Some of the Best Advice on How to Get Better With People

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There are many different things you could do to get ahead in business and in life.

Yet, all of the most successful people around me have ONE thing in common.

They have amazing people skills.

The funny thing is…

Almost everyone I know who’s “good with people” TODAY…

…is either an introvert…

…or was once an awkward wallflower.

Including myself.

So, here’s some of the best advice on how to get better with people.

As you probably know, Social Triggers is the place where entrepreneurs come to get ahead in business and in life:

I talk about proven sales and marketing methods. Smart negotiation tactics. And more. Now here’s the thing…

All of those skills are insanely valuable when you’re trying to start – or grow – a business. Or even if you’re trying to get ahead in your career.

Yet, in the long run, none of them will be as impactful as getting better with people.

Why?

I’ll explain.

I recently shared this . It’s a great concept. But naturally, I got comments like:

“But Derek, will this work for me if I’m selling XYZ…”

Then comes a long list of reasons why people think THEIR specific situation is different. Will this work if I sell services? Will this work if I sell physical products? What if I sell B2B?

But here’s the thing:

No matter what you sell, who you’re selling to, or where you’re selling from…

ALL business is P2P – person to person.

I’m not sure who said this first. Whoever it was – I wholeheartedly agree. It’s true for business owners…

…and it’s true if you’re working in a company. Want to get a raise? You’re going to have to talk to someone about it. Another PERSON.

And even outside of work…

Let’s say you want to make new friends.

You can go to networking events, join a sports club, or hang out at a local bar.

You’re going to have to TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE.

And preferably find some people that like you.

You can scream at the wall and wish that people weren’t so superficial. Or you can focus on things you can actually change.

So, if right now you feel like you’re “bad at small talk”, “hate talking about yourself,” or you’ve just told yourself for YEARS that you’re not a “people person”…

It’s time to change that.

Now…

I’ve talked about social skills here in the past. So, I want to share some of that advice in one convenient place.

Remember: Even if you ARE an introvert (as a matter of fact, so am I)… No matter what you want to achieve or do, it’s probably going to involve OTHER PEOPLE.

If you want people to do you a favor.

If you want to make new friends.

If you want people to help you build your business.

That’s why improving your people skills is so valuable. It literally pays off in EVERY area of your life. It makes every day more fun, too.

It all starts with building your confidence…

Step 1: Start By Building Your Confidence

If people skills are the foundation of your success then confidence is the ground that this foundation is built on.

I know this first hand. Once I started to build my confidence, my people skills went through the roof, too.

How do you build confidence?

Rule #1: competence breeds confidence.

In other words, as you get better, you get more confident. But there are lots of other ways you can practice being more confident, too

So what did I do to develop my confidence? In short: I faked it… and it worked. Watch this video for the whole story and to find out exactly what I did:

Almost a million people have watched this video. If you like this tip on how to be more confident – I’ve got .

Now…

Building your confidence is an ongoing process. Use the techniques I shared in the video and article above, and you’ll see:

As you get more confident, your overall people skills will automatically improve as well.

Remember: Confidence is the ground your people skills are built on. But how can you now actually practice interacting with people?

Well, let’s start by figuring out how to MEET new people…

Step 2: Reach Out and Meet Some New People

99% of people only make friends at work. Or in school. Okay, I made that number up. But you get the point…

Most people are terrible at meeting new people outside of the people they coincidentally meet at work.

So how do you actually build a network you choose? A network that can help you get ahead? A network of like-minded people and friends that support you?

You need to be proactive. Talk to people you want to meet. Email people you want to connect with.

The problem is…

Most people reach out the wrong way.

Yes, you want to build a network that benefits you. But if you start a friendship or “connection” by asking for stuff, you’ve already lost.

I’ll explain.

What you need to do is: Switch your perspective. You need to switch from “what can this person do for me?” to “what can I do for them?”

Once you make this switch from “asking” to “offering” you’ll see that making new friends and connections gets a lot easier. This is true whether you’re or talking to the barista at the coffee shop.

It starts with listening, observing, and taking genuine interest in people. Then you can figure out what they want – and offer it to them. I talk about it more in this video:

By the way:

Did you know I started a daily vlog? Yep. I’m creating a new, fun, and helpful video every single day.

I often go “behind the scenes” too. So if you’re interested in seeing all the ups-and-downs of “that entrepreneur life”, make sure you .

Step 3: Learn How to Introduce Yourself the RIGHT Way

What if you could walk up to anyone, start a conversation, and keep that conversation going?

Sounds like a superpower.

Yeah, sort of…

It’s all in how you introduce yourself.

To be clear: This isn’t dating advice. It’s simply networking advice. Knowing how to introduce yourself the right way is crucial whenever you want to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know… Anyone.

It might be the keynote speaker at a conference. It could be an interesting person at a networking event. It could be the waiter at your favorite restaurant.

I share the “3 magic words” I use to introduce myself to anyone in this video:

How to Introduce Yourself to Anyone (With 3 Words)

Do you see how my simple introduction breaks the ice? Take it and run with it. Use it the next time you introduce yourself to someone.

You’re welcome 😉

Now you’re probably wondering…

“But where do I take the conversation from there?”

Great question.

Step 4: How to Make People Like You In 5 Seconds or Less

Once you start a conversation with someone you want to connect with, it helps if they like you… heh.

So how do you do that?

Well, I’ve got a technique and it only takes 5 seconds or less. Sounds like a gimmick, I know. But just like my 3 word introduction, it actually works.

Here’s what you need to realize:

Making people like you is not a skill you’re born with. It’s something you learn over time. And I’ve put in my time to figure it out.

That’s how I came up with the Ridiculous Insult Technique.

I break it down in detail in .

In short:

To make people like you fast, give them a sincere compliment… and then follow it up with a ridiculous insult.

For example, you might say

“Oh I really like your watch. But what’s WRONG with you? Why is it on your right hand?”

It’s all about the delivery, too. You need to make it OBVIOUS you’re saying this in good fun. Then, you can pretty much .

So, you’ve started the conversation. You break the ice and make people like you with a sincere compliment and a ridiculous insult…

Where do you take the conversation from there?

Step 5: How to Talk About Yourself Without Annoying People

When you’re talking to someone – especially someone you’re just getting to know – you never want to be .

BUT… You still want people to know what you do, right? And you want people to know you’re good at what you do, too?

Yes and yes…

So how do you do it without coming off like a self-promotional jerk that only talks about himself/herself. How do you talk about how good you are… without it coming off as bragging?

The thing is:

You do have to talk about yourself. If you don’t, how will people know what you do?

The reason this can get so frustrating is that most people are completely unaware of themselves. They’re self-promotional – in a bad way – and they don’t even realize it.

These people may SEEM like they’re “good with people.” They’re constantly talking to everyone. But in reality, no one wants to talk to them because they don’t know when to shut up…

So how do you talk about yourself without annoying the heck out of everyone? Turns out there’s a right and wrong way to brag. I explain it here:

Hopefully, with those 5 steps, you can improve your people skills, too.

Even if you start out – like me – as a someone who had to learn how to get good with people by practicing over time.

Remember:

ALL business is person-to-person.

Everything that matters in life is person-to-person, too. So the payoff from improving your social skills can’t be overstated.

Now…

Here’s what I want to know:

Which of these 5 steps was the most helpful for you – and why? Leave a comment and let me know.

Oh, and can you do me a favor?

Do you know someone who could use some help in the way they interact with people? Send them a link to this page! I appreciate it, and your friend will, too. Thanks in advance!

A Sales Professional’s Guide to Successful Events

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Not long ago, 2018 has begun. For sales teams, this can mean only one thing – it’s time to start the industry conference season. I hope you’re excited as much as we are!

As a psychology student back in the day, and now as a sales executive at GetResponse, I’ve had a chance to attend many events. I would love to share a few tips and tricks that worked for me and can help you boost your lead generation efforts.

So if you read on, you’ll learn how to prepare for a tradeshow. You’ll also learn how to apply psychology in onsite conversations to get the best results. Finally, I’ll tell you about my strategy for following up with leads and making sure that I don’t miss out on any opportunity.

 

How to prepare

The first thing you want to do is ask your marketing team to prepare a list of guests that are going to participate in the event. Identify those who fit your ideal customer profile. If the event organizer doesn’t share lists, you have two options: you can use a dedicated networking application prior to the event (if available) or review the list of exhibitors (this one will be available for sure! 🙂 )

Once you identify the list of potential customers, don’t waste a minute waiting for the event. Connect with them on social media. You can start the conversation with a very general, open-ended question: “It looks like we’re going to meet at…. I was wondering, why did your team decide to take part in this show?” Alternatively, you can ask them if they will be looking for partners to help them solve some specific problems (and hopefully, you can be their savior.)

Most of the time, you’ll find people that will need your product or service to face their current business challenge. Make sure to book a meeting with them. Everyone’s going to be busy, so you can have lunch together or grab a coffee.

If you follow this strategy, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and avoid being perceived as the annoying person who chats up every passerby.

 

What to do at the event

I know you might have been already following these tips on a subconscious level, but it’s always worth pointing it out and keeping the basics in mind.

 

Be punctual.

Yes, I’ve seen too many reps get there too late. The first hours are quiet, that’s right. Still, a lot of CEOs or Directors (who usually are the decision makers) have busy schedules, so they come in the mornings when it’s not that crowded yet. They can look around and then get back to their duties. You don’t want to miss them.

