Monthly Archives: February 2014

It feels good to be getting stuff done recently!

DAMN it feels good to be getting stuff done recently!!

I’m not saying I’m working a lot more than normal, but I’ve been gaining “momentum” once again (I scheduled my 2013 too lax, and barely got anything done).

There are literally days when I work at home and watch YouTube and read Digg the ENTIRE….ENTIRE….ENTIRE DAY.

It almost amazes me how I can waste that much time.
It’s almost…….impressive!

Anyhow, here’s some things I’ve done this year that have helped me get my mojo back, perhaps you can pick some lessons (my favorite is the last one):

1.) I took a Thailand Workcation.  
This was mixture of play and work.  But the main objective was:


“Do work, by a beach”.  

That was the motto of the trip:

2.) Scheduling creative writing times with other bloggers/entrepreneurs.  
Simply being around other people who are working towards similar things really helps.  On some Wednesdays I invite a couple people over to have “Creative Writing Time”.  The rules are you have to be WRITING something:

Here’s me, Noah Kagan, and Ryan Holiday in a pool (even thought it’s 50 degrees outside):

3.) Keeping accountable with other entrepreneur peeps.
My friend Billy from Forever Jobless and I are meeting with a select group of people every month, and the lessons learned are awesome.  It almost makes you wanna do a lot of stuff before each call.

4.) Co-working when I’m not being productive.  
Simply working around another person makes me more productive.  I dunno why, but it sure works!  I just call people up and see if they want to work.

5.) I put up a giant mirror in front of my workspace.  
Instead of a guitar sitting right there, I now see my monthly/quarterly goals staring me in the face.  Sure kicks me back into gear.

6.) Using Self Control App.
But I think one of my FAVORITE new things I’ve tried, is nuking the time-wasting sites I use.  I do this using Self-Control App.

I added a blacklist of: Digg.com, CNN.com, Facebook.com, and Reddit.com.

When I click the “start” button on SelfControlApp, I can no longer access those sites for a certain amount of time (I’ll generally put it for 5 hours).

However I can still access Gmail, Google Docs, Aweber and all the other useful things I use online:

So….. 
If you haven’t been all that productive lately, at least one of these might help push you in the right direction!

Have a happy Thursday :)
Neville – A very lazy man

P.S.  Oddly enough this Wednesday I spent from 7am till 7pm fiddling around with WordPress stuff.  I actually had a lot of fun doing it!

It reminded me of college when I took computer science classes (which I got kicked out of the first year) and would sit at a coffee shop with headphones in and work on my laptop till 6am.

It’s weird how THAT sounds fun to me!
#letsgetnerdy

Thailand workcation

Beautiful beaches….
Sunshine……
Perfect weather……..
“What’s the password to the wifi?!”

That’s how most of this trip I took with Noah went.

We took a two week “workcation” to Thailand.  Basically the idea was: Sit on a beach, do work.  

I’ve done it before and it’s a great way to work!

The only problem is you have to go with people who are ALSO under the impression they’re going on the trip mainly to work.  Otherwise they’ll drag you into traveling around all day (total 1st world problem).

Here was our trip Itinerary:

  • Flew from Austin to Houston to Japan (had AWESOME sushi), then into Bangkok for two days.
  • Took flight into Ko Samui and ended up staying there for a night (I loved the vibe of that island).
  • Took a ferry ride into Ko Tao, it was a backpacker kind of town.  Did some awesome scuba diving there (apparently it’s famous for that).
  • Took a long boat ride + bus to Krabi to hang out with Edmund (who we met through AppSumo).
  • We got setup with scooters, a secluded beach resort, a bungalow on the beach, and all the food & drinks we could order (all for $93 for 3 nights for BOTH people)!!  This part of the trip was so awesome.
  • Flew back to Bangkok for a few days.
  • (I’ll elaborate more with recommendations later when I’m not half-delirious writing this).

So anyhow, here’s a summary of the trip in pictures:

The first day on the beach on the Ko Samui island I made my goals so I could clearly work on a set number of things and not get too distracted:
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In Bangkok we totally randomly met up with Nomadic Matt.  In case you don’t know Matt’s site, he travels around the world and gives advice on where to eat/stay/travel.  In fact, every time I researched an island to stay on, I would Google the island with his website after it in order to get his recommendations, like:  “Ko Tao Nomadic Matt”.

