you will fail at some point.
Understand that you’re not Superman or Elon Musk. Some overwhelming force will derail you from progress. Knowing this will give you the edge so many fail to predict.

Step 2
Identify key areas of weakness.
Introspection is a key lost on my generation. Asking ourselves tough questions like,
“would I be happy with the decisions I made today, ten years from now?”
“do I need this expensive thing?”
“why am I unhappy and what can I do about it?”
Technology has made it simple for us to forget our problems.

Spend a few minutes every week identifying where you suck at life and what you wish to change. If you’ve never thought about this, then it’s impossible to improve your life.

Step 3
Create an If-Then Plan.
Research performed by leading Grit expert Angela Duckworth shows that If-Then Plans help people accomplish goals. Grit is simply “long-term pursuit and passion of goals.”
Here’s the plan:
IF I run into X problem,
THEN I will do this

IF I struggle with sleeping in,
THEN I will alarm my phone 15 feet from my bed so I must get up (I do this)
IF I become distracted on Facebook
THEN I will use Facebook newsfeed eradicator.

Angela found that those who plan around their potential problems were more like to accomplish their goals. By implementing this plan, you will become more gritty. In other words, you’re more likely to succeed.

Can you work for free like Charles Dickens?

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens, one of Britain’s greatest writers, worked for free. Yes, the author of over 15 timeless classics didn’t get paid for his writing. He once was a ghostwriter under the name of Boz.

Before his success, Dickens was a lawyer clerk (assistant) working the regular 9-5 job (more like 7-7, six days a week) during his ghostwriting days. Dickens was obsessed with writing and telling stories. His passion drove him to write during any spare time.

Fortunate for Dickens, the people loved his work. His first story, The Pickwick Papers, published in a local newspaper. Soon after this, he signed a contract to write his first serialized novel, all at the age of 25. His first “paid” book was Oliver Twist.

Do you wish to start something guaranteed successful?
A book
A business
A MLM project (come ‘on, we’ve all thought about it at one point)

Me too.
But it is impossible to ensure any endeavor will end satisfying your dreams.

Dickens’ dream was to become a paid author. But he had a lot going against him:
No classical training from higher education system (wasn’t allowed in Oxford)
Missed multiple years of school (had to work in factories because his father was awful with money)
“Underprivileged” family
No one would pay him because he never wrote a book before

So rather than quitting his full-time job to focus on his dream, Dickens hustled on the side to ghostwrite his first novel. His work proved itself by popularity.

When you start your dream, give your work for free. You’ll quickly find out if people love it.

Be willing to do what no one else is willing to do.
Wake up 30 minutes early.
Read a non-fiction book for 5 minutes a day.
Stop using credit to buy things you don’t need.

Dickens had every excuse not to build his dream: no time, no money, no education, too young, no connections.
The only difference between you and him is the amount of work.
Start now.

2015 Review:

Marty McFly looked at his future self with utter disappointment in Back to the Future 2. I remember the scene vividly because I was frightened of feeling the same way about myself.

As I reflected on 2015, the year when Marty McFly went into the future, I thought about my failures and eventually my victories. I wondered if my 20-year-old self would be disappointed in the 27-year-old Alex Barker.

Somewhere in-between the mundane everyday tasks, we lose track of the goals and dreams we once held. Life becomes mediocre in the mundane.

The way I battle the “mediocre life” (feared by McFly) is by goal setting. Goals are essential, but if you don’t review where you’ve been, how will you know how to set goals for the future?

Quick note about sharing personal goals
I hope you are encouraged to set big goals after reading this post. Do not compare yourself to my goals because that’s unfair to you. You’re not me, and you’re not on the same journey.
Here is a review of my 2015 goals and results (You can see my 2015 goals here).

Pay off my wife’s college debt of $32,000
VICTORY
We paid off more than $50,000 in 9 months in 2015. Here’s an article about 3 lessons I learned from the experience.