 

“A smile is the universal welcome.”

When that CEO approaches you, make sure to smile. When people see a happy face, it activates their mirror neurons, which makes them share the feeling (L. Winerman, ‘The mind’s mirror’). What’s more, if someone is exposed to a positive stimulus (like a smile that triggers a positive emotion) and to an image (like a logo or your face) at the same time, their brain automatically builds an unconscious connection between the two (J. De Houwer, S. Thomas & F. Baeyens, ‘Association learning of likes and dislikes: A review of 25 years of research on human evaluative conditioning’). This phenomenon is called evaluative conditioning. When you smile, you’re doing a favor to your company and yourself.

 

Be aware of your body language.

Make sure to keep it open and positive. A good tip is to stand next to the other person (shoulder to shoulder) and – if possible – look in the same direction. Evolutionary psychology tells us that if we stand in front of someone we just met, they can feel uncomfortable or even threatened. Have you ever felt this way? You can reduce this negative effect and make your conversations more natural by just grabbing a product brochure and show images to illustrate what you’re talking about. This way, even if you make eye contact from time to time, it will seem more natural than just staring at each other throughout the whole conversation.

 

Sales event body language

Ask simple questions.

Ok, so you’re on time, with your happy face on, and starting your first conversation.

First of all, you want to find out if investing your time in a business relationship with this person is worth it. Verify, ask questions. If they ask you what you do, be brief and clear. Ask if that’s something they’re looking for. If it is, then immediately follow up with why and what kind of problem they need to solve. If it’s not, ask “so, what are you looking for?” With this tactic, you’ll find much more leads and won’t waste an additional hour explaining what you do to someone who’s not going to become your customer.

 

Respect your time while offering help.

If you find a person looking for a product like yours, make sure to learn “why”. What kind of issues are they trying to solve? Then, show them how your product can address it and, if possible, share some testimonials. That’s it. Don’t do a demo, unless someone asks for it. Build value based on their main problem. You’ll tell them about the product later. Respect your time and make sure to make the most of it.

Finally, make notes. If you follow the tips above, I guarantee you’ll meet a lot of people who will be a great fit for your business. Don’t lose the information you collected. It will help you build stronger relationships with your future clients.

 

How to follow up after

Timing is important. During your conversations at the event tell people when you’re going to follow up with them. This first email – if you send it on time – is a great opportunity for you to build trust. Building trust is nothing more than simply delivering on promises (E. Schniter, R. M. Sheremeta & D. Sznycer, ‘Building and rebuilding trust with promises and apologies’). You can easily start off on the right foot.

Also, use your notes for that first email or call. Impress your prospect by mentioning something unique about them. This will show you really care and listened to what they said.

 

Sales event follow up message

 

The last piece of advice relates to delivering demos. I hope you managed to book plenty of them. If that’s the case, consider doing a webinar. This will help you scale your conversations and show off the interest that you gained. Why? According to Cialdini (‘Influence: The psychology of persuasion.’, 2007), if someone sees people like them perform an action (for example, buy your product), the chances they will do it too increase by 33%!

 

Summing up

There’s no foolproof scheme that will guarantee a success every time. But, if you follow these rules, the road to becoming a sales events expert is much easier and less stressful. Remember that every step is equally important. Put effort into the preparation, be aware of the subconscious messages you’re sending at the conference or trade show, and follow up, as promised. Build an audience that will help you sell.

If you have some more insightful tips, feel free to share! We would love to learn from you  :-)!

 

While we’re at it, be sure to check our upcoming . Perhaps we’ll see you there!

 

 

A sales professional's guide to successful events

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What Marketers Say: Take Part in Our Largest Research Project!

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Every year all the GetResponse experts, analysts, and partners pause their ongoing projects and KPIs to listen to what marketers and business owners have to say. What challenges do we all face this year? What trends will dominate 2018? And most importantly, how can we help?

Every time, we spend around 10 weeks to collect thousands of answers and analyze terabytes of data to find out how email marketing and marketing automation shape the future for your business. And that’s the ultimate reason why you should and become a part of this monumental project. Plus, win a $100 Amazon gift card. 😉

 

The largest marketing research project in 2018

Last year, we surveyed more than 2500 marketers from 126 countries across 19 different industries. We analyzed over 2 billion customer emails. That’s a lot! The result? Together with Dave Chaffey, Kath Pay, and Robert Rose we created not one, but three different reports on the state of email marketing and marketing automation.

Our top hit over 1500 unique downloads, while reached dozens of media quotes, serving as a benchmark for the latest trends in the industry.

What’s coming up this year? We’re thrilled to partner with Smart Insights for a complete research on email marketing, marketing automation and  – for the first time – your favorite, landing pages, too! With the help of Dave Chaffey, recognized as one of 50 marketing gurus worldwide who have shaped the future of marketing, in just a few weeks we’ll be ready to show you our key findings on .

 

Why you should join our project and take the survey 

With your help we can beat the record from the previous year and create the largest marketing report in 2018, giving valuable feedback to thousands of marketers and business owners just like you. But that’s not all! We’ll make sure you’re the first to know when we publish the final report. So that you can learn and actually use the best practices and recommendations it includes.

Still not sure? Every participant will get a chance to win one of five $100 Amazon gift cards. So how about spending ten minutes to ? We’re not starting without you!

 

What Marketers Say: Take Part in Our Largest Research Project

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CRO With Live Chat and Chatbots – 9 Optimization Tips

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People increasingly expect brands to be available 24/7, and to provide a personalized experience for them. Live chat and chatbots help your brand do both of those things.

Chat also helps customers research your product or service, find useful information, and make purchases. You know what else live chat and chatbots do? Improve your conversion rates.

 

Why live chat and chatbots work for conversion rate optimization

Intuitively, it makes sense that chat boosts conversion rates.

Chat saves visitors’ time so they can convert quickly and easily. No longer do they have to waste minutes searching through your website for a specific product or an answer to their question. Your chat agent gets them what they need instantly.

But there may be another reason why chat proves so effective. It’s personal. Back in the day, all sales took place over the phone or in person – with a real human. With the rise of the internet, a website jammed its way in between those sales reps and your customers, increasing friction and making things impersonal.

This is why people love using chat. of the consumers would rather message a brand instead of emailing them, and of WeChat’s nearly one billion users have linked their credit cards to the app. When it comes to branded chatbots and live chat, consumers are welcoming them with open arms.

 

9 CRO tips using live chat and chatbots

With effective live chat, the conversion rate can increase significantly, regardless of how optimized your site is. helps explain why most non-optimized websites are lucky if they have conversion rates above 2%. But as long as your chat works, it doesn’t matter if your search button isn’t mobile-optimized or you have a broken page – customers can get what they need.

If your website is converting at 5% or higher, live chat can interfere with conversions and distract visitors into chatting instead of buying. But unless you’re a part of that elite group, live chat and chatbots can work wonders for your brand.

Here are nine tips for optimizing your conversion rate using chatbots and live chat.

 

1. Automate your chat greetings.

Live chat greetings are the ecommerce equivalent of the friendly hello from an in-store salesperson. Except that customers don’t find them annoying. They’re less intrusive and pushy, literally unable to breathe down your back, yet impressive in their capabilities. Customers find them a delight. In fact, customers who are invited to chat are over to convert than those who aren’t.

Timing the pop up of your chat window will depend on some testing, but anywhere between 30 seconds to a few minutes will probably work. Pop it in the lower right-hand corner, large enough so it’s noticeable for those who need help, but out of the way enough so the users who don’t want to chat can easily close it out.

 

2. Personalize your chat greetings.

Don’t stop at automating your chat greeting. Personalize it! Most chat providers allow you to customize the greeting depending on the referring website, user IP, or the PPC ad they clicked on, among other things. Depending on how fancy you want to get (and how much you want to convert), try some of these ideas for the initial message:

  • Mention your current sale: “Hi there! 30% off all shirts – any designs you like?”
  • Match your message to the ad copy they saw in the PPC ad advertising shirts for men: “Hi there! Check out our favorite shirt selections for men.”
  • Target your message to the page they’re currently browsing: “We love this shirt, too! Need help picking a color?”

You can also make the chatbot itself feel more personal by giving it a name. If you’re using live chat, use the agent’s first name and a friendly headshot.

Just as with all of your content, the voice of your chatbot should use the same language as your customers. For example, ’s teen-focused recommends young adult fiction to their Gen Z audience, using emojis and GIFs. The chatbot did so well that they released an all-ages version.

 

Personalize Chat Greetings for CRO

EpicReads’ successful chatbot

 

3. Make it easy to use.

For your chatbot to work, it’s absolutely critical that it be easy and intuitive to use. Introduce any friction, and your customer may be even less likely to convert than they were before. They’ll lose trust in your company’s tech and extrapolate from there (What does that mean for the security of my credit card information? Will my order arrive? and so on).

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use chat software that mimics the way other common chat programs work, like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and Google Hangouts. Most chat software has been developed on years of testing and user feedback. Trust in it and adapt it to your brand by only tweaking the colors and fonts.

Make your chat even easier to use by giving customers alternatives to typing. Offer quizzes so customers can simply tap a button to be presented with content relevant to them, like American Eagle did with their .