Here’s Me, Matt, and Noah having a beer in a very westernized area of Bangkok:
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Thassalotaflights!  Something like 32 hours of travel time each way:
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We were greeted by a hologram in Japan:
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There were lots of stray dogs I played with…..good thing I’m fully vaccinated against rabies!
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Relaxing on Koh San Road (where all the backpackers hangout), waiting to get my foot massage:
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Know those “riots” going on in Bangkok?  We went to them, and they were very very peaceful.  It was more like a market or festival than a “riot”:
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To avoid the jet lag getting me the first night, I downed a couple of these “real” Red Bulls.  They’ve got some kick to them!
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ASIAN FOOD EVERYWHERE:thailand

 

This was us at 5:30am catching the SuperBowl at a nice hotel in Bangkok that had the game playing.  It was full of Americans (the very few other Americans we saw on the entire trip):
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Noah working diligently during the SuperBowl:
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Drinking custom-made fruit smoothies for about a dollar a piece:
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One of the “rioters” :-P
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Meow meow meow:
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Coconuts…..my FAVORITE:
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Ordering food on the beach while working in perfect weather:
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I REALLLLLLYYYY liked the vibe of Ko Samui.  Next I come to Thailand I’m going back.  It was touristy enough to where there were a lot of nice hotels and restaurants and things to do, but NOT so touristy it ruined the mood.  The water was so perfect and calm, you could walk in the water over a 100 meters and still stand up till your waist:
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Ko Samui:
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I had to put this in there so I remembered…..
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The guy who drove us to the airport had the sickest bus I’d ever seen!  It had huge subwoofers in the back, it was pimped out with gold mirrors and rims, and that sound system inside sounded amazing:
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Relaxing in the pimp bus:
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Headed out on a ferry to Ko Tao Island:
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Perfect breeze and weather for a ferry ride.  It was 100% foreigners:
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Cool scenery:
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Noah wore that Taco Shirt LITERALLY the whole trip except the last day!
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Lol…..Noah was messing with the hotel in Ko Tao when he booked, and said it was our “anniversary” so this is how we found our hotel room!!  Hahahahahah
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Lol….I walk in the hotel room to find Noah working from a bed of roses:
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In Ko Tao we met up with an AppSumo fan Edmund who owned a bunch of business in nearby Krabi (hotel, hostel, restaurant, travel agency), and he showed us around:
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Ko Tao was cool……but most of it was foreigners.  So you’d see scooters zipping everywhere, but it was all white people on them:
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Edmund scoring us some kebab skewers for a snack…..LOVED the cheap road-side food in Thailand.  Actually much prefer it to the nicer restaurants:
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Discovered a random Mui Thai gym in Ko Tao….it was all foreigners:
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Crossfit??!?!? In Koh Tao?!??!  Very random:
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This is how I woke up to work:
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Working early morning (still getting up at weird times with jet lag):
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THIS is what a workcation is supposed to be!!  Beach, good food, maybe beer, fast wifi, perfect weather.  It got even better later on into the trip because we weren’t even at a resort:
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All three of us working for a few hours:
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In Ko Tao there was this RANDOM ASS taco shop we stopped by, and it ended up having the BEST tacos I’ve ever had!  HIGHLY recommended:
https://www.facebook.com/kohtaotacothailand

 

We ended up making friends with the owner, he was actually American!
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Of course you gotta get an off-road scooter:
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Scooter trip around the island:
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Parked and walked down some steps:
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….and found this random beach for locals:
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I brought my Martin Backpacker guitar and we played a few tunes on the beach (Edmund was formerly a rockstar the band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus):
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Great views that pictures don’t quite translate:
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Chilling and working:
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Working from a restaurant thingy on a cliff:
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View from the resort balcony where we were working:
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Dasch meow??
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Took a ferry outta Ko Tao:
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Sat in the “VIP” section of the bus there which no one knew about…..so for the same price as everyone else, we road in style in our own section of the bus!
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Arrive in Krabi…..this is the road we’d drive on everyday with those cool Avatar-looking mountains in the background:
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Here were the scooters we rented for our entire stay in Krabi…..TWO of them for less than $18 total.  Mine was the sky-blue one with random logos all over it.  Fortunately both me and Noah have our motorcycle licenses AND both have scooters back in Ausin, so we’re experienced.  But it doesn’t really matter over there, they’d give you a scooter in two seconds without asking if you know how to ride one!

