I’ve built online communities 4x and it gets easier each time. Probably, because some of you have been reading me for 20+ years.
KNOW YOUR WHY – most the advice I see is about ramping up follows and seeking to convert attention to cash.
Pay attention and you might find that cash-for-attention isn’t what you seek.
Know your goal and write it down – if you’re successful then the crowd will nudge you in unexpected ways.
Establish Expert Credentials – doing 100s of case studies in public will let you “get your story straight” and build a network of successful students who’ve applied your best advice.
Where this gets really exciting is when you see someone take your lessons and improve upon them. My current project of getting-back-in-shape is using techniques taught to me by coaches who studied my approach. Cool!
Connect/Engage – I live in a narrow niche and have a set of values outside the norm. Toss me on Twitter and there are a million like-minded folks. I get a kick out of engaging from Finland to Switzerland to Brazil.
Take time to unsubscribe from vibes you don’t want.
My feed is positive and WAY better than reading the news.
MUTE AND MOVE ON
A fact of the internet => Yahoo-encounters scale faster than reach
I recommend a one strike and you’re out policy.
It’s never been easier to mute and move on.
My “why” does not require helping everyone, being universally liked or getting wrapped up in drama.
PICK A TOPIC YOU KNOW WELL
Lots of people know more than me, nobody knows my story better than me
…and it’s an interesting story because I…
DO INTERESTING STUFF THEN WRITE ABOUT IT
Taking a leave of absence, qualifying for World Champs and winning Ultraman Hawaii…
Being absolutely miserable then figuring out a way to get better…
Handing back a Private Equity partnership because I wanted to live an outdoor life…
Changing myself so I could attract a wonderful woman…
Learning to be an expert skier, late in life…
Write a book, then another…
Going from the couch to running a 35-minute 10K…
Giving comfort to the dying…
Be willing to fail – failure makes for great copy.
…and if you don’t fail… even better copy!
Ten years ago, I didn’t know my kids. So glad I made a choice towards family. We only get one chance to know a kid then they’re grown up.
Before I had my kids, I had my team.
Before my team, my readers.
Before my readers, fellow athletes trying to figure out sport.
While you are doing work… leverage yourself. Create systems to capture your best ideas – it might be as simple as a bedside notebook and a Notes App.
Pay attention to everyone who responds positively to your message.
Dial down those with a negative bias – this is very tough with the rich & famous – you do not want to “catch” a negative bias.
DO IT EVERY DAY
Pick one format/platform: blog, Twitter, forum, FB/IG, video… set yourself a schedule and do it every day.
13 cycles of my Content Week was enough to add 1,000 people to my network.
Further, by staying positive, I like ALL these people!
Make sure you like the world you create
Most simply, because the author doesn’t get to choose what interests the reader.
Capture what interests people (One Page PDFs)
Reinforce your best ideas (Copy & Paste Links)
Spend time improving your best stuff
Finally, there is no goal
The reward is in the work, improve the world one interaction at a time.
Teach your kids their financial lives will be about no more than a dozen choices.
Here are mine:
Study finance (class of 1990)
Save 50% of my take home (1990-2007)
Partners investment scheme (late 90s, all in then, equivalent of 1 yr spending now)
Work to build a startup (2000)
Sell into the frenzy (2005-2007)
Move into a low-cost Vanguard portfolio (2008 onwards)
Boulder real estate (2010 & 2012))
Borrow long at 3.25% (2013)
Debt free (2007 & 2020)
Have kids with a kind woman from a humble background (on going)
Every other choice turned out to be noise. What to do?
Focus on actions, not outcome.
What does that really mean?
Do what moves you forward and have faith. Sport, marriage, money, all things… daily action is the fundamental force moving you towards “better.”
Education matters => I was given a chance in Private Equity because I had high marks in a useful field. Between my high school graduation (1986) and my youngest’s (2031) the nature of “useful” will have changed. However, the need for skilled people to “do” will endure.
The most useful part of my degree wasn’t finance! It was financial accounting, programming and mathematics => I learned fundamental knowledge in college. I learned my profession on-the-job. You learn the valuable part by doing work, for the best people you can find.
This keeps popping up over and over again (professors, partners, coaches, mentors, twitter follows). At 53, I’m learning from people less than half my age! Do work to learn.
Avoid Ruin => studying, then working in, financial accounting helps you learn when a situation doesn’t feel right. Embezzlement is an old game and it’s useful to learn the patterns. Financial fraud happens, and will continue to happen. Take steps to reduce your family’s exposure to ruin.
With the accounting, I learned the most with 9 credits spread across three courses. Financial Accounting 1, 2 and 3. Small investment, huge return. Do it when you’re young. Being forced to rely on others to do your financial math is a disadvantage that will cost you.
Let’s pull it together for you…
Starting your working life (in a useful field, with your financial accounting courses done)…
Let’s cast our minds back to my 30-something self.
He’s bought a house in Christchurch, covered his taxes/utilities by giving a room to his property manager and has the ability to live free by renting out additional rooms.
Create a base of operations where you can live for free
Next up, he needs to figure out what sort of work to do and how to cover his cost of living.
A dozen triathlon coaching relationships (US$250) per month was what it took to cover basics. Those relationships were worth more than money. The relationships made his lifestyle sustainable.
Basic client filtering over time.
Which relationships to strengthen and retain? Green light client rating – immediate response, has all personal contact details. Travel to them.
Invert, which relationships are a source of distraction and drain energy? Red light client rating – still high service level, hand-off to a better fit at a natural breakpoint (end of season, end of project).
Move on to…
Next level client selection because => there is a limited number of close relationships we can sustain
These are areas I was able to study, from world-class experts, while covering my core cost of living.
Put another way, there are millions of interesting people out there. A consultant needs 5-12 relationships for a viable business. Craft those relationships with intent because your time is worth more than someone’s ability to pay.
Wise client selection is a game of getting paid to learn.
…but you gotta be lifestyle sustainable. So get that first!
Where do I want to visit?
Back in 2000, Christchurch NZ was cheap for a reason. It was far off the beaten path!
A material slice of my cost of living was international travel (airfares & hotels). I really enjoyed this aspect of my life.
I’m not alone. A key form of marketing is the ability to offer clients/investors the ability to travel to nice places. Most large companies have advisory boards, with a membership consisting of their key relationships. The advisory board has the perks of being a director, with none of the fiduciary risk.
I’ve had gigs in: Aspen, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Scotland, LA, Italy, London, Dubai, Paris, Cannes, Hawaii…
So, where do YOU want to go? Find that client, help them achieve their goals and undercharge them.
Rich folks love random acts of financial kindness. They’re always expected to pick up the tab, so paying for coffee/breakfast is a high-return investment.
A long term value added relationship with someone in a place you enjoy visiting – it’s worth more than whatever your financial deal is.
Invert (again) => don’t take work from a location you don’t want to visit. At any price.
One of my gigs came with an around-the-world ticket every six months. With a bit of planning, that covered an entire year’s worth of air travel. Another slice of my budget, covered.