 

Easy to Use Chatbot for CRO

 

4. Be where the people are.

Want to reach more people? Don’t force them to visit your website (shh, don’t tell your SEO team). It sounds counterintuitive, but CRO is all about minimizing friction, and sometimes that friction takes place when you’re dragging the person away from where they are and towards your website. This is why Facebook Messenger bots are becoming so popular.

Even though people are developing and concentrating their time on a small group of apps, over people still log into Facebook every day. Facebook Messenger reached over within its first year.

Create a Facebook Messenger bot for your app. Customers can ask questions, purchase items, and book reservations all from within Facebook. This strategy works for plenty of companies, including , Sephora, and 1-800-Flowers. 1-800-Flowers, in particular, attributed from new customers.

Be Where People AreBe Where People AreBe Where People Are

 

5. Provide faster and thorough customer service.

Grease the runway to conversion by resolving customer service questions faster than ever. No longer do people have to browse your FAQ, use your search function, or read a blog post. They can simply ask your chatbot questions, saving them time and speeding up their purchase process.

helps people scout out potential travel destinations and plan their entire trip. They can find things to do, book planes and hotels, and receive flight reminders from the app. This full-service chatbot is like a travel agent in your pocket. Instead of using Kayak for just the booking part of their trip, the chatbot checks in at multiple touch points. This positive experience builds loyalty and makes customers likely to return to Kayak the next time they plan a vacation.

 

Customer Service Chat

Customer Service Chat

 

6. Gather user feedback.

Got a landing page that just isn’t converting? How about a product with a high cart abandonment rate? Chat can help you figure out the problem.

When people move their cursor to leave your shopping cart, try temporarily opening up a chat window instead of hitting them with a special please-don’t-go offer.  Ask them why they’re leaving. Make it simple with a quick poll and give them your offer at the end in case they change their mind.

You can also test out assumptions on new landing pages using mini polls in chat windows. Or, invite customers to live chat for a special discount code in return for their feedback. Once you’re done, you can even ask customers to rate their satisfaction with the chat experience itself.

 

7. Quickly sort leads.

Many B2B sales require a lot of upfront information. Live chat can speed up this process. Through a short interview, a chatbot or a live chat agent can discern a person’s stage in the funnel and react accordingly:

  • If a person is just browsing, the chatbot can invite them to download a whitepaper or sign up for your email list.
  • For those who are a bit more interested, the chatbot can ask a few firmographic questions, such as the size of their company and the vertical, and then offer to email them a case study specific to their needs.
  • For hot leads or anyone with a more complicated question, the chatbot can connect them straight to a salesperson or a live chat agent.

 

8. Increase shopping cart totals.

You know those “People Also Love” related items galleries languishing at the bottom of your product page? Give them new life with a chatbot.

Whenever a person adds an item to their shopping cart, your chatbot can pop up and suggest similar items people usually purchase.

helps people find and buy items they’re looking for. The more the person uses the bot, the smarter it becomes, tailoring suggestions to the user and prompting them with recommended items.

Shopping Cart Chat

 

9. Test, test, and test again.

When you perform CRO activities on your website you test everything, right? Do the same with your chat experience.

  • Experiment with different opening greetings, responses, and CTAs on your buttons. You might be surprised to see how a simple word choice changes your conversion rate.
  • Your goals with chat copy will be different than the ones on your website. While it should still match your brand voice, your chatbot should be friendlier, more casual, and more real.
  • The principles of urgency still apply, so use that to your advantage. “There are only 2 items left! Want me to grab one for you before we run out?”

 

Conclusion

Above all, remember that for a chat to work, it has to be available. Make it accessible 24/7 or turn on chatbots during the hours when your Live Chat support reps aren’t around. Answer quickly, within 15 seconds or less.

When done right, live chat and chatbots make life easier for your customers. Impress them with a fun and helpful chat experience, and they’ll reward you with conversions.

 

CRO with Live Chat and Chatbots

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How to Be Funny: 7 Insanely Practical Tips

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I never considered myself to be funny. Until one day in high-school, when my whole perspective changed.

I’ll never forget what happened…

I was late for class – Math with Mr. G.

Uh-oh.

What you need to know about this story is that Mr. G. was NOT someone you want to mess with…

For 30 years this guy built a reputation for being a hard-ass. I’m pretty sure I peed myself the first time he walked into the classroom. Just a little bit, okay?!

LOL.

Looking back, he was a great teacher. But he was intimidating, never cracked a smile, and there were NO exceptions for messing up.

Anyway…

I was late, and he called me out for it – obviously. But no one expected what happened next.

While I was still unpacking my stuff, he asked me to solve the algebra problem on the blackboard.

I glanced at the equation and said:

“Just a second, I need to find my calculator.”

He said:

“Do it without your calculator.”

Me:

“I can’t.”

Mr. G.:

“Yes, you can. Use your brain! In life, you won’t always have a calculator. You might leave your calculator at home. But you’ll always have your head with you.”

Then came my big moment… I responded:

“Actually, for me, it’s the other way around.”

The whole room burst out laughing, including Mr. G aka Never-crack-a-smile.

If this is not funny to you… Well, you had to be there!

Did he let me use my calculator? Of course not. But that didn’t matter because…

From that day on, I was a HERO: I was the guy who made Mr. G. laugh.

More importantly, though:

For the first time in my life, I experienced…

Why Being Funny Is a Superpower

The truth is, there’s nothing as charming as a good sense of humor. When you’re funny, people like you more.

That’s just how it is.

You don’t have to be Mr. Funny-Man. But when you’re able to crack a joke at the right time, it’s like a SUPERPOWER.

How so?

Humor mentally disarms people.

When you make someone laugh, they put their guard down. For a short moment, they’re not defensive.

This means:

Humor is a great way to get your foot in the door, when you want to connect with someone. It’s also a great way to quickly .

And there are other advantages, too. For example, when it comes to dating, women find funny guys more attractive. Laughter can improve friendships. And it can ease the tension in tough negotiations.

If you don’t believe me, it’s all backed by .

But what if…

What If You’re Born Un-Funny?

Until “calculator day”, I didn’t think I was funny.

But somehow – mostly out of luck – I said something hilarious and made the whole room laugh. This was a huge Aha-Moment.

I realized, “Hey maybe I CAN be funny.”

But I didn’t want to be funny just “by accident.”

So, I started practicing.

And I got better!

Just a few years later, I even wrote a gossip blog where I made fun of celebrities. It attracted millions of visitors. I went from being unfunny to being a professional jokester.

That’s when I realized:

No one is BORN funny.

Some people just grow up to exercise their funny-muscle more than others. That’s how they BECOME FUNNY.

Look…

We believe all kinds of stuff and think we can’t change. Like or We THINK there’s nothing we can do about it. In reality, with a little bit of practice, it’s possible to change.

Think about it this way:

Comedians put in hours and hours writing their material. Then they test it in small clubs. FOR YEARS. Even the most popular comedians go back to small clubs to practice and stay sharp.

Of course, you’re not a professional comedian. You probably just need to sprinkle a little funniness into your life…

…and I’ve got you covered with 7 insanely practical tips.

But first, it’s important you approach this with the right mindset. That way you’ll get the most out of the tactics below.

I’ll explain.

To Be Funny, First Change Your Mindset

I crack myself up!

Check it:

A post shared by (@derekhalpern) on Dec 27, 2017 at 12:06pm PST

Hilarious, right?

If you don’t think that’s funny, that’s okay – you’ve got a terrible sense of humor. Kidding! Sort of…

My point is:

Just like music, what’s funny and what’s not funny, is a matter of TASTE. To a certain degree, anyway.

That’s why I stick to a simple rule:

If I think it’s funny… it’s funny.

Yes, I try to amuse myself first.

That’s why, to be truly funny in everyday situations, you need a high level of CONFIDENCE. So, work on . You’ll automatically be funnier, too.

Unfortunately, like confidence, trying to be funny is a bit of a paradox:

Yes, you need to practice.

However…

When you try hard, that’s when you die hard.

In other words, if people can tell you’re trying to be funny… it’s not that funny!

Well, sh*t!

Don’t worry… There’s a way out of this dilemma. Just realize this:

In order to be a funny person, you don’t have to be funny ALL THE TIME.

If you want to be funnier, don’t become a dancing monkey. Humor is all about contrast, timing… and SURPRISE. If you’re trying to be funny all the time, you lose all of that.

Nothing illustrates this better than my first practical tip…

Tip 1: Practice the 1-2-Punch

You can’t be funny without an element of surprise. That’s why I love the 1-2-Punch – it’s so simple!

I first read about this in the book . It’s a great book. A lot of what I’ve learned about being funny comes from that book. If you want to take a deep-dive into humor, I suggest you read it.

Now, the 1-2-Punch. Here’s how it works:

You say one thing. Then you say another thing. Then you say something ridiculous. For example…

“NYC subway is inefficient, horribly mismanaged & in disrepair, but at least the stations also get coated with a disgusting, slippery film on slightly rainy days” –

The “funny” comes from the surprising third element – the punch.

The key is to set it up with the 1-2 and then break people’s expectation. Kind of like a curveball. What’s great is that you can get as ridiculous with your “punch” as you like.

Here’s an example from :

MeetEdgar – 1, 2, Punch example

Waffles?

Here’s a famous example of using the 1-2-Punch in a sales follow-up email:

Hi [First Name],

I’ve tried to reach you a few times to go over suggestions on improving […], but haven’t heard back which tells me one of three things:

1) You’re all set with […] and I should stop bothering you.

