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.
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:
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!
Statistics can be complex for dumb people like me. BUT they can be made super easy, if you display the stats in an easy way.
Here’s the kind of stats I personally like seeing:
This is a HEAT-MAP overlay of my site from my CrazyEgg statistics. The more people click on a certain part of the site, the more it “heats up” on the image:
This is a CONFETTI overlay of NevBlog.com from my CrazyEgg statistics:
Same stats in both pictures, but different types of presentation.
The point is within a SECOND you can tell what’s being clicked on….and what’s not being clicked on.
Now, my blog has been sort of “tweaked” because of these stats, so everything is getting clicked on a fair amount, but it wasn’t always that way.
The main goal was to tweak the site so the email signup gets lots of attention. The next goal was to make sure all the links were at least semi getting clicked on. Then I removed all the stuff that NEVER got clicked on.
BONUS COOL FACT:
On the confetti overlay, you can see these “lines” every few inches. Those are from mobile users scrolling! Cool!
It’s FRIDAY!! In college that used to mean soon as it became dark outside I would get jitters to go out. I literally had to go out on the weekends. Hanging with friends, frat parties, clubbing, bowling, art gallery opening, picnics, meteor watching parties, house party…..I ALWAYS had to do something on the weekends, I literally could not stay home or I’d get jittery.
This was probably a remnant of my childhood since my parents were very socially active. I remember through elementary school, middle school, and high school, it was pretty much the norm to attend at least 2-3 parties over the weekend plus other activities.
Friends at school would tell me their family just, “stayed at home and got a movie from Blockbuster and ordered a pizza.” This was LAME I thought, since that was never a normal thing for my active family.
Even after college I kept that pace up…..actually I increased it.
Remove the classes + add some income = party time!
Now all this partying wasn’t just drinking and crazy stuff. A lot of times it was cool events and social clubs and entrepreneur clubs and tech meetups, but it was still an active social life.
However, now that I’m 30 (almost 31), it’s slowed down a bit.
People always say “As I get older I can’t drink as much” or “As I get older I can’t go out as much.”
…..I understand that, but I don’t think it’s fully a function of age.
For the drinking part, physiologically you CAN drink as much when you’re older, but the increased fat, decreased muscle mass, age-related problems, medications, and decreased frequency of drinking (aka lower tolerance) causes this for the most part.
For the going out part, I agree some of it is a decreased stamina issue as you age, but I think a whooollee lot of it is a DESIRE issue.
Let me nerdily calculate this out for you:
Let’s assume I entered college at age 18. I was in college for 5 years (slow track for me).
How many times do you think I went out?
45 weeks a year I did at least two events (extremely lowball figure) = 90 x 5 years = 450 times.
After college from age 23 till 26 I went out 5 days a week probably 45 weeks of the year. 45 x 5 x 4 = 900 times.
From age 26-30 went out maybe 400 times.
…..ok, enough fuzzy math (and notice I was only account for 45 weeks a year not 52….I assume all those numbers are WAY more especially during the crazy holiday times.
THE POINT OF THIS IS:
By the time someone with a reasonably active social life is 30, they’ve been “out” over 2,000 times!
That number kinda blows your mind right??
When I was 23 if someone said, “Hey let’s randomly go out to 6th St!” (austin’s party area) I was sooooo down.
But at age 30 if someone said, “Hey it’s Tuesday let’s randomly go out to 6th St and get drunk” I would probably say ::in nerdy excited voice:: “No thanks I’m gonna sit at home and get some work done then read, then blog, then play with my 3D printer.”
That’s not always true, but it happens more and more frequently as I get older.
But it’s NOT a function of age, it’s a function of experience.
Those two things just happen to correlate to each other.
To prove this….see if you know someone who missed out on much of their youthful freedom. Maybe they got married crazily early then got a divorce when older, or always lived at home with strict parents, or had to provide for their family and never got to play.
When these people get older then all of a sudden come into freedom, they start going out with the youthful exuberance of a 21 year old, even though they’re weirdly old to be acting like that. But eventually they get over it….like after going out 2,000 times :-P
Anyhow, there was no real point to this email other than to present an alternative view of this.
