Monthly Archives: August 2010

An ode to good parents

…I think I have a pretty good life….and there’s two people I primarily owe that ALL to:

My parents.

I had a great childhood because of them.

I was taught I could pretty much do anything.

My parents never forced choices on me like a lot of my other friends’ parents.

They were unbelievably fair with me.

They were never overbearing.

They always had their own lives and didn’t make me and my brother the center of their whole universe.

I grew up in an extremely loving relationship.

They always have fun with everything they do.

When I was younger talking amongst friends, I would hear, “OMG I never wanna be like my parents”.  I told everyone the opposite.  I DO want to be like them!

Warren Buffet always attests much of his success to being born into a winning hand of the “The Ovarian Lottery” because he was born at a certain time, to great parents in a nation that rewards hard work and innovation.

I feel I got the same :-)
Love you mom & dad (I know you read this)!

Accountability

I’m trying to brainstorm ways of keeping myself accountable…(or others for that matter).

I’m in the slightly unique situation of not having to answer to anybody. This means I have no boss or anyone who will yell at me if something doesn’t get done.  If I have a bad month in terms of how much money I made, it’s literally 100% my fault. I also don’t have people which depend on me getting certain things done.

I analyzed some situations where things get done, even when you’re lazy about them:

  • In school, if I didn’t finish my homework I’d get a bad grade.
  • In a company, if you don’t finish certain things you can get fired.
  • In a company, you might have people who depend on what you’re doing, so if you don’t finish, they get mad at you.

These are all great reasons to get something done before the deadline even if you don’t want to.

So each of these has a:

  1. Task that needs to get done.
  2. Someone expecting or dependent on the task getting done.
  3. A negative consequence that happens if you DON’T finish.

I make monthly goals all the time, but I realized until I decided to blog everyday there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY for each of my goals (you may recall I openly set that goal with NevBlog readers, and in addition set a negative consequence if it doesn’t happen).  So that goal has all the elements of a task that WILL GET DONE.  But what about the others?

So I’m brainstorming some ways that I can get all my goals done:

  • Posting each goal on this blog (but what if it’s something I don’t want to be public)?
  • Get a Business Coach to discuss each goal and call me about its progress and due date (kind of like the accountability MyBodyTutor gave me for the 6-Pack Experiment which worked BEAUTIFULLY).
  • I could set a negative consequence for each goal, but it’s missing the #2 part of the formula (someone expecting or dependent on the task).

Hmmm…..so it looks like the best way is to have some sort of business coach that I speak to several times a month that keeps me accountable.

Has anyone found some great ways of keeping their goals and ALWAYS getting them done?

Alpha State of Mind

Somewhere in my adventures in reading random books at the library I came across this little trick:

Getting into a hypnotic-like, Alpha state of mind.

The steps were:

  1. Wake up in the morning.
  2. Quickly go to bathroom if needed.
  3. Immediately get back into bed.
  4. Lay down, close eyes, and slowly count down backwards from 100 to zero (2 seconds between each number).
  5. BAM! You’re in the “alpha state”!

It seemed like a pretty easy process and was worth a try…just for fun.

I gave it a try the next morning, and the damndest thing happened….IT WORKED!!

After an almost excruciatingly long count down from 100, I realized that (and yes, this sounds a little weird), that I was kind of having a conversation with myself…in my head.  It was like I could ask a question to myself and get a very quick, non-censored answer instantly from my subconscious.

Wow…that sounds like I’m on drugs!

I do it every once-in-a-while, and it’s actually been a pretty useful tool for helping me sort out my day before I officially wake up.  I can also “ask myself” a question about a problem I’ve been having, and the mind generally spits out the answer you already know is right…but might not want to admit.

How to get published on anything

Back in college, to write for The Daily Texan (#1 college newspaper in the country) you had to:

  • Generally be in certain classes
  • Apply for the job
  • Go through interviews
  • Submit writing samples
  • Be a “staff” writer for a year
  • Get promoted up to a writer

I wanted to publish some business-related stuff in the newspaper, and  all that BS above seemed useless and time consuming.

Figuring that EVERYONE who applies says, “I want to write for you guys”, I tried the opposite (kind of like this mentality).

