Wednesday, January 17, 2018

SPI 301: How a Data Scientist Pivoted into a New Brand (And Won a Tesla Roadster)

Affiliate marketing isn’t just for recommending hosting companies or your favorite company on Amazon. Today I’m talking to Ben Sullins, the founder of Teslanomics. He tuned into the signals his YouTube channel was giving him, making a complete pivot into the Tesla space and creating a successful online business. And, he was able to refer so many people to Tesla (sixty-seven purchased Teslas!) that he actually won a brand new Tesla Roadster!

Ben’s story is one of a kind. He started with a career in data science—consulting with Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Mozilla—while creating online courses in the meantime. Eventually he decided he wanted more flexibility and time when it came to his income, so he left his corporate career behind. What happened next was a surprising pivot for Ben—one video led to a complete shift in his YouTube channel and a successful online business. This is an amazing story packed with awesome takeaways that you can apply back to your own online entrepreneurship journey. Let’s get started!

In my interview with Ben, we’re talking about how he got into the YouTube space, and how he was able to grow his followers so successfully. As many of you know, I’m going to be getting deep into the YouTube space starting in February. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my channel! I’m going to be releasing several videos per week that will help you grow your online business.

Next week, I’m going to be sharing what I’ve learned about coaching in preparation for AskPat 2.0. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Ben for joining me this week. Until next time!



You'll Learn

  • Why Ben left a rewarding, 18-year corporate career behind.
  • How Ben entered the Tesla space on YouTube.
  • How YouTube's algorithm helped Ben release a video with 200,000 views in a week.
  • Why production quality isn't the defining factor in the YouTube algorithm.
  • How a love of data science helped inform Ben's business decisions.
  • How Ben plans his content in advance.
  • Why Ben feels that YouTube is where he belongs.
  • How Ben's YouTube channel translates in terms of business and money.
  • How Ben interacts with his viewers and subscribers outside of YouTube.
  • What Ben learned from launching TeslaCon—his online summit.
  • How Ben boosted his Tesla referrals, won a Roadster, and more!

Resources

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My December 2017 Monthly Income Report

Welcome to my December 2017 monthly income report! We’re well into January now and things are flying over here at SPI headquarters. I’m working on getting ready for my YouTube push next month (subscribe here so you don’t miss anything) as well as some behind the scenes implementation of funnels for my online courses.

More on that and other 2018 plans later in this report.

In December I turned 35 years old, celebrated my son’s 8th birthday, and spent a lot of time reflecting on how the year went. Best of all, since the kids were home for two weeks for Christmas break, I got to spend most of my time with them and my wife, and I did very little in terms of heavy work.

I’m thankful to be able to celebrate another successful year of business, and I’m stoked to cap off the 2017 year with one final monthly income report with several highlights to share and lessons to pass on.

So let’s do this thing 🙂


Income Summary

  • Last month: $213,212.64
  • This month: $167,553.31
  • Last 12 months: $2,171,652.55

Expenses Summary

  • Last month: $48,937.72
  • This month: $39,647.21
  • Last 12 months: $660,530.58

Net Profit Summary

  • Last month: $164,274.92
  • This month: $127,906.10
  • Last 12 months: $1,511,121.97


For the complete breakdown of income and expenses, visit the full report here »

Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month’s income report.

Biggest Lesson Learned

2017 was an amazing year, and I’m incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities that came my way. Now that we’re in 2018, I can see that it’s setup to be an even better year, from what’s coming in the product line, the fun I’m going to have on YouTube, and the speaking gigs I continue to land that keep getting bigger and bigger (come see me give the keynote speech at both Social Media Marketing World and Podcast Movement this year!), and even a secret side-project that my videographer Caleb and I are moving forward with.

[Full Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for Social Media Marketing World and Podcast Movement.]

During the downtime I had to reflect on the year, I also looked back at some of the things I could improve. One of those things was procrastination. Although I get a lot of things done, many of those things are done last minute. This always adds a layer of pressure that I don’t think needs to be there, although I sometimes try to tell myself that I work well under pressure, so I might as well wait until we’re close to the deadline anyway.