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had time to get back to me yet.

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up (and in that case let me know and I’ll call someone to help you…)

Please let me know which one as I’m starting to worry!

The 1-2-Punch works great in writing. But you can use it in almost any situation. To give you another example: I have a friend who’s Swiss. When people ask him where he’s from he says…

“I come from the land of chocolate, cheese, and expensive watches.”

Not the answer most people expect! And again, it follows the 1-2-Punch structure.

I use the 1-2-Punch every day to . Do you see how it works?

Cool.

Let’s move on to the next step to be funnier.

Tip 2: Act Dumb… and Dumber

If my last name was Peter, I’d name my son Peter. Just to mess with people.

Or I’d teach him that red was blue and blue was red. Okay, I would never do that to my child… but it would be hilarious!

The point is:

When people confuse, misinterpret, or misunderstand something it’s funny. And when you do it ON PURPOSE it’s funny, too.

The best way to do this is to “play dumb.”

For example, take this line from Seinfeld:

“It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.”

Or the iconic “So you’re telling me there’s a chance” moment from Dumb and Dumber:

Now of course, in the example, we’re laughing AT Jim Carrey’s character. The woman of his dreams tells him there’s a 1 in a million chance they’d end up together – and he’s ecstatic…

But should you really make yourself the butt of the joke?

The answer is yes, as long as you don’t do it all the time. And ideally, you shouldn’t do it when you’re actually the butt of the joke:

showed that only when you’re in a position of power self-deprecating humor will make people like you more.

Also, when you play dumb or use confusion on purpose, always make sure to make it obvious. How? By exaggerating (see #6).

Now, another fun way to use purposeful confusion or misinterpretation is…

Tip 3: Play On Words

Using words the wrong way is funny. But ONLY when people know the right and wrong use of the word.

For example:

“I told a chemistry joke, but there was no reaction.”

Or…

“Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do ‘practice?’”

Of course, it can be tough to come up with something like this on the spot. But the technique of using words the wrong way is something you can practice to become funnier.

In the two examples above the joke is in the double-meaning of the word. But you can also do this with words that just SOUND the same… aka using a pun.

For example:

A: “Why are you always hogging the TV remote?”
B: “Because I am shellfish!”

Or, if you’re an 80’s Baby like me, you’ll remember Bart’s phone prank from The Simpsons:

The worse the pun, the funnier. So, if you’re cringing at these jokes right now… that’s the point.

Remember: If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. It’s true for jokes, too. So, as long as it amuses you, it’s funny enough.

Do you feel funnier already?

Moving on…

Tip 4: “It’s funny because it’s true”

Playwright Larry Gelbart once said:

“Most good jokes state a bitter truth.”

I agree 100%. And the evidence is more than anecdotal, too. Research shows that people laugh more when they strongly agree with the premise of a joke.

How do you take advantage of this fact if you want to be funnier? Simple…

State the obvious.

In other words: Say what no one dares to say, but everyone’s thinking. That’s why I often post stuff like this on my personal Facebook page:

What’s the point of waking up early if I’m not going to post about it on social media to show everyone how hard I work?

Now I can go back to sleep.

Posted by on 

You’ll score major funny points by saying what everyone’s thinking. At least with one half of the audience. The other half might come after you with pitchforks. It’s okay – I already showed you .

Here’s another example of being “in your face” in a funny way:

A post shared by (@derekhalpern) on May 2, 2017 at 8:39am PDT

You can even use this to defuse uncomfortable situations:

I have a friend whose hands get super sweaty. I mean, like, slippery wet. Now, she could just ignore the fact. Or she you could own it by stating the obvious:

“Wow! I sure am sweating a lot! Can someone PLEASE turn down the heat?”

It would be even funnier if you’re outside and it’s freezing cold. You see, humor lives in the space between reality and exaggeration. Which brings me to the next way to be funny…

Tip 5: Always Over-Exaggerate

Chris Rock is one of my favorite comedians. He’s a master of walking the fine line between reality and exaggeration. For example when he says…

“If you’ve never held a box of rat poison in your hand and stared at it for a good long while, you’ve never been in love”

LOL.

What’s going on here? Well, first he’s stating the obvious. Here, it’s the fact that sometimes our partners drive us crazy but that’s a sign of love. Then, he takes it to the extreme!

This is a great recipe for being funny. Take something that’s true… and exaggerate it. To the point where it gets ridiculous. Kind of like I do with the to start conversations.

Now…

The only way to get better at anything is to practice. Masters aren’t’ born. They’re made through work and persistence. It works that way with . The same goes for being funny…

So, now you know – in theory – how to be funny. It’s time to practice. You can’t become a funny person overnight. So start by…

Tip 6: Practice Telling ONE Joke

One joke is better than no joke.

So, start by practicing one joke.

Pick a joke and tell it 1,000 times. Make it your go-to joke.

Obviously, don’t tell the same person the same joke. But make this joke part of your funny-repertoire.

You’ll practice your funny muscle. And you’ll never again be the person who can’t come up with even one joke at a party.

Now…

Having a go-to joke in your back pocket is smart. But being funny isn’t really about telling jokes, is it?

No, it’s about developing a funny personality.

So, in addition to the one joke…

Tip 7: Practice Telling ONE Funny Personal Story

My sister wanted to get me into eating healthier snacks. So she got me a bag of pumpkin seeds.

The next day, I started eating them… and I almost choked to death.

So, I texted her: “Yo these taste like wood chips.”

She bursts out laughing…

Turns out you have to peel them.

True story. LOL.

I’ve got a few other stories like this. I’ve told each one a dozen times. So, I know they work. And that’s what I recommend you do, too…

If you want to be funny, build a bank of funny personal stories. Start with one and practice telling it over and over again. If it gets a laugh – great! If not, tweak it until it works.

Finally, remember this…

Being funny starts with .

You don’t have to become a dancing monkey. All it takes is to sprinkle in some humor – whatever YOU think is funny – into your life.

Use the techniques I shared here… and start practicing today.

Was this helpful? Leave a comment – it better be funny!

Just kidding. Let me know if this was useful or if you’ve got something to add.

And if you know someone who wants to be funnier, share this article.

3 Easy Ways To Overcome Procrastination

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How to Stop Worrying About What People Think Of You

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The #1 regret of the dying is…

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Most people worry WAY too much what other people think. The problem is… Most people don’t realize this until it’s too late.

I used to care what people think, too.

Today, I live life shamelessly… and I’m still the same, good person.

What changed? I’ll explain.

“I Feel Like Everybody’s Watching Me”

It all started with a weird, recurring dream I had as a kid:

Not exactly a nightmare. But still, this dream haunted me for years. For a while, it happened almost every night…

My mom would put me to bed, shut off the light, and walk out the room. I remember wondering every night:

“Where did she go?”

Well, in my six-year-old mind, THIS is where she went:

The Control Room

The Control Room

The Control Room.

In my dream, this is where all the parents met when the kids were asleep.

The control room had lots of cameras and screens. One for every kid. In the control room, the grown-ups could watch what the kids were doing at night. And they could see what we did during the day.

For example…

I once lit a fire on the porch. I thought I’d put it out but… I almost burned down the door. Oops. My mom knew right away what happened. But how? My only explanation was that she must have seen it in the control room.

Of course, this was all in my head. I was a young kid. And sure enough, after a while, I didn’t have this dream anymore.

HOWEVER…

The sense of constant observation was still there. The feeling that there’s someone watching me ALL THE TIME stuck with me for years.

The result? I became an awkward teenager with literally ZERO confidence. I’m not kidding. I could barely hold a conversation.

Looking back, it makes sense:

I had no confidence because I was constantly worried that the people in the “control room” could see me mess up, misbehave, or fall down. So, it’s no surprise I had to .

But even after I built my confidence to the point where I can walk into any room and take control of it…

There were still times when I did things I didn’t really want to do. Why did I do them? For no other reason than to please other people.

I had the idea for Social Triggers 2 years before I started it.

Why did I wait so long?

I was running a different blog and making good money. But when I explained what I did to my family… they didn’t get it.

So, I got a “real job.”

Nothing wrong with that. But the truth is, the only reason I did it was to please my family. It’s also the reason I stayed in that job for an extra year after I already realized I hated it.

I was miserable.

Yeah. This is what ALWAYS happens when you do things you don’t want to do… JUST to please other people.

How Being a “People Pleaser” Will Sabotage Your Success and Happiness

When you constantly worry about what other people think there’s one thing that’s inevitable:

You become a people-pleaser.

The problem? You can’t live a full life this way. Worse even. You’ll self-sabotage your success and happiness at every turn.

Here are some signs you’re people pleaser:

  • You apologize… even if you did nothing wrong.
  • You don’t know to anything or anyone.
  • You stay in toxic relationships because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.
  • You’re upset at yourself for missed opportunities.
  • You still remember stupid stuff you said in 3rd grade.
  • You constantly ask “What do you think?” (instead of making your own decisions)
  • You feel like people take advantage of you.

Now, it’s one thing to worry about . But what about COMPLETE STRANGERS?

Just picture this…

You’re at a bar. There’s a band playing. All you want to do is dance. Do you get up and dance? Or do you sit and wait?

“Maybe someone else will start dancing. Then I’ll join.”

Hmm… watch this video:

Who do you think is having more fun? The guy dancing? Or the people watching?