Before I ever talked to ANYONE at the organization, I went ahead and actually wrote out three full, quality articles. I even went out and got quotes from experts and copied the typical newspaper-story format.

I then printed out four copies of each news story and brought them along with me for my very first talk with someone at the newspaper.

I literally walked into the office and asked, “Who do I speak to about publishing something, I’ve got articles ready to go.”  The person in the office was a little intrigued that I had ALREADY written the articles BEFORE I’d even made an arrangement and took a quick glance at them.  Deciding they were decent enough, he walked me over to the “Special Features” editor and told him I had three good articles ready to go.

Now a newspaper has to pump out quality content every day, that’s hard, and I somehow KNEW they would accept my articles quickly, but I didn’t realize HOW quickly!  They asked me to come in later for an editing session….me and editor sat down for two hours brooding over every sentence (a process I didn’t really like), and the 1st article was ready for print that week!

BAM…I was a published newspaper writer in two days :-)

The next several articles were the same story.  Editing session –> publish.

Some good advice Linda?

Sweat Proof Undershirts?

I’m rummaging through my old Gmail records looking for traces of “Silverback Apparel” and found several emails dating back to 2007 and 2008.

The next instance was pretty recent, when Jonathan Oullet contacted me saying I kind of helped inspire him to start a company.

However I’d like to tell you another quick story before we proceed (don’t worry, it all goes together):

My Downtown roommate kept talking about manufacturer high end and sweat proof undershirts as a business….and I immediately raised a crooked eyebrow at the idea.  However he CONSTANTLY talked about it and researched getting shirts made with silver thread (or something like that) which reduces bacteria, smells, sweat etc etc…and even “double fabric armpits” and all sorts of odd features.  (This is seriously a true story).

So one day I sat down with him and did some quick competitive research (aka I Google’d it). We came across very few places that had anything like he wanted to make, except one: Silverback Apparel.  It was kind of an “Awww-shit” moment for my roommate who realized someone had beat him to the punch.

Nevertheless he was glad such a product existed and wanted to buy some.

I still thought anyone so interested in sweat-proof undershirts was INSANE.

Annnnyyywaaysss….

About one week after we realized some guy had already made these shirts, Jonathan Oullet left some comments on NevBlog  and contacted me via email about his company I “partially” inspired…SILVERBACK APPAREL!  He designed and manufactured these super-high-end undershirts and was selling them to really high end stores.

I was flabbergasted I had TWO nutjobs in my life that were obsessed with sweat proof undershirts!  <— awww…link love.

A few emails later and Jonathan sent me some samples of these undershirts.  I honestly didn’t think I’d be impressed.

I WAS WRONG!!

I’m LOVING THESE SHIRTS!  You see, I live in Austin, TX. and it’s hot as hell during the summer.  On some days, even just walking around my back tends to sweat through my shirt.  In fact I don’t wear colors like blue so I don’t get massive sweat stains all over my shirt.

The first time I wore one of these undershirts, I just wore it around as a t-shirt to do errands.  I got in my car (which had been parked in the blazing sun) the whole day and did all my errands.  I noticed something weird: My back wasn’t sweating like it normally does.  My (under)shirt also didn’t feel dirty like most shirts do after walking around on a hot day.

Maybe all the bamboo and silver thread the shirt was made of actually worked?  I also noticed the armpits were double-fabric, as well as the entire back of the shirt (so even when I did sweat I couldn’t feel it AT ALL on the back of the shirt)!  I didn’t realize at first how many “extra features” this shirt had.  It also just felt really damn comfortable.  I also would brag to friends, “I’m wearing a $60 undershirt!”  ($50 plus shipping for the high end stuff).

This post wasn’t a paid post, I just genuinely like the product Jonathan created.

This is why I risk posting biz information on this blog even though some people might copy it.  I think it’s hella cool he got at least SOME inspiration to start a business from me.  Kind of makes me feel all warm inside (but NOT sweaty!) <–wow…that was a lame joke.

Doing Handstands with Tim Ferris

I don’t consider Tim Ferris a HUGE celebrity like Elton John or Lance Armstrong, but I do consider him a big celebrity in certain circles.

Most of the people I know have heard of Tim Ferris, or at least occasionally read his blog….and if they’re even semi-nerds, they DEFINITELY know him.