I don’t always procrastinate, but when I do, I’m a little unsure about how to feel about it. It made me realize that procrastination doesn’t just involve me and my projects, but a lot of other people too—from my team, to my family, and my audience too.

I’m going to work harder to procrastinate less, which may mean creating “false” deadlines because I do feel that the pressure helps me focus.

In addition to that, one thing I am working on, and creating a habit for, is making sure I express my appreciation to April, my wife, each and every day. She is amazing and has never blinked an eye at any decisions I’ve made in my business and in our lives, or anytime I’ve told her I need to stay busy for the next few days for a launch or go on business travel. I do make sure to try and balance everything out (e.g., after a launch or something that requires a lot of my time, which means extra work for her as an already busy stay-at-home mom), but in learning about what she likes best, it’s simply recognition and appreciation. So, I’m making a habit every single day to in some way, shape, or form, purposefully express my gratitude to her for all that she’s done, and continues to do to serve this family. Although she’s not actively involved in my business, she is a huge contributor to it, as a supporter, as a mother to our beautiful children, and as a teammate in life.

This record year wouldn’t have happened without her, and although she likely won’t ever read this blog post, perhaps it’ll convince someone out there, if they see me out in public with my family, to not only thank me for any service I’ve done to help them, but also thank my wife too. She deserves it way more than I do.

Here’s to you and those who support you in your journey, and an amazingly successful, fun, and memorable 2018. Here we go!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

SPI 300: Meet the Mastermind Members in “The Green Room”

Today we’re talking about The Green Room, a six-member mastermind group that I’ve been a part of for years. Leslie Samuel, Michael Stelzner, Cliff Ravenscraft, Mark Mason, Ray Edwards, and myself—we get together to hold each other accountable, set goals, meet those goals, and be brutally honest with each other. Today I’m celebrating my 300th episode by sitting down with each of them!

A massive, virtual hug to everyone who’s made the road to Episode 300 possible. We started in July 2010, and here we are in Episode 300. I’m so excited!

Today I’m going to be talking individually with each of the members of this group to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’ve learned, and what their plans are going forward. Think of this episode as a best-of from my mastermind. It’s a roundup of wisdom, viewpoints, and advice from a fascinating and successful group of people that I’m proud to be a part of. If you’re curious about what a mastermind group is and why you should consider joining one—this is the episode for you. This is an insider’s view of what goes on in a mastermind, and will show you why masterminds can be such a transformative experience.

This episode is saturated with great information and inside views that you can apply back to your own business journey. Strap in, and let’s get started!

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Leslie Samuel, Michael Stelzner, Cliff Ravenscraft, Mark Mason, and Ray Edwards for joining me this week. Until next time!



You'll Learn

  • What a mastermind group is and why having one is invaluable.
  • Why my mastermind group is called The Green Room.
  • What the members of The Green Room have been up to, and what's on the horizon.
  • Why Leslie Samuel left a job that he loved to pursue business online.
  • How Leslie Samuel answers the question "Is blogging dead?"
  • What Michael Stelzner's new show—The Journey—is all about.
  • Why Michael Stelzner doesn't do any direct selling for his YouTube show.
  • Why you should leave the Zone of Genius and pursue the Zone of Excellence.
  • How to manage having a day job and a side hustle.
  • Why Ray Edwards bought a coffee shop.
  • How Ray Edwards avoids the Ick Factor, and more!

Resources

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Stage is Getting Bigger! My Biggest Keynote is Happening Next Month

My Biggest Keynote Ever

Just this past November, I spoke in front of an audience of 3,000 people—the largest number ever for me—at Christy Wright’s Business Boutique event. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Everything is amplified in a room with that many people—from the applause to the laughter and even the silence. When you’re on stage, by yourself, standing in front of an audience of that size, all the senses are heightened. It’s both electric and magical.

And guess what? I’m going to do it again. But this time . . . even bigger!