Dancing is just an example. If you don’t want to dance, don’t dance. Dancing is just a fitting example because most people are afraid to do it in front of others. I mean, let’s face it, most people only dance when they’re drunk. We sing in the shower… Rock out in the car… as long as no one’s around!

Just like me sticking around in a job I hated…

You rob yourself of happiness because you worry about what other people – even complete strangers – think of you.

Or what about looking ridiculous in public?

Since I share , I can’t afford to get sick. So I wore this on the plane:

Sorry, can't afford to get sick

Sorry, can’t afford to get sick

Would you have risked getting sick? Because you might look ridiculous in public? Then you’re probably worrying too much about what other people think of you.

But it’s not just about these small joys and troubles, like not dancing or looking ridiculous in public…

Living life this way has serious consequences in the real world.

For example, it’s just as bad for your career.

Say you’re at a networking event. You want to introduce yourself to the main speaker. But he’s talking to a bunch of other people already. You don’t want to be rude. You can’t just go over there an interrupt, right? Everyone’s going to think you’re a jerk!

So you slide out the side door. Let’s just hope no one saw you standing there awkwardly while you were debating what to do… Great. You just missed another opportunity to .

Do you see how NOT putting yourself out there is crippling your success? All because you worry about what other people think.

Ugh.

Obviously, this is stupid. So WHY do we let opportunities slide because of what other people might think of us?

More importantly:

How can you STOP worrying about what other people think?

The first step is to understand…

The Psychological Reason Why We Care What Others Think of Us

So why do we even care what other people think?

The psychology of explains it.

In short:

We all have a story we tell ourselves about who we are.

(I’m not saying you actively made up a story about yourself. “Your story” is just the natural result of all your past experiences. It’s the sum of all your beliefs about yourself. It’s who you believe you are.)

The thing is, we also want to avoid cognitive dissonance. That is, we’re wired for consistency. So we look to verify (or confirm) our story in the real world. Which means…

We desperately want other people to believe our story as well!

This is true for you, me, and everyone else. Whatever you believe about yourself, you want others to believe it, too.

When the world “verifies” our own story it’s comforting. When the stories DON’T match is when we get uncomfortable…

Here are some of the most common examples of this:

  • If you believe “I’m a funny guy” you need people to laugh at your jokes.
  • If you believe “I’m very intelligent” you constantly try to prove how smart you are (or get embarrassed when you make a mistake).
  • If you believe “I’m not selfish” you want others to notice your good deeds.
  • If you believe “I’m a hard worker” you don’t want anyone to catch you being lazy or browsing Facebook.
  • If you believe “I have great taste” you don’t want people to know you actually love listening to Britney Spears.
  • If you believe “I’m a nice person” you get a sense of pride when you hold open the door for someone.

We all tell ourselves the SAME stories.

And the #1 story is:

“I’m a nice person.”

In fact, .

Paradoxically, this is the most harmful story you can tell yourself.

Hold on, what?!

How is that a problem?

I’ll explain…

In your story, you’re a “good person.” So you do what pleases others, so you can continue to tell yourself that you’re a good person…

And when you do something just for yourself, you feel guilty.

Over time it starts to wear you down. You start to wonder, “Hey why am I doing all these things I don’t really want to do?” and “Why am I NOT doing the things I actually want to do?”

Now…

The truth is, most people ARE good and honest people. My personal data shows that there are only about 2% certified *ssholes 🙄

But it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not!

we can feel embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed based on other people’s perceptions – even if their perceptions are WRONG.

To illustrate, imagine you’re at the gym…

Do you even lift, bro?

Do you even lift, bro?

You’re recovering from an injury, so you lift “baby” weights. In reality, you’re much “stronger” than it looks right now. So, the perception people will get when they see you working out is wrong. Yet, you might still feel embarrassed to workout with the lighter weights.

Or imagine this:

You’re out with a friend at a restaurant. Your friend starts cussing out the waiter for no reason. It feels like everyone’s looking over at your table. “Look how RUDE these people are!” Maybe no one actually noticed. But again, you might feel embarrassed… even though YOU didn’t do anything wrong.

So should you not go to the gym? Or never go to that restaurant again? Just because what other people MIGHT think? And it’s not even true?

Of course not! That’s exactly the kind of self-sabotage you need to avoid.

The good news is:

You just took the first major step. You now understand WHY you might feel and act this way. I hope this is as much of an Aha-Moment for you as it was for me.

Now let’s imagine and work towards a life WITHOUT these constant worries…

Imagine Living Without the Constant Fear of Criticism

I run an online business. My face is plastered across the internet in , blog posts, and podcasts.

Could I do this if I still worried about what other people think?

HECK NO!

Look…

Some people LOVE me.

Some people HATE me.

Even though people say “the customer is always right”, look at how I .

In short…

I don’t let people push me around. And I don’t let other people’s opinions about me dictate what I do or don’t do.

But remember, I wasn’t always like this.

So imagine for a just a moment…

What would YOU do if you didn’t worry about other people’s opinions anymore?

  • Would you finally promote your art?
  • Would you finally create a course to teach what you know?
  • Would you finally start consulting?
  • Would you finally take a road trip by yourself?
  • Would you finally go after your dream?

No more “But people are going to notice if I fail.” What if you lived without the constant fear of criticism?

It’s a truly liberating thought.

The truth is:

Those who master the “” live their best lives – without regrets. They’re the ones who make an impact. They’re the ones who change the world.

So…

It’s time you stop caring so damn much!

How? Start with accepting TWO facts…

Fact 1: Some People WILL Judge You

Yes, some people WILL judge you.

For EVERYTHING you do.

But just like I can’t please everyone with my videos… You can’t make everyone happy – .

You better just accept it now. Someone probably thinks you’re rude, stupid, or ugly. How’s that affecting you right now?

I don’t mean how does it make you feel in your own mind. I’m talking about: How does this actually affect things in the real world? Outside of your own brain?

That’s right: Not at all.

So get over it and move on with your life.

You should probably be much more concerned about Fact #2:

Most people don’t care about you at all…

Fact 2: Most People Couldn’t Care Less

That’s what’s so funny about this:

Everyone’s worried about what other people think about them. Which means: No one’s actually thinking about other people. LOL.

Remember, everyone’s got their OWN story they need to verify. So, most of the time when you’re worried about what other people think…

They’re caught up in their own sh*t.

That is to say: Strangers don’t care about you nearly as much as you think.

As Seth Godin , we’re all impostors in one way or the other:

Everyone who is doing important work is working on something that might not work. And it’s extremely likely that they’re also not the very best qualified person on the planet to be doing that work.

Yeah, you just spilled your coffee in front of everybody at Starbucks. But people will have forgotten about it by the time they order their latte.

So, if you’re going to worry about what other people think, at least focus on the people that matter, okay?

Who Are You Trying to Impress Anyway?

Anyone who’s going to judge you based on pettiness is not worth your time.

If someone thinks less of you for your ambition, I don’t know what to tell you other than the joke’s on them.

So…

Don’t let the opinions of the naysayers hold you back.

Instead, focus on the people who are there to support to you. Focus on the people who will give you honest and constructive feedback. Focus on the people that actually care about you…

…and .

I know – easier said than done!

That’s why I want to share some steps you can take TODAY to stop worrying about what people think of you.

Step 1: Desensitize Yourself

The best way to get started?

Desensitize yourself.

I’ll give you an example:

My friend Tim Ferriss recently grew a goatee, and people ripped into him!

Now here’s what’s weird. Tim says, “I think I look better without it.”

So why did he do it?

He did it to train himself not to care about the reactions.

Tim makes the point in this cool :

When you train yourself in the little things, then you stand a chance of being courageous when you need to be for the big things.

This is exactly the approach I used to .

So, think about the story you tell yourself. Then, do something that intentionally goes against it. Maybe you wear an ugly shirt. Maybe you walk extra slow across the crosswalk. Maybe you .

They key is…

You start small and build from there.

Doing things that are slightly embarrassing is a great way to practice ignoring what people think. As you get better, you can move on to bigger things.

Step 2: Never Ask “What Do You Think?”

Yes, there are bad questions and…

“What do you think?”

…is the WORST question you can ask.

Get out of the habit of asking it. Don’t ask it at work. Don’t ask it at home. Just don’t ask it. Definitely don’t ask me “what do you think, Derek?”

First of all, it’s a horrible question if you want actual, constructive feedback. There’s a much better way to get that. Check out my .

But there’s another reason it’s a no-good question. Especially if you already worry too much about what people think…

It’s pretty simple:

If you want to stop RELYING on other people’s approval, you need to stop SEEKING other people’s approval.

I’m talking about small stuff here. Like when you’re sending an email… you don’t need five other people to look it over. I’m sure it’s fine.

Look…

I’m not saying don’t get feedback from other people. But you don’t need approval for every mini-decision you make. And if you really want feedback on something that matters, .

“What do you think?” is usually a well-intentioned question. But it’s probably a sign of unhealthy perfectionism, too…

Step 3: Strive for Excellence… But NOT Perfection

It’s a universal desire to be admired.

We all want to achieve great things. And we want people to notice.

That’s why I often say you need to .

However…

What too many people hear is:

“You need to be perfect.”

And that’s where things go wrong because…

Perfectionism is the ENEMY of excellence.

If I waited to make videos until they were perfect… . And I would have never even had the chance to GET BETTER.