So if you’re not going out as much, it’s not because you’re old…..maybe you’re just not as EXCITED for the same old stuff anymore. And maybe other things in life become more exciting.
I’ve sold a crap-ton of things online over the years. Physical stuff, digital stuff, services, software…..so I know a bit about this.
But a lot of people still have trouble trying to sell even ONE thing online.
But don’t fret, your Uncle Neville is here to help you out!
So awkwardly come sit on my lap, and I’ll quickly explain the 4 different ways I’ve personally used to sell stuff online (depending on your situation):
I’ll make each of these quick-n-basic.
Even if you’re NOT planning on selling something online right now, I suggest you read this email and save it for future reference (or forward to someone who can use it):
IF YOU’RE SELLING: an ebook, Excel file, video, piece of software….. (Setup time: 5 minutes including sign up).
The best and fastest way to sell a single file type of product is GumRoad. It’s retardedly simple (is that politically correct to say anymore)??
When I would sell my class notes in college, I sincerely wish I had something like GumRoad, because it totally automates the whole paying/delivering process.
You see….the DELIVERY process is always hardest. I could easily accept PayPal payments, but then I’d have to manually send people their purchase through email. GumRoad does all of this without you lifting a finger.
All you do is upload the file you want to sell to GumRoad, set the price….and you’re literally done. Wanna see it in action??
I did a project called the ProblemSolvingChecklist which was a veerrryy short PDF document meant to sit on your computer desktop.
All I needed to do was collect $10 from people and send them a PDF file. GumRoad was PERFECT for this. You can see it here:
(this image is just linked to GumRoad directly where people can buy)
Even if I wanted to sell it through email because I have low website skills, all I have to do is include this short link, and it’ll take you directly to the sales page:
I sold hundreds of these through GumRoad in this manner.
GumRoad Pro’s: Insanely fast and easy to use. Amazing for selling/delivering individual things. GumRoad Cons: They don’t accept PayPal.
IF YOU’RE SELLING……a small amount of something or consulting services: (Setup time: 5 minutes)
I’d suggest PayPal for selling ANYTHING in small amount. You can put little buy buttons anywhere on a website or email, and pretty much EVERYONE already uses PayPal. Usually when buying a digital product I PREFER to pay with PayPal since it’s super-easy to request a refund if needed, and I don’t have to enter my credit card info (not concerned about safety, it’s more a laziness thing) :-P
Like if I made pet hamster costumes as a hobby and wanted to sell them myself, I’d just stick up a PayPal button, like this:
Just go to PayPal –> Merchant Tools –> Make Button
….and you can set the price and style of your button to get paid!
(btw…I knoowww I knowwww I spelled “Hamster” wrong).
So STILL TO THIS DAY I have some old digital products that are sold through PayPal, and not integrated into a fancy delivery system. I get the persons order, and manually send them access through email. Don’t be afraid to be ghetto!!
IF YOU’RE SELLING……a bunch of physical stuff: (Setup time: 1 hour)
If you want a legitimate eCommerce STORE on the internet that sells a lot of items, has a built in shopping cart, inventory tracking etc….then I would suggest using one of these three:
NOW…..I know you’re gonna want to compare them all, but you’re too lazy. FORTUNATELY your old Uncle Neville has you covered, and has extensively used all three of those platforms (I’ve used a ton other too, but these are the best services I’ve seen).
Shopify by far is the easiest and most intuitive to use (and the fastest). It’s also got a huge app store so you can tack on functionality as needed.
BigCommerce and Volusion were both very good….but much more clunky to use and modify. They were just “harder” to use that Shopify in general.
*One thing I loved about BigCommerce was it’s digital delivery. You can deliver digital goods and it was VERY VERY seemless. With Shopify I’ve had to find some work-around apps that don’t integrate quite as well as what BigCommerce has.
But if you’re just selling normal stuff, I’d highly recommend Shopify
(I personally picked Shopify for my NevBlog Store).