Generate 2,000 emails for niche website (pharmacyschoolhq.org)
FAILED
I pivoted away from my website and focused on my content/marketing business in March 2015.
More on that below.

Launch 2 ebooks
(partially) FAILED
Launched one ebook: Master the PCAT Essay
I didn’t make another ebook because it make financial sense at the time.

Create Membership site
FAILED
I never focused myself on this project.

Launch pharmacy podcast
FAILED
Rather than start a pharmacy podcast, I was invited to become a guest host on the Pharmacy Podcast.

Blog/Vlog once per week
FAILED
I let myself become too distracted to finish this goal.

That’s enough about failure. I skipped a few goals because… well, I failed at those too.
What went awesome?
Unexpected accomplishments in 2015

Revenue GROWTH
Wowza. “Wowza” (a great Yooper word I hear often) describes the growth well. I won’t share that number here, but if you’re interested, you can send me a private message on Facebook.

Launched marketing + content creation business
In March 2015, I focused on building a system behind (what I would call) my “freelance writing” business. My business grew beyond my expectations but demanded too much time, which lead me to…

Systemize everything non-essential
I learned from Gary Keller’s The ONE Thing that I must focus on the very few important things in my life to get the most return on my investment (which is my time). That lead me to hire 3 virtual assistants (a general VA, editor, and audio/video editor).
Handing off tasks to my VAs has 3x my business revenue.
Big thank you to Chris Ducker’s business Virtual Staff Finder for finding my VA!

Read (over) 66 books
If you didn’t know, I started this podcast called the 66 Day Experiment. I like it a lot. To summarize the podcast: I try experiments for 66 days and report my findings.
I read close to 66 books in Season One. Since then, I’ve become a reading machine and read well over 80 books in the second half of 2015.

Faced daily rejection for 30ish days straight
Season 2 of the 66 Day Experiment involved facing daily rejection. I stopped this season early because it demanded too much of my time and I was facing entrepreneur funk (depression). More on that another time.

7-Day Romantic Vacation/Cruise with my Wife
Yahoo! This vacation was overdue.

Became a contributor at Entrepreneur, Good Men Project, and Huffington Post
Bazinga

Surprising interests to emerge in 2015
I would never think I would find the following interesting:
Money Managment/Investments (thank you Tony Robbins and Money Master the Game)
Real Estate (best way to true passive income)
Fiction writing (I thought I always had a good story in me, but never took action to build a fiction universe I could fall in love with)
Magic (okay, not everyone should learn more about magic, but I’ve always wanted to learn since childhood, and now I’m taking action)

2015 was a crazy, depressing, joyful, and life-changing year. I am disappointed with my lack of focus, but it’s something I have to work on overtime. I am thrilled with the potential for 2016 being the best year ever.

My next two blog posts will be about the lessons I learned and my 2016 goals.

How about you? Did you mark or miss your goals?

The Ultimate Guide to Create Your Mastermind

ultimate guide to create your mastermind
A mastermind group is like your own personal board of directors: a group of committed members dedicated to your success.

Essentially, a mastermind is a recurring meeting of committed members, in which each member is dedicated to the other’s success.

 

Here’s what a mastermind can do for you (and how I’ve benefited myself):

  • Help you achieve your goals by holding you accountable
  • Help you brainstorm new ideas and breakdown roadblocks
  • Provide a different perspective on your business that might create a new revenue stream
  • Bring in years of experience you may lack
  • Challenge you to cut the B.S., and
  • Expand your influence and network.

 

In this post, I’ll share how I was bombing in my online business endeavors… and how a mastermind turned everything around.

Also, as a “thank you” for reading this article, I’ve made some awesome bonuses available to help you jumpstart your mastermind, including 15 places to find mastermind members and free access to an in-depth course on how to make your mastermind.