But it’s not just me. that perfectionists are more vulnerable to feelings of shame and embarrassment. Especially, if you’re trying to be perfect in the eyes of others.

Good luck with that!

Look…

Whenever you’re trying to get better at something, there will always be a “gap” at first. Meaning, you’re not as good as you’d like to be. Whether you’re…

  • Learning a language (“I’m not fluent yet!”)
  • Creating content (“My videos don’t look pro.”)
  • Improving your social skills (“I suck at small talk!”)

Well, this gap is totally normal. Ira Glass explains it best here:

from on .

So how does this help you?

Well, it means you can stop striving for perfection. Instead…

Your only goal should be to do better than you did last time.

If you keep doing that, you’ll eventually be excellent. It’s all you need to do. It’s all you CAN do. .

Oh and by the way…

No one but you is keeping track of your failed attempts.

Step 4: Question the Rules

Do you really want to let your thoughts about other people’s thoughts affect the way you live your life?

Because that’s essentially what you’re doing when you worry about what other people think of you.

I bet your answer is a resounding “NO!”

Look, if someone thinks you’re crazy for “not buying a house,” or starting a business “after 40”, let them have their thoughts. Who makes these rules anyway?

Who says you HAVE to ?

Who says you have to buy a house?

Who says you can’t start a business after 40?

As long as you’re not intentionally hurting other people, it should be YOU who makes those decisions. No one else.

When you start to challenge some of these arbitrary rules of society, it will be easier to break free from other people’s thoughts.

Step 5: Step Out Of Your Ego Bubble

I had a crazy dream about a control room.

But your life isn’t the Truman Show!

Your life is not the Truman Show

Your life is not the Truman Show

Seriously.

Thinking that the world revolves around you is kind of insane!

So step out of your ego bubble.

In the movie, Truman eventually breaks free. He sails to the edge of his fake world. And walks off the stage. You can do the same.

STOP thinking the world revolves around you’ll start to live a happier, more successful life.

Now…

These are the changes I made – and I stopped worrying about what other people think. I hope this will help you, too.

Remember:

If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. Least of all, you won’t please yourself.

Finally…

Do you know someone who worries too much about what other people think of them? If you think reading this might help them, please share it with them now.

What Are You Hiding from Your Customers?

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Being transparent about your business practices is not only the RIGHT thing to do…

New research suggests it’s also the SMART thing to do.

I’ll explain.

I have to start this with a confession:

I eat out WAY TOO MUCH. I especially enjoy going to new restaurants. And when you live in New York City, there are a TON of new restaurants opening every month.

It’s great – last week alone, I went to 2 new restaurants.

So, yeah. That’s .

BUT…

I also noticed a new trend recently.

I noticed it in restaurants. But the trend is bigger than restaurants. This new trend applies to ANY business. Yes, even your business.

What’s the trend?

I call it the “Glass Kitchen Effect”.

Let me explain.

Kitchens USED to be a black-box:

You order food.

Food comes out.

What happens in the kitchen?

WHO KNOWS?!

Maybe there’s a guy dripping sweat on my fries. Maybe they fished a bug out of my drink – right before they served it. Maybe someone farted on my steak?!

Nobody knows.

But those times are over…

Today, we live in a different world.

Because really: Who wants to eat at a restaurant where you don’t know what goes on in the kitchen?

Most people don’t.

That’s why today, kitchens are OPEN.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

The trendy thing in restaurants is to put the kitchen in a sort of “glass box.” That way, the kitchen is in its own area. But as a guest, you can see inside.

Maybe this isn’t new. The point is:

What goes on in the kitchen is no longer a mystery.

No longer do you have to TRUST that your server didn’t eat half your appetizer on the way to the table.

You don’t have to trust that your food didn’t land on the floor before it hit the plate.

You don’t have to trust. You can just…

LOOK INSIDE.

At least in theory.

That’s the Glass Kitchen Effect.

And I believe applies to ANY business today.

The Fastest Way to Build Trust for Your Business

David Ogilvy was right:

“The customer isn’t a moron. She’s your wife.”

He said this more than 50 years ago. So I’d add that… he’s your husband, too!

So why do some businesses still try to take their customers for idiots?

Food companies lie about their ingredients. People share fake testimonials inflated revenue numbers. Businesses try to sell hype instead of solutions.

Sometimes they straight up lie. Sometimes it’s big stuff. Sometimes it’s small stuff. For example, more than one person has ripped off my graphic without giving credit.

But these shady tactics are counterproductive in the long run.

They’re a foolish attempt by companies trying to trick people into buying from them. The result? The exact opposite. These tactics will do is DESTROY all trust, as soon as people find out the truth – and people will find out.

That’s why you should .

And why would you? It’s not just unethical. It’s bad for business, too. Because in reality, the FASTEST way to build trust is…

Radical transparency.

Especially today.

For one, anything but being honest doesn’t work:

Everything’s getting reviewed and rated. Everyone knows everything. Almost any information is freely available. Everything is just a Google search away.

So, if you’re trying to sell a sh*tty product or service, the word will spread. Of course, the opposite is true as well. If you sell a GREAT product you’ll .

But as it turns out, transparency may be more profitable in the short run, too. There’s some pretty interesting research about this. And there are a lot of real-world examples, too.

What Does Science Say About Business Transparency?

So does being transparent really pay off?

Research seems to suggest… Yes.

Some research seems to suggest that people are even willing to pay more for your products and service when you’re transparent. But new research ( and ) agrees on 3 things.

Specifically, being transparent in your business has 3 positive effects:

  1. People are more likely to choose you over a competitor
  2. Customers are more likely to remain loyal
  3. Customers are more likely to recommend your business to others

However, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.

First, a by researchers from the University of Missouri found that for transparency to pay off, customers have to be made AWARE of the things other companies tend to hide.

In other words:

People need to be aware of what’s WRONG first. Then, you can show them that your way of doing business is the RIGHT way.

It makes sense, too. This way, being more transparent can help you set yourself apart from the competition.

What it means for you is…

You need to educate people about how business in your industry USUALLY works. Then, you can .

For example:

My friend made it a policy to ban people with credit-card debt from buying his premium products. Makes a lot of sense, when you’re in the personal finance niche, don’t you think?

This may have cost him some sales. But by making this policy public – and explaining the reasoning behind it – he gained more trust.

This is perfectly in line with what the research suggests. It’s not enough to do things differently. You need to tell people about it. You need to make this information EASY TO FIND. Your customers will thank you for it:

“Participants also wanted the information to be available conveniently, through different forms of advertisement rather than having to search for it actively.”

So, don’t make people search for important information. Put it on your website. Talk about it with customers. Share it on social media. And so on.

After all, that’s the whole point of being transparent.

The goal is to give people ALL the information they need. That way, they can make an educated purchase decision. This is also part of the reason .

But there’s another important factor:

You can’t fake it.

It’s one thing to SAY you’re being transparent and honest. It’s much more effective if you can PROVE IT.

How?

One way is to provide independent, unbiased information from a 3rd party. Think, “seal of approval.”

Or you can use testimonials – but be careful. .

Finally, another way to is to that fits your business and customer risks.

But let’s look at some real-world examples of “businesses transparency” done right.

Real-World Business Examples: How to Do Transparency Right

If you didn’t know, now you know:

People want transparency about everything in your business. They want to know about you, your products, and how you do business:

  • “What’s in your products?”
  • “Where did you source your materials?”
  • “How was it made?”

Clothing company is an example of a business that takes a radically transparent approach to answering those questions.

Take a look at their “Transparent Pricing” information:

Everlane's transparent pricing

Everlane’s transparent pricing

There are a few things to notice and learn from this.

First notice, how they lay out all the costs that go into manufacturing their clothes. From materials to labor to transport. Plus, they don’t hide the fact they’re running a business. But notice how they contrast their markup with traditional retail.

This is really well done – it also matches what the research suggests.

The only thing is…

Based on just this graphic, you kind of have to take their word for it.

So, here’s another example that fixes that problem.

Look how uses clinical studies to prove the effectiveness of their supplements:

Onnit clinical studies

Onnit clinical studies

Onnit is committed to demonstrating that supplements containing earth grown nutrients can improve human performance. With every ingredient we choose, we analyze all the scientific data to ensure we are creating the absolute safest and best formulations in the world.

Then we take it a step further. By testing our flagship formulas through rigorous clinical trial analysis with top academic institutions we seek to ensure that our formulas represent the pinnacle of human optimization. So far, we have had three successful trials in three attempts, the details of which are below.

This not just transparent – it’s smart. All the information is right there. Even for the most skeptical customers. This leaves little room for doubt, right?

Now…

What does all this mean for you?

First, let me tell you how I’m approaching transparency in my own business.

What Does Radical Transparency Mean for Your Business?

For a private company, radical transparency doesn’t mean you have to share EVERYTHING about your business.

For me it means TWO things:

  • I’ll continue to be 100% honest about . Even if I risk offending some people.
  • I want to of what it means to run an online business – and not just the highlight reel.

I believe radical transparency is the key. That’s why I committed to a daily vlog in 2018. If you want some fun AND valuable content about business, .

Here’s what I want to hear from you:

How transparent are you in your business right now?

Is there something you don’t want your customers to know? Ask yourself why.

But more importantly…

What can you do to be MORE transparent and set yourself apart from the competition? As you saw from the research, it’s not just the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.