Scooter crashes by tourists are so common, they call the road rash you get a “Thai Tattoo”:
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More coconuts for me!
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One of Edmunds businesses in Krabi was a hostel with a really cool vibe to it….so we spent time working from there:
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Noah took over job as bartender:
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Scooterizing:
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Lol…..this random poster on the wall of the hostel always cracked me up!
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This is at our bungalow on the beach in Krabi where we stayed a few days (which was AWESOME by the way).  One day I was shaving my beard, and decided to see what a goatee on me looks like:
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Scuba diving in Koh Tao:
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Doing a quick re-fresher of how to not die in the ocean before going scuba’ing in some world-famous waters:
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One of our dive locations:
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Before taking the plunge:
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IMMA SCUBA DIVER!
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Workcation scenes: Me working from a beach:
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Hammock’ing:
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Hammock and the “restaurant” area for the bungalows we stayed at.  There were just 4 locals who lived at the resort and did all the work/cooking.  So peaceful.  One day we saw a total of only 9 human beings:
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Chillaxing.  That weather was utterly perfect:
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Photos we HAD to take before leaving this beautiful location.  Me relaxing by the ocean:
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Noah chilling by the ocean.  The water was so warm and mild and non-wavy you could sit there comfortably:
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Aaaannddd of course I have to end off the album with a couple of Handstand pics!!
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By the way, the reason I do these “I just took a vacation, here are my photos posts” is for my own memory.  I forget EVERYTHING, but if I see a picture of the event I can recall it perfectly.

So this is my way of keeping this memory alive!

Hope you enjoyed the pics and got a sense of the workcation.

If you want to do your own workcation, based on our experience (of this trip and others), we know there’s some factors that affect this:

  • Have solid goals of what you want to get done during the trip, and tell others so you’re accountable.
  • Other people you go with should be on the same page of wanting to work at least 4-6 hours a day.
  • Don’t be moving so much….it disrupts the whole working and “resetting” process.
  • The goal of the trip is NOT to travel around and be a tourist….it’s to work. Of course there’s a mix of touristy stuff and sightseeing thrown in, but it needs to be a good balance.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol or party too late except on designated days.  This throws off the whole work schedule.
  • Having a perfect breeze, comfortable accommodations, fast internet, good local food, and preferably a beach nearby is optimal.

In the future we might do a workcation where we take a bunch of other people along with us.  Whatchya think?

February 2014 Goals

This months goals were written from an island beach in Thailand (me and Noah jetted the country for a two week workcation):

february-2014-goals

I’ve got a document I made much like the ProblemSolvingChecklist which is lightweight, short, and easily consumable…..for whenever you need copywriting inspiration.  I should be selling it in the next 10 days if all goes well.

I’m also making it a goal to get the KopywritingKourse setup more as a complete business, so that’s already happening.

January 2014 was a great month, cheers to making February 2014 awesome!
-Neville

P.S.  We even happened to run into Nomadic Matt in Bangkok!
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“what do I wriiiiite?”

I have a friend who has a wine company.  They sell wine deals online.  Simple.

But his whole business is based off the emails they send out.

If the email is interesting and makes people want to buy wine, he makes money.

If it doesn’t, he’s stuck with thousands of dollars of unsold wine.  (perhaps I can help finish some)  ;)  ;)

So he sends out several emails a week about wine, and asked me the same question I hear from a lot of people with email lists:

“But what do I wriiiiitttee about???”

He thinks because he’s only selling wine, he’s running out of interesting stuff to talk about. “NONSENSE!!!” I screamed at him as I slapped him across the face!

I went on to brag about how I could personally find at least 50 interesting emails IN THE NEXT 2 MINUTES to send out to his subscribers that would also help sell lots of wine.

Currently his wine emails go out purely with deals, kind of like this:

Dear wine list subscriber,

Here is a wine deal that we have acquired.  It is First Press brand Cabernet Sauvignon.

You can buy it here for $40 a bottle:

 
Instead of making this email (sent to thousands of people) just a straight promotional email to jam some product down their throat, why not add some value to them instead?