This coming March, on the final day of Social Media Marketing World (SMMW), I will be giving the closing keynote speech in front of an estimated 5,000 people!

I’m stoked, I’m nervous, and I’m ready for this. I’d also really love to see you there. I will also be having a meetup on the first day of Social Media Marketing World, and I’ll share more information about that later. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll hear about it!

You should be attending Social Media Marketing World, even if I wasn’t going to be there. It’s an event that takes place each year in my hometown, San Diego, and it’s run by the awesome Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner. Michael puts on an amazing event with showcases, an opening-night party, sessions designed for networking with your peers, and the most thoughtful and helpful content you can find on the topics of social media marketing, content creation, video production, blogging, podcasting, and more.

This year I am especially grateful to Michael and the Social Media Marketing World team for having me give the closing keynote speech. You guys rock!

My Speaking Journey

I started doing speaking events in 2011, mostly as a favor to a friend. I knew it was something I should do eventually, but I honestly never thought I’d do it that soon—it really scared me.

I actually recorded a podcast episode about my speaking journey:

The episode doesn’t mention an audience size quite like the projected 5,000 at SMMW, but it does go through the journey and share a glimpse of some of the first presentations I’ve done, what went wrong, and why it was so bad—but also why I’ve kept at it, which is this:

The real reason why I kept speaking on stage, and continue to speak on stage, is not for the adrenaline rush of it while I’m on stage. It’s because, when I’m on stage sharing my story, sharing my knowledge about online business and podcasting and blogging, it’s the place where I feel like I can make the most direct impact on my audience.

That’s a feeling I never want to give up.

I know I can make an impact on people through my blog, podcast, and video channel on YouTube, but when you’re on stage and people can see you in person, you have the capacity to affect them on an emotional level. There’s so much power in that face-to-face human interaction. I get to go on stage in front an audience full of people, right then and there, and teach them something of value they can use to move forward with to improve their lives. There’s really nothing like it.

And, to know that I’ll be speaking in front of potentially thousands of people in a couple of months at SMMW, makes me excited and grateful to think about all those people and the impact I can make on them.

Have I made it sound like speaking on stage is easy? It’s not. I struggled with it early on. I practice a ton. I have trained. I even hired a professional speaking coach once. And I’m always studying how to get better.

The process reminds me of marching band—when you work on a piece of music hard enough to have it memorized before you even head out onto the field in front of the football team and massive crowds. I’m at that point now when I’m speaking on stage, because I’ve rehearsed so much and because I practice and because it has become a honed art for me, it feels like I’m in another zone. Something takes over, and by the end of the presentation I kind of come back into my body and I’m suddenly meeting and greeting with the audience. It’s just one of the coolest feelings ever.

Speaking Today

Initially, when I first started, I spoke at events for free because I wanted (and needed) the practice. Now, because I’ve been doing it for a while, I get paid to do it. Since 2011, I’ve spoken at over a hundred events. It’s been so fun, and I hope to continue to do more. That being said, now that more people are asking for my time on stage, I can be a little bit more picky about where I want to speak. I can speak in front of bigger crowds. I can speak in front of different crowds.

It’s sad for me to say no to potential speaking gigs, but lately I have been saying it a lot more because I don’t have the time. I’m fortunate that a lot of presentations and events are in San Diego, but for the ones that are outside of San Diego, it’s a big thing. It’s not just the day to speak. It’s the travel, the preparation. I have to weigh how much that time is worth versus what I might be able to get back—in terms of the connections that I can make, who will be there, who am I speaking in front of, how might that turn into a long-term relationship.

All of that plays a role in my business, obviously. I want to always grow and challenge myself, and I do that by being more strategic about when and where I speak. Speaking on stage definitely helps me grow my audience. I usually see noticeable upticks in my subscriber numbers and in my social media follows after speaking engagements.