Ok, typing this is boring, I’m jumping to the pen:




It was actually pretty fascinating to hear him talk about his quick rise to fame…and how it was no accident.  He used a lot of VERY CLEVER and untraditional ways to get his book out there…and it’s amazing how well it worked.

I have a new found respect for him.

It was also  very cool that some very high up people at the conference during their speeches said how The Four Hour Work Week changed their lives! I previously thought the book was meant for not-very-big-time people…but I was very wrong.

How to get a job fast

I 100% accredit this notion to Earl Nightingale.  I heard this on his Direct Line series of tapes.  If you don’t know who Earl Nightingale is, do yourself a favor and AT LEAST do a YouTube search on him.

He tells a story (and I’m paraphrasing here):

During the Great Depression, there was an over abundance of people going around to businesses “asking for jobs.”  They’d literally go up to a place of business and ask if they had an positions available.  No one was hiring.

Well I had a friend, who during the most severe economic crisis in American history, got a great job and prospered.

Why did HE get a job while MILLIONS could not?

The millions who could not find employment remind me of the story of the man who told the stove, “Give me heat, THEN I’ll add wood.”

My friend took the opposite approach:

First, he sat down and decided what type of work would be agreeable to him.  Something that at least moderately interested him.

Next, he learned ALL HE COULD about that business.  He devoured books from the library on the subject, took notes, read articles, asked question to people already in the business, read trade magazines and EVERYTHING HE COULD FIND about his prospective job.

Next, he made a list of the places he wanted to work, and he did something VERY DIFFERENT from the millions of others:

He went to the business and asked to speak to the manager/owner and said, “I believe I know quite a few ways I can improve your business very quickly….and quite significantly” Right away the managers were interested and he got hired almost immediately!

You see, businesses ALWAYS have a position available for someone who can increase their profits or add tremendous value.  They DON’T always have positions for someone just looking for a handout.

By simply doing a few weeks of research, my friend was FAR ahead of millions of potential job applicants.

This reminds me of a A LOT of people right now….they’re simply looking for jobs.  However if they simply took some time and effort to learn more about a particular industry, they could easily see how to add TONS of value.

Harvard MBA applying for a job?  WHO CARES.
What can you do for me?  That’s what matters.

Even for my own business HouseOfRave, I’m not hiring.  However if someone came up to me and said, “For $5,000 I can almost guarantee your profit will go up by $10,000/month…”

…do you think I’d say no?

I’m feeling adventurous

I’m doing something right now that might be really fucking stupid:

I’m going to publicly name something I don’t like.

I’m going to publicly denounce something that might be totally my fault.

I’m also going to say something that MIGHT be better just left unsaid.

Posting something like this has been on my mind for a long time, but I think it’s sudden re-emergence is a combination of being a little ballsy from having to blog everyday, and re-reading a fantastic post Adam McFarland wrote.  <– Go read that and the comments.


Let me jump right in then explain (before I start getting rational and cancel this post):

There are two companies I do not like.  One is called RaveWorx.com and another is RaveHaven.com.

These companies were both started because of me. Not BY me….but because of me.

I love to share information to some extent.  I enjoy it because it gives me something to do, and in the process it often helps people.  So a while ago I created a six part series about how a business I created called HouseOfRave works.

Now there’ve been MANY clones of HouseOfRave, but most of them never get fully setup.


RaveWorx.com:

This was started by a guy named Karl Weinmeister who lives in Austin, TX. (which is funny because I live here too).  A few years ago I saw this “rave products” website sprout up (nothing wrong with a little competition)…but a little research showed that the same Karl Weinmeister who owned the website WAS ALSO A VISITOR TO MY BLOG.

Innntteerresstting  ::strokes beard::

I dug a little deeper and noticed he’d been involved on NevBlog through the comments and through direct email correspondence with me (he asked questions about how I setup my drop shipping business).  Now he “all of a sudden” had the exact same type of business.

I rang up Karl (someone I’d never directly spoken to) and told him over the phone, “Hi, this is Neville.”  He was stunned…but knew exactly who I was.

We met up for dinner a few times and talked.  At least if I have a competitor I’d rather be on good terms with him.

I was glad my post had helped fuel Karl’s foray into starting his own business…but flat out copying my model…not cool in my book.
Did he do anything illegal? Technically no.  I freely posted all that information out there for free.