IF YOU’RE SELLING…..a book. (Setup time: 5 minutes)
Amazon.com is THE place to get a book…..so why not put your book on there??
It’s SO FREAKIN EASY TO SELF-PUBLISH A BOOK nowadays. Especially through the Kindle platform.
And just a side note, every time I’ve released a book, the Kindle version greatly outsells the physical version. Usually on a 3-to-1 ratio. Other author friends have told me the same findings.
So the Kindle version is usually cheaper, but you sell SO many more books. And it’s all digital, so there’s no worry about shipping.
You can take any story, blog series, or article you’ve made, and turn it into a Kindle book. Just save it as a PDF file and upload it to http://kdp.amazon.com. BAM….you’re a self-published author! See my recent book on amazon:
In addition to Kindle, I also used CreateSpace to make this book physically available, but so far the Kindle version has FAR outsold the physical version. I personally prefer the physical version, but the people have spoken!
Bonus places to sell:
You can now start hosting specific things on specific services. These services offer you a marketplace to sell in, and also handle the payment stuff for you (kinda like eBay does all the work for you). Here’s a quick list:
-Selling an educational course? Upload it to something like Udemy or Skillshare.
-Selling designs for 3D printing? Upload your designs on Shapeways.
-Selling unique crafts? Post your stuff on Etsy.
-Selling your computer skills? Post yourself on eLance.
The downside of these services is you lose some degree of control of how you sell your stuff, because you gotta play within their rules. Obviously they also take a cut of your sales. But these are great tools to use if you don’t have the skill or desire to take everything in your own hands.
So there you have it my young child (you can get off my lap now)…those are a couple ways to start selling stuff online quickly.
Don’t over think stuff too much though. You can almost always just use a simple PayPal button to accept payments for damn-near everything.
Old Uncle Neville
P.S. If you tell me what you’re trying to sell in the comments, I’ll respond and give you some advice on where to start! Or just lemme know how YOU’VE sold something online quickly, I love hearing those stories and techniques.
P.P.S. I made this entire blog post from my pool! I hosted an “8am-early-morning-creative-writing-session-from-the-middle-of-the-pool” party. It’s awesome to sit and write around OTHER people who are writing also. Fun mixed with productivity! Image credit to Corina. There were 5 of us working out of the pool for 2 hours:
Your Top 5 Influences (10 minutes)
This is one of my favorite concepts:
“You are the composite average of the top 5 people you hang around.”
This doesn’t mean your favorite people to hang around, it means the people you LITERALLY SPEND THE MOST NUMBER OF MINUTES WITH PER DAY.
So if you live at home with your parents, just by the nature of that arrangement, your parents will be some of your top influencers. Or if you have a husband/wife….they will be one of your top influencers.
So take a look around, and write out who your top 5 influences are (aka who you are physically around the most): 1.) __________________ 2.) __________________ 3.) __________________ 4.) __________________ 5.) __________________
Are those people the kind of people you wanna become?
Are they as successful as you wanna be??
Do they have the kind of attitudes about life that you want???
Are they going to places you want to go????
If you’re hanging around a bunch of losers with crappy attitudes…..it’s likely you’ll pick up those traits too.
If you’re hanging around a bunch of positive people with great attitudes and ideas……it’s likely you’ll pick up those traits too.
So check your list to see who is negatively influencing you, and try to cut down the time you spend with those people so they don’t take you down also.
Simply GOING to events that interest you will help get some momentum going. I started to skip a lot of tech events and conferences….and this bad, because those usually motivate the hell out of me (meeting other people doing cool things always makes you work harder).
I still use a physical calendar to track all my stuff like this:
I went to my bookmark bar of “Austin Events” and started adding things recently.
All good spots to start: Meetup.com, Yelp.com, Craigslist Community.
Wanna go to tech meet ups? Then search “tech meet ups Austin” (or wherever you are).
Nearby universities generally hold a lot of cool events.
I have a whole bookmarks tab of websites/museums/charities etc that hold cool events.