As for the future, I don’t plan on stopping. I want to continue to make bigger and more meaningful impacts on my audience. As my name gets a little more reputation behind it, maybe someday I’ll speak in front of an audience of 10,000. That would be exciting! But the point is that speaking will continue to be an important part of my business strategy, as it allows me to grow, learn more, and be my authentic self.

Social Media Marketing World

So, about the audience of . . . wait for it . . . 5,000! I want to see you guys there, not just to benefit from my keynote, but to benefit from the event as a whole. In the past, the price point for SMMW has been an obstacle for some. I get that. But this year, they’ve done a great thing and created different pricing tiers for different levels of access to the event.

Just go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/smmw and click on the Register button at the top to learn more and buy your tickets!

[Full Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for Social Media Marketing World.]

I’d really love to see you there. I want to host a meetup too, so we can have more time with each other. Look out on social media for more details about that coming up!

And again, you can get your tickets to SMMW and be there in attendance for my closing keynote at: SmartPassiveIncome.com/smww.

See you there!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

How to Remove Powered by WordPress from Your Web Site Footer

If you are interested in removing the “Powered by WordPress” credit from the footer of your web site, this tutorial will go through the steps on how to do that.

In this tutorial, you will be introduced to:

  • How to remove or edit the credit link from your theme’s template files
  • How to locate the CSS ID or Class for the footer credit link
  • How to use Custom CSS to hide the footer credit link
  • Why using Custom CSS is a preferred solution

First, let’s see how to edit template files. You may not want to actually perform these steps however, as the more preferred solution will be demonstrated below. I am just including this section for completeness.

  1. From within your WordPress Dashboard, go to Appearance, then Editor.
  2. From the right side, locate the Template Footer or footer.php file, and click on it.
  3. Search for the code that displays the footer credit link. This could differ depending on the theme. In the theme in the demonstration, Twenty Seventeen, it does a call to a different file, which is accessible by FTP. It uses the WordPress function get_template_part to call the other file.
  4. You can do what is called “commenting out” the function to prevent it from calling the other file. To do that, put 2 slashes just before the get_template_part function, and click the Update File button.
  5. Now, check the web site to see that the footer credit link has been removed.

For reasons discussed in the final section, you may want to undo the steps performed above, and use the approach demonstrated next.

Before we remove the link with CSS, let’s first see what CSS container it is in. I am using Google Chrome to perform these steps. The steps will differ for other web browsers.

  1. First, view the front end of your web site in your web browser.
  2. Next, scroll down to the footer credit section.
  3. Right click on the credit link, and click Inspect.
  4. Look for the most immediate HTML container that is enclosing the footer credit. This could be a div, span or other tag. In the theme in the demonstration, Twenty Seventeen, a div tag is being used.
  5. Check whether the CSS that styles this container is a class or an ID. In the demo, a CSS class is being used.
  6. Make note of the name of the class or ID. In the demo, the class name is site-info.

Now, let’s add some Custom CSS to hide the footer credit from the web site.

Since version 4.7 of WordPress, a Custom CSS tool has been added to the Theme Customizer. Prior to that, JetPack, a Child Theme, or a 3rd party solution could have been used.

We will use the Theme Customizer to edit the CSS.

  1. From within your WordPress Dashboard, go to Appearance, then Customize.
  2. Click on Additional CSS.
  3. Put your cursor on a new empty line.
  4. If your theme is using a class for the footer credit container, start with a period or dot. If the theme is using an ID, start with a hashtag or pound symbol. Then type the name of the class or ID, then press the spacebar and open a squiggly bracket.
  5. Now type: display, a colon, none, a space, an exclamation mark immediately followed by the word important, immediately followed by a semicolon.
  6. Add in a space, then close the squiggly brackets.
  7. Check the Live Preview tool on the right side.
  8. If the desired result is achieved, click the Save & Publish button near the top left.

Using Custom CSS in this way is definitely the preferred choice.

It used to be, and by some still, suggested to modify the core theme files directly.

Well, this has the same implications as editing core plugin and WordPress core files.

Any time the core files are updated, then you will need to manually apply your changes again. This can become a maintenance burden before long.