RaveHaven.com:
A guy named Haroon Saleemi (who also was a reader of my blog and asked questions through the comments) popped up with a website called RaveHaven.com one day.  I dug around and found out he had a blog.  His blog was documenting him starting some businesses.

His 1st business: RaveHaven.com = Based off my HouseOfRave.com

His 2nd business: PartyRhino.com = Based off my BodyMonkey.com

It was almost HILARIOUS to read his blog posts about “How he came up with selling rave products online” without mentioning me.  After I left a few comments on his website, he stopped blogging.

When I called Tarun, he pretended he didn’t know who I was, but quickly dropped that charade.  He then said, “Well, you shouldn’t post what you do online.” Maybe he was right. Perhaps I should just hoard all my useful information to myself?

Anyhow, he was moderately cooperative with me (although not as much as Karl).  I made it very clear that he was not to use any of my original photos or videos or copy.  To his credit, I’ve never seen DIRECT rip offs of my site….although there has been been VERY obvious “renaming” of his products to reflect mine, and he once did a re-design of his website that used the HouseOfRave slogan “Light Up Your Night”.  I called him about it…and to his credit, he changed it right away.

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Whether it’s rational or not….those are some people that kind of ruined blogging for me.  There have been a BUUUNCCH of HouseOfRave copycats….and probably the ones I should be most worried about I’m not naming.
While I’m being all honest here, I may as well try to list my subconcious fears of some of these copycat businesses:

  • I probably fear them a little
  • I don’t want them to make them more motivated to improve their businesses
  • I don’t want to reveal any big secrets of mine that have improved sales
  • I don’t want to reveal time-sensitive secrets that give me a competitive advantage

Here’s a little excerpt from a comment I left on Adam’s post that inspired this post:

I admit I put up a guide which essentially shows you step by step how I built House Of Rave….however it’s meant as a LEARNING tool, not as a “How to copy me” series. The VAST majority of people who email me about that love the post because it inspired them, and they went on to create a similar MODEL businesses, but in a totally different industry. That’s FANTASTIC that a small series of posts I did helped someone start a new chapter of their entrepreneurial life.

August 2010 Goals

Have you set your goals for this month yet? I made mine on the 1st:

I also like to take a picture of these goals and make them the wallpaper on my iPhone, so when I’m not in the office, I can look at them and think, “Is what I’m doing RIGHT NOW helping these get accomplished?

In order, I wrote:

HoR conversion rate to 1%

  • This makes me more money
  • It involves many, many, many small little tweaks to the website.

Blog once per day on NevBlog

  • This is in an effort to improve my consistency and writing.
  • I think blogging everyday helps me “find my voice”….it’s hard to write EVERYDAY in a voice that isn’t mine.
  • If I don’t accomplish this goal, I made a resolution to donate $300 to a particular homeless shelter.  That’s a BAD thing for me since I hate that homeless shelter’s location.  (Damn…I just realized what a gigantic asshole I must be.  I’m making myself donate money to a homeless shelter as a PUNISHMENT)!  Oh well…whatever works for each person.
  • It’s also kind of fun and gives me an excuse to sometimes write posts with little substance (no jokes please).
  • It will force me to pre-write posts in advance for days that I am travelling and will get little/no time to write.

NB Redesign

  • I really hate the way NevBlog.com looks after I was forced to move from Blogger to WordPress.  I can barely read it.
  • I want a theme similar to my old Blogger layout…it was simple, ugly, but functional.
  • I have in mind what I want, but couldn’t find a free theme like it, so I’ll get it custom developed.

NB 7 auto responder sequence

  • Whenever someone signs up for the NevBlog email updates, it starts off an auto responder sequence that emails them once a week with a cool blog post (in email format)….
  • …however there’s only one email in that sequence right now.  I want 7 more (formatting them is kind of a bitch).

In the future, I might associate a punishment and reward for each goal.  In school, it was simple:
You didn’t do it, you failed.
If you did well on it, you got a good grade.

I currently don’t have that accountability for all of these.

Yea…I’m Vain

…and therefore I occasionally search Google/Twitter for mentions of moi.

It’s always awesome when someone you really respect says something nice about you :-)

His link referenced this.