How I failed without a Mastermind Group

A few years ago, I was failing epically. After writing this article, I calculated that I lost out of $30,000 of income because I did not start a mastermind earlier.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 7.15.02 AM

Inspired by Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast, I began to create Web sites with the hope that I would receive “passive” income. Unfortunately, I never received a dime, and then I failed at a bunch of other online experiments.

Why did I fail?

When I ran into roadblocks with my online projects, I gave up too quickly. What I lacked was accountability.

I needed to improve my perseverance and productivity. I thought a coach would help me stay accountable, but I didn’t have any extra money to pay for a coach at the time. Then I heard Dan Miller of 48 Days talk about masterminds in his 48 Days podcast.

I immediately reached out in online entrepreneur communities to find potential mastermind group members.

Benefits of a Mastermind Group

I formed my first mastermind group, I saw huge increases in my productivity, income, and accomplishments.

Here are a few examples:

  • I launched a podcast called “The Leadership Dojo,” which reached 40,000 downloads within two months
  • I started coaching other masterminds about podcasting, which added more than $500 in monthly income
  • I gained three new coaching clients, which was an awesome improvement over zero.

I would not have the success I have today without my mastermind group.

 

Everyone Benefits From Accountability

You cannot do life alone. My buddy Kyle Musser says it better I could:

photo (1)

Thanks, Kyle. Successful people have known this since at least 1000 B.C.:

“Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” Proverbs 24:6

Every great leader has had others to confined in.

Every U.S. president has a cabinet of advisors, made up of experts in various fields.

Businesses and nonprofits have boards of directors. Benjamin Franklin created the Junto group of local businessmen for the purpose of a “structured form of mutual improvement.”

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had a group called the Inklings that met weekly at a local pub to discuss their writings.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

You need to increase your average.

Let’s get started.

Building Your Mastermind

I mentioned Napoleon Hill at the beginning of this post. He further defines the mastermind group as “two or more people who work in perfect harmony for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

The members must be of similar standing in life/business. A millionaire businesswoman wouldn’t meet with a group of starting mommy bloggers, and an established business owner wouldn’t meet with startup bootstrappers.

But, how do you actually find potential mastermind members?

Who’s Right For Your Mastermind?

The most important consideration in forming your mastermind group is that everyone shares the same ideals.

A mastermind works best when the members are of the same mind (principles). That way, suggestions made are already aligned with values and ethics.

You should hold potential members to the same high standards to which you hold yourself.  Remember, it’s all about mutual accountability. 

What might happen when a mastermind includes  people who aren’t on par with the standards of the group?

Let’s imagine the mastermind meets for the first time, and one person is missing. At the next meeting,  three people are missing.  After a few more weeks, the mastermind only includes you.

I don’t have to imagine it.

This is exactly what happened with my very first “mastermind” (though I wouldn’t call it that now).

Curious as to what standards to set for your group?

These are from my own mastermind group:

  • Treat others with respect
  • Always be courteous of members’ priorities and time (never be late)
  • When you’re wrong, admit it quickly
  • Challenge other members to be the best they can be
  • If you disagree with someone, try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  • Begin with praise and honest appreciation

We didn’t make these principles up. They come straight from “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.

 

How to Find Members

To surround yourself with the high-quality members you are looking for,  consider creating your mastermind from scratch.

This gives you the best chance of finding people ready to commit to your success (as much as you commit to theirs), rather than relying on someone else to put it together.

There’s a little risk involved, of course. Every worthwhile endeavor involves risk! To reduce the chance of a false start, here’s a step-by-step formula.

 

How to Find the Right Mastermind Members

There are two different ways you can find the right members.

One Look in Communities

The best way to find mastermind members is to look in communities you love. It’s likely the people who believe in the same ideals and like the same things as you are already there.

Here’s an example:

In January, I created a mastermind sign-up form where people in the Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Group on Facebook could ask to be paired with other like-minded individuals.

In the single day the form was “open,” more than sixty people signed on.

By the time I actually removed the link (whoops!) more than 130 people submitted their information.