Leave a comment and let me know.

[Use Cases] The GetResponse CRM: What’s New and What’s Next

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The missing piece of the marketing puzzle is here! We’ve just launched our CRM (customer relationship management) tool to give you greater insight and control – and more time for fun stuff.

We wanted to create a with the look, feel, and functionalities you want and need most. That’s why we made an easy to use version, and kept collecting your feedback.

And thanks to you, our CRM is now even more powerful. We’ve armed it with automatic deal conversion and a calendar.

Here’s how it’s going to work:

 

Update #1: Automatic deal conversion

All your lists that feed contacts to the CRM will now automatically convert them into deals at the stage you choose. Here’s an example of how it works:

Sajade is a wellness studio that already uses GetResponse. It decides to run a regular promo offering customers a free diet and fitness plan. To pinpoint prospects that might be interested, Sajade adds a signup form to a GetResponse landing page. When a prospect signs up, they’re put into a specific list: free_intake

Before, Sajade’s marketing manager had to manually monitor subscriptions and convert contacts in the CRM pipeline. Now she can simply enable automatic conversion, and all the contacts from the free_intake list will land in the right stage in the pipeline:

 

Convert contacts into deals

 

She clicks “next” and sets up the pipeline stage, adding extra information to create a deal profile:

 

Create deal profile

 

Here’s how Sajade’s pipeline looks once the automatic deal conversion is enabled:

 

Pipeline- automatic deal conversion

 

Sajade is now in full control, and can smoothly convert contacts into deals. And its manager Sandra can spend more time booking appointments and setting up tailored health plans. If she needs to stop the process at any time, she can simply click the contact icon under the stage name, and slide the status bar to the left.

Automatic conversion

Update #2: How to use the CRM Calendar

Planning and scheduling is important when it comes to business events. A well-conceived plan goes a long way in bringing positive results, while properly scheduled events can complement your planning. Entrepreneurs attend events for various reasons and also hold events of different types, like in-house seminars, networking events, dinner or lunch meetings, charity functions and fundraisers, webinars and customer training sessions, board meetings and monthly team meetings, product launch parties to create buzz, press conferences, trade shows, etc.

Having to keep track of all these in your notepad is definitely not a solution. Calendars are the right choice, showing you the list of events by day, week, and month. Marking your events and calls in a calendar helps you track upcoming events and scheduled calls. Most importantly, it gives you an idea of what’s lined up for the day and what your week is going to look like.

 

CRM Calendar

 

But how does that correspond with your business? Sandra, the owner of Sajade, has a very busy schedule: she’s the owner, the marketer, the sales manager, and the planner. She’s wearing every possible marketing hat you can while running a business.

The busier Sandra gets, the more important it is to stay organized. She’s excited about the new tool, because it helps her track and manage marketing tasks around her new customers. Every day Sandra gets to work, she checks her email, and logs in to her GetResponse account.

She’s ready to start the day with her marketing activities. As Sandra clicks on the task, she can see exactly what she needs to do in connection with a given prospect.

 

 

CRM Calendar Task

 

 

She also uses the CRM calendar as her daily productivity tool. Sandra uses her own pipeline to keep track on her operational tasks, like paying the bills and setting up maintenance tasks.

 

CRM Calendar- a productivity tool

 

While in the operations overview, Sandra sees what urgent tasks she can’t miss for the day. In the “all pipelines” view, she knows exactly what’s lined up till the end of the day.

 

All pipelines view

 

As you can see, CRM armed with the Calendar becomes not only a sales tracker, but also a very handy productivity tool, much needed by those of us who see themselves not only as marketers, but also as jacks of all trades.

 

Update #3 coming soon: Integration with marketing automation

I can’t wait for this one! We’re going fast in 2018, with a goal to fully integrate the CRM with . It’s going to help you reach a higher level of segmentation.

We’ll post updates on the  so keep an eye on that or sign up for our newsletter to stay informed.

 

Over to you

Are you eager to learn more about these new functionalities within our CRM feature? – it’s packed with practical tips, use cases, and it’s free!

Already a CRM pro? Take a look and let us know what you think of the new CRM features. Is there anything else you need to make it the ultimate CRM for your business? Comment below or to the CRM and use the Feedback Widget in your account.

 

The GetResponse CRM: What's New and What's Next

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How to Start a Blog in 2018: A Complete Guide to Success

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Last Updated February 13th, 2018 — Are you trying figure out how to start a blog and make it successful in 2018? I reckon I might be able to help you with that!

This article was first published four years ago and has since helped thousands of bloggers get started. It’s now constantly updated with the latest trends and information.

I first learned about blogging back in college when I was lucky enough to sell some blogs for 5-figures. Since then I’ve been so fortunate to work full time from my couch! I honestly don’t say this to brag, but just to show you how powerful this format can be for changing your career or revitalizing your existing business.

Today we’re going to look at the quickest set up and hosting, and then move on to some really detailed strategies and tips for how you can make sure your blog succeeds this year.

Let’s jump in!

 Disclosure and quick interruption – I started my first blog on and have now partnered with them to get you a big discount rate. If you make a purchase through any of the links on this post I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote things I use and love myself!

How to start a blog in 2018 — A quick overview

If you want to start a blog quickly here is without mucking around. Watch this video for some explanation.

Here’s a quick summary of the process if you’re short on time:

  1. Set some short and long term blogging goals.
  2. Get a domain name and blog host from (discounts included).
  3. Install WordPress as your free and powerful blogging platform.
  4. Add an opt-in form to start collecting email subscribers.
  5. Begin producing strategic content that helps people.

Now let’s go ahead and get into the stuff that is going to really help you learn how to start a blog and make it successful this year!

How to start a successful blog — 19 must-know tips and strategies for 2018

Time to get into the serious stuff.

Here are some of the most important things you’ll want to pay attention if you want to make this blogging thing work for you in 2018.

There are also some really great tips in the comments at the end so make sure you spend a bit of time looking around.

1. A self-hosted WordPress blog is still my favorite serious platform

Despite having a lot of cool stuff going on, I am still of the firm belief that blog hosts like Tumblr, Squarespace and even WordPress.com do not give you the control, ownership and customization options that you might need.

Start by getting your own and installing WordPress.org as your blogging platform. But, just in case, here’s a quick summary of some of the most popular places to start a blog right now:

I recommend for all new bloggers (get a Blog Tyrant special discount rate of $2.75 per month). It’s where I first got started as a blogger and is the chosen host for millions of bloggers around the world.

You can take a look at where we go through the setup process – step by step. It should take around five minutes to get completely set up!

As I’ve said before, the one prediction I have for people using a free blog host is that one day you will want to migrate it to your own host. And that can be a really annoying process. It’s much better to set yourself up the right way from the beginning.

2. Prioritize visual content (videos, graphics, photos, etc.) if you want to get shares

Learning is a really important skill to have. An even better skill is to know how to take them yourself.

Visual content has been growing for years and it appears to be speeding up, not slowing down. We now have retina display tablets and our smartphones are getting bigger. Social networking sites like are favoring images and videos over text – never mind sites like which are totally based around photos! If you’re not working with visual content yet it’s time to start.

tag a mate promotional style
(Just have a look how many shares and views these types of posts get on Facebook.)

It’s also vital to remember that YouTube is a search engine just like Google and we shouldn’t ignore it. If you create some simple video content to supplement your blog posts you will find that you attract a lot more views and, generally speaking, the stuff you make will appeal to a wider audience.

3. Growing a mailing list will protect your blog for the long term

Email is still the main form of Internet communication that most people use for work. And when someone subscribes to your blog they are giving you a direct line to their daily life.

If you want to make sure that your blog lasts for the long term you need to and then work hard to and keep that rate rising.

There’s no need to complicate the process either. Develop a valuable free giveaway that people get when they subscribe to your blog, and then add like the one we use here at Blog Tyrant. It converts really well.

how to start a blog free download

Growing a big mailing list will allow you to build traffic to new blog posts as well as promote any products or affiliates that you think will be useful to your readers. In that way, it is a very powerful way to make money.

But the main reason that you want to grow an email list is because you just can’t trust Google for traffic. And you can’t trust social networking sites that constantly change their policies. It’s only the mailing list that gives you a constant source of traffic, should something go wrong.

4. Learn how to analyze your competition to find big opportunities

When you first think about how to start a blog it’s also vital to think about the other blogs that already exist in that space. Are you going to be able to compete with them in any meaningful way?

Using a tool like or (aff) can help you analyze not only your own blog’s links and keywords, but those of your colleagues and competition.

analyse your blog competition when starting
(A screenshot of the steady growth of BlogTyrant.com’s back links over the years.)

A quick look around and you’ll be able to see what keywords people are targeting, how many back links they have for their main posts and where those back links are coming from.

This is invaluable information as it helps you decide whether or not you can compete in certain niches and keywords. If someone has links coming from , and then it is unlikely you’ll be able to outrank them in a hurry.

On the positive side, a quick search might show you where your competition is getting its links from and that can mean you can replicate them yourself or come up with your own similar promotional strategies. Clever!

5. Writing long content of at least 1,900 words works best

Long content has been working for years. One of the first posts I ever wrote on this site was several thousand words on which, thanks to it’s length as opposed to any particular quality, went viral and helped to kick start this blog.

I feel really fortunate to get that attention, but also kind of know that if I’d just written a little 500-word update on the topic nothing would have happened. The whole thing would have fizzled out. Unfortunately, that is what happens to a lot of bloggers.