Re-connect with friends by giving to them
Next thing I did was throw a small party (not a typical party though). I only invited 1 or 2 other people.
It was called the “Early Morning Blog Post Writing Party From Nev’s Pool Party!”
The rules were:
We start at 8am
We go to the shallow end of the pool at my apt
You bring your laptop
You write a blog post from inside the pool
I wanted it to be like “having your own writing island.”
So me and Billy (Forever Jobless) hit up the pool at my apartment at 8am with laptops for a “Blog Post Writing Party”! It may have been the nerdiest party in the WORLD at that moment!
I’m literally writing this post from the pool right now!!
It was actually damn fun, and Billy even said:
“I got more writing done today than I have in 4 months!”
If there’s any Austinite’s out there interested in joining me for this every once in a while, lemme know.
Changing your living space
I think changing your living space often signifies changing your life in some way.
I bought a super-kick-ass “Float” desk from HumanScale a few weeks ago, and it just arrived.
It’s awesome in several ways: 1.) It can quickly adjust to any height with a small lever. 2.) The work area is clean, all-white, and HUUUGGEE. 3.) The engineering behind it is awesome (it uses a counter-balance system that uses the weight of the stuff on your desk to move it up and down)….yet it’s all hidden inside the desk and you’d never know it. Basically it’s like a desk Apple would make!
It’s super-neat to go from standing to sitting in less than 2 seconds with this desk. Sometimes I prefer moving around and standing, but sometimes sitting down is necessary and more comfortable.
Screw all those “Standing” desks…..this one can do both!
The large size of the desk isn’t really conveyed in that picture. I’ve had it for a while now….and I can honestly say it’s been an awesome investment and really helped with productivity!
Also in the “changing your living space” department…….I needed some art for the loonngggest time but couldn’t find any. So I sat down and ordered two of the BIGGEST pieces of art from Ikea I could possibly find. I stuck one of them over a boring white wall above my bed:
It doesn’t look that big in the picture, but that picture is HUGE. It’s like 6.5 feet across.
I’m also making sure I make the bed every morning. I learned this trick from Gary Halbert:
Make your bed as SOON as you wake up in the morning, and you will already start the day off with a small win!
“Messy bed, Messy head.”
Those are a few things I’m doing to “get my mojo back”. Most of these things are more to mentally-psych myself into being productive once again.
Perhaps if you’re going through a period of time where you need this, you could take some inspiration from any of these tips.
P.S. From my last Superpowers post, these people won NevBox’s: Dave, Dave H, Allen T, Jacqueline P, Robin W.
Thanks Sithana for helping me decide. I’m sending YOU one too for that!
P.P.S.Comment on this post with actions that helped your snap out of a sluggish phase in your life….I’ll physically ship 5 commenters NevBox’s (worth $97 each…and you can’t even buy them if you wanted to). Not only that, but your comment might give some poor soul trying to “figure things out” an idea that could change their life!
P.P.P.S. Please share/send this to anyone who could use a little “jump-start” in their life.
So get this, a few weeks ago I took a 3D printing class!!
I haven’t learned any new skill in a while, so I thought this would be a fun nerd-activity.
I’ve been fascinated by 3D printing since around 2007, but only now are 3D printers become semi-reliable enough for home use.
Anywhoozle…..I Googled “3D Printing Class Austin” and found a place called TechShop that holds them:
This TechShop was connected to a Lowe’s hardware store, and you can pay a monthly membership to use all the high end machine and manufacturing tools there like this:
The class I enrolled in would teach you how to use a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer. You can see the Replicator1 (left), and Replicator2 (right):
Our instructor mainly showed how to use the cool-looking Replicator2:
The first step was to learn the software, so we all downloaded pre-existing .stl files from the internet and loaded them into the 3D printing software. Here’s the little toy octopus gettin ready to print:
Once the file is sent to the printer, it starts printing out small layers of PLA plastic less than 1 millimeter thick. Once it’s done with that first layer, it moves up and prints another layer. It does this hundreds of times until a full object is printed out!