Message received: people want to help community members.

You may just need to ask.

Check out the bonuses below for a sample questionnaire (the same as the example above).

Two: Ask For Referrals

You’d be surprised how many recommendations you may get when looking. I occasionally receive requests to join masterminds and usually it’s because someone recommended me to the group.

An easy way to ask for referrals is by befriending Facebook group admins. Start a conversation over Facebook. After you established a relationship, ask them if they know anyone who would be interested in joining a mastermind.

This process may take longer to form a mastermind. However, you’re more likely to find high quality members this route vs. posting in groups.

At the end of this article, I share 15 additional places to look for potential mastermind members.

Create a questionnaire

Regardless of how you identify potential mastermind members, you’ll need see if they’re a good fit for what you have in mind.

The best way to do this is through a questionnaire.

You may feel awkward about sending a stranger a questionnaire. It may seem imposing.

Soften your approach by saying, “Use this questionnaire to indicate days of the week you could meet.”

What questions should you ask?

Ask questions about their business, accomplishments, and goals. This will give you a good sense of what kind of person this member may be and whether or not you should invite them into your group.

I recently added a questionnaire testing a person’s GRIT to a mastermind coaching group and it worked very well to identify the right members.

Those who receive a high score (5 is the highest) are highly likely accomplish goals. You want 5s in your mastermind.

After the potential candidate completes the GRIT assessment, invite them to report their GRIT score on the questionnaire.

 

How to host mastermind meetings

Okay, so now you have a potential list of candidates.

From that, hopefully you make the right choices and create a mastermind group that will last for at least six months.

What’s next?

Of all the options available to host a meeting, I recommend the one resource that’s both free and (relatively) easy to use:

Google Hangout

Here’s a video tutorial on how to use Google Hangout for your mastermind meetings.

Mastermind Pro Tip:

Practice with Google Hangout before your first event.

Trust me. Your first meeting will be clunky (because not everyone has tried Google Hangouts). Expect your first meeting to be only a meet-and-greet.

 Other hosting tools of the trade include:

 

How to structure mastermind meetings

This is the secret sauce of masterminds.

Productive meetings create golden opportunities and revelations worth millions. Every group is different, but here is a basic template for how a typical meeting should run:

Sample Agenda 

8:00 p.m. – 8:10 p.m.

Each member reviews last week’s accomplishments and goals.

8:10 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

One member enters the hot seat and other members address his or her specific query.

8:45 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Each member states his or her goals for next week.

If your meeting is weekly, you could have two members enter the hot seat. Experiment. It’s your mastermind, so find out what you like best.

Benjamin Franklin’s Junto group asked 24 questions during the meeting.

 

Roles for mastermind members

Assign a few roles to members in order to keep your mastermind group meetings running smoothly.

Leader : Creates the mastermind group. Responsible for finding and keeping members.

Organizer : Responsible for organizing the Google Hangout and Facebook Group (if any).

Secretary : Responsible for taking the minutes of the meeting. Extremely important if you use a Facebook Group or Google Community. Notes should be posted in the group so that everyone can hold each member accountable to the goals stated in the previous meeting.

Hot Seat : This position is rotated to a new member every week. More on this role below. 

In order to keep things interesting for everyone, it’s a good idea to periodically rotate roles among members.

 

What is the Mastermind Hot Seat? 

When you’re in the hot seat, you open yourself to let your fellow mastermind members take an under-the-hood look at your business.

The more open you are with the group, the more it may hurt… and the more likely you’ll hear the advice you actually need.

This is when you sweat. 

Nothing is more nerve racking than exposing your work to others, at least for the first few times you enter the hot seat. It does get easier over time, especially as trust and familiarity grow in the group.

Here’s what you can expect to be asked when you’re in the hot seat:

  • What have you accomplished with your business since the last meeting?
  • What are your goals?
  • What is holding you back from “success”?

Obviously, more questions will spawn from these questions.