Another choice is to avoid updating the core files, but then you would miss out on feature updates, as well as important security and bug fixes.

In the past, creating a Child Theme may have been a good choice. In general though, a Child Theme only had value when wanting to edit the CSS, and in some cases for adding custom functionality.

Using a Child Theme to override core template files, such as overriding footer.php, inherited some of the same concerns as editing the core files of the Parent Theme.

Also, unless the custom functions are very specific to the theme, it’s often better to create a custom plugin instead when needing to add custom functions.

At any rate, because JetPack, and now WordPress since version 4.7, offers native support for adding custom CSS, this is certainly the preferred route for the reasons discussed above. Plus, it’s a lot simpler.

With that said, I hope that you reconsider hiding the WordPress footer credit, and perhaps use this education for different types of customization you would like to perform to your theme 🙂


How to Remove Powered by WordPress from Your Web Site Footer originally posted at TipsAndTricks-HQ

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

SPI 299: The Humble Beginnings of Hmong Baby

The road to beginning a successful online business is full of hard lessons. I’m kicking off the new year with a story about learning, making mistakes, and succeeding anyway. I’m sitting down with the founders of Hmong Baby, a couple who, after experimentation and validation, were able to have enormous success with their products. Welcome to 2018!

Hmong Baby is a brand that helps bring the Hmong culture together, spreading and preserving that culture by teaching kids about it. They started out with flashcards, and they recently launched their first board book. Awesome!

I’m super stoked to introduce Mykou and Touger to you. They’re going to talk about how they got started with this business, why, after a number of failures, they landed on this idea, and what inspired them. They’re sharing the ideas behind some of their recent launches and campaigns, what apps they used to boost their success, and more. This might give you some ideas of possibilities for expanding your business and growing your brand, so listen close. I’m so excited to kick off the new year with you—let’s get started!

I’ve got a couple of quick announcements today too:

The machine of SPI has been well-oiled and running smoothly for the past couple years, but I know that in order to grow you need to be proactive, not reactive. This year’s theme is Higher Value, and we’re going to shake things up a bit. I’m going to dive deeper with the questions I ask, to find out what helps people find success, or to help them through my coaching process, or teach you something more in-depth if I’m doing a solo episode.

The AskPat Podcast will be changing format when it comes back in February, going from a daily show (five days a week) to a weekly coaching call so that I can get more specific, one on one, with my guests. Learn more by listening to AskPat Episode 1000, or by visiting AskPat.com, where you can apply to be on an AskPat 2.0 coaching call!

I’m also boosting my presence in the YouTube space. Why? (Besides the fact that there are people in that space who I’d like to reach.) The people on YouTube who are teaching similar things that I teach . . . I don’t like the way they do it. I don’t like the way they teach, the way they bait people into paying for the information they need. Somebody needs to step in and teach the information freely so that people can get some quick wins down before they realize that they need to invest time and money into their businesses. I want to go in and be the top search result for things like “passive income,” “how to build a business,” and “how to work from home.” Head over to SmartPassiveIncome.com/youtube to subscribe. I’m going to be launching five videos a week, starting in February. See you there!

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Mykou and Touger for joining me this week. Until next time!



You'll Learn

  • How Hmong Baby got its start.
  • How the Will It Fly? method of pre-selling helped Hmong Baby cement success.
  • What made Hmong Baby click after other ventures didn't pan out.
  • The simple way Hmong Baby started: without a landing page or website!
  • How a giveaway campaign to boost Hmong Baby's email list went wrong.
  • How a single Facebook video saved Hmong Baby's ecommerce launch.
  • How ManyChat and Facebook Messenger boosted Hmong Baby's success.
  • How Mykou and Touger built a launch team for the first Hmong Baby board book.
  • How my BYOB course inspired Mykou and Touger to create Launchology.net.
  • What's next for Hmong Baby, and more!