Neil Patel has how well long content works for him and now even Google has launched an on their search results.

Forget about short little updates and start working on longer content that solves problems and provides so much value that people can’t help but share it with their friends. Here’s I made that might help you get started.

6. Spending a little money on advertising will skyrocket your success

For some reason, bloggers hate the idea of spending money on advertising. But if you look at the latest structure of Google, for example, you’ll notice how much of it is weighted towards ads. On my laptop they take up the whole screen before I scroll.

start a blog search on google

Spending a little bit of money promoting your best work can really make a difference. Here’s a small promo I’ve been running on Twitter lately:

The great thing about advertising on social networks like Facebook is that it’s low cost and there is a chance that people will share it of their own free will, once they’ve seen your advert.

Set aside $20 a week for a test and try to learn as much as you can about what gets shared, what your audience likes, where they are located, etc. This data can be super valuable for helping you decide what to write about next which, in turn, leads to more shares over time.

7. Making friends in your niche is essential as soon as you start

If you are going to start a new blog in 2018 it’s a good idea to start making connections with the big blogs and bloggers in your niche as soon as you can.

I’m not talking about spamming them with guest post requests either – I’m talking about making genuine friends that can support each other for the long term.

I can honestly say that without the support and mentoring of the bloggers in my niche, I would never have been able to hit any milestones along the way. It has all been thanks to their kindness and influence.

Start by finding the big players on and sharing their stuff. Mention it on your site and let them know about it. It’s a nice little introduction.

8. A deliberate blogging strategy is essential

Over the years blogging has become more and more scientific. Big companies have realized the value of blogs and other social networking sites and have been investing money to make sure they are get a good return on their spend.

One of the best ways to compete with this is to have that helps you write hyper-useful blog posts that genuinely help people in your niche.

Remember, a lot of people before they give it a chance to flourish – a long term set of goals matched to a strategy will help you avoid that.

9. Put mobile devices first when starting a new blog

Mobiles and tablets are now a primary source of web traffic the world over.

If your theme doesn’t respond well to the smaller mobile screens (use to test) there is a good chance you will be losing valuable traffic as people click away to find something easier to navigate.

mobile responsive blog

Google has even from mobile searches in order to provide a better experience for their customers. Make sure you are thinking about your mobile users at every turn.

10. Outsourcing can make your blog better in less time

Ever since I chatted to on Skype last year I’ve been more and more looking to outsourcing as a way to get things done. There are a few reasons as to why this will be even more important in 2018.

When you you create more content which frees up time for you to focus on the tasks that really grow your blog.

Secondly, it gives work to someone who really needs it and, hopefully, is a lot better at that task than you are.

11. Be careful about how blogging affects your health

The science is in.

Sitting still for long periods of time is than first thought. In fact, researchers are now showing that sitting still can lead to early death as well as a whole host of bad diseases.

The bad news is that going for a run or to the gym at the end of the day does not undo the damage. This means we need to start moving regularly, working while standing up and taking regular short breaks to stretch the muscles and get the blood flowing.

Try to schedule these in and use a timer that goes off every 30 minutes to remind you to move around and let your eyes, brain and muscles have a rest for blogging.

12. Make your new blog’s security a priority

Internet security is already a major issue. Companies, small businesses and organizations all around the world are falling prey to nasty intruders on an increased basis.

So what can you do?

  • Enable SSL on your domain
    It’s important to have a secure HTTPS domain name for your blog. We have on how you can get it set up without too much trouble.
  • Keep backups
    Try to keep backups of your websites, blogs and important documents both on and offline. There are many to help you do this.
  • Use a good security plugin
    I’m no expert on this but there are several security plugins and services around like and . These can help lock-down your blog.
  • Follow basic security procedures
    Basic like avoiding public WiFi, not clicking unknown links in emails, having different and complex passwords, keeping software and plugins up to date, etc. go a very long way.
  • Research regularly
    Here’s on the topic. Try to keep up to date with the trends as they change.

There is no need to be stressed about this issue, but it’s important to take step to make sure that you are protected from any bad stuff in 2018.

13. Finding a way to stand out from the crowd is really important

As more and more people start blogs we need to focus how to make ours stand out so as to create some point of difference that our readers can come to enjoy.

It’s not really necessary to be the first in your niche, but you do have to do something that is memorable and distinctive so that your blog gets remembered.

how to start a blog that stands out

This might be as simple as injecting your own personal story in to your content, or it might be the development of a more consistent and focused brand that is aimed at a very targeted portion of your niche. Have a look how Nerd Fitness made a fitness blog that is just for geeks as the perfect example.

When you first thing about how to start a blog, just spend some time looking at your competitors and see what they are doing and how you might be able to solve problems in a new, exciting way.

14. Diversification of income is important in the long term

This is another one of those tips that have been around for a while but become more and more relevant with every passing year. If you start a blog in 2018 you should to change. That can be a really scary thing if you aren’t prepared.

For example, if you rely on Google AdWords from organic search traffic and your blog suddenly gets pinged in some update you might wind up with zero income for a while. The same goes with an affiliate product that you might be promoting with natural traffic vs paid traffic. That can dry up in an instant.

Try to think about so that you aren’t up the creek should one dry up. The best bet is a strong mailing list that you can use to launch your own products and affiliate promotions.

15. Buying blogs is always an option instead of starting one

is already killing it. But this year I think they will kill it even more (not sure what that means) because more and more people are to skip the initial stages of a blog’s life.

You see, when you first start a blog you have to do a lot of groundwork that takes time. Research, pillar articles, networking, logo creation, social media accounts set up, etc. It is a very time consuming process.

So what I’ve noticed is that a lot of people are skipping all this and buying blogs that are already pretty well established. I saw a four-month-old blog sell for $120,000 the other day.

This is not a bad strategy if you want to get straight in to things and you have a few thousand to spare. There is, however, a LOT to consider before you buy a blog so please do not rush into it. If you’d like to learn more about this idea please leave a comment and I’ll consider doing an article on it.

16. You’ll need to start planning for next year

I’ve always tried to emphasize the idea that you need to have short term and long term projects on the go.

It’s a terrible feeling being a self-employed and realizing that you’ve spent so much time working on a long term project that you have no short term money coming in to pay the bills.

Similarly, it’s an even worse feeling realizing that you spent so much time working on paying the bills that you’ve forgotten to launch those long term projects that are your main source of passion/interest.

So one thing I wanted to tell you about blogging this year is that you really want to start thinking about blogging in the next year. That means planning, researching and developing ideas now instead of later.

Keep working on the short term stuff but make sure your long term stuff still happens.

17. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will need attention

If you want to get you will need to stay on top of the changing SEO trends that happen every year.

Something I’ve been noticing is that is changing, but only in some ways. It’s almost like a car in that the design, colors and minor features change each year but the core remains the same. In this case the core is back links and the features are things like freshness, authorship, mobile-friendliness and so on.

The best ranking sites are still the ones with back links. I was going to write “the BEST back links” but decided against it as there are a bunch of blogs in my niche that rank with a huge volume of crappy back links, which is sad.

back links
A screenshot of a blog that got 70,000 back links in two months. Legit?

The key here is to know your your niche. If you have a niche where the rankings are dominated by fresh results then you need to start working on getting fresh content, and so on.

The major thing to remember here, however, is that we will see more competition for organic links because more and more people are moving away from the old “link building” methods of the past in favor of a “quality content” approach to to SEO that sites like . tell us to follow.

The best way to “do” SEO is to make amazing stuff, promote it, and let the links and shares come naturally without any form of manipulation.

18. Tumblr and Medium can teach us things

At the very top of this blog post on the things you need to know to start a blog I mentioned that I still think a self-hosted WordPress blog is the best bet for serious, professional bloggers. Well, that doesn’t mean that we should totally ignore the other platforms.

I’m not saying that you need to go out and sign up for everything else right now, but I am saying that we should learn a few things from and which are innovative, sexy and coming up with some really big wins.

Take the Tumblr “Follow” button that slides out of the right hand corner as you scroll down the page. That feature is very hard to ignore and has played a big part in Tumblr being so “viral” among users of that platform. It has since been copied by a lot of non-Tumblr bloggers who have found it converts quite well.

One of the main lessons I think these new platforms are teaching us is that people want simplicity. Simplicity of design and layout, and simplicity of subscription and updates.

I’m going to be keeping an eye on these types of blogs in 2018 to see what they do to get even bigger. I might even muck around with a few to see if I can adopt any features over here.

19. Don’t try to be perfect when you start a blog

I have a tendency to want things to be perfect – launch dates, syncing of projects, image design, article structure, etc. – and that has resulted in a lot of lost opportunities for me.

Instead of getting things out there I’m mucking around behind the scenes on issues that only I care about. So, my mantra is going to be something like this:

Don’t spend 95% of your time tweaking the last 5% of your projects. – .

I’m sure a lot of people will argue that it is that 5% that makes the difference but I’m not so sure anymore. Be prepared to see a lot more stuff from me this year and expect it to be only half-polished.

What else do you need to know to start a blog?

I’d really like to know what you guys think about how to start (or run!) a blog this year. Do you think there will be any big changes? Do you disagree with any of the points I’ve made above?

Please leave a comment below as I’d really love to hear what amazing ideas you have!

Top photo ©

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