Here a few revelations I received while being GRILLED in the hot seat:

  • I need to stop endeavors that don’t make me money, such as my last podcast
  • I need to hire experts to fill the gaps in my own skills
  • I chase too many opportunities
  • I need a process to help me make better business decisions
  • I need my own personal board of directors (people who hold a stake in my success)

 

How often should your mastermind meet?

This depends on things like everyone’s availability, levels of commitment, and the number of members.

A good friend of mine masterminds with me every two weeks. It’s just me and him every Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. And I love it.

He calls me out on my crap and I inspire him to push harder. It’s a great dynamic. Two weeks works for us because we are both extremely busy with our day jobs, families, and online businesses.

 

What happens if you start to lose members?

This happens in nearly every mastermind. Schedules change, priorities change, life happens.

At the beginning, when you’re first vetting members, set an expectation of a minimum commitment of, for example, six months. Hopefully this discourages ineligible members before you even start.

 

Should your mastermind last forever?

No. People change. So should your mastermind.

As you start your first mastermind, your network will begin to grow. You’ll find other interesting people who may show interest in joining a mastermind. Always keep your “feelers” out there for awesome people to mastermind with.

 

Need some help? Here are a few bonuses to guide you along

Creating a successful mastermind can be challenging. You may not find enough members, or the right members for that matter.

I hope I provided you with some great info to get you started, but you probably have more questions, right?

 

To make this process even easier for you, I’ve got some bonus content for you.

  1. I created a list of 15 places to find potential mastermind members
  2. I made my Udemy course “Hangout and Grow Rich : How to Make Your Mastermind in 30 Days” free to you.
  3. I created a template questionnaire to use when reaching out to potential mastermind members.

Sound good? To get these bonuses, click the button below to sign up.

 

 

What’s stopping you from creating a mastermind? Have you started a mastermind yet? What benefits has it brought to your life and business? Let me know by leaving a comment!

2015 Online Business Goals + Fears

ELECTRONîCADreams are goals without deadlines. I will kill my dreams of financial independence and make them a reality. Rawr!

I’ve been inactive on this blog for a long time. I truly regret that. My 2 main reasons for this lack of care are excuses and focusing on my authority site PharmacySchoolHQ.org.

But now, I rejoin the ranks of “transparency” blogging and share my journey towards financial freedom.

 

PharmacySchoolHQ Goals (my Authority Site)

2,000 emails

I roughly have 400 email subscribers. (I include my Facebook Groups in my community number on the website, which is why it’s almost 1,000).

Using OkDork marketing plan system, I calculated that I need:

4 emails daily to achieve 2,000 emails by the end of 2015.

I don’t think this is possible until July/August. So, to overcome this, I’ve created a diagnostic tool that answers my target market’s greatest question and an email course (autoresponder).

Launch 2 ebooks

I know ebooks take a long time to complete, and the process can become discouraging.

That’s why I’m vlogging my journey (see the first video here).

By April 20th, I plan to release my first official ebook for my Pharmacy School site. I will share with you every step of my process, from finding topics, to writing, to marketing the book. I just signed up for Tom Morkes’s Publishers’ Empire, which I’m sure will lead me to success.

I will steal multiple ideas (mostly marketing ideas) from great people like Austin Netzley, Chandler Bolt, Nick Loper, and Scott Britton. (note: it’s not stealing if they blog about it 😉 ).

Systemize 3 course sales funnels

At this moment I have two courses that converted around 2-3% on my email list after I used Jeff Walker’s Launch formula. I have another course in the works.

I need to systematize the selling process for each course. What I mean is that I need to build the autoresponder sequence for each course in conjunction with my website’s opt-ins.

Create membership site

I plan to build a basic membership site for my audience. It will be fairly similar to Ryan Gray’s Med School HQ membership site. Whether students will pay for this or not remains to be unseen. The response I get from students (over the phone + Skype conversations) appears like they have a wet appetite for this product.