Resources

Monday, January 1, 2018

Start. Stop. Continue. Making Real Progress in Your Business

I once heard a phrase that has stuck with me for years, and has become one of the most important phrases for my business:

“You can’t improve what you don’t track.”

It’s a simple idea, yet so easy to forget, or just ignore. This phrase has been an essential part of my planning and building of my business, and it’s helped me understand, as the CEO of my company, that I need to track metrics in order to fully understand how to improve.

If I don’t track the data, how can I possibly understand what’s working and what’s not working? How can I improve? There was a time when I didn’t track data, which, in retrospect, is sort of mind boggling. I just kind of based efforts on a general feeling or on costs/dollars alone.

But not anymore!

Now, I track data. Lately, I’ve been more strategic with the numbers related to subscriber counts, website traffic, and conversion rates. I implement A/B testing in email marketing. I think about placement of links on SmartPassiveIncome.com. I try out multiple types of calls-to-action for online course sign-ups, and I pay attention to the numbers, one way or another.

And with that, I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in the business overall. That’s great, but I am always mindful of the fact that each one of those visitors, each one of those subscribers, each one of those students is a human—a human with value and capacity for reason and love. When we’re talking about data tracking and analytics, it’s easy to forget that.

They are humans, they are part of your audience, they are cherished members of your community. Treat them that way!

Another important lesson I’ve learned recently is this:

“You can’t progress when you don’t start, stop, and continue.”

Now, hopefully we all have goals for our businesses, goals that are defined, goals that we can measure and take action on. But to achieve those goals, there’s always a necessary component of change—starting, stopping, and continuing until we figure out the right path.

Another quote I think of (broadly attributed to Einstein) is:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Doing the same thing is likely only going to produce the same results, again and again. To better and more clearly define the different things you should be doing, you need to start, stop, and continue.

So, what does that mean exactly? What does it mean to start, stop, and continue?

Start, Stop, and Continue

I’ll give you an example. You have a big project launch coming up. In order to make the best out of this big project launch, you take time to determine what your goals are. After figuring out your goals, you look at your process. You figure out what you start doing to meet your goals, what you need to stop doing, and what you should continue doing in order to launch strong and achieve your goals.

That’s start, stop, and continue.

  1. You start doing the things you determine you need to do to accomplish your goals.
  2. You stop doing the things that get in the way of the achievement of your goals.
  3. You continue doing the things that align with those goals.

By dividing your efforts into those clear steps (start, stop, and continue), you are able to clearly define the new actions you should take, and the changes you need to make going forward.

Start, Stop, and Continue Origin Story

As always, business is a learning process, and this is the best structure that I found for understanding exactly how to take the next action. The origin of this start, stop, and continue process came out of a team meeting in San Diego. Matt and Mindy, of Winning Edits and part of Team Flynn, flew into town, and there, in a hotel room, the light bulb switched on.

What we arrived at, is that in order to achieve our goals, we needed to have a plan that would be reflective and welcoming of change.

On the hotel room window, we started by placing Post-It Notes with our goals and plans for the coming year.

(Side note: I love Post-It Notes! I’d gleefully frolic hand-in-hand with Post-It Notes if, you know, Post-it Notes had hands.)

We wrote each of our thoughts on a Post-It Note and slapped it onto the window. One idea per Post-It. After a while, we asked ourselves: “Okay, in order to achieve these goals, what things do we need to start doing? What should we stop doing? And what should we continue doing?”

Pretty soon, we had a pretty extensive list of a) what we needed to start; b) what we needed to stop; and c) what we needed to continue doing. When we saw all of this laid out, it became very clear to us what actions we needed to take over the next year.

What I love about this exercise is it creates boundaries. It’s like the saying, “if you say yes to something, you’re also saying no to something else.” Or, like the coaching strategy I learned recently, which is: when you’re coaching someone, you need to help them understand what they should be doing, but you also need to help them understand what they should not be doing. This is a great way to self-coach yourself into the actions that you need to take and hopefully get the results that you want.