This way they will look forward to your emails, and trust your emails, and be more likely to BUY from your emails.

Instead of slapping a promotion in their face, how about we give them some really good information like this sample email:


Ok, here’s a trick I learned from serving wine for 8 years:

“Wine is first tasted by the eyes, and second by the mouth.”

This is important because you can improve the “taste” of your wine by presenting it differently.  Cool huh?

In all my years as a wine taster, I’ve figured out how to make wine “taste” better to people by presenting it differently.

So here’s two cool things you can do to make your wine experience more enjoyable, in particular for the Cabernet Sauvignon we’re got today (these are great tactics to use at your next dinner party)!
First.) Explain the flavors in the wine.

So for the First Press wine we’ve got today, I would use this script with my guests:

“Ok everyone, this is a Cabernet Sauvignon from First Press Wineries in Napa Valley.  The grapes they use are picked later than the regular harvest, so put your nose in the glass and take a slow & deep breathe of the wine. You’ll smell a “deep texture” which essentially means a dark grape flavor.

Since this is a Cabernet Sauvignon wine, it will have a higher level of what wine makers call “bitterness”, which means it goes really well with salty cured meats.  If you all take a sip of the First Press wine and eat a slice of imported pepperoni, you’ll see how well they compliment each other.”
Second.) Serve with a salty meat.

For a Cabernet Sauvignon wine like today’s special, serve with Bridgeford Pepperoni. You can get it at most stores, it’s about $12 a log, and you just slice it up before a party, and people LOVE this stuff!  But mainly, it compliments First Press Cabernet Sauvignon like a glove (It has a salt capacity of .3%, and so does the First Press Cabernet Sauvignon).

Whenever you pair a wine and meat, people rate the wine higher than simply drinking it alone (and have a more “full” experience)!

YOU’RE DONE!
Doing these two things increased customers experience by THREE full points out of ten on our our wine tasting surveys, so this is unanimously shown to improve the wine experience:

1.) Simply explain the flavors.

2.) Serve with a salted meat that compliments the wine.

A simple trick to make your (and your guests) wine experience much more full.  Just so you know, we have the First Press Cabernet Sauvignon on sale today, and only 120 bottle left.

So if you grab a bottle (or 5) now, you get a $70 bottle of wine for only $20.  This is a helluva a deal, and you can save this email and use the exact script above at your next event, and end up with very delighted guests!

You can buy the First Press Cabernet Sauvignon at a 75% discount by clicking the bottle below:


Sincerely,

Neville
P.S.  If you have any questions about this First Press Cab, feel free to reply to this email, and I’ll personally answer your questions.

P.P.S.  Seriously, if you haven’t had a First Press cab with Bridgeford Pepperoni before, you’re really missing out on one of my favorite pairings!

 

Now wasn’t that a better email than simply sending out the promotion?

It helps make people DESIRE your product and want to buy it on the spot.

Now my friend doesn’t think it’s possible to send out so many emails about wine and still keep it interesting.  WRONG.

Let’s just rattle off some suggestions right off the top of our heads for email ideas:
–The best wines to drink with turkey during Thanksgiving.
–The best wines to buy and let age in the closet.
–How swirl your glass of wine properly and sniff it.
–3 ways to serve your wine all fancy-like.
–What the heck is a wine decanter?
–How to drink a Pinot Grigio.
–How Italians drink their wine.
–Say this traditional Italian toast at your wine party

There’s literally endless amounts of great emails we can send out, and still relate them right back to the products we’re selling.

As for now, I’m off!  Me and Noah took a workcation for a few weeks, and we’re currently in Bangkok and found a place to watch the SuperBowl (at 5:30am)!!

With Noah in Bangkok:

 

As we nerdily work on laptops whilst watching the SuperBowl,  I’m working on this email ABOUT emailing……and he’s working on a new AppSumo plugin that smart-detects how to capture the emails of people coming to your site.  You can check it out here:
http://www.appsumo.com/list-builder/

By the way, we saw those “big riots” going on in Bangkok right now.  In person is was more like a concert and market, and looked like a big peaceful music festival. #mediamanipulation

Adios!
-Neville – Kopywriter who teaches kopywriting 

P.S.  I have a Google Doc full of emails I can write out at any time, it might be helpful for you to make a document with all these ideas also!