The premed student niche has multiple businesses that cater to them in a variety of services, while the prepharm student niche remains relatively untapped, and underserved. This may be because there isn’t enough of a market there. This fact mildly scares me with my business ventures, but I believe that I can build the systems to produce recurring revenue. I’ll address this “problem” below under my first fear.

Create + launch podcast

There is no podcast that serves my niche audience. I did pretty well with my first podcast, The Leadership Dojo, achieving 20,000 downloads in the first month (with no active platform or no joint ventures).

I believe this podcast will add rocket fuel to my site’s traffic, email list, and sales.

Generate $20,000

This seems lofty to me.

My previous launches generated around $700. I had a much smaller list (~200) and didn’t know what the heck I was doing.

Will I be able to turn $700 into $20,000? Stay tuned… 😉

 

Online Magazine Goals

Generate $2,000/month

I will remain extremely vague on this point on purpose. I’ll leave it at this: I am paid for my article contributions by the amount of visitors to my articles.
If you’re into internet marketing, this may seem crazy to you. My jaw dropped when I found this.

PLEASE NOTE:
This is highly irregular. You will likely not find such a gig anywhere on the internet.
I do not recommend seeking an opportunity like this for a revenue stream (unless you’re a pharmacist with a message, if so, send me a message).

The majority of online magazine do not pay their contributors (such as INC, Life Hacker, Success, etc.). I found this opportunity on a fluke and now it provides the majority of my business income.

I generated over $7,000 in December and January from my contributions and affiliates. I found a true “holy grail” of passive income.

 

AlexBarker.co Goals

Blog/Vlog once per week

I neglected this site and it’s eating away at my soul. I feel the need to talk about what I do on a business perspective for a few reasons:

  • I love to inspire others as to what’s possible online.
  • Continuously push myself to improve on everything I learn.

Increase email list to 500

Small goal I know. But as I watch people who document their journey (Jon Haver, Nick Loper, Pat Flynn, Gael Breton, Ron Stefanski) I’m not only inspired to take action, but to tell my story too.

That’s why it’s so important to start now. Who know? Maybe after my book launch journey, I can turn that into an email course for new visitors 😉

Launch my Wife’s AudioBook Narrator Side Hustle

Heyo! My wife was inspired to join the ring of online business! I’ve never been more proud of her.

She has wonderful talent for the arts, specifically acting and videography. She’s currently helping with a locally produced film.

She plans to launch her narration business slowly, figuring out the kinks first. We’ve partnered with a former coaching client of mine to narrator a Christmas book. Nice!

 

3 Fears of 2015 

Yuck. I hate fear.

I especially hate the way it affects my decision-making process. I also dislike admitting that I’m afraid in front of the human race (on the interwebs).

1)      I’m afraid my authority site is wasting my time

The profession of pharmacy is in turbulence mode. (skip ahead if you’re not interested in the pharmacy market).

There are so many unknowns with America’s healthcare system that it has everyone scared. On top of that, there’s a HUGE increase in the amount of pharmacist graduates (nearly 200% increase in the last 15 years) and relatively same amount of jobs available. This has every pharmacist in a tizzy, complaining that the profession is watered down and there won’t be any jobs for pharmacists.

How does this affect my website?

Google Trends of “Pharmacy School”

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 9.16.51 PM

This is from Google Trends. And simply, this says that over the last 10 years, there has been a significant decrease in interest. (of note, searching Google Trends for “Pharmacy” shows an increase in the last 10 years… interesting…).

One reason for the decline may be the negativity online concerning pharmacy as a profession. It is discouraging students from applying to pharmacy school. Thus, my site isn’t as popular (it’s not solving their problems).

However, there’s potential…

Simple economical thinking:

Increased number of graduates + stagnate job growth = too many pharmacists

Who thrives in this kind of environment? Companies. They get to pick the best of the best candidates.