To help you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Start, Stop, and Continue: The Exercise

The great part about the Start, Stop, and Continue exercise is you’re going to find holes. You’re going to find areas that you didn’t realize you missed, or weak spots in your process. That’s a good thing! The exercise enables you to work backward to fill in those holes, and understand more clearly what the next steps should be.

A book I highly recommend that goes perfectly with this strategy is The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

Check out my review of The One Thing on my YouTube channel:

If you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, please do. I’ll be doing a lot more video in 2018. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here!

So, to get back to the Start, Stop, and Continue exercise, after you go through it, there may be many things you’ll realize you need to fix, fine-tune, or add. And, yes, that can be overwhelming. But the key is to take it one step at a time. Determine what your priorities are, and use that information to decide which ones need to be tackled first.

That’s the Start: the the things you determine you need to start doing.

As for the Stop, you also need to understand what to stop doing. This is just as important to the process, and where a lot of the magic starts to happen—but it’s also one of the most difficult thing to do. Ask yourself, “Of the things that we’re doing, what things shouldn’t we be doing anymore?”

How the Start, Stop, and Continue Approach Has Impacted Me

When I was going through this process with the team, we decided to place a lot less emphasis on creating written-only blog posts (as opposed to blog post content that originates from videos or podcasts). A lot of what we are doing now is focused on YouTube and other platforms. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always going to be like that but, for right now, in order for us to meet our 2018 goals for YouTube, the podcasts, and our courses, we’ve had to stop creating blog posts that don’t originate from videos or podcasts.

Now, this year, instead of Monday being my writing day, Monday will be my filming day. I thought critically about the Stop in order to Continue with a strategy that helps me better achieve my goals in 2018.

Knowing that gives me the brain space I need to Continue—to fully focus on and commit to my goals of making video my number one focus this year.

This also happened back in 2014 when AskPat was created. In order to make a five-day per week podcast work, I figured out that I needed to Stop actually editing all of the podcasts myself. So I built out my team to take over that responsibility so I can focus on making the podcasts as good as they can be. I couldn’t reasonably do that if I am spending all my time in podcast production.

(By the way, be sure to check out AskPat 2.0 where I have 20-25 minute coaching calls with listeners! Subscribe and apply to join a coaching call with me at AskPat.com.)

In addition to The One Thing, I also recommend checking out the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. In it, Greg shares an exercise that’s very similar to the Start, Stop, and Continue approach.

The essentialism approach asks you to rank the things in your life from 1 (least important) to 10 (the most important), which is important because our brains need that structure. Our brains are good at coming up with ideas, but not great at quantifying or grouping them. Writing them down and assigning values based on a number scale allows us to see things more clearly.

When it comes to your business, are there things that you’d rank 1, 2, or 3? If so, those are the things you should Stop doing. The things in your business that may be ranked between 4-8, this is where the real progress happens.

These might be tasks in your business you really love doing, and tasks that are important to your business, but maybe you need to find a better system, or find a team member to take over that task so you can focus on bigger things, the things that are 9-10.

For a quick “essentialism” reference:

  • 1-3: These are the least important aspects of your business; the things that aren’t contributing to, or helping you achieve your goals. Get rid of them.
  • 4-8: These are the things you really like doing for your business. They are important things, but they may not make sense for you to continue doing them the way that you’re doing them. Does it make sense? Does it align with your goals. Or can you assign to someone else?
  • 9-10: These are the essential, must-haves for your business. They are aligned to your vision and will help you achieve your goals.

Making Real Progress in Your Business

The One Thing. Essentialism. Start, Stop, and Continue. Each of these are methods to help you achieve real progress in your business. This is what I want for you. This is what you deserve.

It’s the beginning of the year, a perfect time to make strategic, forward-thinking assessments of your business. A perfect time to ask yourself:

  • What’s really important in your business?
  • What are your goals?
  • What should you stop doing?
  • What should you continue doing in order to meet your goals?

Start to think deeply about your goals for this year. Work backward. If you find that you are doing things in your business that don’t help you reach those goals, maybe they need to be let go.