Here’s the printer in action using orange plastic:
After about 15 minutes of printing a REAL OBJECT WE DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET CAME INTO EXISTENCE!!!
Now I’d been wanting a 3D printer for a long time, and after taking the class I was dead-set on getting one….so I made a quick internet order for a MakerBot Replicator2.
I ordered a couple of spools of plastic filament and the MakerCare Insurance (because there’s like a 99% chance something WILL go wrong with the machine in less than a year).
I’ve also started downloading the printing software and experimenting/downloading objects from the internet.
The first thing I want to print are these 3D shot glasses which would be impossible to create with a lathe or laser cutter:
I also just for fun wanna print a gun….now keep in mind it’s just a mold of a gun made out of shitty plastic with no moving parts….but the CRAZY thing is the file I’m printing from actually includes all the parts to make a gun (assuming you had a high-precision metal-printing 3D printer you could possibly make one):
I also downloaded a bunch of other random cool stuff from Thingiverse for free.
I dunno exactly where 3D printing will go…..but the ability to create and print out highly complex objects from your home is going open up a WHOLE new plane of creativity like Apps did to smartphones.
It’s so cool to imagine that from my apartment I can manufacture things. I mean….crappy things for now, but the technology will soon get better-and-better to the point where we’ll all be able to print out highly complex objects, machines, and circuitry. SOOOO FREAKIN COOL!
Since I left college I’d always been trying to learn something new at all times….and lately I haven’t, so getting this excited about something new is very refreshing :)
I literally used to (and still do) day-dream about being a famous ethical hacker.
I sort of was one a long time ago.
In high school, I was able to gain access to the Novell security systems used by the school computers. I was also in a special Cisco class where they taught us to create, modify, and break-in to computer networks.
So I was able to hack into routers, gain teacher access to school computers, and do this totally anonymously.
But I never used these nerdy superpowers to hurt anyone or be malicious. In fact, I used to HELP school administrators clean up the servers from kids putting weird videos and such on the servers….or help with issues they would have.
When I day-dream, I think of telling people at a dinner party, “Me? I’m a hacker. But an ETHICAL hacker! I go to big organizations like NASA, GE, Facebook, Google and try to hack into their systems. Then when I find a vulnerability, I tell them, and they pay me to help fix it!”
I imagine myself making millions of dollars by ethically hacking into these systems. “Oh yeah, I found a loophole that would give me access to any Gmail account on Google, and showed Google how to fix it….they paid me $900,000 for a one-day consultation”
I dunno….it just sounds so damn COOL to me.
But alas that’s not my skill anymore. I can’t program anymore, and realized in college I was WAY behind the curve in the world of computer programmers (in fact I got kicked out of the computer science program at UT in my first year there because I was SO sucky compared to others)!
So my ambitions of being a super-hero hacker fell through because:
1.) I suck at it….
2.) I’m not willing to put forth the effort to become one….
3.) I don’t really enjoy programing all that much, I just like the “idea” of it.
But….something happened later in life around college where I discovered another super-power:
Writing stuff, doing experiments, and reporting about them in a weird enough way to keep people interested.
It sort of came naturally and by accident.
Like….it was super easy to know what would be more interesting to others….which was the exact opposite of programming which was hard an un-intuitive to me.
This was a Facebook post I saw from Michael Fishman which demonstrated this perfectly:
Wow! Well said Michael! :::gives standing ovation:::
When I made the KopywritingKourse, it just performed well, people learned, and subsequently lots of people made lots of money from what they learned in that course.
It was easy. It flowed. it was FUN. It was natural.
My superpower had been exposed!
P.S. I ‘m physically sending out five NevBox’s for this post…..just leave a comment on the post letting me know if you have a “super power”….even if it’s kinda dumb, and I might be shipping you a NevBox in the mail! Would love to hear your superpower. I read every comment. (btw, you can’t buy NevBox’s anymore, and if you could, they would cost $97 each…so leave a comment below to enter to win)!
P.P.S. There’s a maid in my hotel room right now making the bed and cleaning stuff while I sit here and type….am I supposed to tip her??