But who can make pharmacist into the best of the best? A Career Coach

There’s a great potential for this authority platform to help pharmacists become the best in the CV pile. While this business idea hasn’t come into fruition, it’s a definite possibility for the future.

2)      No one will care

I hate the idea of writing something that doesn’t change someone’s day. My goal is to create something that inspires life into people. I suppose this is my greatest fear: to create something worthless.

3)      It won’t generate a sufficient income

While I enjoy my job, I’d rather not spend my “free” time on something that doesn’t fulfill it’s ROI (return on investment). As a pharmacist I make over $100K per year (Click on the link if you’d like to see my pharmacist income and budget, password: pharmacistincome). Thus, I make over $50/hour, which is crazy awesome.

So, I would prefer that my time spent on these projects would yield the same results or higher.

Last year, I made over $6,000 from my online business. I spent at least 500 hours on my businesses in 2014. That’s $12/hour. Ouch.

 

How do I beat those fears?

Share them with you

I know a Best Selling Author, goes by the name Acuff, who says that Fear loves it when you don’t talk about what you fear. Because then, Fear takes control and creates mediocrity in your life. It pushes you away from taking action.

Take Daily Action

Persistence is the key to online success. I see this time and time again. I’ve mentioned quite a few people above who failed at multiple online ventures and yet come out on top with their income reports.

If you wait for all the lights to turn green before starting your journey, you’ll never leave the driveway. – Zig Ziglar

What are your 2015 goals? Can I help you achieve them?
What are your 2015 fears? Can we jump on a call together and defeat them?

How to be grateful for mundane work : Gratitude Day 7 of 30

I hate taking out the trash. That was one of my first chores as a child. I dreaded it like final exams.

I would wait until the trash piled over the top or my mom demanding I take action.

In the mundane, the purpose can be found, however easily it was lost at first.

Bringing back my thoughts to the job’s purpose (or it’s “why”) brings meaning and a new twist on the activity.

I value my wife beyond all people. She means more to me than any other person on this planet. Because I value her so much, I value her desires and dreams.

She likes a clean house. So do I. In order to keep our house tidy, I have to take out the trash.

Now, that’s fairly boring logic. What if it was applied to my everyday thinking?

Let’s face the facts, when a lousy task is given to us, we dread it, procrastinate, complain.

Instead of complaining, try to bring your mind to the why. Instead of focusing on all the reasons why your mundane job is lousy, think on the value it provides to someone else.

I tried this exercise this week. It honestly put a step in my walk.

Because this is what normally happens:

Brain: “shoot, the trash is full. I have to go outside, in the frigid air, and drag this stupid bag to the alley”
Chooses to wait til tomorrow

Next day- Brain: “This trash is really getting bad. I should take it out”
Chooses once again to wait

3 days later – Brain: “Crap. Alright. Fine. I’ll take it out”
Chooses to place in the room that leads to the outside

The next day – Brain: “Ok, enough is enough”
Finally, takes out the trash

Here’s my own story of applying this principle (last night)…

Brain: “The trash is full. Megan would be really happy if I got rid of this trash. I’ll take it out now”
Chooses to do a chore with delight

Because my why was established before doing the thankless mundane chore, I acted quickly to do this.

I call this a Dojo Productivity hack:

Redefining your purpose

I’m going to try this on doing my shownotes for podcast episodes.

You’ve probably heard me complain on previous episodes that I dislike writing shownotes.
I dislike shownotes because they are mundane tasks. I don’t see a great benefit to them,
but I need to put something on a post because without them the post would look barren.

Redefine the purpose:
These posts need to be done because they serve a purpose: Listeners follow along, find out what the show contains and decide whether they want to listen or not.
My “why” for shownotes is to serve you, my readers/listeners. You are the greatest group of individuals I know. Just thinking that way makes me want to improve
my writing ability or desire to hire someone to do a better job than I can.

What are your mundane jobs? How can you place meaning behind them and find appreciation?

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